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.
174 comments on “Air Fryer Empanadas”
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. 😁
I would assume it’s also at 325, the temp that you preheat the AF at.
the video looks like the temp was set to 360. i haven’t made these yet, but the temp is unclear.
always follow the recipe
The recipe says air fryer 350 for 8 minutes.
We Loved this tasty meal
Just so good! So glad I got the Goya Empanada shells – they are really unique and so good!
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 (https://www.skinnytaste.com/peruvian-green-sauce/) which was absolutely PERFECT!
Made these for Cinco de Mayo for the first time!! Delicious! Whole family loved them. Added a bit of Jalapeño for some extra spice.
If I can’t find the empanadas discs, what could I use in place of? Puff pastry?
You can use this recipe https://www.skinnytaste.com/taco-empanadas/
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.
Is this recipe in a cookbook already? Thank you!
No only on my blog
Just made these I loved them!! Instead of beef I used turkey ground meat and they were awesome!!
We dont eat eggs. What can I brush the top with instead? Looks amazing
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.
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!
These were delicious. My mind is racing with everything I can put into one of those wrappers!
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!
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 🙂
I used the smaller one.
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 https://www.skinnytaste.com/taco-empanadas/, 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 🙂
Love this recipe! It’s soooo easy! I’ve never made empanadas- they seem intimidating. But this recipe makes it totally doable!
This recipe seems to be incomplete, i.e. beef mixture?
Use picadillo, https://www.skinnytaste.com/picadillo-6-ww-pts/
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!
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.
You could use the biscuit dough like I do. I love using sweet potato filling too.
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
Hi! Do you flip the empanadas halfway through cooking in the air fryer?
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”. ?
Interesting! Glad it came out good!
Could you use this recipe for the dough part but use a pumpkin or apple filling instead? I love my Air Fryer too!!!
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
Should be fine!
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?
Are you using the recipe builder?
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!
I love this recipe!!! Can you freeze the leftover meat?
If I didn’t put the olives in would I miss out in a lot of flavor? I really don’t like olives!!
Should be ok
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?