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filipino beef empanadas on white parchment paper

Vegan Filipino Beef Empanadas Recipe

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  • Author: Sweet Simple Vegan
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 16
  • Diet: Vegan


Learn how to make flavorful Vegan Empanadas entirely from scratch using simple ingredients! They’re Filipino-inspired, made with a sweet and savory “beef” filling sealed inside a light and airy homemade empanada dough.



  • 6 cups (720g) all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ cups vegan butter, cold and cubed
  • 11 ½ cups cold water


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces vegan ground beef
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium carrot, cubed
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • ⅓ cup frozen green peas
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)


  • Vegetable oil (if frying)
  • ¼ cup liquid vegan egg OR non-dairy milk (for brushing)



Prepare the dough:

  1. Combine dry ingredients. ​In the bowl of a large food processor, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pulse together until combined and uniform.
  2. Cut in vegan butter. ​Add the vegan butter to the food processor bowl and pulse again until a uniform, sand-like consistency forms.
  3. Add water. Slowly add water, and continue pulsing until a dough forms. Start with just 1/2 cup of water, and if needed, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough should be smooth, so it shouldn’t stick to your hands but it also shouldn’t be too dry and fall apart. If necessary, you can transfer the dough into a bowl and mix it by hand until a smooth empanada dough is formed.
  4. Refrigerate. ​Form the empanada dough into a disc and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the dough in the fridge to chill until ready to assemble.

Prepare the filling:

  1. Fry the bay leaves. ​Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add the bay leaves and fry until golden.
  2. Cook the aromatics and vegan beef. ​Add the onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes or until fragrant and translucent. Add the garlic and vegan beef and cook, breaking up the meat with your spatula. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add veggies and sauce. Add the potato, carrot, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and vegan fish sauce if using. Stir until evenly combined.
  4. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender. Lower the heat to low heat and cover the skillet with a lid. ​Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender.
  5. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients. ​Remove the bay leaves, then stir in the raisins and green peas. Cook until the peas are heated through. Stir in the cilantro, and add the salt and black pepper to taste.
  6. Cool to room temperature. Transfer the filling mixture to a large bowl and allow the empanada filling to come to room temperature before assembling the savory empanadas.


  1. Divide the dough into 16 dough balls. ​You can eyeball this or use a kitchen scale for exact, even pieces.
  2. Roll each piece into a circle. Shape each dough piece into a small ball. Using your hand, slightly flatten each dough ball into a disc on a floured work surface. Roll the dough into a 1/4″ thick circle using a floured rolling pin. Repeat the process with the remaining dough. If the dough becomes too warm, place half of the dough in the refrigerator until ready to roll out.
  3. Add filling. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each dough circle. Fold the bottom edge of the disc over to form a semicircle. Using your thumbs, press the edges of the dough together to seal. If the dough isn’t sticking together well, brush the insides with water to get it to seal, or you can use a form to crimp the edges to seal. Use a fork or form to crimp the edges to seal fully. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or while you preheat the oven to 400F if baking.


  1. Deep fryer method: Heat a large pot of vegetable oil to 350 F. Once hot, carefully add 2-3 filled vegan empanadas to the oil and fry on both sides until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer the fried empanadas to a wire rack or plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt, then enjoy!
  2. Oven method: Place the assembled empanadas on a lined baking tray and brush with plant-based milk (this acts as a vegan egg wash). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crispy wrapper is golden brown. Enjoy!


  • Storage: these delicious vegan empanadas are best enjoyed fresh but will keep for 1-2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
  • Make ahead: If you’re making these for a party or dinner you are hosting, you can fill and shape them up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until ready to bake or fry.
  • Rolling dough: If you have a tortilla press on hand, this can be used to speed things up! 
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baked or Fried
  • Cuisine: Filipino