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Beef Empanadas are handheld pockets of joy! The beefy filling is seasoned with an array of flavorful ingredients, while the homemade empanada dough is perfectly crunchy, yet still soft and chewy. Make a batch of these delicious Spanish-inspired empanadas today!

Several empanadas are placed next to a small glass bowl filled with dipping sauce.
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Really, I don’t think I need to do much explaining here. If you’ve never had a beef empanada before, you simply haven’t lived. Luckily though, you stumbled upon this recipe, for what might be the BEST beef empanada recipe EVER (if I do say so myself).

I could eat these empanadas for pretty much any reason, but serving them as an appetizer at parties is the best! Whether it’s a Sunday night football game or a birthday that’s being celebrated, these beef empanadas truly make the best handheld food. They’re easy to pick up on the go, and it’s impossible to have just one!

This recipe is simple, inexpensive, and always yields the most delicious empanadas I’ve ever had. They take just over half an hour to make, and they’re so very worth the minimal effort you have to put in!

Empanadas are golden brown and fully cooked on a white plate.

Ingredients for beef empanadas

For the beef filling, you’ll need:

  • Ground beef – If you’re trying to avoid eating red meat, you can also use ground chicken, turkey, or a vegetarian alternative.
  • Ground cumin – This gives the beef filling a delicious depth and hint of warm, earthy notes.
  • Smoked paprika – Double this seasoning for an extra smokey flavor.
  • Chili powder – For an extra spicy empanada, toss more of this powder into the mix.
  • Oregano – Just a pinch will add a great herby taste.
  • Garlic powder – Not garlic salt – powder only!
  • Salt and pepper – Just enough to taste.
  • Olive oil – For best results, use a dark, rich extra virgin olive oil.
  • Onion – White onion works best.
  • Fresh herbs – Cilantro or parsley (or both) will be perfect.
  • Corn – These kernels should be fresh.

For the homemade dough, you should have:

  • All purpose flour – Plain white all purpose flour is what makes the best empanada dough.
  • Baking powder – This will give the dough the perfect texture.
  • Salt – Just a pinch to taste.
  • Water – Make sure it’s lukewarm! Not cold or hot.
An empanada is being dipped into green sauce.

How should I serve beef empanadas?

I always toss my beef empanadas on a party platter with a few dipping sauce options! If you’re in a rush, a bottle of avocado salsa is a great store-bought option.

However, if you have a little extra time to play around with, consider making a big bowl of Spicy Cream Cilantro Lime Dressing to dip the empanadas in! It’s a super fresh dressing that will balance wonderfully with the savory beef empanadas.

One empanada has been split in half next to several whole empanadas.

How long will homemade beef empanadas stay fresh?

In an airtight container in the fridge, these beef empanadas will stay fresh for up to 5 days. You read that right – 5 days! I love making a big batch of these and enjoying the leftovers all week long.

A split empanada is on a white surface.

Here are a few more handheld recipes I love!

Cheese Pupusas

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Empanadas with Black Beans and Corn

5 from 1 vote

Beef Empanadas

These are little handheld pockets of joy! They're filled with a flavorful beef filling that will have you wanting more!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 25 empanadas


For the beef filling:

  • ½ pound (227 g) 90/10 ground beef
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons corn kernels
  • Oil, to fry

For the dough:

  • 1 ¾ cup (219 g) + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup (177 g) lukewarm water
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  • In a medium bowl, mix beef with all spices and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat with oil. Cook onion for 10 seconds. Break beef with your fingers and cook in the skillet until cooked through. Stir from time to time.
  • Now add cilantro/parsley and corn. Stir and remove from heat. Set aside.

To prepare dough:

  • In a mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt and water. Work the dough with your hands. Knead for 5 minutes and form a round ball. Transfer dough on a floured working surface, flour the rolling pin as well. Roll dough to ¼ inch thick and use a 3.14 inch cookie cutter to cut out the rounds. Re-roll scraps to make more rounds until no more dough is left.
  • Put ¾ – 1 tablespoon filling in the center and lightly moisture the edge with water. Be careful not to put too much water or you will have difficulties working the empanadas. Fold with your fingers and use a fork to crimp edges together. Repeat until no filling is left.
  • Heat oil in a large deep pan to fry empanadas. Fry on both sides until golden brown, place on kitchen paper to remove excess of oil.
  • Serve immediately with guacamole or any of your favorite dips/sauces. Enjoy!


Serving: 1empanada, Calories: 55kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 6mg, Sodium: 28mg, Potassium: 47mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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