Pastelitos Recipe

Pastelitos Recipe by Simone (@quickielunchmom)
These portable meat turnovers are the best for on-the-go eating, dinner paired with a side of rice and beans, or lunch boxes. Read to end to find another way to use any leftover meat filling also known as picadillo.

Makes 10

  • 16 oz ground Turkey or beef
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 envelope Goya sazon con azofran
  • 2 tbsp sofrito
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 4 green olives (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • One package of Goya empanada dough 5’ or 6’ (for frying, green package frozen isle) - defrosted
  • Oil for frying
  • To taste:
  • ~Black pepper
  • ~Garlic powder
  • ~Goya adobo all purpose seasoning


To make picadillo (meat filling):
  1. Add diced onions to pan with 2tbsp oil and cook until translucent.
  2. Add meat and sauté until no longer pink.
  3. Add in sazon, sofrito, tomatoe paste and sauce, olives and seasoning and cook until paste incorporates.
  4. Add water to mixture along with cilantro. Mixture will look soupy. On medium heat cook uncovered until meat tenderizes and softens and water evaporates. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste.

To make pastelitos:
  1. Take 1 disc and roll out slightly using a rolling pin or bottle.
  2. To one half of rounded disc and 2-3 tbsp meat mixture staying away from edges.
  3. Fold edges to meet and form a half circle and crimp edges using a fork. Make sure to seal all the way around paying attention to corners to avoid leaking of juices.
  4. Heat enough oil in a raised pan (I use a cast iron skillet) to cover at least half a formed pastelito.
  5. Add 1 or 2 at a time and fry on each side 1-2 min or until golden.
  6. Take out oil and drain on a wire rack over paper towel.

~Do not add salt. Between sazon and Adobe, the picadillo will have adequate sodium.
~If you do not wish to fry, you can also cook in an air fryer. They will not be as crispy But taste will be fine.
~This picadillo is delicious paired with white rice and fried green plantains or yellow. You can also add potatoes to meat mixture at water stage and cook on low covered until potatoes cooked thru.