Spiced Potato Empanadas

Spiced potato  empanadas are  a Jamaican inspired version of the traditional meat-filled Latino pastries with scotch bonnet and curry flavors.
Spiced Potato Empanadas

Spiced Potato Empanadas

By Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

Spiced Potato Empanadas is my recipe of the day with the blogging group Foodie Extravaganza, which I am hosting this month.

National Empanada Day is coming up and it sounded like a wonderful idea as I love empanadas.

I  decided to do a potato filling that would be  both a riff off Indian samosa as well as Jamaican beef patties inside an empanada. I wanted everyone to be creative so this sounded like fun.

Pastry  by Bayless

I had been looking at a recipe for picadillo empanadas by Rick Bayless. I utilized the dough from his recipe and used that to calculate how  much filling I needed for mine. Of course, the 3 tablespoons he called for in the  pastry circles is just too much filling  so I cut it back.

The result is a little extra filling, which you can freeze for later or put  in something like a tortilla like a soft  potato taco. It would probably be good stirred into another curry or something like dal  soup. It’s delicious, so don’t let it go to waste.

Spiced Potato Empanadas

More Than Just Potato

In the recipe I  call for chickpeas as well to give a more complex flavor and increase the usable protein for being  meatless.

You’ll notice I use lard in  this so that would not be either vegetarian or vegan. Use vegetable shortening for that, but if you aren’t being totally meatless, I recommend sticking with the  lard.

Adjust Your Spice Level

Adjust the hot sauce to your taste or use a milder variety. The amount I use has a good bite, but not as spicy with the dip. If you don’t  like spicy, cut back. Of course, feel free to increase heat with another sauce like Trinidad Scorpion or Ghost Pepper sauce if you prefer. You can always mix and match with your family leaving the heat out of the empanada and putting it into individual dips. I did that a lot when my daughter was little.

Reheat the Extras

These  should freeze well and you want to thaw first before reheating. For reheat I recommend warming up on the counter for a bit so the inside is not refrigerated, using a conventional oven so convection does not  overbrown it.

These are great as a party appetizer or you might like to have 2-3 for dinner with a small salad. They are more filling than they appear.

Spiced Potato Empanadas

Foodie Extravaganza

National  Empanada Day (Wednesday April  8th)

Spiced Potato Empanadas

Spiced  Potato  Empanadas

Spiced Potato Empanadas

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Spiced  Potato  Empanadas

Spicy Potato Empanadas

Sue Lau
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Time to rest the dough 45 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Caribbean, Jamaican, Latin American
Servings 16


  • Equipment: frying thermometer, silpat mat (preferably with circular markings showing inches)


Pastry Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup hot tap water

Empanada Filling:

  • 1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Jamaican curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 fresh serrano chili minced
  • 1 tablespoon scotch bonnet pepper hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas drained


  • Cooking oil
  • Pickapeppa sauce steak sauce, or chutney (for dipping)


  • Mix together the ingredients for the dough until it is smooth.
  • Divide dough into 16 portions, rolling into a ball.
  • I placed these on a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick and covered them with plastic wrap to keep the air off and rested them for 45 minutes.
  • While dough is resting, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water about 10-12 minutes or until fork tender; drain.
  • Saute the onion and garlic in the oil in a frying pan until soft.
  • Add the drained potatoes and all the remaining ingredients for the filling; mash with a potato masher (as you would for mashed potatoes) and allow to cool completely.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet 2 inches deep (but no more than halfway full in the skillet) and keep the temperature steady at 350F.
  • Roll out each dough ball on silpat into a 5-inch circle (this will be very thin).
  • Place about 2-1/2 tablespoons of the cooled potato filling into the center of the dough; wet the edges of the dough with water and fold into a half-moon shape, pressing to seal.
  • Crimp edges with the tines of a fork.
  • Carefully lift empanadas and fry in oil for 4-5 minutes or until golden on each side, being careful not to crowd the pan.
  • Drain and keep warm. Continue with remaining dough and filling. I had to reduce the filling from the example recipe (I calculated it but it was too much for the dough) so there is about a cup left over. Freeze for later or use as a filling for a wrap.
  • Serve empanadas with dipping sauces of your choice. Pickapeppa is preferred.


From the kitchen of palatablepastime.com
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Spiced Potato Empanadas

6 responses

  1. Your spicy potato empanadas remind me of the curry puffs we loved when we lived in Malaysia, Sue. I almost made those for this challenge. Now I just have to drool over yours.

  2. Do you think I can use coconut oil instead of vegetable shortening? Coconut oil is quite thick. Just wondering as I typically don’t use shortening, nor lard, in my baking/culinary foods.

    • It is solid at room temperature, but still fairly soft. Since the dough is like pie crust, using coconut oil might make the dough difficult to work with or the end texture a bit tough and not flaky. Butter might be a better option since it is firmer than coconut oil at warmer temperatures. In either case, keep your dough very cold. I would chill the dough balls before rolling, and again after rolling into disks for better results.

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