Easy Beef and Cheese Empanadas

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beef and cheese empanadas

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner and I plan on celebrating at home with my easy beef and cheese empanadas recipe. I have always loved empanadas, but I was always too intimidated to make them at home.

Well, I finally made them and I’ll tell you my little secret – I used refrigerated pie dough for my pastry instead of making it from scratch. It cuts down on so much of the prep time! That’s why this recipe is so easy to make, you could whip it up on a weeknight.

beef empanadas recipe

To pair with my beef and cheese empanadas, I usually serve them up with a store-bought salsa and a fresh green salad with some sliced avocado on top. Of course, a bottle of Modelo Especial or Corona Light is what I reach for when throwing a Cinco de Mayo party.

corona beer

Corona Light is a light beer that doesn’t compromise on flavor with just 99 calories. I love the refreshing taste of this pilsner-style lager when paired with these savory empanadas and I like giving my corona a fresh twist of lime.

modelo beer

Modelo is the beer with a fighting spirit because it’s a Mexican lager that’s brewed with time, effort and determination. Modelo Especial is more complex and rich in flavor when compared to Corona Light. It has a clean, crisp taste that’s refreshing.

I like putting out both options for my friends and family so they can choose!

empanada recipe

Here’s how you can re-create my beef and cheese empanadas at home for your own little Cinco de Mayo celebration:

easy empanada recipe


makes 12 empanadas



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (80%)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • Salt + pepper
  • ½ cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 package shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 packages prepared pie dough (2 sheets per box)
  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water


PREPARATION – Beef Filling

  1. Take your frozen prepared pie dough out of the freezer at least one hour before you begin cooking to thaw.
  2. In a Dutch oven or large non-stick skillet, heat-up 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Sauté the onions for 5 minutes or until soft.
  4. Add ground beef and cook for another 5 minutes, breaking it up into a crumble and beef is browned.
  5. Add cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, diced tomatoes and a bit of salt and pepper to your beef mixture. Bring to a simmer and mix well.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool slightly while you prepare the dough.



  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rollout your thawed pie dough on a floured surface.
  3. Using a bowl, trace out a circle for your empanadas.
  4. Place your circles onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Put 2-3 tablespoons of your meat mixture into the center of your dough.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Fold your circle in half and use a bit of water to help create a seal. Press down with the end of a fork to confirm the seal.
  8. Brush your empanadas with an egg wash by combining one lightly beaten egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush over your empanadas.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.
  10. Let cool until warm, as filling will be hot. Serve with fresh salsa + enjoy!

corona light beer

Variation: Omit the cheddar cheese and add 1-2 handfuls of raisins and 2 handfuls of chopped green Spanish olives (pimento stuffed), 2 hard boiled eggs (chopped) to the meat mixture and fill as usual for a more savory and complex empanada.

corona aisle

How will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year?