These crunchy, golden Colombian empanadas with potatoes and peanuts are a delicious dish that everyone can enjoy (including vegans). An easy spice blend in the dough not only adds extra flavor, but a gorgeous color too. See a video demo of the empanada making process for pointers—it’s much easier than you might think! And read more about the origins of this dish if you’re curious where they came from.

Serve these fried pockets of deliciousness with your favorite hot sauce, or hogao (which also goes great with cheese arepas).

Shopping List: You’ll need P.A.N Pre-Cooked White Cornmeal to make the dough, and the spice blend is made from ground achioteturmericonion powder, and garlic powder.

Special Equipment: You’ll need a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot like a Dutch oven and a candy or deep-fat frying thermometer to make sure your oil is at the right temperature.

See our beginner’s guide to deep-frying if it’s your first time.

Ingredients (18)

For the dough:

  • 1 cup P.A.N Pre-Cooked White Cornmeal
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

For the spice blend:

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground achiote
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ⅔ cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Vegetable oil for frying


Make the filling:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat.
  2. Cook the scallions, bell peppers, and tomatoes, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add water, turn heat down to medium-low, and let cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
  6. After 15 minutes the liquid should be absorbed, and you should be able to easily mash the potatoes with a wooden spoon.
  7. Add peanuts and stir until well combined.
  8. Set aside to cool.

Make the dough:

  1. Add the pre-cooked cornmeal, warm water, vegetable oil, and spice blend to a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
  2. Using your hands, knead gently until you have a uniform and smooth ball of dough.
  3. Set aside.

Make the empanadas:

  1. Break off small portions of the dough, about 1 ½ tablespoons each, and form each portion into a ball by rolling between the palms of your hands.
  2. Cut a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic bag, place the ball of dough over the plastic, and roll out or press until you have a uniform thin disc.
  3. Place about ½ tablespoon of filling in the center of the disc.
  4. Using the plastic underneath, fold the dough over to enclose the filling, forming a half moon.
  5. Remove excess dough by making a clean cut using a small bowl or cup. (See the video link in recipe description for a visual demo.)
  6. Set formed empanadas aside until your oil is ready for frying.
  7. Fill a medium large pot with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 360°F.
  8. Carefully place 2-3 empanadas at a time in the heated oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes until golden on all sides.
  9. Carefully transfer the empanadas to a plate lined with paper towels and remove excess oil.
  10. Serve with your favorite hot sauce, or hogao sauce. Enjoy!