Mexican Empanadas

There should be plenty of dough to cut out and make 24 empanadas without having to re-roll any dough scraps; re-rolled scraps of dough will be quite tough. Unbaked empanadas can refrigerated for up to 24 hours or frozen for up to 1 month (do not thaw before baking); increase baking time as needed.


3 3/4 cups (18 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2‑inch pieces and chilled
1 1/4 cups ice water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
12 ounces 85 percent lean ground beef
1/2 cup beef broth
Salt and pepper
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 cup)
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro


1. Process flour, sugar, and salt together in food processor until combined, about 3 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 16 pulses; transfer to large bowl.

2. Working with 1/4 cup ice water at a time, sprinkle water over flour mixture then stir and press dough together using stiff rubber spatula until dough sticks together and no bits of flour remain (you may not need to use all of water). Turn dough onto counter, gently shape into ball, and divide dough into 2 even pieces. Flatten each piece into 6-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling dough out, let it sit on counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.

3. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll each dough into 18-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick, on lightly floured counter. Using 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 24 rounds, discarding dough scraps.

4. Place 1 tablespoon filling in center of each piece dough. Brush dough edges with water, and fold dough over filling to make half-moon shaped emapandas. Press edges to seal, trim any ragged edges, and crimp edges with tines of fork. Arrange empanadas over 2 parchment-lined baking sheets and brush with oil. Bake empanadas until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

For Filling:

Heat oil in 12‑inch skillet over medium heat until just shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, clove, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in ground beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, bring to simmer, and cook until mixture is moist but not wet, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to bowl and refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour. Stir in Monterey Jack and cilantro; keep filling chilled until ready to use.