6-Ingredient Baked Beef Empanadas Recipe Is a 30-Minute Budget Dinner by Donna John

6-Ingredient Baked Beef Empanadas Recipe Is a 30-Minute Budget Dinner

An empanada is a Latin American version of a turnover (aka meat pie). This baked ground beef empanada recipe is another from a six-ingredient magazine from America's Test Kitchen (try their six-ingredient black bean soup).

"Traditional recipes often instruct the cook to stuff a pastry crust (usually made with masa or corn flour) with a ground or shredded meat filling, but we decided to pass on all the work of making a crust and use a store-bought pie dough instead," writes America's Test Kitchens. "For the filling, ground beef and meltable Monterey Jack cheese were musts, and for flavor and spice we tried everything from tomato paste to Rotel tomatoes, which are flavored with chiles. In the end, we settled on jarred salsa plus a few cloves of garlic, which gave us chunky, tender tomatoes; and bit of spice; and an aromatic backbone."

This was my first time making empanadas, and I'm thankful I chose this easy recipe. It was simple to prep and prepare, budget friendly and tasted amazing. I served the empanadas with refried beans (made with the leftover black bean soup), guacamole, sour cream and fresh sliced jalapenos.

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • fresh chopped cilantro, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or pepper jack cheese (or your favorite)
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts (two crusts)

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Cook the beef, salsa and garlic together in a skillet over medium-high heat until meat is cooked through and liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in chopped cilantro and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Mix well and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Take out one pie crust and cut in half.
  3. Put 1/4 of the filling onto one side of each piece of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.
  4. Fold the dough over and crimp the edges well to seal.
  5. With the tip of a sharp knife or a fork, make several vents in the dough on the top. Transfer to a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pie crust.
  6. Bake in a preheated 450-degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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Donna John
You could also cut the dough into fourths instead of halves and make mini empanadas.
Elisa Schmitz
This is so simple and delish! I grew up eating empanadas in Puerto Rico. How fun to make your own at home with so much less work. Thanks for sharing, Donna John !
Ann Marie Patitucci
Donna, you read my mind; I've been looking for an easy empanada recipe! Thank you!

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