These easy Air Fryer Empanadas are filled with homemade beef picadillo – they come out crispy and delicious, much healthier than deep frying!
Beef Empanadas Air Fryer Recipe
We LOVE empanadas in my house (Who doesn’t?!). I grew up on them and always have leftover picadillo in my fridge or freezer because I make it at least twice a month. These healthy air fryer empanadas are one of my favorite ways to use up the leftovers. Made with frozen store-bought empanada dough, they only take minutes to cook. They’re also excellent to pack in your kids’ lunchboxes – Madison loves taking them for school lunch. If you have an air fryer and need more dinner ideas you can see all my air fryer recipes here!
I always have ground beef in my freezer, and one of the ground beef recipes I make all the time is these empanadas with leftover picadillo. These air fryer empanadas are easy to whip up since they use leftover picadillo and frozen empanada discs you can find in the freezer section of many supermarkets. In the past, I would always bake them in the oven, but once I got an air fryer, there was no turning back. These beef empanadas turned out perfectly in the air fryer – golden and flaky on the outside with no oil! They also cook in half the time in the air fryer than in the oven. You can watch me make them here!
As you probably know by now, I love air frying. So much so that I even wrote two cookbooks on it! Last year I got the GoWISE 7-Quart Air Fryer and have really liked it. It’s bigger than my last one and is very powerful. A few reasons why I love air fryers:
How To Cook Empanadas in the Air Fryer
- Start by defrosting the frozen dough. If you want to make the dough from scratch you use empanada dough from this recipe. I’ve also had success using my Greek yogurt dough as you can see in these in this taco empanada recipe.
- Add your filling. Place about 2 tablespoons of the meat filling of your choice in the center of each disc (see ideas below).
- Seal them. Fold the dough in half and use a fork to seal the edges so the filling doesn’t come out. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Egg Wash. Since we are not frying, I like to brush them with an egg wash. You can use whole egg or egg whites. If you can’t eat eggs, just spray them with some olive oil.
- Air fry in a single layer, in batches as needed 350F 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway or until golden.
You can fill empanadas with just about anything!
- Ground turkey empandas: Use ground turkey instead of beef in your picadillo.
- Chicken Empanadas: Stuff your empanadas with shredded salsa chicken.
- Chili empanadas: Use leftover chili instead of picadillo.
- Make pizza empanadas with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Taco empanadas: Use homemade taco meat to make taco empanadas.
- Lobster Empanadas: See my air fryer lobster empanada recipe here
- If you can’t find the frozen empanada discos, you can make homemade empanada dough or use store-bought pie dough.
- For spicy a version, add jalapeño to the meat.
- If you don’t eat eggs, skip the egg wash and just spritz with olive oil.
- Serve them with hot sauce, salsa, or guacamole.
How to Bake Empanadas in the Oven
No air fryer, no problem! If you don’t have an air fryer, you can also bake these. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400F degrees on a nonstick baking sheet for about 18 to 20 minutes until golden. The dough won’t have the same blistered texture and they won’t be quite as crisp, but they’ll still be tasty.
How To Freeze
Yes! You can flash freeze uncooked empanadas on a sheet pan. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe container for up to three months so you can whip them up anytime.
Air Fry From Frozen: Pop the frozen empanadas right into your air fryer and air fry 350F for about 12 minutes, turning halfway until golden and hot.
More Empanada Recipes You’ll Love:
- Air Fryer Lobster Jalapeño Empanadas
- Caramelized Onion Empanadas
- Leftover Turkey Pot Pie Empanadas
- Taco Empanadas
- Jamaican Beef Patties
Air Fryer Beef Empanadas
- 8 Goya empanada discs, in frozen section, thawed
- 1 cup picadillo
- 1 egg white, whisked
- 1 teaspoon water
- Spray the air fryer basket generously with olive oil spray to avoid sticking, or line the basket with air fryer parchment paper.
- Place 2 tablespoons of the picadillo in the center of each disc. Fold in half and use a fork to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Whisk the egg whites with water, then brush the tops of the empanadas.
- Air fry in a single layer, in batches as needed 350F 8 minutes, turning halfway or until golden. Remove from heat and repeat with the remaining empanadas.