These beef and cheese empanadas are made with an easy seasoned ground beef filling, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, and wrapped in a flakey homemade empanada dough. You can bake or fry them and enjoy as a snack, meal, or appetizer!

a beef and cheese empanada on a plate

Why We Love This Recipe

Empanadas are a staple in Latin and Puerto Rican cuisine.

With a wide variety of fillings, both sweet and savory, stuffed into pockets of flakey pastry dough, it’s no wonder why the world loves them.

These beef and cheese empanadas use classic Puerto Rican seasonings (sofrito, sazon & adobo) in the ground beef filling, plus a healthy sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese that melts everything together in our favorite homemade empanada dough.

Be sure to check out these shredded chicken empanadas if you enjoy this recipe!

Bowls of cheese, seasonings, sofrito and more

Ingredients

Here is your complete grocery list to make this recipe:

If Baking:

  • Egg
  • Water

If Frying:

  • Canola or vegetable oil

See recipe card for quantities.

Step by Step Instructions

Note: Continue steps 3-4 until all of the filling and/or empanada dough is used.

Dipping Sauces

Some excellent empanada dipping sauces we use in Puerto Rico are:

Feel free to dip in salsa and/or sour cream too!

Filling Variations

If you’ve ever made empanadas before, you know how endless the possibilities are for filling combinations.

Here are a few easy additions you can make to this beef and cheese filling:

  • Spicy – Add a diced jalapeño or a can of roasted diced green chiles to the ground beef filling as it cooks to give it a spicy kick.
  • Cheese – Experiment with your favorite melting cheeses to mix up the flavors. I like using monterey jack, pepper jack, and gouda if I don’t have cheddar.
  • Veggie Forward – Add capers, diced olives, mushrooms, handfuls of spinach, and/or tomatoes to the ground beef mixture and cook down to add some veggies to the mix.

And for another direction entirely, check out these traditional Puerto Rican empanadillas with a classic picadillo filling.

a beef and cheese empanada on a plate

Air Frying?

If air frying: Do not use an egg wash. Simply spray your air frying basket with a non-stick spray and bake at 400 degrees F / 205 degrees C until golden brown.

This usually takes about 10-15 minutes, so be sure to keep an eye on them!

baked empanadas on a plate

Storage & Make Ahead Instructions

These empanadas keep best stored in the fridge in an air tight bag. They should stay fresh for up to 5 days.

Reheat in the oven, a toaster oven, or in the microwave.

I don’t recommend freezing the empanadas once baked or fried, but you can make them in advance and freeze before cooking. Freeze completely on a baking sheet before wrapping in an air tight bag in the freezer.

Make sure to let the empanadas thaw completely before baking or frying as directed in this recipe.

baked empanadas on a pan with green sauce

More Empanada Recipes

Buen provecho,

the name Salima
Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
a beef and cheese empanada on a plate

Homemade Ground Beef and Cheddar Cheese Empanadas

  • Author: Salima Benkhalti
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 empanadas 1x
  • Category: Snack, Appetizer, Entree, Dinner, Lunch, Main Dish
  • Method: Baked, Fried
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican, Latin, American

Description

These beef and cheese empanadas are made with an easy seasoned ground beef filling, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, and wrapped in a flakey homemade empanada dough. You can bake or fry them and enjoy as a snack, meal, or appetizer!


Ingredients

Units Scale

If Baking

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water

If Frying

  • 2 cups canola or vegetable oil


Instructions

  1. Cook the ground beef filling. Begin in a pan over medium heat with the sofrito. Sauté for a minute until fragrant before adding the ground beef. Continue to brown the meat while breaking it up with a spoon, until it’s fully cooked. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Season the beef. Season the meat with sazon & adobo and mix to combine everything.
  3. Fill the empanadas. Add a tablespoon of ground beef to the center of an empanada dough disc and top with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese.
  4. Close the empanadas. Fold the empanadas closed and fold the edges over themselves or crimp with a fork. Continue steps 3-4 until all of the filling and/or empanada dough is used.
  5. If baking: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F / 205 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat together the egg and water in a small bowl to make an egg wash. Arrange the empanadas on the baking sheet before brushing with the egg wash. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown all around.
  6. If frying: Heat oil over medium high heat. Fry empanadas in batches for a few minutes on each side, or until crispy and golden brown all around. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess oil before serving.

Notes

If air frying: Do not use an egg wash. Simply spray basket with a non stick spray and bake at 400 degrees F / 205 degrees C until golden brown (usually about 10-15 minutes).

Keywords: beef empanadas, beef and cheese empanadas