Empanadillas (fried Puerto Rican turnovers)

  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 10-12 empanadillas
  • Category: Dinner, Lunch
  • Method: Fried
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Latin


For the empanadilla dough: (if not using storebought) 

  • 2 ½ cups flour

  • ¾ cup cold salted butter 

  • ½ cup ice water

For the filling (picadillo): 


  • 4 tbsp sofrito 

  • ½ cup tomato sauce 

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • ½ cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced

  • 2 tsp sazon

  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning

  • 2 tsp cumin 

  • 2 tsp oregano 

  • 2 tsp salt

  • ½ cup vegetable oil for frying


  1. (Skip to step 3 if using store bought dough). Make the pie dough. Start by pulsing the flour and butter together in a food processor until the butter forms pea sides pieces. Slowly pulse in the water, a few tablespoons at a time until a ball of dough is formed. Chill for at least 2 hours.
  2. Dust a clean surface with flour and roll dough out to about ¼ inch thickness and cut out circular discs using a large cookie cutter or small bowl. 
  3. Make the picadillo filling. Start with your sofrito in a hot pan over medium heat. Once fragrant, add in the ground beef and simmer until beef is fully cooked. Add the tomato sauce and cook another 10 minutes.
  4. Add in olives and seasoning and mix until evenly combined. Spoon picadillo over half of the dough discs, fold the empty half over top and pinch closed with a fork. 
  5. Fry in oil over high heat on each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the edges. Enjoy!

Keywords: Empanadillas