Brazilian Fried Beef Pastries (Pastel de Carne)

Brazilian pastéis are typically rectangular, deep-fried pastries with a thin, crispy crust. Popular fillings include ground beef, cheese, chicken and creamy Catupiry cheese, shrimp, and hearts of palm.

Serves: 9Hands-on: 50 minutesTotal: 55 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 9


  • 3 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. cachaça
  • 1 tsp. cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 cups vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped green olives
  • 1 large hard-cooked egg, peeled and chopped


  • Place shortening in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon salt, cachaça, vinegar, raw egg, and 10 tablespoons warm water. Mix everything together, kneading mixture with your hands until you have smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground beef, cumin, paprika, remaining salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, until meat is well browned and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the parsley, scallions, olives, and hard-cooked egg and stir until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 21-inch square about 1⁄4 inch thick. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Cut 7-inch squares of dough (a pizza cutter works well for this). Place 2 tablespoons of filling on each. Brush a little water on the edges of the dough and fold dough in half, pressing the seal closed with a fork.
  • Heat 2 cups vegetable oil to 350°F in a deep skillet. Fry pastéis in batches, letting one side brown before flipping (about 2 minutes per side). Remove pastéis with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve warm.