Beef/ Main Course/ Recipes

Homemade Beef Empanadas


In case you’re wondering, I am still working my way through my list of meals to freeze for post baby! I really love making these meals, packaging them up and putting them out in our deep freezer. I love thinking that the next time I see them we’ll have a new family member! Such a crazy, weird thought.

It seems like everyone on the internet recommends empanadas for a great post-baby meal. They are easy to reheat from frozen, deliciously satisfying and can be eaten with one hand, which I hear is quite important in the early days. My husband adores empanadas so I decided to bake up a batch to have on hand. They turned out great! Nice flaky crust filled with seasoned beef, tomatoes and onions. If you’ve never baked homemade empanadas before, there’s no time like the present!


The filling here is just a mixture of ground beef, tomato, garlic, onion, spices and hard boiled egg. It’s really, really tasty if I do say so myself!


Don’t be intimidated by the homemade dough. It’s more forgiving than pie dough and really easy to throw together. I cut my empanadas on the large side using one of our soup bowls as a base. Because of how big I made them, this recipe only yielded six for me. If you were to use a biscuit cutter I bet you could get 8-10!


I’d say the most important part in empanada baking is making sure you seal your dough well. If you don’t seal it well, the yummy filling will leak out in the oven. Be sure to really press those dough edges together to get a nice tight seal! Then, brush with a little beaten egg for shine.

I baked two of these now and saved the rest for later this summer. To freeze, just place your fully assembled but unbaked empanadas in a freezer safe container. Make sure they are not touching or else they will freeze together. When you’re ready to eat, just bake from a frozen state. No need to defrost first or anything.

I have a feeling these will be a HUGE hit so I might make some more in the next couple weeks before baby comes…maybe experiment with some different flavor combinations. I’ll keep you guys posted!


Homemade Beef Empanadas

makes about 6 empanadas {8 if you make smaller ones}

empanada dough recipe slightly adapted from Gourmet

Print this Recipe!


for filling ~

1/2 lb ground beef

1/2 yellow onion, minced

1 tbsp canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 hard boiled egg, chopped

2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp oregano

3/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup tomato puree or tomato sauce

for empanada dough ~

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cold and chopped into small pieces

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup ice water


First, make the empanada dough so it has time to chill. Mix together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingertips and work together until mixture resembles cornmeal – no big lumps of butter anywhere. Add the egg and the ice water and mix until dough forms. Form dough into large flat ball, wrap in plastic wrap and set in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

While your dough is chilling, make your filling. Heat a pan over medium heat and add your oil. When hot, add the onion and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, until onion has softened. Add ground beef and cook for another 5 minutes or so, until beef is done. You may drain any extra fat here or leave it in before going on to the next step {I chose to drain the extra fat}.

Add the cumin, paprika, oregano and salt to the beef mixture, as well as the tomato sauce or puree. Mix well so all is combined then take off the stove and add the chopped hard boiled egg. Stir well and set aside for use in your empanadas.

After dough has chilled, remove from the fridge. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out empanada dough onto a lightly floured surface until very thin – like pie dough. Cut circles out of the dough using the back of a bowl or a large biscuit cutter. My circles ended up being about 6″.

Place the circles on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and scoop a small amount of beef filling into the center of each circle. Pinch dough closed with your fingers. Be sure to seal the dough well or else it will leak out while it bakes!

Mix one egg with a small splash of water. Brush this over sealed empanadas and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes for small empanadas or 30-35 minutes for large ones. Mine took about 32 minutes.



~1 hr 45 minutes

*empanadas can also be frozen, fully assembled but not baked. No need to defrost before baking – just bake from frozen for about 35 minutes or so at 400 degrees.

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  • Jojo @ RunFastEatLots
    April 17, 2014 at 4:03 am

    Never made empanadas before. These don’t look too hard to make!

  • Sarah
    April 17, 2014 at 4:07 am

    My husband makes empanadas. He puts raisins in his with the meat and egg. He said it sounds gross but tastes great. I am vegetarian so don’t eat those. But you could try breakfast empanadas. Some egg sausage maybe potato. Some cheese rice and veggies! They’re fun to play with!! And yes one handed eating is essential AND learn to eat with your non-dominant hand.

    • Alex
      April 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

      I came to add the exact same comment about the raisins – they are DELICIOUS in beef empanadas!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    April 17, 2014 at 4:31 am

    Not only have I never made my own empanadas at home, but I don’t think I’ve ever tasted one – ever! Like you said though, there’s no time like the present! I’m dreaming of all sorts of filling combinations right now. You may be on to something here…. 😉

  • Maryea {happy healthy mama}
    April 17, 2014 at 4:36 am

    I’ve never tried an empanada but they do look like the perfect food for when you have a newborn around. I think you’re right–you should make more! 😉

  • Jenn from Much to My Delight
    April 17, 2014 at 4:46 am

    These are a great idea for a freezer meal! My sister-in-law is having twins in four weeks, and I just requested her wish list for meals yesterday. This is definitely going on there! Thanks for sharing, and I’m off to check out the rest of your suggestions. You’re super smart to plan ahead this way.

  • Rebekah {aCricketSang}
    April 17, 2014 at 5:14 am

    Mmmm these look so good!

  • Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Healthd
    April 17, 2014 at 5:58 am

    i love the fact that it doesnt need to be defrosted before baking.

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  • DessertForTwo
    April 17, 2014 at 6:33 am

    These sound so filling and tasty!

    I wish I lived closer so I could help stock your freezer!

  • erin @hooleywithaz
    April 17, 2014 at 6:59 am

    this looks so good. it would go over really well with the husband, that’s for sure!

  • Heather
    April 17, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I bet these would be really good with kind of a middle eastern flair–using ground lamb, parsley, mint, lemon zest, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and garlic. You could serve with hummus or a cucumber sauce

  • Amy
    April 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

    We love to make and freeze empanadas, then on busy nights bake and serve with a big salad. Congrats on baby! (Said as my 18-month boy tries to lift my shirt to find my belly-button)…they sure are fun!

  • Melissa
    April 17, 2014 at 8:49 am

    I studied abroad in Buenos Aires my junior year of college and thought I could never eat another empanada … but then you posted this and now nostalgia for empanadas, dulce de leche, alfajores, submarinos, chorpian … it’s all coming back!! DELISH.

  • Cheri @ Overactive Blogger
    April 17, 2014 at 9:01 am

    I always have loved the flavors of empanadas, but since I am veg now, I might try this recipe, and make it with some morningstar “meat”. It’s looking really delicious though!

  • Kelly Mitchem
    April 17, 2014 at 10:09 am

    These look so amazingly delicious! I will have to try making a vegetable version!

  • Judith Scott
    April 17, 2014 at 11:22 am

    Love empanadas! I make them often, from a recipe given to me many years ago from a girlfriend who was from Buenos Aires. Yes, definitely raisins.
    I also have made them with chorizo, and chicken. I also throw in pine nuts.
    Never tried lamb, but that idea sounds good too.
    Wow, Jenna, you must be getting so excited!

  • Kim H
    April 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Your post last Easter “On Life and Grace” struck a chord with me and I find myself referring to your words every so often and even used them as a teaching moment with my kids when they were wondering why all Christian people didn’t act the same way. Thank you for putting into words what I think and believe but couldn’t articulate myself. <3

  • Leah L
    April 17, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    After I had my first daughter my best friend came to visit and she made us black bean and banana empanadas with a mango salsa. They were amazing!! I totally recommend some for after the baby comes. Unfortunately, I don’t have the recipe to share but I’m sure you can come up with something. Hope the next few weeks are smooth sailing for you. Babies are the best!

  • Jennifer B
    April 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    I love empanadas so much! I made some the other day for National Empanada Day (I’m cooking through the food holidays) and yum (!!!) and I want more right now. We made a batch of beef and a batch with guava and cream cheese. So good!

  • Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking
    April 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    These empanadas look delicious! I envy you your deep, deep freezer! I would probably have 2 meals post baby with my current freezer situation!

  • Lucía
    April 17, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Hi Jenna! I’m writing you from Uruguay, Southamerica. We’re experts on empanadas of all types! I could not live without them. You can put also some olives, raisins or both. Tomorrow, for Good Friday, I’m going to do tuna empanadas. It’s tuna, onions, red pepper and white sauce, too easy!
    Greetings and happy Easter!

  • ashley
    April 17, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    I made these for lunch/dinner today! Everyone loved them, even my 1 year old. I had a bunch of leftover grilled chicken that I used instead of the ground beef and added some chopped celery and carrots. Super tasty! I’m due again in August and will be making some of these as freezer meals too! Thank you, Jenna!

  • Lorna
    April 18, 2014 at 6:17 am

    My husband and I made these last night- they were delicious! We used a ramekin to make the dough circles, and they were perfectly done in 25 min. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • John Harris @ Shortcut Workouts
    April 20, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    I remember empanadas from childhood but I haven’t eaten them for years now. I will be sure to make some empanadas next wednesday.

  • Brandee H
    April 21, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I have wanted to make empanadas for so long but I am terrified of dough. My fridge is bare after returning from a holiday so my two year old and I decided to go for it!!! I ran out of AP flour 🙁 had to substitute. But they still turned out amazing!!! We are having them for lunch right now!!!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog
    April 21, 2014 at 11:35 am

    I don’t think there’s anything more comforting than warm beef and veggies stuffed in to carbs.

  • Pam
    April 21, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I think my husband would love these!
    Great that you can bake them straight from the freezer!!
    You are so awesome to make all these meals ahead of time and have them at the ready in the freezer 🙂

  • Linda
    April 26, 2014 at 12:49 am

    This is a real find. All three of my kids enjoyed these and the dough was very easy. Thank you!

  • Shira
    April 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    These are delicious but a lot more work than I was prepared for! I doubled the recipe because I had a lb of ground beef, and I used earth balance instead of butter to make the crust non-dairy.

    The filling was easy to throw together, but I thought the dough was really dry–I had to add about 1/3 cup more water and an extra egg just to get it to the point where I could make a ball–but it still baked up nice and flaky. Also, I probably didn’t need to double the salt in the filling–was a little too salty. Now that I see a bunch of people recommended adding raisins, I think that would be a great way to balance it.

    Anyway, I’m happy to have about a dozen leftover in the freezer–I’m also due soon and hoping these will be nice to have on hand! Thanks for the recipe.

  • Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats
    May 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    It really is so fun to think about that kind of stuff and way to get ahead on making freezer meals!!! 🙂 You’ll need it.

    Love this recipe, empanadas are so stinking good. I have always been intimidating to make them but this recipe makes it sound so simple. Pinned!

  • Linda
    May 18, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Another great recipe. Simple and so tasty. The dough was simple and easy to put together. I usually cut the butter in with a fork, but thought I would try using my hands, and it worked much better than the fork.
    I have been following your blog for years and have ALWAYS been very happy with every recipe I have made. 😉
    As a new year resolution, I committed to only cooking from your blog this year. Based on the blog and movie, Julie and Julia – I selected your main courses and have been trying to cook my way through your blog. I love it and really really hope to complete my challenge. I came up with 130 recipes and as of now I have made 32 recipes. The beef empanadas were not on the original list I created at the beginning of the year, but when I saw this recipe I knew I had to make them. I am so glad I did, they were delish. I doubled the recipe and ended up with 7 of them in the freezer – yahoo!


    Enjoy and congratulations on the baby!

    • Phnesha
      October 1, 2014 at 2:14 am

      Would you mind emailing me the recipes you came up with would love to try them

  • Jessica
    May 28, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    These empanadas were a big hit at dinner tonight. I made them just as the recipe was written (which is so not my style) except to substitute Earth Balance for the stick of butter to accommodate dairy allergies. They were just as delicious as they were beautiful. The crust handled wonderfully when rolled out, and rerolled without any problems to get that one last circle. I cannot wait to try it again, and play around with some different fillings. Thanks for the great recipe. Enjoy your time with your beautiful new baby.

  • jojo
    May 28, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    home made empanada is a great everytime specially if your on the run all the time if you have kids that like to open frezzer and pick up something that pop it in the microwave its all way handdy

  • Heather
    July 25, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I made these, and they were a big hit! I made a double batch and froze the leftovers. I must say we preferred them frozen/reheated to fresh! Weird. We just took them straight from the freezer, put egg wash on, then baked for 35-40 min in a 400°F oven. I also made two batches, one with AP flour and one with whole wheat (since I ran out of AP — I think it was 1/2 or 3/4 whole wheat, can’t remember). The whole wheat was everyone’s favorite, surprisingly. Such a great freeze-ahead and serve for company meal. Thanks!

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  • Natasha
    September 4, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    So I’ve been craving empanadas all week. I saw this and decided hey easy enough! So I get everything all prepared the meat is ready and the dough is all set. I didn’t want to bake it though because I like the taste of it better when it’s fried. So me and my mom make at least before it happens. She lifts the pan to drain a bit of oil and bam. A giant flame goes up in front of us. I start to panick and start jumping around the kitchen screaming “Oh my god, oh my god!!” And my mom is screaming “Salt, salt, salt!!!” She then finds the salt and puts it over the fire grabs a towel and also puts that over. Everybody and everything is ok, and the three we made are delicious!

    • Natasha
      September 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      At least three lol

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  • kendra
    January 18, 2015 at 8:25 pm

    This taste nothing like an empanada its not the real thing, what your eating is americanized. Im disappointed. Small hint……. empanadas are meant to be fried.