/ / / / / Baked or Fried Beef and Potato Empanadas

Baked or Fried Beef and Potato Empanadas

These homemade baked empanadas are full of amazing flavor and can be fried instead, if desired. With a crisp flaky crust stuffed with ground beef or turkey, corn, potatoes and tomatoes.

Baked empanadas on a blue plate next to a yellow napkin

Empanadas are originally from Spain and Portugal and have their origins as far back as the 1500s. When the Spaniards immigrated to South America they brought this hand pie or turnover with them.

Found in Southern Europe as well as South America and the Philippines, they can be filled with any protein and vegetable combo you want, like chicken, beef, seafood, or leave them vegetarian. Most commonly seen fried, these can be baked as well.

Every Christmas Eve we have a family gathering and have a huge Mexican (or at least Mexican inspired) feast. Usually we’ve gotten the empanadas from a local Mexican bakery but I wanted to be able to eat them without having to go out to that bakery.

We love to eat these with Mexican rice, seasoned beans, grilled corn with cumin butter, and horchata.

I’ve tried making the baked empanadas a few times but the recipes I tried have never really hit the spot. I finally found a recipe off Food Network that with a little tweaking fit the bill.

Need ideas on how to help your kids love new foods like empanadas? Check out my resource guide on how to make Latin American Food Kid Friendly.

ingredients needed to make the empanadas
Ingredients shown: pie dough, ground beef, cumin, garlic powder, salt, chili powder, oregano, red peppers, onions, garlic, potatoes, and tomato paste

Ingredients you will need

For the dough:

  • all purpose flour
  • salt
  • shortening
  • cold flour

For the filling:

  • olive oil
  • ground beef
  • garlic powder
  • tomato paste 
  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • oregano
  • kosher salt
  • garlic
  • potatoes
  • red bell pepper
  • medium onion
  • canola oil, for frying 

Substitutions

We’ve made this with both ground beef and ground turkey and either one works well.

How to make this

To make pie crust:

  • In a large bowl combine flour and salt. 
  • Add shortening to the flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to combine the shortening with the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs.
  • Add water and combine just until the mixture can be formed into a ball.  Do not over mix! Separate into 4 flattened dough balls. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
steps for cooking the filling
Top row, left to right, peppers and onion frying in a pan, the same pan with potatoes and ground beef added; bottom row left to right, the meat and potato mixture with spices added, the meat mixture after adding and mixing in the tomato paste

To make empanada filling:

  • Clean potatoes and pierce several times with a fork.
  • Microwave for about 6 minutes, until tender, turning half way through. Allow to cool slightly and then dice.
  • For empanada filling, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook ground beef and garlic salt until beef is cooked completely. Drain the grease and remove beef to a separate container.
  • In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil and add the remaining spices, bell peppers and onions. Cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat until they begin to soften.
  • Add the ground beef and diced potatoes and continue to cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
steps for filling and sealing the empanadas
Top row, left to right, a scoop of beef filling on a pie dough round, the pie dough folded in half over the filling; bottom row left to right, crimped and sealed edges on an empanada, a column of empanadas on a baking sheet brushed with egg wash

To make empanadas:

  • Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured work surface till a 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 4 inch rounds and fill with a large spoonful of meat filling.
  • Lightly water the edge of the dough round. Carefully fold the dough over the filling and pinch to seal. Using a fork, press the tines into the edges to completely seal them.
  • If frying, heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the empanadas until golden brown turning over if necessary to brown the top, about 5-7 minutes.
  • If baking, brush empanadas with an egg wash. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and place empanadas on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is a light golden brown color.

Baked empanadas are easier because you can bake a whole ton at once and certainly lighter without all that deep fried goodness but they don’t have quite the same flavor as the fried version. So I leave it up to you!

Don’t skip the egg wash if baking because it is what helps give the empanadas their color!

Other Latin American inspired recipes

Close up of a cut baked empanada with beef and potato filling on a blue plate

Tips and Tricks

How to make this easier?

Here are a few ways you can make empanadas less time consuming.

  • Use precooked ground beef. I often buy 3 pound packages and cook it all up and divide it into 3 Ziploc freezer bags to store in the freezer for recipes like this. It helps cut down on a lot of prep time.
  • Use leftover potatoes. When meal planning, if I want to make a recipe like this where I know I need cooked potatoes I’ll plan something the night before that also uses cooked potatoes. Cook once, use twice!
  • Make the filling ahead.  Since the filling needs to be cool before trying to fill the pie dough circle, this works out even better if you make it the night before or the morning of. Stick it in the fridge and it’s all ready to go for dinner.
  • Use premade pie dough. Especially if you are making this with children, take all the shortcuts you can. Storebought pie dough will totally be okay.

What can kids do to help make this?

  • Kids can help do all of the prep work. Have them measure spices into a bowl and chop the veggies.
  • They also can help with adding filling to the empanadas, sealing with the fork and brushing them with egg wash.
  • Kids should NOT help with the frying process unless they are very experienced in the kitchen AND have adult supervision.

Recipe

a blue plate with two baked empanadas next to a yellow napkin

Baked or Fried Empanadas

Homemade baked empanadas are full of amazing flavor stuffed with ground turkey, corn, potatoes, and can be fried instead, if desired.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main
Cuisine: Latin American
Servings: 16 empanadas
Calories: 676kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Ingredients

Empanada filling:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 small potatoes chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • Oil if frying

Pie dough

Instructions

To make pie crust:

  • In a large bowl (or in a large food processor fitted with pastry blade), combine flour and salt.  Add shortening to the flour mixture and use a pastry cutter or the food processor to combine the shortening with the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs.
  • Add water and combine just until the mixture can be formed into a ball.  Do not over mix! Separate into 4 flattened dough balls. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To make empanada filling:

  • Clean potatoes and pierce several times with a fork. Microwave for about 6 minutes, until tender, turning half way through. Allow to cool slightly and then dice.
  • For empanada filling, in a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Cook ground beef and garlic salt until beef is cooked completely. Drain the grease and remove beef to a separate container.
  • In the same pan, heat the remaining olive oil and add the remaining spices and bell peppers and onions. Cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat until they begin to soften.
  • Add the ground beef and diced potatoes and continue to cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To assemble empanadas:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured work surface till a 1/4 inch thick. Cut out 5 inch rounds and fill with a large spoonful of meat filling.
  • Lightly wet the edges of the dough with your finger or a pastry brush. Carefully fold the dough over the filling and pinch to seal. Using a fork, press the tines into the edges to completely seal them.
  • Place empanadas on an ungreased cookie sheet and brush with an egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is a light golden brown color.

Notes

If frying, heat oil in a deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Fry the empanadas until golden brown turning over if necessary to brown the top, about 5-7 minutes.
Here are a few ways you can make empanadas less time consuming.
  • Use precooked ground beef. I often buy 3 pound packages and cook it all up and divide it into 3 Ziploc freezer bags to store in the freezer for recipes like this. It helps cut down on a lot of prep time.
  • Use leftover potatoes. When meal planning, if I want to make a recipe like this where I know I need cooked potatoes I’ll plan something the night before that also uses cooked potatoes. Cook once, use twice!
  • Make the filling ahead.  Since the filling needs to be cool before trying to fill the pie dough circle, this works out even better if you make it the night before or the morning of. Stick it in the fridge and it’s all ready to go for dinner.
  • Use premade pie dough. Especially if you are making this with children, take all the shortcuts you can. Storebought pie dough will totally be okay.

Nutrition

Calories: 676kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 716mg | Potassium: 356mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 375IU | Vitamin C: 14.3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 5.3mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @JonesinforTaste or tag #JonesinforTaste!

9 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe a couple of times, both came out delicious. I posted pix on my Instagram, and use one as a Zoom background image for casual meetings! Couple of comments about the wording of the filling part:

    It says “Cook ground beef and garlic salt”, there is no garlic salt. I assumed you meant the garlic powder and the kosher salt.

    It says “add the remaining spices and bell peppers and onions”, I assumed that includes the apple cider vinegar and tomato paste. Not spices, but makes sense!

  2. I wanted to try making the empanadas.. but 9 cups will be much for me.. how can in mesure the butter.. water.. salt.. for 1 cup recipe.. i hope you could response .. Thanks

    1. That would be really hard to diminish it to only 1 cup recipe. My best suggestion is to make the whole batch and you can freeze the filling in one cup batches or make the empanadas and you can freeze them.

      1. When frying anything there is the potential for it to be greasy which is why I like baking mine. But I have had some fantastic fried empanadas and love those too so it’s nice to have options. If you’ve never tried fried pie crust you should! It’s tasty.

  3. I like empanadas because aside from being yummy, they are healthy too! Thanks for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating