Beef empanadas are a fun and delicious homemade snack you can make with the kids in the kitchen. Make your own yeast dough, fill it with ground beef and bake to perfection!

What is an empanada? Where does it come from?

Empanadas are meat-filled meatballs from Latin America and southern Europe, such as Spain, Portugal, Colombia and Mexico. They are also common in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Empanadas are made of puff pastry with a filling that is usually ground beef. Sometimes they contain vegetables such as peas and carrots. Other versions contain potatoes.

Ingredients for cooking homemade beef empanadas

This beef empanada recipe is a simple and traditional way to prepare street food. For the empanada dough, you will need the following ingredients:

  1. All-purpose flour
  2. Milk
  3. White granulated sugar
  4. kosher salt
  5. Instant dried yeast
  6. Rapeseed Oil

For the meaty filling, use :

  1. Ground beef
  2. Onion
  3. Freshly grated black pepper
  4. Soda water

Preparation of the dough

The empanada dough contains yeast. After mixing the ingredients or forming a ball, let the dough rise for an hour. After an hour (preferably in a warm place, such as a turned off oven), the dough has doubled in volume and fills with air bubbles. Then the dough is whipped into “dega” and kneaded several times on a work surface.

Form the dough into individual empanada balls and let it rest while you prepare the beef filling. If the dough becomes stiff or difficult to work with, let it rest for a few minutes.

Can I prepare the dough in advance?

You can make the dough in advance and freeze it until you want to use it. Prepare the dough and place it in an airtight container in the freezer before it rises for the first time. When you are ready to make the empanadas, let the dough come to room temperature. It will rise, but it will take two hours or more. Once the dough is puffed up and thawed, continue cooking according to the recipe.

How to make empanadas: step-by-step instructions

Start by making the dough. In a large bowl, whisk the milk, sugar and yeast. Whisk well to combine.

Add the butter and salt, then stir in the flour. Mix with a spoon until the dough forms a ball.

Knead the dough several times, then form it into a ball, cover the dough with cling film and let it rise for one hour. The dough should double in volume.

Transfer the yeast dough to a flat work surface and knead into a smooth, supple dough.

Divide the dough into equal portions using a dough cutter or knife.

Roll each piece of dough into a round ball. Then flatten the dough with a rolling pin and let the dough rest while you make the filling.

Heat oil in a large shallow skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and saute until soft. Remove onions from pan and place in a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the minced meat, cooked onion, raw ground onion, salt and pepper. Add the baking powder and mix well with a spoon.

Fill each piece of dough with a tablespoon of the beef filling.

Close the dumpling to seal the filling inside.

Heat a shallow skillet with a few inches of cooking oil over medium heat. When the pan is hot, place as many empanadas as will fit in the pan and fry until brown on both sides, flipping them halfway through.

While the empanadas are baking, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the meat is thoroughly cooked and puffed. Enjoy!

Storing and freezing empanadas

Beef empanadas can easily be prepared ahead of time and frozen for later. Simply cook the pockets according to the directions in the recipe. Then let them cool completely to room temperature, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for an hour. When the empanadas are completely frozen, place them in an airtight container or ziplock bag and freeze for up to three months.

To enjoy the empanadas, thaw them completely overnight in the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the empanadas on a baking sheet. Preheat the oven until they are crisp and hot.


  1. Pour the milk into a bowl, add the sugar and yeast and stir.
  2. Add butter, salt and flour and mix.
  3. Test form. Wait one hour.
  4. Form the dough and divide it into several small balls and press them flat.
  5. Add the sliced onions to the skillet until golden brown.
  6. Add the browned onions to the meat. Add more chopped raw onions, salt and pepper and mix well.
  7. Add sparkling water and stir.
  8. Place a spoonful of the meat mixture on one of the slices of dough. Cover well and shape the meat.
  9. Place the empanadas in a pan with a lid and let them stand for 10 minutes, flipping them once.
  10. Place the empanadas on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes in the oven at 175°C.

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