Pastelitos are the miniature version of Spanish empanadas. Sounds exotic enough to think that the ingredients are expensive? Then you’re completely mistaken with this notion. Actually, the ingredients are the basics of your kitchen ingredients—flour, oil, salt and shortening.  Yet, instead of using the yeast dough which is more bread- like, you should make pastry dough which has a flaky texture.


How to Make Pastelitos
How to Make Pastelitos



For the dough:

  • 4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1/2 cup of shortening
  • 1 cup of ice water


For the filling:

  • 3/4 lb. of ground beef
  • 1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. of onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt


Before frying:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Oil (soybean oil or canola)



  • Heavy bottomed pot
  • Slotted spoon or metal spatula
  • Paper towels



For the filling:

  1. Sautethe ground beef and stir in the seasonings. Cook this for about 15 minutes and set aside.  Make the dough while you’re waiting for the beef filling to cool down.


For the dough:

  1. Incorporate the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and add shortening intermittently until the mixture is crumbly.
  2. Drizzle little water over the flour mixture. Mix quickly with whisk or fork until you form it into a ball.
  3. Divide the ball into 12 parts or pieces. Form flat circles from the 12 pieces and put a tablespoon of meat filling into the center of the circle.  Fold, forming half circle and seal the corners using a fork and set aside.


Frying Method:

  1. Dust the surface of a plate with little flour and place the pastelitos onto it.
  2. Pour 3-4 inches of oil into the pot and heat the pan into a medium high heat. Wait until the oil is hot enough for deep frying.
  3. Fry pastelitos for 2-3 minutes and you will know that they are cooked if they float in the surface. Let them stay on the surface for another minute.
  4. Get them out using a slotted spoon or metal spatula. Put over paper towels so the excess oil will be absorbed by the towels. You can serve your already cooked pastelitos hot.
How to Make Pastelitos
How to Make Pastelitos