These Spicy Beef Empanadas are made with red onion, garlic, jalapeños, potatoes, ground beef, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, limes, cilantro and bay leaves.
These empanadas are flaky and crispy on the outside with a hearty warm ground beef mixture on the inside. These are the best you have ever tasted. These are one of my favorite things to make, and can be served as an entrée or an appetizer. They are great for parties and you can save time by buying premade dough. These can be found in the frozen section of your grocery store. You can also use store bought pizza dough and divide into 6-8 individual empanadas.
Empanadas vary from country to country. In Puerto Rico you have ground beef and in Mexico you have shredded chicken and corn. They are all the same in the sense that they are homemade dough with some kind of meat or cheese, vegetable, and spices inside. My favorite empanadas consist of ground beef, red onion, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, and tomatoes.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Olive oil
- Red onion
- Diced potatoes
- Ground beef
- Diced tomatoes
- Chili powder
- Bay leaves
- Empanada dough discs
See recipe card for quantities.
Make the filling. Heat a large lidded saucepan over medium heat, add olive oil until the oil shimmers. Add the red onion and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic, jalapeño, and salt and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the ground beef, tomatoes with the sauce, chili powder, cumin, & bay leaves, breaking meat apart with a wooden spoon, for 4-5 minutes until brown and broken apart. Add the lid on the saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Take the lid off, stir, and simmer for another 10 minutes. Allow the liquid to evaporate. If there is too much liquid, feel free to strain. Squeeze lime juice into the pot, combine, and stir in cilantro, until soft.
Make the empanadas. Place an empanada dough disc down and add two tablespoons of the meat mixture on it. Fold over and with a fork, press down to seal to prevent filling from getting out.
Bake in oven. Brush each empanada with olive oil on each side. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.
Air fry the empanadas. Brush each empanada with olive oil on each side. Air fry at 400°F for 15 minutes.
- Olive oil: You can use olive oil although vegetable oil works just as well.
- Empanada Discs: You can buy this in the frozen section of your grocery store, or next to the produce section. If you want to use potsticker or wonton wrappers, this could probably work too.
- Onion: I used a red onion as most Mexican dishes use red onions. You could use a white or yellow onion as well.
- Jalapeños: I used jalapeños but serrano peppers work just as well.
- Tomatoes: You can use fresh diced tomatoes, but to cut down prep time I like using from a can. You can also opt for the diced tomatoes with peppers in them!
- Ground beef: You want to use ground beef that Is 85% or 90% lean meat. Do not worry about using lean meat as the rest of the ingredients will keep your picadillo moist and juicy. Avoid super lean meats.
- Garlic: You can use fresh garlic for best flavor or garlic from a jar.
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes inside the meat filling.
- Deluxe - add guacamole, crispy onions or buffalo dip on the side.
- Kid friendly - instead of air frying, you can deep fry.
This will be good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can freeze them for up to three months as well.
Use an egg wash to seal the empanadas to give them a golden-brown crust.
Firmly press with a fork to ensure all the filling stay firmly in the empanada.
You can freeze the empanadas once assembled to make another dayPrint
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove