Lucy’s Empanadas with Beef, Red Peppers & Olives

beef empanadas

These beef empanadas made with diced red pepper, shallots and green olives were sent to Familia Kitchen Lucy Dysart. Lucy and her sister Lisa Kear grew up with their grandparents in Panama, and both love making favorite recipes from their childhood for their own families, now that they are living in the States.

Lucy says she whips up these family-famous beef empanadas often. We especially like how her empanada dough calls for cream cheese, resulting in a rich, extra-lush flavor.

For more Panamanian recipes from Lucy’s childhood, check out her sister’s family-famous beef, red pepper and-olive empanadas, her Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest-winning Panamanian flan, her sweet guava-and-cheese empanadas, her Panamanian pollo guisado (stewed chicken) with spaghetti, her hand-made corn tortillas, and and her delicious ron ponche, just the thing for celebrations and parties.

Ready to make these traditional beef and olive empanadas, by hand?

Lucy’s Beef, Red Peppers & Olives Empanadas

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Lucy Dysart Cuisine: Panamanian

8 to 10

Prep time


Cooking time




  • Prepare Crust
  • 16 oz 16 cream cheese

  • 1 lb 1 butter, unsalted

  • 4 cups 4 flour

  • 1 tsp 1 salt

  • Meat Filling
  • 1 lb 1 ground beef

  • 1 Tbsp 1 olive oil

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 chopped shallot

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 red pepper, diced

  • 1 Tbsp 1 garlic, minced

  • 3 Tbsp 3 green olives, chopped

  • salt, to taste

  • pepper, to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Mix cream cheese and butter together. Stir in the flour and salt to create a pie dough. Be careful not to overmix.
  • Divide the dough into two halves. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled completely.
  • Meanwhile, brown the ground beef in the olive oil. Add the chopped vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. Set aside and cool completely.
  • Roll the dough and cut out as many 4-inch diameter rounds as you can.
  • Add 1 Tbsp of the beef filling to the center of each dough disc and fold in half. Using a fork, seal the edge of your half moon-shaped empanada. With your fork, poke the top of each turnover, to let the steam escape.
  • Brush with egg wash and bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown.


  • Be sure to poke the top of each empanada to let the steam escape when you bake them. They will look and taste beautiful.
beef empanadas
Add 1 Tbsp of the beef filling to the center of each dough disc and fold in half. Using a fork, seal the edge.

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