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Empanadas de Picadillo(Beef Hand Pies)

Course Appetizer, Empanadas
Cuisine Mexican


For Picadillo

  • 4 large poblano peppers
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium red or sweet onion sliced thick
  • 6 cloves garlic skins on
  • 2 serrano peppers stems removed
  • Olive oil
  • 3 cups white potatoes diced
  • 5 chile ancho stems and seeds removed
  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 teaspoon clove
  • 1/3 teaspoon anise
  • More salt and pepper to taste

For Empanada Dough

  • 4 cups flour sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk


Directions For Picadillo

  • Preheat broiler to high for a few minutes. Place the poblanos, tomatoes, onions, garlic and serrano onto large baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Broil for 10 to 12 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking time. Place poblanos in a plastic bag, paper bag or simply wrap in a clean kitchen towel to steam. Let ingredients cool. 
  • Add dried ancho peppers to a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 6 to 7 minutes. At the same time, preheat 4 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat for 5 minutes. Fry the diced potatoes until golden and crisp in most spots. Drain potatoes onto a plate lined with paper towels.
  • Peel the garlic. Add garlic, tomatoes, onion, serrano and drained chile ancho from saucepan. Add 1 cup chicken broth, blend on high until smooth, set aside.
  • Heat a large pot to medium/high heat. Add the beef. Season with 1 1/2 teaspoons each of the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Cook until nicely browned. Drain out any excess fat. Add sauce from blender, all remaining spices and reserved cup of broth. Peel, clean and slice the poblanos into small strips. Add the poblanos and potatoes to the picadillo. Stir well to combine and cook to reduce and thicken, about 20 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. let cool before using it for empanadas. Yields 8 to 10 servings.

Directions For Dough

  • Sift the dry ingredients together. Cut in the shortening until you have fine crumbles. Whisk the eggs and milk together. Gradually add in the milk mixture to the flour mixture until dough forms.
  • Knead the dough for a few minutes. If it seems to dry, work in a little more milk, but not too much. I like to roll my dough balls now, about the size of a ping pong ball. I place them in a storage container with layers of wax paper in between. Let dough balls rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • When ready to fill, place dough ball on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 5 inches in diameter. Use as little flour as possible when rolling them out. Fill with about 3 full tablespoons of picadillo. Fold over and gently press to push any air our from around the filling. Choose your method for sealing the empanada. I fold the end in, so it looks like a triangle. Continue folding in towards the center until done.
  • Place filled empanadas on lined baking sheets.  You can brush them with eggwash if you like, but I di not on this day. Bake in preheated 375 degree F. oven for 30 minutes on the bottom rack in oven. Move to the middle and finish browning under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cool completely before storing in refrigerator.  Yields about 24  hearty empanadas.


You will  only need about 4 cups of the picadillo filling, but I prepared extra to use in other recipes. You can freeze the leftovers or use for tacos, burritos, enchiladas or chiles rellenos. You could also cut the recipe in half for a smaller portion.
If you do not feel safe using a plastic bag to steam your roasted poblanos, you can use a paper bag or a clean kitchen towel.