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Salteñas Recipe (Bolivian Empanadas)

Salteñas Recipe (Bolivian Empanadas)

Salteñas are a Bolivian pastry snack that is stuffed with meat, vegetables and egg in a rich sauce. They are often eaten for breakfast.

Salteñas are a type of empanada, which is the more well-known name for the South American, crescent-shaped pastries that come with a variety of fillings depending on location. The word ’empanada’ translates to ‘wrapped in bread’.

Origin & Cultural Significance

Considered the national dish of Bolivia, salteñas can be found throughout Bolivia, with different regions and families having their own recipes.

Salteñas acquired their name when an Argentinian woman from Salta, who is said to have moved to Bolivia, baked the most delicious empanadas and women would send their kids to “go pick empanadas from Salteñas”. Translated to English, Salteñas means a woman from Salta.

These pastries tend to be eaten as a snack, without cutlery and are commonly served with llajua, a Bolivian hot sauce, on the side.

Other types of empanadas are similar to salteñas in terms of appearance and ingredients. These are popular across Latin America, but the fillings of these pastries vary slightly. For instance, in Argentina empanadas are usually filled with beef or chicken spiced with cumin and paprika, while in Brazil, they tend to be filled with a salty cream cheese.

The filling of Bolivian salteñas are more stew-like than other regional versions of empanada.


Bolivian Saltenas Recipe

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours

Salteñas are a Bolivian pastry snack that is stuffed with meat, vegetables and egg in a rich sauce. They are often eaten for breakfast.


  • Flour - 4 cups
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tbsp
  • Baking powder - 2 tsp
  • Eggs - 2
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Beef chuck (cut into small cubes) - 1 lb
  • Onion (chopped) - 1
  • Garlic cloves (Minced) - 3
  • Ground cumin - 1 tsp
  • Dried oregano - 1 tsp
  • Paprika - 1 tsp
  • Chopped fresh parsley - ¼ cup
  • Peas - ¼ cup
  • Chopped carrots - ½ cup
  • Chopped potatoes - 1 cup
  • Aji amarillo paste - 2 tbsp
  • Chicken broth - 1 cup
  • Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper - to taste


  1. To make the dough, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl until the mixture resembles large crumbs.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk together. 
  3. Gradually add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until a soft dough forms. 
  4. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth, then cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  5. To make the filling, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides. 
  6. Add the onions, garlic, cumin, oregano, and paprika, and cook until the onions are soft.
  7. Add the parsley, peas, carrots, potatoes, aji amarillo paste, chicken broth, salt, and pepper, stirring well. 
  8. Lower the heat, cover the skillet, and let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked and the broth has evaporated.
  9. Preheat your oven to 400°F. 
  10. Take the dough out of the fridge and divide it into 12-15 equal portions. Roll out each portion into a circle of about 6 inches in diameter.
  11. Place a spoonful of the filling in the center of each circle, making sure to leave enough space around the edges to seal the pastry. 
  12. Brush the edges with water and fold the circle in half, pressing the edges together to seal them. 
  13. Use your fingers to pinch and crimp the edges of the pastry together to create a rope-like edge.
  14. Place the salteñas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush the tops with beaten egg to give them a shiny finish. 
  15. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the salteñas are golden brown and crispy. Serve hot.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 338Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 84mgSodium: 564mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 23g

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