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4.46 from 11 votes

Quick Fried Beef Empanadas (Pastel de Carne)

These small fried beef empanadas are quick and delicious! They can be served as an appetizer or an afternoon snack.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 25


  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • ¼ medium yellow onion small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef thawed, 454 g
  • Salt to taste about ¼ to ½ teaspoon
  • teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or fresh juice of ½ lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green olives optional
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1 pacakage wonton wraps 12-ounce or 340 g
  • 1 large egg white
  • Enough vegetable oil for frying


  • In a medium non-stick skillet, heat the oil and sweat the onion over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and let cook for about 1 minute, stirring occasionaly (NOTE: The purpose is to cook the onion and garlic, NOT to brown them). Increase heat to medium-high and brown the ground beef, stirring every now and then. Stir in both the salt and pepper, and then the tomato paste. Stir in the vinegar or lime juice. Let ground beef cook, uncovered, for about 5-7 minutes or until cooked throughout, stirring occasionally. Stir in the olives (optional) and the chopped cilantro or parsley. Let cool a bit before filling the wonton wraps.
  • Place the wonton wraps on preparation surface. Fill each with ½ to 1 Tablespoon of the cooked ground beef mixture and brush the egg white around the edges.
    wonton skin squares with beef filling on top, which will be sealed to make empanadas
  • Overlay another wonton wrap on top on the filling and seal edges well, pressing firmly with your fingers. Using a fork, make a pattern over the edges.
    empanadas with beef filling, sealed and ready for frying
  • Heat a frying machine or a heavy-bottom pot to 350 degrees F (about 180 degrees C). If you don't have a thermometer to measure the temperature, dip a small piece of a wonton wrap into the heated oil. If you hear a sizzling sound, the oil is ready. Fry the filled beef empanadas, a few at a time, turning them while frying so that they brown evenly on both sides. The first and second batches will take about 3-4 minutes while the next batches will only take 1-½ to 2 minutes to fry because the oil will be hotter. They should be lightly golden and crisp. They will darken further once they are draining on paper towels.
  • Transfer empanadas to a baking sheet lined with a double layer of paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Serve empanadas hot by themselves, with ketchup or rosé sauce,, or accompanied by guaraná soda, cane juice, or beer.

Recipe Notes

Store fried beef empanadas (leftovers) in a clean airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Heat in the oven before serving.

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