4.8 from 23 votes

Ground Beef Empanadas

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Learning how to make this Ground Beef Empanadas Recipe is easier than you think and there are different ways to achieve a successful outcome. First of all, using corn masa harina instead of flour enables a less meticulous method for working the dough. As a result, the dough is easily fried in oil, yielding a beautiful golden brown color and a perfectly cooked empanada.

Ground Beef Mexican Empanadas

Types of Empanadas

Making empanadas, and the type of filling, varies depending on the country or region. For example, some parts of South America use corn flour (distinct from corn masa harina) to make their empanadas. Meanwhile, El Salvador crafts their empanadas from ripened plantains as the dough, filling them with a mixture of milk, corn starch, sugar, and other ingredients, creating a sweet dessert rather than a main course meal.

On the other hand, Mexican empanadas are crafted from corn masa harina or flour dough. You can choose from a variety of filling options, including chicken, ground beef, potato, chorizo, and many more. In our case, we will stick to a ground beef recipe. Keep in mind that the possibilities for making empanadas are endless.

Cooking Empanadas

The cooking process varies depending on the ingredients used. With corn masa harina, the process is relatively easier. Similar to making Corn Tortillas, the masa preparation is straightforward. (Note: I also have a recipe for that). Once the masa is ready, the cooked filling is added, the empanada is closed, and it’s ready to be fried.

Mexican Empanadas in frying stage.

Serving the Empanadas

Serving the empanadas is most likely the easiest part of it all. This is where your creativity has the opportunity to flourish. In my case, I went for fresh cabbage to add a nice crunchy texture and grassy flavors, Pickled red onions for the bright flavors and color, also Cotija cheese and crema Mexicana. Lastly, I added a delicious Chipotle tomatillo salsa that made everything come together beautifully! As if that was not enough, I added fresh avocado slices to add even more creaminess to the already delicious Ground Beef Empanadas.

Ground Beef Mexican Empanadas made with corn masa harina. A ground beef recipe.

Recipe video tutorial

I would highly recommend watching my video tutorial on how to make my Mexican Groud Beef Empanadas. Having the visuals of it will give you even more tools to achieve great results. Mexican empanadas have a lot to offer in the broad spectrum of recipes available.

FULL Youtube video tutorial on how to make ground beef empanadas, Mexican-style.

If you enjoyed the video please SUBSCRIBE to my Youtube channel and don’t forget to click the bell icon so you get a notification every time we post a brand new video. Thank you!

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Ground Beef Empanadas

Recipe by Villa Cocina
4.8 from 23 votes
Course: EntreesCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

16

ea
Prep time

25

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Total time

50

minutes

There are many variations across latin America when it comes to empanadas. Todays empanadas have way less prep because we are using the all mighty corn masa harina. They are filled with flavorful ground beef, which is paired with potatoes. Its a meal to remember and one you will want to make on repeat. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb russet potatoes

  • 2 TBSP avocado oil

  • * Season with 
  • Salt to taste

  • Black pepper to taste 

  • Ground beef filling
  • 1 lb ground beef

  • 2-3 TBSP avocado oil 

  • * Season with 
  • 2 tsp paprika, smoked

  • 2 tsp guajillo, ground

  • 1 tsp ancho chile, ground

  • 1 tsp onion, ground

  • 1/2 tsp cumin, ground

  • 2 TBSP tomato paste

  • Additional ingredients
  • 1/2 ea white onion, diced  

  • 2 ea jalapenos, deseeded and diced  

  • 3 ea garlic cloves, finely minced 

  • 2 ea tomato, diced  (10 oz)

  • 1 cup beef broth, low sodium

  • Salt to taste

  • Oaxaca cheese, shredded 

  • 1/2 inch of avocado oil – frying

  • Masa- Dough
  • 3 cups masa harina

  • 1 tsp kosher salt 

  • 2- 3 cups beef broth, low sodium (room temperature)

  • Toppings
  • Chipotle tomatillo salsa

  • Mexican cream or sour cream

  • Cabbage, shredded

  • Cotija cheese 

  • Pickled red onions

  • Avocado slices

Directions

  • Ground Beef Filling: Small dice the potatoes. Feel free to peel them if you like, I’ll leave the skin on for the fiber content. Place a large pan over medium heat, and pour in the oil. Once hot, add in the potatoes. Season them with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and fully cook as they turn golden brown. Then, remove from the heat and set aside momentarily. 
  • In a separate large pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the ground meat and press down with a potato masher until flat. Let the underside brown; and then, break it apart. Lower the heat to medium. Mix in all the seasonings until well combined. Next, incorporate the onion and jalapeño. Sauté until slightly softened. Now, stir in the garlic and cook for about one minute. Mix in the tomatoes and cook until slightly softened. Pour in the beef broth and mix everything to combine. Cook until the broth has evaporated completely but meat is well moistened. Lastly, mix in the salt and stir in the cooked potatoes. Cover and remove from the heat. Allow it to cool down before filling the empanadas. 
  • Masa- Dough: Make the masa in a large bowl. Mix the masa harina and salt by hand until well distributed. Pour in the broth gradually, in small portions. And, knead in between additions, to fully hydrate it. Stop adding broth as soon as it forms a ball, feels firm but not dry. At this point, continue kneading for about 5 minutes or until smooth/soft, firm, and will not stick to your cleans hands. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, to prevent it from drying out.  
  • Make the empanadas: Have the tortillas press ready, lined with two pieces of round plastic cutouts. Roll 2 oz of the dough into a smooth ball. Then, flatten into a disk by rocking it back and forth as you apply pressure. Place between the plastic liners, in the center of the press. Close the plates and apply pressure to mold into a tortilla. Press a few more times; if needed, to even it out. Don’t leave them too thin or the empanada will break. 
  • Add the cooled ground beef filling to half of the tortilla, and top with Oaxaca cheese. Try not to overfill because the tortilla will not close. Lift the liner and fold half of the tortilla over to create a half moon shape. Firmly press the edges to enclose the empanada. Remove the plastic liner from the empanada and fry right away (Step 7) or… (read below)
  • Note: You can fry the empanadas right away following step # 7. Or, make 2-3 ahead of time, keep them covered with plastic wrap, over parchment paper. Then, fry and continue making more. Do not to make more then three empanadas ahead of time because the masa will dry out and start to crack. 
  • Frying: Heat 1/2 an inch of a good frying oil to 350°F. Carefully add in the empanadas and do not overcrowd the pan. Allow the under side to turn golden brown and cook. Meanwhile, spoon some of the oil over the top of the empanada. Once the underside looks ready, carefully flip so the other side does the same. When fully cooked and crispy, transfer onto a heat proof dish lined with paper towels. Keep them standing to drain off any excess oil. Continue frying the rest by following the previous steps. 
  • Assemble: On a plate, serve as many empanadas as you like. Top with Mexican cream, cabbage, pickled red onions, cheese, chipotle tomatillo salsa and avocado. ENJOY!

Recipe Video

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