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 with our empanada dipping sauce.
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. (affiliate links present, originally published 6/20)
Air Fry Empanada
I mean, who doesn’t love a warm stuffed meal like this one right?? It’s one of our favorite air fryer ground beef recipes for sure. I mean you can use ground sausage that is spicy if you would rather, turkey works too but typically beef is the most common. Throw in diced onions and bell peppers, make spicy or mild.
There is a lot of give and take with this recipe so you can make it just however you love it. 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 especially when you have kids and are trying to make dinner time fun.
FIRST – You should sign up for my free newsletter so you get new posts emailed to you twice a week and never miss out on anything! If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
Ninja Foodi Empanadas
You don’t have to have a singular countertop appliance either. If you have this dual machine it works just as well as others. You will use the lid that is attached to air crisp these, with that button on the front. 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. If I have both I love using half and half to add a bit of heat but not make it so hot I can’t taste the other great ingredients in there.
Chicken 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. If you use chicken you’ll want to precook it and shredded chicken is always best.
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 or you could make chicken empanadas with leftover chicken breast meat
- Refrigerated pie dough
- Bell peppers
- Taco seasoning
- Beef broth
Whisked egg wash is great for a glossy outside but isn’t totally a necessity if you want to skip that step.
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.
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
Ground Beef Empenadas
You can use refrigerated pie crust to make this easy or use our pot pie crust if you have to have homemade. Quick basic directions are here, there is a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post as well.
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Once crust has reached room temp. you can use a circular cookie cutter or top of a glass to cut 4″ circles into the pastry dough.
- Roll out excess dough and create circles out of those too. 2 sheets should yield 8-10.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
How do you save empanadas?
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!
- 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!
How 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.
Air Fryer Ground Beef Recipe
Looking for more ground beef recipes?? <——-You can find some here and below like our air fryer stuffed peppers and more:
- Our ground beef and potato casserole is amazing too.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
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.