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A plate of empanadillas

Empanadillas (fried Puerto Rican turnovers)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 10-12 empanadillas 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Lunch
  • Method: Fried
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Latin



For the empanadilla dough (if making from scratch):

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup melted butter

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup water

For the Picadillo filling: 

    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 yellow onion, diced
    • 1 red bell pepper, diced
    • ⅓ cup sofrito
    • 1 lb ground beef (lean)
    • 1 tsp sazon seasoning
    • 1 tsp adobo seasoning
    • 3 bay leafs
    • 1 (15oz) can of tomato sauce
    • ⅓ cup pimento stuffed olives, sliced in half
    • ¼ cup water
    • salt to taste
  • ½ cup vegetable oil for frying


  1. Make the pie dough (skip to step 2 if using store-bought dough.) Start by combining all ingredients in a bowl and mixing well until a ball begins to form. Knead on a flour dusted surface until no longer sticky and chill for 30 minutes while you make the filling. 

  2. Make the Picadillo filling. Start with oil, onions, and peppers in a pan over medium heat. Once onions become translucent, add sofrito and sauté another minute before adding ground beef. Break the ground beef into smaller pieces as it cooks. Add sazon, adobo, bay leaves, tomato sauce, olives, and water. Bring it to a boil before simmering with a lid partially on, for 10 minutes or until the beef is fully cooked. 

  3. Prep the dough. Dust a clean surface with flour, divide the dough into small balls and roll the balls out into circular discs. Spoon picadillo over half of each disc, fold the empty dough over top and pinch together with a fork.

  4. Fry. Heat oil to around 350 degrees before frying empanadas on each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the edges. Enjoy!