Homemade Empanada Recipe

5 from 3 votes

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These buttery and flakey Beef Empanadas are the comfort food of Spanish cuisine! These savory and meaty hand pies are very filling and pair well with a wide variety of dipping sauces. You won’t believe how easy they are to make. Plus, you can use my empanada dough recipe too!

rectangle plate with two cooked empanadas
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I like to think of empanadas as the Spanish version of a savory hand pie. They’re made by wrapping a buttery and flakey dough around a potato, vegetable, and beef filling. I love serving these homemade empanadas as an entrée paired with some rice and beans. However, they also make for a great appetizer because they can be eaten with just your hands!

You can usually find me dipping my homemade beef empanadas in a bit of guacamole, sour cream, or salsa for some added freshness and flavor. I make this easy 40-minute dish almost weekly!

top view of cooked empanadas on a round plate

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Is an easy 40-minute dish.
  • Can be served as an entrée or appetizer.
  • Is savory, meaty, buttery, rich, and comforting.
  • Can easily be customized with different fillings to suit your needs and preferences.

Recipe Ingredients

small portion dishes with raw ingredients for the empanada recipe
  • Empanada Dough—This flakey and buttery dough is baked to golden perfection around the beef filling. I highly recommend making a homemade empanada dough for this recipe.
  • Ground Beef—Or ground chicken, ground turkey, or a ground plant-based protein.
  • Frozen Corn—No need to thaw.
  • Frozen Carrots and Peas—I prefer to use a blend of carrots and peas, but you could just use one or the other.
  • White Onion—Diced into small pieces.
  • Russet Potato—Diced. Adds a cozy starchiness to these spicy meat pies. 
  • Beef Broth—Adds a deep meaty and salty flavor to the beef filling.
  • Spices—A fragrant blend of paprika, garlic powder, and cumin.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Most traditional empanada recipes call for these pastries to be filled with a beef, vegetable, and potato mixture. However, you can really stuff your homemade empanadas with whatever sweet or savory filling your heart desires! Here is a list of other empanada fillings I use from time to time.

  • Buffalo Chicken Empanadas—Filled with a mixture of shredded chicken, cream cheese, ranch, and buffalo sauce.
  • Apple Pie Empanadas—Stuffed with apple pie filling and caramel sauce. Is best when served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
  • Cheesy Empanadas (Vegetarian)—Made with either mozzarella, queso fresco, or white cheddar. 

How to Make Homemade Empanadas

sauce pan filled with empanada ingredients

Step #1. Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the paprika, garlic, and cumin and continue cooking until the beef is no longer pink in the middle.

sauce pan filled with empanada ingredients

Step #2. Add the corn, carrots, peas, white onion, russet potato, and beef broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the potato is fork tender and most of the beef broth has evaporated. Set aside.

dough and filling on a plate with empanada ingredients

Step #3. Divide the empanada dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a thin circle. Spoon a generous amount of the beef mixture onto each circle of dough.

raw empanadas on a baking dish

Step #4. Fold each circle of dough in half and crimp shut to seal in the beef filling. Transfer the sealed empanadas to a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and flakey.

Recipe FAQs

Should empanadas be baked or fried?

This completely depends on your preferences! Even traditional empanadas are made differently in different parts of the world. Sometimes they’re baked and sometimes they’re fried. Personally, I like to bake my homemade empanadas because I find it to be super easy! However, if you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to deep fry your beef empanadas instead.

What is the secret to a good empanada?

I believe that the quality of your finished empanadas all depends on your dough! This is why I highly recommend making your dough from scratch. A good homemade empanada dough will leave you with light, flakey, and buttery empanadas. A premade dough, on the other hand, tends to make beef empanadas that are dense, dry, and bland.

Can you buy premade dough for empanadas?

Sometimes, yes. It is sometimes possible to buy premade empanada dough at specialty grocery stores. However, it is more common to find boxed dry mixes. These dry mixes will require you to add the wet ingredients, knead, and shape the empanada dough yourself. Some of these premade empanada doughs and mixes are decent, but the only surefire way to ensure that you’re using a good quality empanada dough is to make it yourself from scratch. It’s only a little bit more work than using a mix and it is so worth it!

side view of a round plate with two empanadas stacked on it

Expert Tips

  • I like to use a fork to crimp the edges of my beef empanadas, but you could also simply pinch the two halves of the dough together with your fingers.
  • These empanadas are best when served with a side of guacamole, salsa, or sour cream for dipping.
  • Help your empanadas to brown in the oven by brushing the pies with an egg wash before baking.
  • You don’t want your beef filling to be too runny. If it’s liquidy, it will ooze out of your empanadas while they bake and make a big mess! Avoid this by simmering the beef mixture until most of the moisture has evaporated.
  • Any leftover empanadas can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave or air fryer.
a plate stacked with three halved centers of empanadas

More Beef Recipes To Consider

top view of cooked empanadas on a round plate
5 from 3 votes

Homemade Empanada Recipe

Beef Empanadas are the comfort food of Spanish cuisine! These savory and meaty hand pies are very filling and pair well with a wide variety of dipping sauces.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound empanada dough, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup frozen carrots and peas
  • 1 small white onion, diced (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • 1 large russet potato, diced, small 1/2 inch cubes, (about 1 ¼ cups)
  • ½ cup beef broth
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  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Add the ground beef to a large skillet and cook over medium heat.
  • As the ground beef starts to brown, add in the paprika, garlic powder, and ground cumin. Continue cooking the ground beef until it is no longer pink in the middle.
  • Add the corn, carrots, peas, onion, potato, and beef broth to the pan and allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes on high heat.
  • Divide your empanada dough into 8 equal sized balls and roll them into discs about 5 inches wide. Add a few spoonfuls of filling to each disc, wet the edge of the dough with a little water, and fold them shut to create a semi-circle. Use a fork to crimp the edges shut.
  • Transfer your empanadas to a baking sheet and bake them for 20 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • We typically serve 2 empanadas per person, but you can stretch the recipe and serve one to each person.
  • We find that serving 2 per person makes this dish a great stand alone entree.
  • However, serving it alongside some rice, beans, or other sides makes it a great appetizer or addition to any Mexican style meal.
  • If you want your empanadas to have a darker golden brown color you can lightly brush the outside of each empanada with a little bit of egg that has been thoroughly beaten.
  • You can store your leftover empanadas in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheat them in the microwave for about a minute per empanadas (don’t reheat more than 2 at a time).
  • You can freeze your empanadas and reheat them in an air fryer for about 10 minutes at 390°F.
  • You can also fry your empanadas. Heat 3 inches of neutral oil in a Dutch oven to 350 to 375 degrees F. and then fry 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown. They are very good fried.  


Serving: 2 Empanadas, Calories: 407kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 223mg, Potassium: 805mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3580IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 4mg
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