It’s just about time for another pastry jammed with meat, and Bolivia has an excellent one!

Salteñas are a marriage of savory, spicy, and sweet. They’re typically eaten for breakfast or lunch but there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying one for dinner either. Some refer to salteñas as soup pastries – this isn’t dead-on accurate but there’s a few specific prep steps and ingredients that keep the dish juicy even on a reheat.

I’m following a prep posted on the My Latina Table blog with a few tweaks if you’d prefer to just skip to an original recipe.

This recipe calls for an overnight refrigeration in an “ideal” prep so plan your timing accordingly.


For the filling:

  • 2/3 to 1 pound lean ground beef, diced chicken, or fish
  • 1 package unflavored gelatin (you’ll use about half of this, don’t overdo it)
  • 2 cups beef broth or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 tablespoons turmeric or achiote
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium-small sweet potato, diced
  • 2-3 small-medium golden potatoes (you should have about a 2:1 yellow to sweet potato ratio)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • (optional – traditional) chopped black olives to taste
  • (optional – traditional) chopped raisins to taste
  • (optional – traditional) 1-2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • (optional – not traditional) diced peppers, chili seasoning, etc. to taste

Prep for this portion took about 40 minutes (20:30 to 21:10), your time will vary.

For the pastry:

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 1 cup water (boiling)
  • (optional) yellow food coloring
  • (optional) 1 egg white

Prep for this portion took about 10 minutes (18:30 to 18:40), your time may vary.

Here’s what you’re going to do for the filling:

  • Boil the potatoes until mostly cooked but still firm, drain, and set aside.
  • Cook the ground beef (or chicken, fish, etc.), drain, and set aside.
  • In the same pan, melt the butter with the turmeric and allow to develop over low heat.
  • Add the onions and other seasonings, cook for about ten minutes.
“I’ve got a pepper guy.” – The most millennial thing I’ve ever said
  • Add the potatoes, cook 3-5 minutes, add the peas and parsley, cook 3-5 minutes, then add the sugar.
  • Mix the ground beef back into the pan, then add the beef stock and bring to a boil.
  • Boil for 2-4 minutes, then turn off the heat. When bubbling has stopped, sprinkle the gelatin on top and stir thoroughly.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to a bowl. Refrigerate at least 6 hours, but overnight is better.

Here’s what you’re going to do for the dough:

  • Mix the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Beat the eggs (not the optional egg white), with the food coloring if you are adding, and fold into the flour mixture.
  • Slowly add the hot water, little bit at a time, until you’ve formed a kneadable dough that isn’t too sticky.
  • Knead thoroughly to glutenize the dough, allow to sit 20-30 minutes, and knead again before portioning into 8-10 balls

Now bring it all together:

  • Preheat your oven to 500°F.
  • Flatten a dough ball into a circle about 6 inches around, not too thin.
  • If you are adding the olives, raisins, or boiled eggs, place them on one side of the dough (not too much or it’ll be too heavy and fall apart). Scoop about 1/4 of filling onto the same one side of the dough, leaving about a 1/2″ edge. Press and pinch the dough to seal firmly.
  • If you are using the egg white, brush the tops of the salteñas with the egg white for a shiny finish
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden.
  • Allow to set 5-10 minutes before eating.

That’s it! Total time for me took about 3 hours, 5 minutes (20:30 to 21:45, 18:30 to 20:20).