Beef Empanadas

When I entertain I like to have a wide variety of foods available to snack on.  It keeps things from getting boring and it keeps the palate active.

Beef Empinadas

So, when I plan a party of a gathering where little bites will be served I always make something with a Tex-Mex flair.  These empanadas are the perfect party food because they are easy to eat, they are filling, they look pretty on a platter, and they taste fantastic!

Beef Empinadas

The filling is not too spicy, making it good for guests who dislike spicy foods.  The cheese cools any fire created by the jalapenos and Ro*tel tomatoes.  The beef to cheese ratio is just right here, too.  There is just enough cheese to add some flavor, but not so much it is gloppy and greasy.  If you are looking for something fun to feed a crowd this is the perfect bite!

Beef Empanadas    Yield 38

For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup lard, or vegetable shortening
3/4 cup warm milk
1 egg, beaten

For the filling:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper
4 ounces lean ground beef
1/4 cup drained Ro*tel tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup finely shredded colby-jack cheese

 Beef Empinadas

In a medium bowl combine the flour, cheese, salt, and baking powder until well mixed.  Add the lard and, with your fingers, work the mixture until the lard is well distributed and no pieces remain.

Beef EmpinadasBeef Empinadas

Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in the warm milk.  Stir until the mixture forms a ball.  You may need to add additional flour if the mixture is too sticky.  Cover and allow to rest while you prepare the filling.

Beef Empinadas Beef Empinadas

In a skillet over medium heat add the oil.  Once it begins to shimmer add the onions and cook until they begin to soften, about three minutes.  Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook for another minute, or until fragrant.

Beef Empinadas Beef Empinadas Beef Empinadas

Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until it browns.  Add the drained tomatoes, spices, and cornstarch and cook for one minute before removing the pan from the heat.  Allow to cool for five minutes before adding the shredded cheese.

Heat the oven to 375 F and prepare two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Beef Empinadas Beef Empinadas

Divide the dough into four pieces, and on a floured surface roll it out until it is very thin (about 1/8 inch thick).  Cut out 3″ circles of dough.

Beef Empinadas Beef Empinadas

Brush the top edge of the dough with egg wash then add a teaspoon of the meat filling.   Fold the dough over and press to seal.  Crimp the edges with a form.  Repeat until you have filled the first pan.  Brush the tops with egg wash then bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden.

Beef Empinadas

Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Beef Empinadas

© 2009 – 2015, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • lard! lard! I have that at home. I can make these. And eat all 38 of ’em.

    (currently salivating over pics)

  • These look like a perfect party food – tasty & economical to feed a crowd! I have an empanada press just begging for this!

  • You take wonderful pictures. The food looks absolutely delicious. When we went to see my daughter in Chile, we had Chilean empanadas. They were filled with beef, half a boiled egg and a raisin. Crazy, but fantastic! Happy New Year!

  • Kristi – Thank you very much!! 🙂

    RJ Flamingo – Yes, they are very econimical. I love that after christmas when the old pocket book is feeling a bit thin. 🙂

    Yum Yucky – We nearly ate them all, too! Lard is the BEST!!

  • Wow! These look great! I was going to say the same thing as Kristi. I am half Chilean and I grew up with hearty and meaty Chilean empanadas. Great pics!

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  • Kelly – I’m impressed! These look wonderful and I may try to adapt the recipe for a party snack!

  • Amazing looking empinadas!

  • I had empanadas for the first time a week or so ago and loved them, but has not clue what was inside. This recipe makes me love them even more (especially since they’re baked instead of fried!). 🙂

  • Love, love, love your site and thank you soooo much for this info. So professional and creative.

    Would love for you to peek at my blog whenever you have time.

  • I’ve been looking for an empanada recipe for a New Year’s appetizer and this one looks fantastic.

  • yum yum!! they look delish!! wishing u a very happy new year!!

  • Looks fabulous! The dough is completely different than what I’ve tried in the past. Thanks for sharing!

  • Anne

    Okay, I don’t normally have lard or shortening in my pantry. Can I use Butter for the fat?

    Has anyone tried this with puff pastry?

  • Anne – You can use butter in the pastry, but you may need to chill it a little before rolling out. Puff Pastry would make this a savory turnover, and that would be FAB!

  • I’ve only just recently discovered empinadas so your recipe has come up in perfect time for me because I love them!!
    Yours look great!

  • I used to make hundreds of empanadas for my Uncles catering business while in high school but they had no where near the flavor as your recipe does. I think I might take a trip back in time, using your method this time. Happy New Year!

  • Amber

    They look so great I can’t wait to try these with ground turkey. I have been thinking about these for days since I first saw them. Thanks so much!

  • I’ve made chicken and turkey ones before but yours came out looking so neat. I like how you put the cheese in the dough I must try that. I need to practice a little more. Thanks for the post I think I’ll try your recipe out.

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  • YUM! I definitely want to give these a try! Will have to have a big ole salad for lunch one day so that I can afford to make these for dinner!

  • NR

    I want to make these for after work drinks at my place.

    Can I make them in advance and refrigerate/freeze?

  • Jonica


    Marye pointed me to this site. Great by the way. ?…..Do I need to let the lard sit out on the table to soften like I do with butter? Just getting into cooking with it. My farmer has it and brought a pound of it and wanted to see what I have to do to bake with it. It is in the fridge. I unthawed it but now I am trying to figure out what to bake with it. Would love to make these next week.


  • Jonica – You can use it cold or at room temp. It should not be too hard when it is cold. You will love cooking with lard! It changed my life!

  • Susan

    Hi, I started making this recipe but now have a question. When do you use the cumin, corander, salt and the cornstartch? I do not see it mentioned in the steps for preparation or the pictures for preparing the dish. Thanks for your help.

  • I’ve been looking for a good beef empanada recipe and here you are.Making these this week. Already tasting them.

  • I made these (using shortening because I didn’t have lard – sigh) and they were great. The dough is an excellent basic recipe for other potential fillings like a mushroom filling, tuna filling (think tuna melt), kofta-esque filling with tzatziki to dip it into.

    Thanks for the recipe!

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  • Don Howes

    Hi a question is 3/4C milk correct this seems like more than other recipes?
    Hope this is not to late foe the question

  • Don – Yes, that measure is correct.

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  • Mark

    Just made these using this recipe — I added a lot more Jalapeno for more spice, and it was DELICIOUS!!!
    The dough was my favourite part — usually it’s so plain and blah, but this was soft, chewy, and what an excellent idea to put cheese directly into it!
    Def. recommended!

  • Tammy

    Just made these and they did well . My only problem was not knowing when to add the spices and corn starch. Common sense says add to filling but just wanted to point out that it is not on the recipe

  • Amy P

    To TAMMY the recipe reads “Add the drained tomatoes, spices, and cornstarch and cook for one minute before removing the pan ”

    So it does indeed include when to add the spices and cornstarch.. .maybe learn to read recipes a little better?!!!!

  • Sadia

    Can we freeze these without baking?

  • Kelly

    Yes, just add 5-10 minutes to the baking time if baking fro frozen.

  • April

    I didn’t see where to add the cornstarch or spice either and I READ the recipe several times. Here is the sentence Amy P is talking about copied and pasted. No where does it say to add the cornstarch and spices: Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat, until it browns. Add the drained tomatoes and cook for one minute before removing the pan from the heat. Allow to cool for five minutes before adding the shredded cheese.

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