(Beef & Cheese Patties)

Homemade Empanadas on a Background

CWA Service Partner, Melanie Morales shares her favorite childhood snack. This recipe originated from her paternal grandma, Tonya, while she would visit from Puerto Rico every summer. Throughout the years this recipe has taken on a life of it’s own. So feel free to make any adjustments, additional spices or get creative with your additions! 

From: Melanie Morales

Prep Time:  30 Minutes

Cook Time: 30 Minutes



1 tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 Small Potato, Diced

1 Yellow Onion, Chopped

2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

1 lb. Ground Beef

1 tbsp. Tomato Paste

Green Olives, Minced

Sliced Cheese, Halved

1/4 cup Water

~10 Pastry Shells, Thawed



1 tsp. Oregano

1 tsp. Cumin

1 tsp. Sazon

1 tbsp. Sofrito

1 tsp. Adobo



In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add your chopped onion and cook until soft. This will be about 5 minutes

Once the onion is soft, add garlic and sauté until fragrant. This will be about 1 minute more.

Add in your diced potatoes and ground beef. Cook, breaking up the meat, until the beef is browned (no longer pink). This should be around 5 minutes. Once done, drain the fat.

Return your pan to medium heat and stir in the tomato paste.

Add the oregano, cumin, Sazon, sofrito, minced olives and adobo. Add approx. 1/4 cup of water and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

While you’re waiting for your beef to brown. Take a pastry (preferably an empanada dough disc, found in the frozen aisle) and add half a piece of sliced cheese on top of the pastry, on one half of it.

Once your meat mixture is complete, add a spoonful on top of your slice of cheese and fold.

With a fork, press around the edges of the pastry to lock the filling in tight. Flip and repeat on the other side.

Deep fry and enjoy!


Hot Tips:

While your meat mixture is being made, start to lay out your shells and add your half of cheese slices to the shells. This will help cut down on prep time.

Make sure your pastry dough is thoroughly unthawed to prevent cracking.

If you’re short on space and stack the pastries with cheese while you wait for your meat mixture to cook, use the slips of parchment paper in-between to keep them from sticking.