Homemade Beef Empanadas pretty much set the bar for incredible. When it comes to comfort foods, beef empanadas sit very high on the list of amazing! A homemade flaky crust with a delicious beef filling, you will be so happy you made them!
(I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #LaurasLean campaign, sponsored by Laura’s Lean. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.)
Homemade Beef Empanadas
You will LOVE this Homemade Beef Empanada recipe! So much goodness packed into a flaky pastry crust!
Have you ever made empanadas? Some get them confused with enchiladas. Empanadas differ from enchiladas, although some similarities exist. Both fill a wrapping with a delicious and wide range of ingredients. However, empanadas fill a simple pastry dough; whereas, enchiladas wrap ingredients in corn or flour tortillas.
However, if you want to go with enchiladas, check out my Enchilada Casserole recipe! It is SO good!
Also, for the health conscious, I completely recommend using Laura’s Lean Ground Beef. Not only does this beef meet rigorous standards for being low fat, it also comes from farmers that raise their cattle without ever using hormones or antibiotics and they are always vegetarian fed!
Homemade Beef Empanadas made easy!
Beef empanadas wrap a hearty beef filling into a simple dough. The beef filling can include everything from vegetables and legumes like peas, to cheese. You can make it as spicy as you like or tone down the heat if you prefer. The great thing about these tasty meat hot pockets?
Once you have them made, they store very easily. You can eat them hot or cold.
Indeed, they defined fast food before drive-thru hamburger joints ever existed.
Making your dough
You can either make your own dough for the beef empanadas or buy pre-made dough similar to buying pre-made pie crusts. To buy the pre-made empanada dough, you should find it in the pastry dough area of the freezer section.
However, making the dough doesn’t require much effort. You simply mix the ingredients and create a simple dough. In truth, kneading out the dough reminds you how much fun PlayDoh is for kids. 😉
In the dough, you can either use milk or the pan juices from your cooked beef. The latter is the more traditional approach. No doubt, going that route adds tons of flavor. But if you want to keep your homemade beef empanadas a bit healthier, then remove the juice from the beef, and go with skim milk instead.
The ground beef filling
Bring your creativity to the table! The imagination knows no limits here. Add peas and chopped carrots if you like. Take the spice up a notch with a few chili peppers. You don’t even have to use beef. If you prefer chicken or pork, then not a problem.
In fact, homemade beef empanadas traditionally serve as a way to use up leftovers by giving them a second life. Don’t tell anyone that they are actually leftovers. Sure, you avoid complaints about leftovers… but you also avoid the risk of everyone intentionally not eating their meal so you will make empanadas!
Also, you can certainly up the ante health-wise by using beef like Laura’s Lean Ground Beef. Low in fat, high in protein, all great, but the quality of beef adds flavor for days. Starting with great ingredients guides the easiest path to tasty results every time.
What to serve with Homemade Beef Empanadas
With your homemade beef empanadas, perhaps try some of these other recipes as side dishes:
- Pork chili verde – the empanadas can be an appetizer and use this chili for your main course if you like
- Easy vegetable soup – Comfort foods like homemade beef enchiladas are perfect for rainy days with a bowl of soup on the side!
- Cajun red beans and rice – beans and rice are always served on the side with traditional Hispanic meals and this recipe gives a Cajun twist
Without further delay, here’s the recipe!
Homemade Beef Empanadas
Empanada Dough Recipe:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 stick unsalted butter (6 ounces of butter)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4-1/2 cup milk
Empanada Filling Recipe
- 1 pound Laura's Lean Ground Beef
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp. Avocado oil or other oil
- 2 Yellow onions, sliced into thin circles
- 1 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
- 6-8 Castelvetrano Olives or other favorite green olive
- 2 hard boiled eggs, cut into rounds
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt or more to taste
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
Make the Filling:
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Put in the onions, sliced finely in rounds, and drizzle the oil over them.
- Sauté until they start to become translucent, then sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Add in the beef.
- Cook the ground beef, chopping as it cooks with a flat spatula to maintain ground beef texture. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook until the beef has cooked through, then taste for salt and pepper, and stir in the paprika and cumin and mix well.
- Take off the heat and let cool. Lightly stir in eggs and olives and set aside to make dough.
Make the dough:
- Mix the flour and butter either by hand in a large bowl or pulse in a food processor. Add the egg and the milk (in small increments) and continue combining until a clumpy dough forms.
- Split the dough into 2 large balls. Roll out the dough into two thin sheets and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (I used a small round bowl). Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator/freezer covered in plastic wrap or in a resealable plastic bag to use later.
How to Make Empanadas:
- Place a spoonful of the filling on one side of each homemade empanada circle. Don't put too much filling or it will be hard to close.
- Fold the one side without filling over the other. Using the tines of a fork, press both sides of the crust on the outer edges. (Hint: you can brush the inside edges with an egg wash to help them stick together)
- Place empanadas in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 375º F.
- When the oven is preheated, take the empanadas out from the refrigerator and place on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray. Brush the tops with leftover egg wash and place in oven and bake for about 18 minutes. To make them more golden, turn on the broiler after they're heated through and broil until golden brown.
- Serve and enjoy!
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I was asked by Carusele to participate in the #LaurasLean campaign, sponsored by Laura’s Lean. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.