Honduran Meat-filled Empanadas (Pastelitos)


In Honduras, empanadas are commonly called pastelitos and baked and filled with meat or beans with cheese. Although those pictured here are made with flour-based pastry dough, it’s also common to make the shell using the same kind of masa you would make for tortillas. It all depends on the region and even the family. They are typically served with a slaw and/or chimol, which is similar to pico de gallo.


Honduran Meat-filled Empanadas (Pastelitos)



  • 2 cups dough prepared with corn flour (maseca)
  • ½ tsp “achiote” (annatto)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 1 cup meat filling



First, you need to season the dough with salt and add the “achiote.” Then divide it into 15 portions and make the tortillas about 3 inches in diameter.

After that place 1 tbsp meat filling on the bottom half of each tortilla. Then fold the tortilla into the form of a half-moon. Now you need to seal the edges by moistening them with water, and pressuring with your fingers to prevent the filling from taking out.

After that in a small pan, heat the oil and cook the pastries at medium heat till are golden on both sides. Then place them on a paper towel and serve warm.


Meat filling includes:

  • 1 C ground beef
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • ½ c chopped onion
  • ¼ c chopped ripe tomato
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 C water with 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • ¼ tsp hot chili sauce
  • 1 large potato cut into small pieces (we used rice and it was delicious!)


To prepare meat filing First you need in a medium pan, heat oil and cook the garlic cloves and the onion for about 3 minutes or till translucent. Then add the meat and cook stirring perpetually so it does not cluster. Cook the potato in the salt water till are tender then adds it to the meat with any remaining water. After that add the tomato and season with pepper, salt, thyme, Worcestershire, and the hot chili sauce. Then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. After that uncover the pot and cook over medium heat till the water consumes completely. Now you can place it in the refrigerator to cool.

Before serving top pastries with a salad of finely chopped cabbage, pico de Gallo, or with a warm and spicy tomato sauce, and also dry cheese.


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