August 8, 2022

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Air Fryer Empanadas – Recipes From A Pantry

7 min read
close up view of a plate filled with air fryer empanadas

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Air fryer empanadas are filled with tender beef filling and air fried until crispy on the outside. These little pockets of goodness are perfect for celebrating Cinco de Mayo, the Day of the Dead and make an ideal back to school lunch option. 

 

Post includes Weight Watchers points.

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close up view of a plate filled with air fryer empanadas

Empanadas. It’s fun to say, and they are so fun to eat. A tasty beef filling is seasoned with onions, garlic, and a flavorful assortment of rich, warm spices. Using premade pie dough or store bought empanada dough is the perfect shortcut, so these air fryer empanadas come together quickly

Deep fried empanadas are delicious, but you will be surprised at how crispy and flavorful air fried empanadas can be. This lighter recipe uses less oil than deep frying but still has all the flavor and crunch. 

Air fryer beef empanadas are the perfect handheld lunch or snack. Kids love taking them in their lunch boxes, and they make a great afterschool snack. Empanadas can be served for dinner, or to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and other Mexican holidays. Easy air fryer empanadas are a great alternative on Taco Tuesday. 

top down view of a plate filled with cooked air fryer empanadas

Why Make This Recipe

  • Delicious Back To School Lunch – These easy empanadas are the perfect lunch cuisine. Just pop one in your kid’s lunch, and they’ll be the envy of the cafeteria table. 
  • Easy Make Ahead Recipe – Freeze empanadas for a simple meal or snack. 
  • Healthier than Deep Fried – Air fryer empanadas only use a small amount of oil, which is healthier than deep frying.  
  • Bold Flavor – The meat filling has a bold flavor, but you can customize the seasoning for an empanada recipe your whole family will love. 

Ingredient Notes

  • Olive Oil – Or use your favorite light, neutral-flavored oil.
  • Aromatics – Bell pepper, white onion, and garlic add flavor and aroma to the empanadas. You can use green bell pepper or red bell pepper. 
  • Ground Beef – Use lean ground beef for a slightly lighter dish. You can also substitute other ground meats like ground turkey or ground chicken. These can also be made with leftover shredded chicken. 
  • Seasoning – Oregano, cumin, paprika, cinnamon and salt create a warm, deep flavor.  
  • Olives – Chopped green olives add a bit of briny goodness. 
  • Pie Crust Dough – Use store bought or make your own dough. You will need 2-3 rolls. You can also find premade empanada disc dough in many grocery stores. 
  • Egg – For making an egg wash for the crust. 
the ingredients for making air fryer empanadas

Ready to make this Empanadas Air Fryer? Gather your ingredients and I will show you…

How To Make Empanadas In Air Fryer

Get the complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and pepper until it becomes translucent and begins to soften.
  2. Add ground beef and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until ground beef is brown. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Stir in the oregano, paprika, cinnamon, salt, and olives, and cook for a couple of minutes before letting the mixture cool. 
  4. Roll out pie crust and use a cookie or biscuit cutter to make 5-inch discs of dough.
  5. Place 2 tablespoons of empanada mix into each disk of pie crust dough, being careful not to overfill. 
  6. Wet the edges of the pie crust with water, fold over to seal, and crimp with a fork.
  7. Brush the empanadas with egg wash (using a whole egg or just the egg white).
  8. Preheat an air fryer to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C.
  9. Spray empanadas with olive oil or cooking spray and place them into an air fryer basket. 
  10. Air fry for 8-10 minutes until golden, turning halfway through. 
  11. Serve warm. 
image collage showing some of the steps for making air fryer empanadas

Expert Tips 

  • After browning the meat, drain fat with a spoon or using a paper towel.
  • Premade pie crust is a great shortcut. You can also use premade empanada discs or make your own empanada dough and save any remaining dough in the freezer.
  • Roll out the empanada dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with a biscuit or cookie cutter to make dough rounds.  
  • In addition to the seasonings listed, I also like to use freshly ground black pepper, chili powder and garlic powder
  • When adding the meat mixture to the empanada disks, fill empanadas conservatively, or the meat mixture may ooze out during cooking. 
  • Carefully wet the edges and fold dough in half. Crimp with a fork to seal. 
  • Add a light egg wash with a pastry brush to give the air fryer empanadas a golden brown color. 
  • Place empanadas in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Cook in batches if necessary. 
  • Place the air fryer empanadas on a baking sheet pan in a warm oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining empanadas. 
  • Serve empanadas with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or your favorite dip. 
  • Air fryers can vary, so use the cooking times listed are an estimate. 
three completed air fryer empanadas served on a white plate

Delicious Variations

  • Ground Turkey Empanadas – Replace ground beef with ground turkey for lighter and leaner empanadas. 
  • Chicken Empanadas – Use ground chicken or leftover shredded chicken in place of the ground beef mixture. 
  • Taco Empanadas – Season the ground beef with taco seasoning before filling the air fryer empanadas. 
  • Spicy Empanadas – Add crushed red pepper flakes or jalapeno to make the easy beef empanadas spicy. 

Prep And Storage

  • Prep Ahead – Make up to 2 days in advance and store under plastic wrap in the fridge until ready to air fry. 
  • Store – Leftovers can be stored for up to 4 days in the fridge. 
  • Freeze – Freeze before cooking for up to 3 months. 
top down view of the air fryer empanadas inside the air fryer basket

FAQs

How Long To Cook Empanadas In Air Fryer?

You will need to air fry empanadas for about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the empanadas halfway through cooking. 

Can I Make Empanadas In Advance?

Prepare empanadas in advance and place them on a baking sheet covered in plastic wrap until ready to air fry. 

Can You Freeze Air Fryer Empanadas?

Yes! This recipe freezes beautifully. Prepare the recipe as directed but do not air fry the empanadas. Flash freeze on a baking sheet and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Place frozen empanadas directly into a 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C air fryer and cook for about 12 minutes or until golden. Flip halfway through cooking. 

side view of an air fryer empanada broken in half to reveal the filling

More Air Fryer Recipes You May Like

Serving Suggestions

Weight Watchers Points

There are 5 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Thank you for reading my air fryer empanadas recipe post. And please come visit again as I continue to slice, dice, and dream up affordable Air Fryer recipes, Instant Pot Recipes, Southern Recipes, and more. Thanks for supporting Recipes from a Pantry, food blog. 

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close up view of a plate filled with air fryer empanadas

Print Recipe

Air Fryer Empanadas

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time10 mins

Total Time25 mins

Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course

Cuisine: Mexican

Servings: 8

Calories: 385kcal

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and pepper until it becomes translucent and begins to soften.

  • Add ground beef and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until beef is brown. Drain any excess fat.

  • Stir in the oregano, paprika, cinnamon, salt and olives and cook for a couple of minutes before letting the mixture cool.

  • Roll out pie crust and use a cookie or biscuit cutter to make 5-inch discs of dough.

  • Place 2 tablespoons of empanada mix into each disk of pie crust dough, being careful not to overfill.

  • Wet the edges of the pie crust with water, fold over to seal and crimp with a fork.

  • Brush the empanadas with egg wash.

  • Preheat an air fryer to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C.

  • Spray empanadas with olive oil or cooking spray and place them in a single layer inside the air fryer basket.

  • Air fry for 8-10 minutes until golden, turning halfway through.

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Notes

  • After browning the meat, drain fat with a spoon or using a paper towel.
  • Premade pie crust is a great shortcut. You can also use premade empanada discs or make your own empanada dough. 
  • Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut with a biscuit or cookie cutter to make dough rounds.  
  • In addition to the seasonings listed, I also like to use freshly ground black pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder. 
  • When adding the meat mixture to the empanada disks, fill empanadas conservatively, or the meat mixture may ooze out during cooking. 
  • Carefully wet the edges and fold the dough in half. Crimp with a fork to seal. 
  • Add a light egg wash with a pastry brush to give the air fryer empanadas a golden brown color. 
  • Place empanadas in a single layer in the air fryer. Cook in batches if necessary. 
  • Place the air fryer empanadas on a baking sheet pan in a warm oven to keep warm while cooking the remaining empanadas. 
  • Serve empanadas with sour cream, salsa, guacamole, or your favorite dip. 
  • Air fryer temperatures can vary, so use the cooking times listed as an estimate.
  • Storage – keep leftovers wrapped or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • There are 5 WW Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 253mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 573IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 3mg



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