Air fryer empanadas with ground beef have a TON of flavor and a crispy outside! Perfect appetizer or dinner idea you and your kids will love.
These are the best air fryer empanadas! Packed with flavorful ground beef and crispy dough on the outside, they’ll become your new favorite air fryer recipe. Sponsored by Idaho Beef Council.
I mean, who doesn’t love a warm stuffed meal like this one right??
We made a batch of air fryer won tons the other day and that got us thinking about other “hand pies” that might be good. Finger foods are the best.
If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- THIS is my Favorite Air Fryer!
- You can find more Air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
- Grab the best air fryer cookbook here.
- Here’s a printable air fryer cook times chart here for your fridge.
- It has temp. and times for making the best frozen foods for air fryer too.
- Then join our Facebook page where you can share and find more ideas you’ll love. We have a Foodi social media group as well.
Here are a few questions you might have before you get started:
It’s actually quite easy if you have ready made dough on hand, and I always have hamburger in my fridge!
From there you just add all the “extras” you like and your air fryer or Ninja Foodi will do the rest! NO frying is required to make these. 😉
If you love quick and easy meals like me, refrigerated pie dough works really well! Just cut into 4 inch (or so) circles and fill as desired.
You could use ground spicy sausage as an alternative but we always have tons of great ground beef in the fridge.
Empanadas in air fryer
What is the primary ingredient you’ll need to pick up? Well ground beef of course which is not only versatile, but very inexpensive as well. When you’re feeding a crowd, or a large family that definitely helps.
What are the different types of ground beef?
The four main types to consider are regular ground beef, ground chuck, ground round, and ground sirloin
- When you’re choosing ground beef, there are a few things you should focus on according to the Idaho Beef Council like:
- Select beef with a bright cherry red color, if it’s in a sealed bag it may have a darker purplish red color.
- When exposed to the air it will turn a bright red as well.
- Make sure the package you choose is cold with no holes or tears.
- It is best to choose packages without excessive liquid inside.
Purchase beef products that have a sell-by date that is after the current date.
Is it better to bake or fry empanadas?
Well, now there is another method….in your air fryer! In the past there were only 2 options: in your oven or stovetop and more often they were deep fried.
Personally I like the fried crispy texture on the outside BUT not the oily after taste. When using hot air to get a crunchy outside you avoid the heavy oily flavor, and negative health issues that come with submerging in oil.
Empanadas air fryer ingredients
- Quality ground beef
- Refrigerated pie dough
- Bell peppers
- Taco seasoning
- Beef broth
Whisked egg wash is great for a glossy outside.
If you’d rather make homemade empanada dough you definitely could. I prefer store bought just to speed up the process. Use what you wish in that regard. 😉
When using refrigerated pie crusts like these, you’ll want to first leave them on the counter for about 45 minutes. This will bring them closer to room temperature which will allow you to roll them out and cut them easier.
Ground beef hand pies!
Quick basic directions are here, there is a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post as well.
Time needed: 20 minutes.
How to make empanadas
- Roll out pastry dough
Once it has reached room temp. you can use a circular cookie cutter or top of a glass to cut 4″ circles into the dough. Roll out excess dough and create circles out of those too. 2 sheets should yield 8-10.
- Brown ground beef
Over medium heat on the stovetop, add a bit of olive oil, diced onions and bell peppers with your hamburger. Cook until meat is no longer pink. Set aside to cool.
- Fill dough
Spoon meat mixture into dough and fold over into half moon shapes. Crimp the edges, use a fork on edges to seal closed. Then brush outside/top with whisked egg wash.
- Preheat air fryer
Set machine to 350 degrees F for 5 minutes while you’re prepping the rest.
Once your dough “hand pies” are prepped spray the basket with non stick cooking spray. Then add them into your air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for 5-7 minutes until browned as much as you’d like.
OH my do these look good!
Timing will vary slightly depending on how brown you like them. As you see above, 6 minutes worked great for us.
Want to make these ahead of time and cook later? Make a double batch and freeze half of them so you’ll be set for a really busy evening!
How do you save empanadas?
- Just follow directions as listed below, but save the cooking steps for later.
- To freeze, lay the unbaked pieces side by side on a baking sheet with parchment paper on top (make sure they don’t touch).
- Freeze until solid
- Then take them off the sheet and put them into a freezer bag.
- They will keep for up to three months!
To reheat frozen empanadas first put them on a plate or baking sheet with parchment paper so they don’t tough. Allow them to defrost in the fridge and then air fry them as directed below.
- Our ground beef and potato casserole is amazing too.
- We have a bunch of easy Instant Pot ground beef recipes you can try here.
- Ground beef and rice is super simple but not lacking flavor for sure.
Want to see a few of my favorite things you might want to write on your Christmas list this year??!! 😉 Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
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Air Fryer Empanadas
- In a medium pan over medium heat, cook ground beef, green peppers, red peppers, and onions until ground beef is browned and onions are transparent.
- Stir in taco seasoning and water. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Roll pie crust out on a non-stick surface. Using a round bowl or cup (one with a 5-inch diameter works perfectly), cut out three circles from one of the pie crusts.
- Combine the remaining dough and roll out with a rolling pin to a similar thickness to the original crust. Cut a fourth circle. Repeat this process with the other pie crust = 8 pieces total
- Once beef mixture is cooled, spoon 2-3 tablespoons on each circle and top it with a sprinkle of cheese. Fold each circle of dough in half and use a little bit of water to seal the edges. Use a fork to press around the edges.
- Whisk the egg and brush each empanada with it. Place empanadas (4 at a time) in a greased air fryer basket. Preheat air fryer for 5 minutes to 350 degrees.
- Cook at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes or until tops are as golden brown as you'd like. Serve with your choice of sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes etc.