Looking for a new way to spice up Taco Tuesdays? Need to learn how to make empanadas or just find new empanada filling ideas?
Well, look no more! I’ve researched and compiled only the best empanada recipes and empanada fillings recipes alike, just for you!
Making empanadas may seem like a daunting task but I’ve found it to be easier than expected. The process of making and baking these fun-filled pouches with the family gives us quality time together and has become a fast favorite!
Why don’t you dive into this list and find the best empanada recipe for you?
1. Chicken Empanadas
Who doesn’t love chicken empanadas? It’s hard to go wrong with these pockets of goodness, especially in this recipe!
Each bite packs a punch with a spice mix including onion powder, peppers, garlic, tomato paste, cilantro, egg, and more, so you don’t have to worry about these being boring!
The chicken bouillon really makes the flavor that much bolder!
With a satisfying crunch into that savory empanada filling, what more could you ask for?
And if your eyes are bigger than your stomach? Don’t worry. These freeze easily without losing their taste or crunchy outer shell!
2. Easy Beef Empanadas
If you want hearty, comforting beef empanadas without much work, this easy recipe is a must-try!
The beef filling may be more traditional in some Latin American countries, but what’s special about these is the clever use of cinnamon for a unique “POP” among the other spices.
Unlike other easy-make recipes out there that use substitute doughs like pre-made pie crusts, this one focuses on making real dough.
Chilled butter and an egg wash go a long way in making the flaky, golden crust we’re so fond of!
3. Baked Chicken Empanadas
Empanadas may have Spanish origins, but I love that anyone can take the skeleton structure and flesh it out how they like, don’t you?
These Filipino-inspired empanadas are said to closely resemble Cuban picadillo bundled into an edible shell.
While a traditional empanada may focus on spices and heat, the Filipino sweet tooth opts for a bit of sweet and savory all in one. The raisins may seem bizarre at first but the sweetness ties the dish together!
I find the Filipino style of empanadas to be my absolute favorite! You must give this recipe a try.
4. Baked Beef Empanadas
If you’re always busy like me, you’ll enjoy these homemade empanadas that can be made in stages to give yourself a well-deserved break.
Making empanada dough the night before means simply filling them before dinner is done! How quick was that?
If the oven needs time to preheat, cool the filled packets for about 20 minutes in the fridge.
The green olives make for a vibrant, salty taste true to Argentine roots when it comes time to eat!
In the meantime, why not crack open a cold one and join your family for some quality time?
5. Peruvian Beef Empanada Filling
If you’ve ever wanted to make empanadas but thought the crust was too hard to make, that’s okay!
Empanada fillings are a whole meal by themselves and help fill my family up whenever I’m too tired!
Hard-boiled eggs don’t get enough love in my opinion, so being able to use them in this recipe adds to the satisfying protein factor for all the carnivores out there.
Would you believe me if I said adding powdered sugar is authentically Peruvian?
Well, it is! A light dusting over empanadas with this filling and lime wedges will jive with all taste buds.
6. Argentine Beef Empanadas
Do you know what’s beautiful about Argentina? Variety, variety, variety!
This is another Argentine recipe with just a liiiiittle variation on the other one we reviewed earlier but still manages to stand out from the crowd of popular empanada recipes.
Here, the star is the parsley which adds that bright freshness that many dishes so desperately need to balance the rest of the flavors dancing on your tongue.
Still not satisfied? The recipe even recommends other empanada-filling ideas that you would still see throughout Argentina.
7. Best Puerto Rican Empanadas
Puerto Rico’s people are proud of their heritage and their cuisine – as they should be! This small island nation has a big heart that is plain to see in this beef empanada recipe.
I use the Goya brand premade sofrito I find at the supermarket to save myself a little time when I’m making empanadas.
But they say it takes two to tango! That’s where the Sazón con Azafran comes in!
The saffron isn’t overpowering and gives the filling its unique color.
8. Fried Beef Empanadas
Is there anything better than fried food? I say good fried food is better!
So take that traditional baking method along with your caution and throw it to the wind!
By frying these empanadas, you get a light, crunchy crust with a great twist on the usual bite of empanadas. Raw insides? Simply cook them most of the way beforehand!
Are you worried about the oil popping while you fry? No need to fret. You can get the same results but healthier using an air fryer!
9. Caramel Apple Empanadas
The only dessert recipe on this list just makes me think mm-mmm delicious!
This sweet confection is far from traditional but demands seconds every time I serve it!
Swapping out the usual savory fillings and spices for the tart kick of Granny Smith green apples and the rich, velvety taste of caramel makes this an especially memorable dessert.
This is also the perfect opportunity to try a little something new!
Dulce de leche is another wonderful filling idea, or go one step further with cajeta – a unique dulce de leche-like sweet made with goat milk!
10. Pork and Colombian Beef Empanadas
Easy empanada filling ideas that can satiate the meat-eater in your family can be hard to come by. That problem is a thing of the past with this deeply satisfying empanada recipe!
The filling in these homemade empanadas has a blend of juicy pork with classic ground beef guaranteed to scratch that craving itch every time.
For me, the cornmeal is what makes this dish that extra flavor and texture seen throughout Latin America.
Try finding the masarepa-type of cornflour to make your empanadas even more authentic!
11. Cheesy Beef Empanadas
When you have a cheese addiction like me, you’ll do anything you can to stuff cheese into as many meals as possible.
This recipe for empanadas calls for two and a half cups of cheese (Monterey Jack and cheddar) right out of the gate.
But I dream of the day that I add a little bit more cheese by baking it into the crust.
Cheese isn’t the only thing going on here, though; pickled jalapeños will perk you right up if you aren’t expecting the spice on your first big bite!
12. Authentic Beef Mexican Fried Empanadas
Mexico may be the first country that pops into your head when thinking of Latin American food, but true Mexican cuisine is vastly different from most Tex-Mex places you have been to.
For one, the cheese is usually a suggestion more than an integral part of the dish (my heart hurts saying that), but the ingredients are also very clean with few additives that the U.S. loves to feed us.
Lemon pepper is what gives this dish its zesty pep, something I’m fond of in other dishes like pasta as well!
13. Chilean Beef Empanadas
These empanadas are certainly beefy (pardon the pun)!
Their size really makes just one or two of them a full meal and lends themselves to replacing lunch sandwiches if prepared ahead of time.
Each empanada is bursting at the seams with one-third of a cup of the beef filling – I could barely fold the dough over all the innards when I made these!
Milk in the egg wash literally seals the deal on these incredible pastries, but the whole black olives are the star with their comforting, mellow saltiness.
14. Mushroom Cheese Empanadas
Vegetarians rejoice! There are still great savory empanada-filling ideas waiting just for you!
I like how raw and simple this version of empanadas feels with just a few fresh ingredients it uses.
You could go with mozzarella to fill the cheese slot here, but why wouldn’t you try something else in the great big world of cheese?
Fontina gives the empanadas the cheesy stretch with pronounced notes of toasted nuts for anyone that wants a bit more of a developed taste on their palate.
15. Caprese Empanadas
Who said food has to be difficult to be finger-licking good? Not the Italians, that’s for sure! Caprese anything is a sure bet with many, and the Caprese empanada is no exception.
Just five ingredients go into this cross-culture pollination recipe, and their easy preparation makes for tantalizing finger food for any celebration!
What’s that, I hear you say? Do you want more options? Okay, okay, these Caprese empanadas do have great flavor by themselves, but you can pair them with your favorite dipping sauce to level up your taste game.
16. Cheesy Chicken Empanadas
Cheese! Who doesn’t like cheese? Even the lactose-intolerant people in my life love cheese!
Combine cheese with the world’s most consumed meat, and you have a timeless comfort food enjoyed by all ages.
Even though this recipe doesn’t call for all that much ooey-gooey cheese that creates those whimsical strands as you pull apart the empanada, the added cream cheese really kicks up the rich, fatty flavor.
I would say that cream cheese is one of the unique empanada fillings I encountered on this list. Dessert empanada included!
17. Easy Black Bean Vegan Empanadas
Following a vegan diet doesn’t mean that you should be missing out on scrumptious meals or entire cultures of food, right?
This recipe is surprisingly easy to make and packs just as much flavor into it as any meat could.
What makes these empanadas truly special is the use of puff pastry (make sure it’s vegan!) for a wholly different but tasty, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
With plenty of filling black beans, the zesty flavor pops through the cilantro and has the option of being as spicy as you want it to through your choice of hot sauce!
17 Best Empanada Recipes
- 1 c. finely chopped cooked chicken
- 2/3 c. shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
- 3 tbsps. cream cheese, softened
- 4 tsps chopped sweet red pepper
- 2 tsps chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 sheets refrigerated pie crust
- Set your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius for the metric users out there).
- Combine all the ingredients (except the pie crust) into a small bowl, ensuring everything gets mixed around thoroughly.
- Sprinkle flour over a clean, dry surface. Roll the pie crusts into 15-inch diameter circles. Using a floured 3-inch cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible.
- For each circle, place approximately 1 teaspoon of the mixed filling onto half of the circle.
- Moisten the circle’s edge with water before folding the pie crust over the filling and press with a fork to seal in the good stuff.
- After sealing each empanada, transfer it to a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool before enjoying warm.