Pastelitos (Mini Empanadas)

December 5, 2012

Pastelitos Mini Empanadas

Saturday we celebrated Little L’s first birthday party. I prepared a Dora inspired menu that included pastelitos. These were the most popular item on the menu. To take a look at what else I served at her party check out my previous post.

What are pastelitos you ask?  Well, pastelitos are a more buttery, flaky and delicate version of what you may know as empanada. In the Dominican Republic there are empanadas and pastelitos. Empanadas are larger in size with a half moon shape, the dough can be made of  all purpose flour or cassava and these can be found sold at restaurants, street vendor stands and cafeterias. Pastelitos in the other hand are smaller, almost bite size (depending on how hungry you are) and are mostly made as appetizers for parties.

The most popular pastelito filling is ground beef cooked with onions and peppers. Pieces of boiled egg or raisins are added to join the beef. Cheese is also a popular filling but it can be made of chicken, seafood, veggies any savory combination will do. In other Latin countries like Cuba pastelitos are sweet filled with fruit, Guava being the most popular flavor.

In Latin America, other terms used for this concept (fried or baked pastries stuffed with sweet or savory fillings) are: pastelitos, pastelillos, empanadas, empanadillas, empanaditas. For some reason we tend to use diminutive terms almost with the intention of making them sound more tempting and delicious. “Ayy que rica esta empanadita”

Dominican Pastelitos

Combine lots of butter, flour and eggs.

Pastelitos Mini Empanadas

Mix all ingredients using your hands until you form a ball that does not stick to your hand.

Pastelitos Mini Empanadas

Roll with a rolling pin or a pasta machine until dough is about1/8 of an inch thick. I took the hard road and rolled all by hand, old school.

Pastelitos Mini Empanadas

Cut circles of about 3 inches of diameter.

Pastelitos Mini Empanadas

Top one disc with your favorite filling like cheese, ham, veggies, chicken, seafood or ground beef like in this case. Cover with another disc and seal with the help of a fork.

Pastelitos Mini Empanadas

Fry them with very hot oil and enjoy!

Ingredients – Yields 50

3 cups of flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 stick of butter

1/2 cup cold water

2 eggs

Filling of your choice (I used sauteed ground beef and raisins)


Mix flour, salt, and baking powder. Add soften butter and mix with a fork. Add 2 eggs and mix with your hands. Add water mixing until you can form a ball. If too wet try adding more flour till you get the right consistency. The dough should be flexible and not stick to your hand. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough in a floured surfaced until it is about an 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut circles of about 3 inches of diameter. Roll the excess dough again and keep cutting circles till it’s all gone.

Fill half of the circles making sure you leave at least 1/2 inch around. Wet the edges, place a top circle and seal with a fork.

Use a deep pan with very hot oil to fry them until they are golden brown.


  • Pastelitos are better warm or at room temperature.
  • You can store unfried pastelitos in the fridge or freezer.

20 Responses to “Pastelitos (Mini Empanadas)”

  • I love pastelitos! Looking at your pics, is making me hungry for one (okay maybe like 6)

  • Ania

    Will definitely try this recipe for Christmas. I love pastelitos 😀

  • Cecilia

    I am making them for my baby’s 1st bday! I want a bit of Dominican flavour present in all her special occasions! A quick question: the quantity is 50… 50 pastelitos or 50 round pieces = 25 pastelitos ? Gracias!!!

    • Cecilia the quantity is 50 pastelitos. Sorry for the late reply I was having issues with my comment feed. I am so glad you will try them. I promised they will be a hit. Just like the ones we eat back home in the DR. Happy Birthday to your little pricipessa!

  • Vanessa

    Can I use Crisco and self rising flour just the same as this recipe and it would come out okay???

  • Christine

    Probe hoy tu receta de pastelitos y…yum! Mi hijo los llevo al dia internacional en su escuela (en Londres) y se los comieron todos! Hice UNO para probar con pasta de guayaba y estaba mortal. Lo unico es que solo me salieron dos docenas y se me olvidi mojar el borde antes de cerrarlos y se me abrieron algunos al freirlos. Gracias por compartir tu receta.

    • Wao, wao Christine mil gracias por compartir tu historia. Me hace tan feliz saber que visitas mi blog, haz hecho mis recetas, te gustaron y estas de vuelta por mi casita online. Gracias nuevamente y la proxima vez recuerda usar el agua y todo quedara perfecto. Hicistes circulitos de 3 pulgadas de diametro? Este es el tamanio ideal.

  • Can these also be baked?

  • Maris

    do you ABSOLUTELY NEED the baking powder?

  • Mallory

    What peppers did you use for the filling with the ground beef?

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