Beef and Cheese Empanadas

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Side Dish, Appetizer, Snack Latin
By Kelly Djalali Serves: Makes 10 Empanadas
Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cooking Time: 8 minutes per batch Total Time: ~1 Hour

Richly flavored, taco-seasoned ground beef with pepper jack cheese and fresh jalapeños, folded in empanada dough and air-fried to golden brown.


  • Taco Seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. Chili Powder
  • 1.5 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Paprika (smoked or regular)
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • Empanadas
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • Pinch of Kosher Salt
  • Drizzle of Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Package Goya Empanada Dough Discs (10 discs), defrosted
  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Fresh Jalapeño, thin slices
  • 1 Large Egg White
  • 1-2 tsp. Water


Taco Seasoning


In a small jar, shake together black pepper, kosher salt, crushed red pepper, ground cumin, onion powder, chili powder, dried oregano, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Set the jar aside.



Place the raw ground beef in a mixing bowl. Mix a slurry of 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 2 tablespoons water. Pour the slurry on the beef and add a pinch of kosher salt. Gently toss the beef in the slurry and salt to coat.


Heat a tiny drizzle of grapeseed oil in a large skillet. Add the ground beef and break it up as it cooks. Once the beef is mostly browned, start with one tablespoon of the taco seasoning mixture. Stir in the seasoning and add one more tablespoon. Stir well to coat the beef in the seasoning. When the beef is cooked through and browned, use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked beef to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.


Set up a little empanada-making station with your filling. Get a sheet tray with wire cooling rack set inside, a fork and a small dish of egg white wash and a brush. We will roll each dough disc slightly, just to make it more pliable and a tiny bit larger. Place about 2 tablespoons of beef on one side of the empanada dough, leaving a small border around the bottom.


Then place the jalapeño slices on the beef. And a few small pieces of cheese on top. Now, fold the top part of the dough disc over the filling and press the edges together. Use the tines of your fork to seal up and crimp the edge. Transfer the empanada to the wire rack set inside the sheet tray and repeat with the remaining empanada discs.


Once all of the empanadas are filled and folded, whisk the egg white with water and brush the tops with the egg white wash.


Spray the inside of the air fryer basket with olive oil cooking spray. Place the empanadas in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Working in batches as needed. Set the temperature for 350 and the timer for 4 minutes. At the four minute mark, flip the empanadas and air fry at 350 for another 4 minutes.


After the second four minutes, transfer the empanadas to the wire rack placed in the sheet tray and repeat with remaining empanadas.


You can still make these without an air fryer. Bake them on a lightly oiled sheet tray at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes until golden brown.