These beef and cheese empanadas are a quick and easy empanada recipe to make, but they taste like a lot of work. The flaky, buttery crust encases a delicious filling of ground beef, spices, and two types of cheese.
Growing up in California, I always enjoyed Mexican food. Then, when I moved to Texas, I really found out what Mexican food and Tex-Mex was all about. Oh, yes, I’m a fan of all things Mexican and Tex-Mex. I love making authentic dishes, fusion dishes, and everything in between. One of my favorite Mexican dishes is empanadas. These little Mexican hand pies can be savory or sweet, authentic or creative. It doesn’t matter. They’re always delicious. One of my favorite version is the simple, classic beef and cheese variety. That’s what I’m sharing with all of you today.
Beef and Cheese Empanadas
These delicious empanadas start with ground beef, onions, garlic, jalapenos, and a mix of zesty spices. I cook it all until the flavors have melded and the ground beef is nice and brown. Then, I add tomato sauce for a delicious base. I stuff empanada dough with the beef mixture and cheese, and then I bake it until golden brown. That’s it! When it’s all done, I have a plateful of classic empanadas perfect for parties and gatherings, a fun addition to Taco Tuesday, or even an afternoon snack. And it’s so easy to make!
Why You’ll Love This Beef Empanada Recipe
- The filling is flavorful and seasoned with a variety of spices, including chili powder, cumin, paprika, and garlic powder for a rich and savory flavor.
- They use two types of cheese, Pepper Jack and sharp cheddar cheese for added richness.
- The empanadas are easy to make, the recipe is simple to follow, and they can be baked or fried. They make a delicious weeknight dinner or added to an appetizer spread.
Beef and Cheese Empanadas Ingredients
This recipe uses simple ingredients to deliver all that delicious flavor it has inside the crust. You’ll find everything you need easily at your local grocery store.
- Ground beef
- Cloves garlic
- Ground cumin
- Slap Ya Mama® seasoning
- Black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Chili powder
- Tomato sauce
- Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
- 5” empanada dough (I used Goya)
- Large egg
How to Make Beef and Cheese Empanadas
Making these empanadas takes very little work. You just do a little cooking in the pan, stuffing, and baking. It’s a snap!
Step 1: Cook the Beef
Cook the beef, onions, jalapenos, and seasonings in a large skillet or cast iron pan on medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Then, add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Drain and return to the pan. Add tomato sauce and cook for another 15 minutes.
Step 2: Fill the Empanadas
Place a small amount of cheese in the center of the dough. Then, add a heaping tablespoon of meat and more cheese. Wet the edges of the dough slightly, fold it over, and crimp it closed with the tines of a fork.
Step 3: Make the Egg Wash
Mix the egg and water together in a small bowl.
Step 4: Bake
Place the empanadas on a baking sheet and brush them with egg wash. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!
- Brown your beef until it’s cooked through but no further. Overcooked ground beef is tough, rubbery, and loses much of its flavor.
- When sealing your empanadas, only moisten the edges lightly. There’s no need to drown the dough.
- Don’t overfill your empanadas or they will pop open.
- You can make these with ground turkey or chorizo, depending on your tastes.
- For a milder version, omit the jalapenos and red pepper flakes.
- Mexican and Taco cheese blends work well in this recipe.
- You can use pie dough to make the crust for these empanadas.
What to Serve with Beef and Cheese Empanadas
Serve these empanadas as an appetizer or main course with your favorite dipping sauce. You can also incorporate them into a large Mexican-themed meal with delicious dishes like:
- Elote casserole
- Guac and chips
- Salsa and chips
- Pico de Gallo
- Mexican rice
- Spanish rice
The best cheese varieties to use for empanadas are Queso Fresco, Monterey Jack, and Cheddar.
A great substitute for empanada dough is pre-made pie crusts. Just roll them out a bit thinner.
Empanadas can be bake or fried. It all comes down to personal preference.
You can make the beef filling in advance, and then construct your empanadas when you’re ready to bake them.
Empanada freeze well and will last for up to 3 months when stored properly.
The most common empanada mistakes are:
Under-seasoning the beef
Underfilling the empanadas
Overfilling the empanadas
Undercooking the empanadas
Overcooking the empanadas
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Beef and Cheese Empanadas
Refrigerate these empanadas for up to 3 days in an airtight container. For longer storage, you can freeze them for up to 3 months individually wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight, freezer-safe container.
To reheat empanadas, place them on a baking sheet and cover with foil. Then, bake at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes until warmed through.
Try This Delicious Beef and Cheese Empanada Recipe Today
These beef and cheese empanadas are full of all the Mexican flavors we love about these savory hand pies, and they’re so easy to make, too! That’s a killer combo. Give these empanadas a try, and I know you’ll fall in love with them. Whether you serve them as snacks, appetizers, part of Taco Tuesday, or as a main course, you’re going to want to make them again and again.
Here is a delicious Homemade Lasagna that is hearty, delicious, and loaded with cheese, pasta, and deliciously seasoned ground beef.
Beef and Cheese Empanadas
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onions chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 jalapeno, seeds, stem removed, diced
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama® seasoning
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 8 ounce tomato sauce
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
- 11.6 ounce 5” empanada dough (I used Goya)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 425°
- In a large skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat, add ground beef, onion, jalapenos, and seasonings. Stir and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add garlic and cook for another minute or two. Drain grease and return to the pan.
- Add tomato sauce, stir. Cook for another 15 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg and water together. Set aside.
Assembling the Empanadas
- Wet the edges of the empanada dough lightly with water.
- Place a small amount of cheese in the center of the empanada dough, followed by a heaping tablespoon of meat mixture, and more cheese.
- Fold dough in half, pinching the edge and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork.
- Place on a baking sheet and brush empanadas with egg wash.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce.
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