Colombian Empanadas

If you’ve never had a Colombian empanadas, they’re unlike anything else! They’re made of crunchy cornmeal dough, filled with a creamy, aromatic beef and potato filling, spiced with Latin seasonings.

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If you’ve never had a Colombian empanadas, they’re unlike anything else!  They’re made of crunchy cornmeal dough, filled with a creamy, aromatic beef and potato filling, spiced with Latin seasonings.

Colombian Empanadas | Delish D'Lites

I’ve never met an empanada I didn’t like. For me, Colombian empanadas are the pinnacle of Colombian food.  I’ve been eating this since I was a kid, and before I even knew they were Colombian!  If you’ve never had a Colombian empanadas, they’re unlike anything else.  A crunchy cornmeal dough, filled with a creamy, aromatic beef and potato filling, spiced with cumin and Sazon

Colombian Empanadas | Delish D'Lites

In my never-ending attempt to recycle leftovers, I made these with leftovers from my Ropa Vieja recipe.   In my research for this recipe, I realized that my Ropa Vieja recipe uses many of the same ingredients you’d use to stew some beef or pork for this recipe.   So why not use it?  It was a smashing success! 

Colombian Empanadas | Delish D'Lites

Colombian empanadas are a perfect appetizer for any get together. I love making miniature versions of these when I’m hosting game night or throwing a cocktail party, because they’re a fantastic one handed food (you know, food you can eat with one hand while drinking a beer with the other!) Because these take some effort, I always make extra and freeze them for later! You can cook them straight from the freezer, no defrosting required!

Colombian Empanadas | Delish D'Lites

To fry them, heat about 1 inch of oil in a frying pan at 375 degrees, until they’re super crunchy and golden brown on both sides. If you want to reheat empanadas that already been cooked, the air fryer is the perfect way to do that! I wouldn’t airfry these from the raw state though, because the dough is soft and will stick to the grates.

What’s your favorite type of empanada? Comment below!

5 from 4 votes

Colombian Empanadas

Course Appetizer
Cuisine Colombian
Keyword colombian empanadas
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes




  • 2 cups yellow masarepa precooked cornmeal
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon 1/2 packet Sazon

Aji Verde

  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves and stems
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeds and all (I like it spicy but feel free to remove the seeds)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/3-1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper


For the dough

  1. Combine the masarepa, water, salt and Sazon. Start off with 2 cups of water, and add more if needed. Stir together, then knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth and slightly moist. If it’s too dry, it will crack when you seal the empanadas.
  2. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

For the filling

  1. Peel the potatoes, and place them into a pot with 3 cups of water, and 1 chicken bouillon.
  2. Boil for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
  3. Drain them and place the potatoes into a bowl.
  4. Season the potatoes with salt and sazon, then mash until most of the chunks are gone. Add the cumin and ropa vieja.

  5. Fold to combine.

To form the empanadas

  1. Take a scoop of masa and make a ball about the size of a golf ball.
  2. Place the dough ball between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
  3. Press the dough ball down, until it’s about 1/4″ thick, and 3″ in diameter.
  4. Place a few teaspoons of filling in the center, then cradle the disc in your hand and pinch the empanada closed.
  5. Make sure to fully seal the edges so it doesn’t open while cooking.
  6. Fry the empanadas in vegetable oil heated to 375 degrees F for 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel, and serve with Aji Verde.

For the Aji Verde

  1. Process the cilantro, jalapeno and scallions in a food processor.
  2. Add vinegar to get the consistency you’d like.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Store for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Colombian Empanadas


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25 Responses

  1. Hello, when you say sazon for the dough, do you mean the sazon y achiote and culantro? New to this dish, it’ll be my first time making. Thank you for sharing!

    1. No they are not the same thing, maseca is treated with lime which makes the corn flavor more pronounced. The flavor will be different. The textures are also different. Masarepa is much more grainy cornmeal texture, like fine sand. Masa harina is much more like a flour consistency.

    2. 5 stars
      Me quedo nítido!! Came out fantastic, wish my father was alive(he was from Barranquilla) made it w PR style corned beef and it was a hit! I’m planning to make it w bacalao en salsa next time!

  2. Do you have any idea at why temperature and what cool time it would take to use an air fryer en lieu of oil frying?

    1. Hi Neil,

      I’ve never made them in the air fryer; so I’m not sure. You would definitely have to freeze them before trying it, because the dough will stick and possibly melt through the air fryer grates.

    2. For air fryer I usually put them on a tray in the freezer for at least 20min so they won’t stick in the air fryer. Spray a little bit of oil so they get golden color. I prefer air fryer, you get the crunchy part without the oily part.

    1. Hi Camille! Thanks so much! The dough comes together very quickly, so I’ve never made it ahead of time because it can actually become too dry if you let it sit for too long. If you make The dough ahead of time And then refrigerate, you’ll probably have to add some hot water to soften it up when you’re ready to make the empanadas. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

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I’m Jannese, Founder of Delish D’lites

I’m a Puerto Rican girl living in paradise (Florida), and the creative mind behind Delish D’Lites. I love sharing my family recipes and travel inspired cuisine! My favorite things include collecting passport stamps, twerking to Latin music, and kissing puppies. Follow along on social.