Easy Beef Empanadas

These tasty South American treats are fun, easy to make and delicious. This beef empanadas recipe utilizes puff pastry for the ground beef filling to get wrapped up in and baked. Delicious filling wrapped up with the buttery, flakey dough.

Instead of traditional empanada dough (which is a simple dough of flour, butter, & milk), I pulled out trusty puff pastry to create these little pockets of homemade goodness. My family ADORES these empanadas.

Try making homemade puff pastry, sometime! This 15 Minute Homemade Puff Pastry Recipe is so much easier than you might think and works great for my Ground Beef Wellingtons.


Easy homemade beef empanadas with puff pastry.

Where are empanadas from?

Empanadas show up in kitchens all over South America but everything suggests they came from northern Spain even as far back as Medieval times. The coolest bit of history is that, like pasties or other filled doughs, they were made to be portable meals for working people.

Today, though, we don't make homemade dough (dang, wish we didn't lose that tradition ;)) and empanadas are a treat!

The key ingredients:

  • Ground Beef. Try swapping out ground beef for chicken or pork. If you have a very lean ground beef, add a bit of olive oil to the pan prior to sauteing.
  • Tomato. Use a fresh, chopped tomato or go ahead and pull out a can. Make sure they are finely chopped.
  • Onion. Make sure your onion is finely chopped so it will wrap up nicely in the dough.
  • Garlic. Use fresh minced garlic cloves, if you can. If you don't have them go ahead and use 1 tsp of garlic powder.
  • Tomato Paste. You can sub tomato sauce if you need to. Tomato paste gives a more intense flavor without the added liquid.
  • Frozen Peas. Keep these frozen right up until you put them into the mixture so that they will keep their "pop" all the way through cooking.
  • Siracha Sauce. Just a couple of teaspoons is enough to ramp up the flavor of this filling. I like 1 tbsp for the perfect amount of heat & flavor.
  • Potato. Make sure your potato is finely cubed so that you can easily close your empanadas.
  • Puff Pastry. Try making homemade puff pastry (I have an easy 15 minute recipe!).
  • Ground cumin & paprika. Adding a few flavorful spices elevates this filling.

Adaptations:

Try adding a bell pepper or chili pepper, swapping out the beef for chicken, or tucking some cheese into the filling. Maybe use frozen corn instead of frozen peas and sweet potato instead of a russet potato.

important tip

Be sure that at every step of this recipe you are working quickly. Keeping the pastry as cold as possible is your key to buttery and flakey pastry. Put the pastry in the fridge when you aren't ready to work with it.

preparing the Filling:

  • In a large skillet, on high, saute the ground beef & onions together for about 3 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are translucent. If you have very lean ground beef, add a bit of oil to the pan prior to sauteing. Drain the meat if needed.
  • Add the cubed potato, ground spices & minced garlic. Saute on medium-high for 3 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the chopped tomato, tomato paste, sriracha sauce, & broth or wine.. Simmer, covered, on medium heat for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
  • Remove the meat mixture from the heat & let cool. If you need the mixture to cool quickly, put it into the fridge.
  • Stir the frozen peas into the cooled meat mixture right before filling the empanadas.

make ahead:

Make the filling in advance and store in the fridge for up to 2 days prior to assembling and baking the empanadas.

assembling the empanadas:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Remove your puff pastry from the freezer about 30 minutes before you are ready to fill your empanadas.
  • On a piece of parchment paper, working quickly, roll out your pastry sheet on just a bit more so that you can fit 6 4inch circles per sheet.
  • Use a small bowl, cookie cutter, or your eyeballs to cut 6 4-inch circles. Put the circles into the freezer to keep cold while you prepare for the next step.
  • In a small bowl, beat an egg for the egg wash.
  • Add about 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each circle.
  • Use your finger or a pastry brush to brush egg wash onto the edges of the circle (this helps it stick together).
  • Fold the circle over to create a half moon shape and pinch the edges together. Try a rope edge or simply use a fork to press the edges together.

make ahead

Make the filling and assemble these empanadas to put into the freezer until you are ready to bake them. This recipe is AMAZING for making ahead. To bake, simply take out the empanadas and continue to the baking instructions. Add 10 minutes to the bake time to take into account the colder temps.

baking the empanadas:

  • Brush the top with the beaten egg. Place on a cold baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Don't peek in the first 15 minutes!

Can I fry my empanadas instead of baking them?

I have never tried frying these empanadas but have had readers that fry them with success. Be sure to keep your oil at medium-high heat (not too hot or cold) and put them on a paper towel after they fry, to absorb the oil.

Easy puff pastry beef empanadas

Store the empanadas:

Store the empanadas in the fridge, in an air-tight container for up to 2 days. Reheat in the oven for best results.

Y'all, the other day I made these empanadas and my daughter's boyfriend was snitching filling straight from the pan, he loved it so. This is a hearty, fun, and delicious recipe PERFECT for parties, lunches, and making ahead. Get a batch into your freezer!

easy Beef Empanadas

These tasty South American treats are fun, easy to make and delicious. This beef empanadas recipe utilizes puff pastry for the ground beef filling to get wrapped up in and baked. Delicious filling wrapped up with the buttery, flakey dough.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 15 empanadas
Calories 288 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup broth, wine, or water
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ cup chopped, seeded tomato
  • 1 lg onion, diced finely
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground chili powder
  • 1 tbsp siracha sauce (or comparable hot sauce)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 lg potato, finely cubed
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • 2 sheets puff pastry

Instructions
 

Make the filling.

  • In a large skillet, on high, saute the ground beef & onions together for about 3 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are translucent.
  • Add the cubed potato, ground spices & minced garlic. Saute on medium-high for 3 minutes or until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Add the chopped tomato, tomato paste, siracha sauce, & broth or wine.. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are done.
  • Remove the meat mixture from the heat & let cool. If you need the mixture to cool quickly, put it into the fridge.
  • Stir the frozen peas into the cooled meat mixture right before filling the empanadas.

Create the Empanadas

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Remove your puff pastry from the freezer about 30 minutes before you are ready to fill your empanadas.
  • Working quickly, roll out your pastry sheet just a bit more so that you can fit 6 4inch circles per sheet.
  • Use a small bowl, biscuit cutter, or your eyeballs to cut 6 4-inch circles. Put the circles into the freezer to keep cold while you prepare for the next step.
  • In a small bowl, beat an egg for the egg wash.
  • Add about 2 tablespoons of filling into the center of each circle.
  • Use your finger or a pastry brush to brush egg wash onto the edges of the circle (this helps it stick together).
  • Fold the circle over and pinch the edges together. Try a rope edge or simply use a fork to press the edges together.
  • Brush the top with the beaten egg.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Don't peek in the first 15 minutes!

Nutrition

Calories: 288kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 10gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 265mgPotassium: 169mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 205IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 2mg
Keyword appetizer, ground beef, puffpastry
Made this recipe?Mention miznelliebellie or tag #NBRecipes!

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