Air Fryer Beef Empanadas are a quick and easy weeknight dinner or meal prep for the week. They’re a great freezer-friendly item to have on hand for nights when you don’t feel like cooking!
This Air Fryer Empanadas Recipe Is So Easy!
You’ll adore these air fryer empanadas because they’re crispy, delicious, and so easy to make. The air fryer gives them that crispy crust we all love without the need for excess oil.
They’re filled with flavorful ingredients like ground beef and spices, delivering a delightful treat to your taste buds!
Ingredients for Air Fryer Beef Empanadas
Beef filling: the ground beef filling is combined with minced garlic, chopped onion, bell pepper, and baked beans. It’s seasoned with salt, pepper, ground cumin, oregano, and fresh cilantro. You will also need a small amount of olive oil for cooking.
Pie dough: I used store-bought pie dough here but of course, you can use homemade pie dough if you like!
All purpose flour: you’ll just need a sprinkle of all-purpose flour on the rolling surface to prevent the dough from sticking.
Egg: a beaten egg is used for making an egg wash. This helps to seal the dough but it also creates that beautiful golden brown look.
How to Make Air Fryer Beef Empanadas
1. Make the filling. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the oil. Then add the garlic and onions. Once the veggies have began to soften, add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.
Use a meat masher to crumble the meat into small pieces and cook it until it’ it’s cooked through. Add the peppers and the beans. Season and cook for another 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside.
2. Assemble the Homemade Beef Empanadas. On a lightly floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll the pie crust to a thickness of 1/4″. Use a round container or circle cutter, like a biscuit cutter, about 4″ to cut the circles. Place the empanada filling in the center of each circle.
Use the egg and brush with a pastry brush around the edges to help create the seal. Align the edges of the dough and press the edges together with a fork. Then brush the egg wash over top. You can also use an empanada press to seal them!
3. Cook the Empanadas. Place a piece of parchment paper in the air fryer basket and add the empanadas in a single layer. Air fry the empanadas and let them cool on a cooking rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- If you’re making a smaller batch or more than 2 batches, check on the empanadas around 8 minutes because they might cook faster.
- The empanadas will come out easily without sticking to the air fryer basket if you place a piece of air fryer parchment paper inside the basket.
- Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket by adding too many pieces at a time. Add the empanadas in a single layer and leave some space between the empanadas, this way the hot air inside the air fryer can circulate evenly around them.
- You don’t need to flip the empanadas halfway through. Let them cook in the same position the whole time.
- Once the empanadas are done cooking, allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving. This helps the filling settle and makes handling easier.
How to Store Empanadas
Refrigerator: If you plan to eat the empanadas within a day or two, store them in the refrigerator. Place the empanadas after they’ve cooled completely in an airtight container or seal them tightly with plastic wrap. This prevents them from drying out and keeps them fresh.
Freezing: Allow the cooked empanadas to cool completely to room temperature. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and make sure they’re not touching. Put the sheetpan in the freezer for about an hour.
This initial freezing helps prevent them from sticking together when stored. After the empanadas are at least partially frozen, transfer them to a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. You can also a piece of parchment paper between each empanada to further prevent sticking. Store the empanadas in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
I love making a large batch when I make homemade empanadas! Much like the frozen empanadas that you see at the grocery store, they are great to have on hand for an easy handheld snack or dinner.
Since this beef empanada recipe is so easy, you have no excuse not to skip the freezer section and make your own!
Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your stored air fryer frozen empanadas, follow these reheating instructions:
- From the refrigerator: preheat the air fryer to 350°F. Place the refrigerated empanadas in the air fryer basket and warm them for 8-10 minutes or until they are heated through. Flip them at the half way point.
- From the freezer: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F. Place the frozen empanadas in the air fryer basket and reheat them for 10-12 minutes or until they are heated through and the crust becomes crispy again.
Freezing uncooked empanadas
Prepare your empanadas as you normally would, including filling and sealing them. Skip the egg wash. Then, place the uncooked empanadas on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Make sure they are not touching each other.
Put the baking sheet with the empanadas in the freezer for about an hour or until the empanadas are partially frozen. This initial freezing helps prevent them from sticking together when stored.
Once the empanadas are partially frozen, transfer them to resealable freezer bags or an air-tight container. Place a piece of parchment paper between each empanada to further prevent sticking. Store the uncooked empanadas in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen empanadas, you can cook them directly from frozen. About halfway through cooking, you can add the egg wash. Follow the recipe’s cooking instructions, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time to account for the frozen state.
Are empanadas best fried or baked?
I prefer baked empanadas or air fried empanadas. Deep fried empanadas are good, but I find them to be too oily.
By making them in the air fryer, you still get crispy empanadas but without the mess and the hassle, and it’s quicker than baking them! Eliminating the unhealthy oil used in deep frying reduces fat and calories without sacrificing crunchiness and taste.
What type of dough works best for air fryer empanadas?
Typically, when making any type of empanada you will use pie dough, whether it’s homemade dough or one you bought from the grocery store, however, there are some great alternatives if needed.
Puff pastry: can make a delicious alternative to pie dough. The flaky crust is a lot like pie crust and it tastes amazing. The pastry dough can be found in the freezer section.
Crescent roll dough: if you want the same texture as the shells but don’t want to worry about cutting circles, in the frozen food section, you can buy empanada discs. These are precut circles of empanada dough ready to go. They have been floured as well to prevent sticking.
What dipping sauces go well with empanadas?
If you liked this easy recipe, you’ll want to give these Coconut Curry Chicken Empanadas or these Cuban Empanadas a try next! It’s such a fun twist on a classic chicken empanada but I know you will absolutely love it.
More easy air fryer recipes
WANT TO TRY THIS AIR FRYER BEEF EMPANADAS RECIPE?
PIN IT to your chicken recipes, dinner recipes, or pesto recipes board to save it for later!
Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes. I’m always pinning!
Did you make this recipe? Post a photo on Instagram and tag me @JZEATS or #JZEATS so I can see! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, too!
Air Fryer Beef Empanadas
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic minced or pressed
- 2 tbsp onion chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 8 oz canned baked beans
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano flakes
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1.5 lb pie crust, store-bought
- all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and onion and stir for about 3 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Add the ground beef, salt, and ground pepper. Using a meat masher, break up the meat into small pieces and cook it until it turns brown.
- Add the bell peppers and stir for 3 minutes then add the baked beans, ground cumin, oregano flakes, and cilantro, and stir to combine. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. Then remove the skillet from the heat, cover with a lid, and set aside.
- Roll the pie crust firmly and evenly over a well-floured flat surface to a thickness of around ¼”. Cut circles with a 4” round container or a circle cutter.
- Add two tbsp of the beef mixture to the center. Brush the edges of the circle with the beaten egg, using a pastry brush. Then, fold the circle in half to cover the filling, ensuring both round edges are aligned. You can use an empanada mold or you can also use a fork to press the edge to seal the empanada. Preheat the air fryer and brush the empanadas with the egg wash.
- Preheat the air fryer to 350℉.
- Add a piece of parchment paper to your air fryer basket and place the empanadas into the basket in a single layer, leaving space between them. Working in batches, place the empanadas in the air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the empanadas from the air fryer and place them on a cooking rack for at least 10 minutes before serving.
- When finished, place the empanadas on a cooling rack before serving with homemade empanada sauce.