Air Fryer Empanadas

Air Fryer Empanadas are the perfect handheld appetizer or snack. They’re just as tasty as the deep-fried version with much less grease.

Air Fryer Empanadas are the perfect handheld appetizer or snack. They're just as tasty as the deep-fried version with much less grease. 

If you want to impress people at your next potluck, look no further than these air fryer empanadas. They’re loaded with flavor from the freshly made beef picadillo filling and cooking them in an air fryer gets the pastry super crispy. The pastry will blister and puff just like deep fried empanadas without the extra grease or hassle of frying in hot oil.

What are empanadas?

Empanadas are savory turnovers with roots that trace back to Spain. These days, most people associate them with Latin American cuisine, and they’re a popular street food in areas with large Hispanic populations.

Latin American empanadas are made with a soft dough that’s wrapped around a flavorful filling before being deep fried (or, in this case, air fried) to crispy, crunchy perfection. Empanada dough is similar to pie crust, but is a little less flaky and more tender.

Empanadas can be filled with anything from chicken to cheese to vegetables, but my favorite version is filled with spicy beef picadillo.

The secret to making the best empanadas at home

To make empanadas, you’ll need Goya empanada disks. These are truly a game changer when it comes to making empanadas at home. These frozen “discos” mean you can have delicious homemade empanadas without the hassle of making your own dough from scratch. It’s a great shortcut, similar to using premade wrappers for these Air Fryer Egg Rolls.

The dough comes in two sizes (regular and mini) and in yellow or white. For these empanadas, I used regular-sized yellow disks. You can use either color, but I love the subtle earthy flavor that the addition of annatto gives the yellow dough.

Can you freeze homemade empanadas?

Yes! These empanadas freeze really well, so I love making a double batch to have on hand for easy snacks or appetizers. Let the empanadas cool to room temperature, then freeze them for up to 6 months. Pop them back in the air fryer for a few minutes to heat them when you’re ready to eat.

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Air Fryer Empanadas

Air Fryer Empanadas are the perfect handheld appetizer or snack. They’re just as tasty as the deep-fried version with much less grease.

  • Author: Lauren Keating
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 cup green olives
  • 2 Tbsp. raisins
  • 10 empanada disks (Goya brand), thawed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. water

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the beef and cumin to the skillet. Cook, breaking up with a spatula, until browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the olives and raisins.
  4.  Working with one empanada disk at a time, scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of the beef mixture onto the center of each disk. Fold the dough over the filling, then use the tines of a fork to press the edges of the dough together, sealing it tightly. Repeat with the remaining empanada dough.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush onto the empanadas.
  6. Spray your air fryer basket with nonstick spray. Add as many empanadas as will fit in a single layer – likely 2-6 depending on the size of your air fryer.
  7. Air fry at 325°F for 8 minutes.
  8. Repeat with the remaining empanadas.

Air Fryer Empanadas
Air Fryer Empanadas

Lauren Keating

Lauren has been cooking for as long as she can remember and shares her recipes at Healthy-Delicious.com, where she features on easy weeknight meals with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. She completed the professional plant-based cooking certification from Rouxbe cooking school and enjoys using plant-based cooking techniques to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and grains into traditional recipes in unique ways. Food-obsessed from a young age, her first words included “cookie” and “eat meat!”