Beef and Cheese Empanadas

Beef and Cheese Empanadas

There are few things more fun to make and more satisfying to eat than empanadas! These may take a little bit more effort than you may want to put into a recipe on a Monday night, but I promise they are worth it! Great for party, and they re-heat well too.

Traditional empanadas don't have cheese in them, but we are Americans, and we put cheese in and on everything. Don't knock it, it's a nice way to live. I developed this recipe, so i will add cheese if I want to!

I like to serve these with sour cream or even sometimes French onion dip for dipping, but they stand on their own just fine as well. 

The hardest part of this recipe in my opinion is forming/sealing the empanada. It will be hard at first but by the end you should be a pro. It is pretty hard to do this the wrong way, and this recipe is fun to make. So, let loose and enjoy yourself!







Yield: probably 12-16 empanadas, but the size cup you use to cut the dough will determine the yield in the end.

Ingredients for dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold, cubed butter
  • 4-5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg

Ingredients for filling and frying:

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) diced onion
  • 2 diced Roma tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons diced jalapeños (pickled)
  • 2 coldo de tomate cubes (tomato and chicken bouillon)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4+ oz. Mexican style shredded cheddar
  • 2/3 cup shortening


Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder) in a large mixing bowl. Scrunch in butter by hand until the dough has a course bread crump consistency. Create a well in the middle of the dough and whisk egg and milk together. Start with 4 tablespoons of milk, and mix well by hand until fully combined. If your dough is too dry and isn't pliable, add another tablespoon of milk. If too sticky, add flour. You should be able to take a piece of the dough, roll it into a ball, and squash it into a disk shape without it falling apart or sticking to your hands.

Cover with plastic wrap and place dough in fridge for 45 minutes.

While dough is resting, in a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients excluding ground beef and coldo de tomate cubes. In a 10 inch iron skillet, bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil, set heat to med-low, and melt coldo de tomate, stirring occasionally. Once they have melted, add them to the mixing bowl. Cook mixture in skillet on med-high heat until soft. Once mixture is soft, remove from skillet and set aside.

Add ground beef to the iron skillet and cook until half-way done. At this point, add your vegetable and spice mixture and continue cooking until ground beef is completely cooked-through.

Remove dough from mixing bowl onto floured surface and roll out to 1/8" thick. Use a cup to cut dough into disks that are roughly 3"-4" in diameter. However, you can choose to cut your disks into any size you want! Amount of meat and cheese per empanada will change, so just add what fits. Mine were around 4".

Heat 2/3 cup shortening in iron skillet on med-high

For 4" disks, add 1 tablespoon meat and 1/2 tablespoon cheese to each disk, fold in half over mixture, gently pushing filling into dough while closing disk. Seal well by pressing very edge with a fork. Avoid poking holes in the pocket with fork.

Carefully place empanadas into skillet one-by-one, laying them away from you to avoid being splattered by hot oil. Fry at a high temp until browned on both sides. Frying at a high temp helps to make the finished product less greasy. Here is a before-and-after shot of them frying. You may choose to let yours get a little darker,which is fine, but I like mine to be a dark shade of gold when I pull them out.

Let cool 10 minutes 

before serving. I suggest serving with a side of sour cream or French onion dip for dipping.

Here is a pin-able photo for Pinterest (below)!

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