Beef & Cheese Empanadas

This week Sunday Funday is all about empanadas.  I’ve never had empanadas before so this was a fun exploration for me.

Empanadas are a savory hand pie (pasties if you’re from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan).  It is essentially a pie crust stuffed with a beef filling. 

The filling in the recipe below was surprisingly bland given the spice profile, however, the salsa and guacamole toppings more than made up for any flavor deficiencies! 

Looking for more? Check out these empanada recipes:

Recipe note:

-I had 4 extra empanada rounds when I finished filling the empanadas.  I sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar and baked them like pie crust cookies.

Beef & Cheese Empanadas

Adapted from Laylita’s Recipes & Belqui Twist

Beef Filling

1 pound lean ground beef

½ yellow onion, diced

½ red bell pepper, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoon tomato paste

1 packet sazón culantro y achiote

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon dried oregano

Salt & pepper

Empanada Dough (makes 15 2-ounce rounds)

3 cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter

1 egg

¼-½ cup ice water

To finish

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

1 egg, whisked as egg wash

To serve



To make the filling, place the beef, onions, bell pepper, and garlic into a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the beef is broken up and browned.  Stir in the  tomato paste and seasonings and cook for a minute more.  

Pour the beef into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely cooled.

To make the dough, place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade; pulse to mix.  Cut the butter in small chunks and add to the flour, pulse to mix.

Add the egg and half the water.  Pulse until the dough comes together into a smooth ball, adding more water, as needed.

Divide the dough into 15 2-ounce balls.

Roll the dough into six 7-inch rounds.  Top with 1-2 tablespoons shredded cheese and 4-5 tablespoons of beef mixture.  Fold the dough over and pinch to seal.  Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Repeat until ingredients are used up.

Cover and refrigerate the empanadas for 30 minutes (this helps seal the edges).  

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Brush each empanada with egg wash, then bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until browned and heated through.

Serve with guacamole and salsa.


  1. These are gloriously crispy looking! Great first try at empanadas!

  2. These look delicious! Thanks for joining the event this week, Amy.


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