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Venezuelan Tongue Empanadas

Rumba Meats® Beef Tongue

Original Blog & Recipe by
Lily Ramirez

Hello, I am Lilibeth Ramírez, I have helped thousands of people to improve and change their habits, for healthier ones, I have motivated them to cook their own food, with quick and easy recipes, suitable for all ages.

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Venezuelan Tongue Empanadas

Venezuelan Tongue Empanadas Prepared

Venezuelan empanadas are half-moon shaped sweet/savory dough pastries that are traditionally fried, and prepared with precooked cornmeal, which is what makes them so crispy and different from the rest of the empanadas in the continent.

They can be filled with just about anything! Many places in Venezuela make them with the most incredible fillings.

The most common are shredded meat, ground meat, chicken, dogfish, cheese, caraotas (black beans), and pabellón.

Growing up it was a tradition to eat tongue. My family prepares it in many delicious ways. For some it may seem exotic, but believe me, it is a delicious cut of meat.

The first time my mom made the empanadas I was little. She never told me what it was, until I had cleaned my plate and praised how delicious they were.

That is why I want to share with you this recipe, it is my family’s legacy. If you have not tried tongue empanadas, I recommend you do so, because it is a very tender and delicious meat (It is similar to the meat brisket or skirt, but more tender).

Venezuelan Tongue Empanadas

In Venezuela, empanadas are a dish that you can eat at any time: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Second to arepas, the empanadas are one of the most famous and requested breakfasts.

It is a custom to eat the empanadas accompanied by a garlic sauce, tartar or guasacaca sauce. Depending on the region of Venezuela the flavors of the sauces varies.


Tongue Stew

  • Rumba Meats® Beef Tongue (1 package)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, fine chopped
  • ½ cup of water or wine


  • 2 coriander sprigs, chopped
  • 2 parsley sprigs, chopped
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of annato powder (or paprika)
  • 2 bay leaves

Empanada dough:

  • 2 cups of precooked cornmeal
  • 2 cups hot water (or additional water, as needed, to prepare dough)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon ground annatto
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • 2 tbsp of chia
  • 2 tablespoons of flaxseed
  • 3 tbsp of oats


  • 1 egg

Recipe Notes

To prevent sticking with air fryer preparation: layer empanadas on baking paper-lined sheet pan, make holes in paper to allow air to circulate and pre-bake in the oven for 5 minutes at 400º F.


Tongue Stew

  1. For tongue stew: Place beef tongue and water to cover in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until tongue is tender and reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF.
  2. Remove tongue and cool slightly. Peel off the outer layer of tongue and remove the fat. Shred tongue meat and set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are transparent, stirring frequently. Add shredded tongue and continue frying.
  4. Stir in tomato and water. Combine seasoning ingredients in a small bowl and add to frying pan. Cook over high heat until excess moisture has evaporated. Set aside.


  1. Combine hot water, pre-cooked cornmeal, oil, salt, annatto and turmeric in a bowl. Using your hands, knead well until you achieve a manageable, non-sticky dough
  2. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. Shape dough into 12 balls.
  3. Stretch plastic wrap on the counter. Place a ball of dough on the counter on the plastic and cover with half the plastic wrap. With a plate, press to flatten the dough in a circular shape
  4. Portion about 1 tablespoon shredded tongue in the center. Fold the dough in a crescent shape with the help of the plastic wrap. Crimp edges with the round edge of a bowl, similar to video.
  5. Place the empanada on a baking sheet lined with baking paper or a silicone mat. Repeat with remaining empanadas.
  6. Brush empanadas with beaten egg.
  7. To cook in oven: preheat oven to 400ºF. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. To cook in air fryer: carefully place the empanadas in air fryer so they do not stick together. Cook at 400ºF. for 7 minutes on each side, or until golden.

Cook in the oven:

  1. To cook in oven: preheat oven to 400ºF. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Cooking in the air fryer:

  1. Carefully place the empanadas in air fryer so they do not stick together. Cook at 400ºF. for 7 minutes on each side, or until golden.