With this Easy Beef Empanadas recipe on hand, you can quickly make these little pockets of cheesy taco flavors in no time! With a pre-made pie crust, all you’ll need to do is cook the ground beef filling, fold them into packets, and bake in the oven. They make a fun weeknight dinner or are the perfect appetizer for a game day, Super Bowl, or Cinco de Mayo party!

Empanadas are served on a plate with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

Easy Beef Empanadas Recipe

I made the mistake of discovering this fact:

It’s actually really EASY to make beef empanadas at home… and now I cannot go a week without making them!

The secret? Using pre-packaged pie crust dough.

This saves you an ENTIRE step and SO much time. Then all you have left to do is make the savory beef taco-flavored filling, fill up the pockets, and shape them into empanadas.

They then get baked in the oven until the pie crust is extra flakey and golden brown.

This authentic recipe for homemade empanadas is perfect for a fun weeknight dinner, game day or Super Bowl party, or even a Cinco de Mayo celebration!

Round out your snack platter with some Roasted SalsaFresh Tomato Salsa, or Homemade Guacamole.

Pie crusts, ground beef, seasonings, cheese, corn, onion, peppers, and eggs are the main ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

  • Ground meat. While this recipe was tested with beef, you could sub in another ground variety, though it will affect the flavor. Stick with a leaner option; 90/10 is ideal.
  • Vegetables. A diced onion, diced jalapeños, minced garlic, and canned corn are needed for this dish.
  • Refried beans. Homemade or store-bought refried black beans are preferred, but regular refried pinto beans can also be used.
  • Taco seasoning. It’s quick and easy to whip up your own seasoning blend at home, or you can grab a bottle from the grocery store.
  • Cheese. Different types of cheese will work. This was originally made with cheddar cheese, though. Make sure you get finely shredded so it packs in more easily.
  • Tomato paste. Look for a squeeze tube to leave in the fridge since you only need a little bit.
  • Pie crust. If you have time, you can whip up your own pie dough. Or, grab a box of pre-made pie crust from the grocery store. 
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Beef and Cheese Empanadas

Please see the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and more detailed instructions.

1. Make the Filling

Before doing anything, preheat the oven to 375°F.

After dicing up the vegetables, add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet over medium or medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and jalapeños. Sauté the veggies for 2 to 3 minutes, just until they become tender.

Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.

Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the second tablespoon of oil along with the ground meat. Cook ground beef for 7 to 8 minutes, then crumble with a potato masher to get tiny pieces.

Ground beef is added to the skillet.

2. Season and Simmer

Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the mixture, then stir in the tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

Carefully pour the broth into the meat mixture a tablespoon or two at a time. Be sure to stir well between each addition.

Add the corn, then let the entire meat mixture simmer over medium-low heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Corn is added to the beef and veggie mixture.

3. Cut the Crust

Sprinkle a thin layer of flour over the cutting board work surface. Roll out the cold pastry dough with a rolling pin so it’s flat. Use a 4 ½-inch round cookie cutter to make 6 circles. You will need to reshape and re-roll the dough. If it gets to room temperature, you might want to chill the dough again so it’s easier to work with.

Repeat these steps with the second pie crust so you have 12 circles total.

Circles are cut from the rolled out pie crust.

4. Fill and Seal

Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to carefully spread the egg wash along the outer ½-inch edges of the dough. 

Then, fill up the empanadas. Spread ½-tablespoon of refried black beans just off the center of each circle. Add 1 ½-tablespoons of the beef mixture, then sprinkle ½-tablespoon of shredded cheese in each one.

It’s important not to overfill the empanadas or they’ll bust open while cooking.

Fold over the opposite side of the pie crust making sure the edges meet. Use your thumb to press down along the outer edge of the dough, then crimp with the tines of a fork to ensure it’s good and closed. Avoid going all the way through with the fork, though. They’ll end up in a half-moon shape.

5. Bake the Empanadas

Spread parchment paper on a rimmed cookie sheet.

Line the filled and uncooked empanadas on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch in between. Brush the top of each one with more egg wash.

Bake the empanadas in the preheated 375℉ oven for 20 to 22 minutes. The edges of the flaky pie crust should be just golden brown.

Let the delicious empanadas rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Top with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and serve with some salsa or sour cream.

A beef empanada is cut in half to see the filling.

FAQs

What is empanada filling made of? 

Empanadas can be made with just about anything! This recipe calls for a flavorful mix of beef, onion, corn, beans, and cheese. You can choose different fillings, though.

What do you seal empanadas with? 

The best way to keep these homemade empanadas sealed is to use an egg wash between the layers, then use a fork to crimp the edges together.

Where are empanadas from?

Many cultures have some version of a flaky empanada, including Mexico and many countries in Latin America and South America.

Recipe Tips

  • DIY. Whip up a big batch of homemade taco seasoning to keep on hand.
  • Save time. Grab some pre-made pie crust from the grocery store if you don’t want to make your own dough.
  • Just enough. Too much filling will cause the empanadas to break open when baking.
  • Pay attention. Don’t press the fork all the way through the crust when sealing.
  • Add some spice. Include extra jalapeños, or stir in some chili powder or red pepper flakes for a kick of great flavor.
Empanadas are served on a plate with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

What to Serve with Beef Empanadas

When you’re ready to serve these empanadas, be sure to whip up a side dish to round it out!

These are a great appetizer with some Roasted SalsaFresh Tomato Salsa, or Homemade Guacamole.

Don’t forget the Mexican Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice and Instant Pot Black Beans. Add some veggies with Air Fryer Broccoli.

The adults will enjoy a Cadillac Margarita or a Skinny Blood Orange Margarita, too!

More Mexican-Inspired Recipes

If you love Mexican and Latin flavors, be sure to try these recipes next.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Easy Beef Empanadas Recipe

With this Easy Beef Empanadas recipe in your back pocket, you can quickly make little pockets of cheesy taco flavors in no time! With a pre-made pie crust, all you'll need to do is cook the ground beef filling, fold them into packets, and bake in the oven.
Empanadas are served on a plate with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.
Yield 12 empanadas
Prep 40 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 1 hour
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Ingredients 

Beef Taco Filling:

  • 2 Tbsp. oil divided
  • ½ cup onion finely diced
  • 1-2 jalapenos seeded, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • ½ lb. ground beef 90/10
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning homemade or store bought
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup chicken broth regular sodium
  • ½ cup corn canned, drained

Empanadas:

  • 1 egg large
  • 1 Tbsp. milk regular or plant-based
  • ½ cup refried black beans with sodium
  • ½ cup Cheddar cheese finely shredded
  • 2 9- inch pie crusts prepared

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Sauté the Veggies: Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet over medium heat along with the onions and jalapenos. Saute for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic and continue sauteing for 30 seconds.
    2 Tbsp. oil, ½ cup onion, 1-2 jalapenos, 2 cloves garlic
  • Cook the Meat: Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet and add the remaining tablespoon of oil along with the beef. Cook for 7-8 minutes, or until cooked through. Crumble the meat with a potato masher to get finer pieces.
    2 Tbsp. oil, ½ lb. ground beef
  • Season and Simmer: Add taco seasoning, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined. Pour in the broth, a tablespoon or two at a time, mixing well between each addition. Stir in corn and simmer over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. Remove the beef filling from the heat.
    1 Tbsp. taco seasoning, 1 Tbsp. tomato paste, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. black pepper, ¼ cup chicken broth, ½ cup corn
  • Make the Egg Wash: Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl and set aside until ready to use.
    1 egg, 1 Tbsp. milk
  • Cut the Crust: Lightly dust a cutting board with flour. Roll out one of the pie crusts so it lays flat on the board. Using a 4 ½-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into 6 circles, reshaping and re-rolling the dough, as needed. Repeat this with the remaining pie crust until you have 12 circles.
    2 9- inch pie crusts
  • Fill and Seal: Using a pastry brush, brush the outer ½-inch edge of each circle with egg wash. Spread ½ tablespoon of beans slightly off-center in each of the pie crust circles, top with 1 ½ tablespoons of the beef filling, and sprinkle with ½ tablespoon of shredded cheese. Fold over the opposite side of the pie crust to cover up the filling, making sure the edges meet. (Like you would fold up a taco!) Press down around the outer ½-inch edge with your thumb to seal the packet. Then, crimp the edges with a fork around the perimeter of the empanada to further seal it; press firmly enough to ensure it’s closed, but avoid going all of the way through and breaking apart the pie crust.
    Repeat this process with the remaining pie crust and filling ingredients. You should get 12 empanadas.*
    ½ cup refried black beans, ½ cup Cheddar cheese
  • Bake the Empanadas: Place the empanadas on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at least 1-inch apart. Coat the surfaces with more of the egg wash using a pastry brush. Bake the empanadas in the preheated oven for 20-22 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden and the dough is cooked through.
  • Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes and then finish with coarse sea salt just before serving with a side of salsa. Enjoy!
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 3 votes

Video

Notes

*If you have a little of the filling ingredients leftover, simply toss them in a tortilla to make a taco!
Prep-Ahead Instructions:
You can make the filling a day ahead, just keep it in the fridge. If you’re making a pie crust, you can also whip it up the day before.
Storage Directions:
Keep leftover empanadas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 to 4 days. Alternatively, freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 to 4 months. For the best results, reheat in the oven to get the crispy texture back.
Recipe Tips
  • DIY. Whip up a big batch of homemade taco seasoning to keep on hand.
  • Save time. Grab some pre-made pie crust from the grocery store if you don’t want to make your own dough.
  • Just enough. Too much filling will cause the empanadas to break open when baking.
  • Pay attention. Don’t press the fork all the way through the crust when sealing.
  • Add some spice. Include extra jalapeños, or stir in some chili powder or red pepper flakes for a kick of great flavor, it’s up to your personal preference.

Nutrition

Calories: 245kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 400mg, Potassium: 153mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 235IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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