Crispy Beef Empanadas

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These tasty Crispy Beef Empanadas are homemade street food snacks made of crispy homemade pastry filled with beef. Easy recipe and so popular! They are great to serve at parties, weddings, Thanksgiving, summer parties, yep… any time!

What Are Empanadas?

An empanada is a fried turnover from the Latin America, European Philippines or Indonesian culture, they are perfect little pockets of cheesy beef.  The filling can consist of meat, cheese and vegetables that are tucked inside the pastry and either baked or fried. Thankfully these little yum yum are easy to make.

How To Make Crispy Beef Empanadas

The key to fried empanadas is learning how to make a good dough for frying.

Many recipes ask you to roll out dough and cut circles with something to make your empanadas, but I find that wasteful and, well, just harder than it is to make your dough, measure out balls about 50 grams, which is a little less than 2 ounces, set those balls in a plastic bag for an hour or two, then using a tortilla press to make perfect rounds every time.

The rest time lets the gluten in the dough relax, which allows you to make the rounds with a press. If you don’t wait, they will contract dramatically.

Do I Bake Or Fry My Empanadas?

Well, I have to tell you, You can do it both ways. You can brush the tops of the finished empanadas with egg wash and bake them if you don’t want to fry, but they really aren’t as delicious in my opinion.

An Air fryer would probably do the trick too, but deep frying is really the best way to make these crispy beef empanadas taste the best. And let’s be honest, we aren’t deep frying all the foods these days so once in a while…let’s go for it.

Also, you don’t need an actual deep fryer or a Fry Daddy, just a deep pot filled 1/3 of the way with oil and a deep fry thermometer will work perfectly. We have never owned or purchased a deep fryer for the sole purpose of frying food and I can’t say that we ever will!

Can I Make It Ahead of Time?

Oh yes, and we do it pretty often. You can make these Easy Crispy Beef Empanadas, bake them and let them cool. Freeze them in freezer bags and then pull the out when it’s party time. Bake them from frozen in a 400 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes and they’re ready to go! Because who wants to be frying up food right before your guests arrive?

If you’re looking for more appetizer recipes, click here. With the step-by-step recipe below, the resulting pies will be some of the most delicious you’ll ever make or eat. Happy Eating!

crispy beef empanadas

Crispy Beef Empanadas

Empanadas are perfect little pockets of cheesy beef. The dough bakes (or air fries!) into a golden flaky crust that shatters beautiful
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Senegalese


For the Dough

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ tbsp clarified butter
  • salt a pinch
  • cup water
  • 1 tsp oil

For the Beef Mixture

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • ½ cup onion
  • bell pepper
  • salt to taste


For the Dough

  • In a large mixing bowl, add flour and salt. 
  • Heat the butter in a small pan and pour in the flour.
  • Mix butter well with flour till it has a bread-crumb like texture
  • Add water and knead the dough. Dough should be stiff.
  • When dough is kneaded, leave it on counter for at least 15 minutes to rest.

For the Beef Mixture

  • For the beef mixture, over medium-high heat up the oil and add ground beef, onion, belle pepper, garlic, ginger, cube and salt. and cook until browned.

Making the Empanadas

  • Working with one ball at a time on a floured surface, roll dough out to a ⅛ of an inch thick. Ensure the dough does not stick to your floured surface by flipping it over and turning it occasionally while rolling.
  • Using a five-inch diameter bowl cut the dough into circles. Add a sheet of wax paper in-between each disc to prevent sticking.
  • Using one disc as a time add 2 tablespoons of ground meat to the center of the disc. Close and flatten. 
  • Fry empanadas until golden brown and bubbled on both sides, about 2 minutes, carefully flipping half way through. Make sure to not crowd the empanadas or the oil temperature will cool and they will be soggy and oily instead of crisp, crunchy and dry.
  • Garnish empanadas with finely chopped cilantro sprinkled on top and enjoy!
Keyword Beef, Empanadas, Ground Beef
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