Air Fryer Beef Empanadas

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Air Fryer Beef Empanadas are easy, quick and made with no oil!

These beef empanadas are a must try air fryer recipe! Easy to make, delicious and ready in only 8 minutes! Made with my homemade beef picadillo filling and store bought empanada dough, these easy beef empanadas are “fried” in the air fryer and are ready in minutes (only takes 8 minutes to cook)!

These easy beef empanadas made with my homemade beef picadillo filling and store bought empanada dough are "fried" in the air fryer for empanadas that area ready in minutes (only takes 8 minutes to cook)!
Beef Empanadas Air Fryer Recipe

We LOVE empanadas in my house (who doesn’t?!), and I always have leftover picadillo in my fridge or freezer because I make it at least twice a month (here’s my skillet version, slow cooker version, instant pot version) so this are a great way to use up the leftovers!

These easy beef empanadas made with my homemade beef picadillo filling and store bought empanada dough are "fried" in the air fryer for empanadas that area ready in minutes (only takes 8 minutes to cook)!

I’ve baked them in the oven in the past, but this was the first time trying them in the air fryer and they turned out perfect, golden and flaky on the outside and hot in the inside with no oil! If you want to bake them in the oven instead, I suggest you double the time or bake until they are golden.

These easy beef empanadas made with my homemade beef picadillo filling and store bought empanada dough are "fried" in the air fryer for empanadas that area ready in minutes (only takes 8 minutes to cook)!

Because they are so quick to whip up, I made a batch this morning and packed it in Madison’s lunch box (took me about 10 min start to finish). She was super excited and so am I as I now have a new lunch box idea to pack for her school lunch.

Air Fryer Empanadas are perfect to pack for school lunch!

How To Make Air Fryer Empanadas

Do you need an air fryer in your life? Here’s my honest opinion:

I bought the Nuwave Air Fryer (affiliate link) last week after getting tons of requests for air fryer recipes. People have been raving about it, but I was hesitant to get one because I really don’t have room for another gadget in my life, and I figured anything you can make in an air fryer, you can make in the oven. SO I did a test, and started with my Buttermilk “Fried” Chicken from my first cookbook, The Skinnytaste Cookbook. I tested half in my oven, and half in the air fryer. Here are the results:

The chicken was delicious, moist on the inside and crispy on the outside and they both tasted exactly the same. You could not tell them apart.

The pros to using the air fryer is it cooked in about half the time which is pretty awesome. It also doesn’t heat up your house. The cons, it’s bulky and takes up a lot of space on your counter or pantry. The basket that holds the food is small, so if you’re cooking for a large family it’s probably not for you. But if you want to whip up food in half the time that turns out crispy and delicious for a smaller family, it’s perfect. Will I be keeping my air fryer? YES! Really excited to whip up old and new recipes in it, if you have one I will be sharing new recipes as I play.

How To Make Baked Empanadas in the Oven

If you don’t have an air fryer you can also bake them in the oven 400F on a nonstick baking sheet until golden, about 18 minutes.

These easy beef empanadas made with my homemade beef picadillo filling and store bought empanada dough are "fried" in the air fryer for empanadas that area ready in minutes (only takes 8 minutes to cook)!
4.92 from 24 votes
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Air Fryer Beef Empanadas

183 Cals 11 Protein 22 Carbs 5 Fats
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 16 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: 8 servings
COURSE: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
CUISINE: American
These easy beef empanadas made with my homemade beef picadillo filling and store bought empanada dough are "fried" in the air fryer for empanadas that area ready in minutes (only takes 8 minutes to cook)!


  • 8 Goya empanada discs, in frozen section, thawed
  • 1 cup picadillo
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon water


  • Preheat the air fryer to 325F for 8 minutes. Spray the basket generously with cooking spray.
  • Place 2 tbsp of 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.
  • Bake 2 or 3 at a time in the air fryer 8 minutes, or until golden. Remove from heat and repeat with the remaining empanadas.


Serving: 1empanada, Calories: 183kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 16mg, Sodium: 196mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2.5g
Blue Smart Points: 5
Green Smart Points: 5
Purple Smart Points: 5
Points +: 5
Keywords: Air Fryer Beef Empanada Recipe, Air Fryer Recipes, Baked Empanadas, Beef Empanadas, Empanadas, How To Make Air Fryer Empanadas, How To Make Empanadas

These easy beef empanadas made with my homemade beef picadillo filling and store bought empanada dough are "fried" in the air fryer for empanadas that area ready in minutes (only takes 8 minutes to cook)!

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  1. I really would have liked a empanada dough recipe along with this recipe for myself and those that like to make their own dough instead of buying the premade disks. 
    This is a great airfryer recipe and thank you for posting it 

    • Look at this recipe – the narrative discusses using the 2 ingredient dough with pointers on how. Hope that helps!

  2. This looks great and I can’t wait to try it! Does the nutrition information include the picadillo, or is it for the rest?

  3. Wow, these are DELICIOUS! I followed your recipe exactly even though I don’t love olives. Really great flavor and cooked perfectly in my Cuisanart Air Fryer. 

  4. Thanks but.. What temp in the Air fryer though? That’s missing in this lovely recipe above. Oven temp is there but different in the AF. 😁

  5. We Loved this tasty meal 

  6. Just so good! So glad I got the Goya Empanada shells – they are really unique and so good!

  7. Just made these for the first time with some leftover Cuban picadillo in my new air fryer! OMG so goooood! And so easy! I ate with some of Gina’s Peruvian green sauce on the side ( which was absolutely PERFECT!

  8. Made these for Cinco de Mayo for the first time!! Delicious! Whole family loved them. Added a bit of Jalapeño for some extra spice. 

  9. If I can’t find the empanadas discs, what could I use in place of? Puff  pastry?


  10. I also looked eveywhere, even the Walmart employee didnt know. I fianlly found them in the frozen food section. I cant wait to try this receipe.

  11. Is this recipe in a cookbook already? Thank you! 

  12. Just made these I loved them!! Instead of beef I used turkey ground meat and they were awesome!!

  13. We dont eat eggs. What can I brush the top with instead? Looks amazing

  14. So happy I finally made these!  I used leftover salsa chicken as the filling. I warmed up the leftover salsa chicken in the microwave for aboard a minute or two before using it as the filling.  I served it with sliced avocado. 

  15. Made these tonight and they were delicious. I’m not experienced using empanada discs so what I’m about to suggest may be common knowledge but – in case it will help someone – I found there to be a learning curve using the discs. I live in a hot humid area and found that working with 6 or so discs at a time and leaving the rest in the fridge until you’re ready for them helps. The biggie I discovered about half way through was to use the plastic separator sheets to help form the individual empanadas – that way my warm fingers didn’t make direct contact with the dough.
    I make air fryer apple pies with the extra discs. So good! Thank you Gina!

  16. These were delicious. My mind is racing with everything I can put into one of those wrappers!

  17. the whole family loved it!

    • Loved this recipe! Have made empanadas with premade pie crust which taste good, but they take a long time to prep and aren’t very stable. First time using the Goya discs when I found this recipe and they work so well! Let mine cook for a few extra minutes to get extra crisp. So easy and SO delicious! 

  18. Am I supposed to use the “large” discs or regular (which seem kind of small?) ones? I bought large, which worked fine but I’m really just curious 🙂

  19. I can’t get empanada discs where I live in Hawaii…. can I use wonton wrappers? Or do you have another suggestion?

    • Hi Amy! Check out this recipe, I show how to make them at home!

    • I use eggroll wrappers all the time to make southwestern chicken eggrolls. I thinka they’d turn out great! Homemade empanada disks like she suggested would obviously be the better choice to mimic the recipe entirely, but eggroll wrappers are a close second in my opinion 🙂

  20. Love this recipe! It’s soooo easy! I’ve never made empanadas- they seem intimidating. But this recipe makes it totally doable! 

  21. This recipe seems to be incomplete, i.e. beef mixture?

  22. I’ve made these in the past and they’re amazing! Could I make them ahead of time and flash freeze to air fry later? I like to have things I can pop in easily for lunch during the week. 

    • Yessssss!! I have the power airfryer xl and I make ahead and freeze them all the time I’m doing it right now actually!! Don’t defrost them reheat them frozen at 350 for 11 minutes When we go on vacation our neighbor’s daughter watches our pack of dogs I try to put stuff I know she will enjoy and cook without the stove Even tho she’s an adult lol These empanadas are at the top of my list Homemade picadillo They are delicious!

  23. Just a quick note – the Goya shells are not dairy free as unfortunately the ingredient list does include margarine 🙁

    I love your site and your Insta!!

    • Margarine is a vegan product… I’m a little confused. It is made with vegetable oils and although it’s terrible for you doesn’t contain any animal byproducts.

  24. You could use the biscuit dough like I do. I love using sweet potato filling too.

  25. Someone please tell me where I can find store bought empanada dough? I looked all over Walmart yesterday – really want to try these (and my sister keeps bugging me to try them too).

    • I have has issues finding them in walmart, the few times i did they were in the freezer section where the other frozen goya products are. here is florida it seems that the only place carrying them now is Winn Dixie

  26. These are AWESOME!!!  I could not find the frozen empanada disks so I used the bagel recipe and omitted the baking powder. Also when I made the picadillo I used 95/5 ground beef and omitted the olives. When I plugged everything into the weight watcher calculator it came to 3 freestyle points for 1 and 7 freestyle points for 2. My husband said they are “big guy approved”.  ?

  27. Could you use this recipe for the dough part but use a pumpkin or apple filling instead? I love my Air Fryer too!!!

  28. Hi Gina-

    We’re were wondering if adding some lowfat cheese on the inside would cause any issues? If not, what would be your suggestion(s)? We love your books!

    Jim & Robyn

  29. Wondering how these were calculated to be 5 Freestyle points.  I just checked the Goya empanada disks and they are 4 points each.  Is 2 T of the piccadilly meat only 1 point? 

  30. I made these in the oven and they came out perfect and crisp! I used a wire “cooling rack” thing (not sure the official name) on a cookie sheet, sprayed it VERY WELL with cooking spray, baked them at 400 for 10 minutes then turned the broiler on high for about 2 minutes or until golden and crispy (WATCH THEM CLOSE!!), flipped them and broiled for another minute and half. They were crispy like they were fried and golden. Wish I could post a picture!

  31. I love this recipe!!! Can you freeze the leftover meat? 

  32. If I didn’t put the olives in would I miss out in a lot of flavor? I really don’t like olives!!

  33. Gina, I LOVE YOUR RECIPES. Today I decided to give these a try. They were a hit! I am not sure how these are 5 points when one disc is 6 points? I used the Goya brand and small discs.

    • They are 4 each.

    • Mine said 6 points too and they are the correct ones

      • If  I were to make these for meal prep, how would you recommend freezing them? I’d like to freeze individually for quick lunches but I’m unsure if I should freeze before or after putting them in the air fryer? Thanks! Then how would you recommend reheating? 

  34. Made these yesterday DELICIOUS! Thanks for another great recipe. I ended up with 20 empanadas, They seem to freeze well. I just made sure the were frozen individually then I wrapped them in parchment and then plastic wrap.

    • Hi Lynne.  I was hoping to have these in the freezer for a quick meal when needed.  Wondered if you fried/baked them and then froze them or did you freeze them before frying/baking? 

  35. I can’t wait to try these! I would LOVE to see a dessert recipe using these empanada disks and the air fryer. I’m going to try an apple pie or pumpkin pie version on my won but I feel sure you would have a great idea for them as well!

  36. How do you suggest reheated these? Wanted to put in my son’s lunch and let him reheat at school…Thank you!

  37. Ever since I saw this recipe I’ve been dying to try it. My family loves mexican food and I love to cook in my air fryer. I wasn’t in the mood for beef, so I decided to make chicken empanadas instead. I put 2 chicken breasts, 1 cup of chicken broth, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and garlic powder in my instant pot. I cooked at high pressure for 25 minutes and let naturally release, and shredded the chicken. I then used the shredded chicken in the skinnytaste chicken enchilada recipe. I used the enchilada chicken in my empanadas and they were absolutely delicious. I served with salsa and cauliflower rice. So yummy!

  38. These were AMAZING! I dont have an air fryer yet, so i baked them, and my five year old is now begging for “pinatas” for dinner at least once a week! I made both turkey and beef because i was curious about both, and wanted to keep my points down, My family [refers beef, but turkey was still quite tasty. I have got to say, I’m so grateful for this website. You are helping both myself and my whole family eat healthier, and for once my kids aren’t complaining about it!

  39. I froze half of the empanadas.  How do I cook them in the airfryer now (temp & time).   I brushed them with egg wash before I froze them. 

  40. Love your recipes! Any ideas on vegetarian fillings for empanadas?

  41. Is there a substitute for the egg whites? 

  42. I’m assuming you defrost the dough first right??

  43. Can you tell me how much beef you used in this recipe? I am guessing what ever the amount it would be divided by 8 servings but I want to make sure I follow this to a “T” as it sounds so good.

  44. Did you stuff the empanada while the picadillo was warm or did you make them with cold leftover picadillo? ????

    • Cold is fine.

      • I think cold may be better. I made these last night (they were delicious!). My filling was warm and it warmed up the dough a little too much making it a little harder to work with. I have leftover piccadillo in the fridge and plan on making more.

  45. Made the empanada recipe on the airfryer I got for Christmas. Empanadas were delicious. Better than fried ones. Loved that they were done in such a short time.

  46. Do you think these would freeze well?

  47. Hi Gina, does the egg wash make the dough softer when you air fry it or is it just to brown it? I did a Lebanese style empanadas and the dough comes out a little dry vs when you deep fry it? Just wondering if you have any suggestions! Thanks!

  48. Could you use pie dough or empanada discs to make air fryer apple pies?

  49. Also she just put them in the oven.

  50. My daughter made these for us last weekend but used filo pastry dough that she found in the freezer section at the grocery as the Goya wrap were not available.  She used Gina’s Piccadillo and we topped them with a chimichurri sauce (parsley, garlic, oil and vinegar).
     They were incredible!  All 12 of us including picky kids loved them.

  51. Love my Best Customer air fryer and 1st one I have owned that does not stick So happy to find these recipes!

  52. We made these the other night for our “Fun Food Thursday” meal. They were great!  A big hit. I made the recipe just as written. I noticed in the blog that you had tried the air fryer with your buttermilk fried chicken. I would like to make chicken and waffles on of these Thursdays and wonder how long did you cook the chicken in the air fryer.  I can always count on your recipes to be delicious!  

  53. Gina, you’re singlehandedly responsible for my Instant Pot and Spiralizer purchases. I think I’m going to have to add another gadget to your credit list!!

  54. Could you freeze these?

  55. I also have the  Nuwave airfryer. I love this recipe but had a terrible time with the dough sticking to the basket. I sprayed lots of olive oil spray on both the empanadas and the basket but still had lto te of problemas with the pues sticking. Help!!! I’m tempted to bite the bullet and buy the more expensive model that has a different kind of basket. 

    • Did you spray the dough?

    • Did you ever figure out a solution to this? Sprayed the pan, the dough, my hands, my dog – everything! Still a sticky (but still delicious) mess. 

      • I found the frozen goya disks but maybe I got a bad batch. Are they normally orange on one side? I figured maybe it was the annato but they also smelled odd like old walnuts I made the empanada and they never got like a nice dough and just tasted off. Can those discs go rancid? I have had oher empanada before in Miami that just tasted like crust and filling should

      • I have never bought the orange ones, so I am not sure!

  56. Love your recipes Gina and so excited you got an airfryer – but this was the most difficult recipe I had to work with ????. Mainly because 1– the dough kept ripping 2- the dough would stick on the air fryer basket. Any advice on keeping dough from ripping and also not to stick ? I followed your instructions – is it that I have to egg wash both sides ?! I also have the gowise and it doesn’t have 325 but when I did 330 it didn’t look as golden as the picture you have. Maybe different air fryers have different temperatures ?

    • Interesting. It shouldn’t rip unless you have too much filling maybe? And I sprayed the basked with oil to prevent sticking. The egg wash can be on one side only.

  57. Any suggestions on a dipping sauce to serve them with? 

  58. Oh and yes, very filling! I had two.

  59. Tried these tonight! Our family loves your picadillo recipe. They were very juicy! I cooked them for 4 minutes and then flipped them for 4 more. All 4 kids loved them and asked me to make them again. I even suggested they take them for lunch tomorrow (like youmentioned you did for  Madison) and they were excited about that. Love my air fryer! Soooo glad you are posting recipes for it. Going to make your chicken parm in it tomorrow.

  60. Just wondering if 1 is filling? What do you serve this with? Is the filling juicy? The picture looks dry. I, too, have an air fryer sitting in my closet along with a brand new IP. I’m scared to use them. This looks like something I can handle…just need to know if the 1/serving is filling. Thank you. Love your recipes. I have both cookbooks and love them!

  61. In my little Tennessee town, can’t find the empanada discs. What could I used to substitute for them.. Best regards from the land of biscuits and gravy. Devon

  62. Could I freeze the leftovers if I made extras?

  63. Yes! So glad you are posting some air fryer recipes. I just bought one myself but not sure how to modify some of my recipes. Thanks so much for sharing! I follow you and have made several of your other recipies and love them!

  64. So excited for air fryer recipes from you! I got one for my birthday and have been too scared to use it. But I am making these tomorrow night! Thanks to you Gina (and WW) I have lost 50 lbs as of this week! I would have given up long ago without your recipes!  

  65. What happened?! My empanadas are orange! The dough was a little orangey but it was the Goya brand and said it was for making empanadas on the back. I made them in the oven. Any thoughts on why they don’t look golden brown? 

    The inside tastes delicious though!

  66. Whats the diameter of the dough discs?

  67. If it broke, would you buy another?

  68. Made this tonight. Was absolutely deliscious. Will have leftovers over rice. Do more air fryer receives please

  69. Gina,
    What about using these airfryer recipes in a convection oven? Aren’t they the same principle? I’m thinking of trying these in my convection oven, which I’ve NEVER used!:)

  70. I’m so excited that you got an airfryer! I can’t wait to see what you make with it

  71. Would you be able to add airfryer recipes to your key? I am always looking for new Instant Pot and Air Fryer Recipes. Making the barbacoa tonight!

  72. I am so excited to try these in my new airfryer~ I bought one a month ago and have to trying to find healthy recipes to try. Looking forward to trying any you can share! Thank you!

  73. Have you even made empanadas Venezolanas with Harina Pan?  I’ve only deep fried them and am looking a healthier way to prepare them.

  74. Gina, can premade pie dough work? How big are the empanada dough-6 inch?

  75. I love your recipes and am so excited we might be seeing more air fryer recipes now!  Can’t wait.  Thank you for your great recipes.

  76. Tofu seasoned however you like it is magical in the air fryer. Also, potatoes (white or sweet) seasoned and diced with Braggs Liquid Aminos instead of salt. The Air Fryer is amazing. Can’t wait to see your recipes Gina!

    Tilapia was better than pan fried and it was lime infused bcuz of the high heat.

  77. Oh, these look so good. I have the Picadillo in the IP right now to have with rice. I decided to check my email while it’s cooking and saw you in my email. Going to hit the store tomorrow and see if I can find these!

    I have an Air Fryer but don’t use it as much as my IP. Glad you are going to try recipes using that! Thank you.

  78. I LOVE that my local store carries the GOYA frozen empanadas! Makes it so much easier!!

  79. Can you post a picture of the packaging of the dough?

  80. Hi – this uses 8 discs but shows just 4 servings of one empanada each. Help – I’m confused LOL.

  81. Random but what be yo box insert are you using in your daughters lunch bag? I’ve been through a few and haven’t found the perfect one yet????

  82. I have a convection oven will it work the same as the fryer?

  83. We don’t have the pre-made discs anywhere near me. Any ideas for an easy substitute?

  84. These look incredible!! I love my air fryer, and love that you’ll be sharing recipes for it!! Thanks as always!

  85. This looks delicious! I have a question about the air fryer. How long did it take to clean after you made the empanadas? I tried roasting a chicken using the convection setting on my oven and I had a big mess to clean up afterward – the skin spattered everywhere. If an air fryer is easy to clean, I just might give it a try. Thanks!

  86. I have the question as Diane  about serving size!

  87. How did they taste when you baked them in the oven? I do not have an air fryer; and I would like your opinion before I attempt to bake them.

  88. How long did you do your buttermilk chicken in the air fryer?

  89. Where can I find the goya wrappers?

  90. Darn! I sold my NuWave Brio air fryer. I liked it a lot, but didn’t use it nearly as much as I would. Plus I was moving out of state and was trying to lighten my load as much as I could. Having said that, I now live in the mid west, and am able to buy Goya products, about which I am super excited. I can’t wait to try this recipe, even if I have to bake them the old fashioned way. : )

  91. Do you use the empanada discs that are made for baking or frying?

  92. Looks delicious! One question- 8 shells, 2 apiece/serving? The recipe says 1/serving. Thanks!

  93.  I do not have an air fryer, but I LOVE empanadas and want to make these.  How long would you bake these for in the oven and at what temperature?