As someone who writes recipes for a living and who cites eating as one of her favorite hobbies, I only recently ate my first empanada.
While looking for ways to use up leftovers during one of my best air fryer reviews, I discovered this air fryer empanadas recipe that immediately piqued my interest.
It combines crispy pastry with a soft salty filling, and I’ve made them as part of my main meals, but also miniature versions for snacks and my children’s lunchboxes. I’ve also since experimented with a range of fillings.
Below, I've laid out the instructions for how to make air fryer empanadas, whether you’ve got leftovers to use up, you’re craving comfort food or you’re just looking for new pastry recipes.
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Air fryer empanadas recipe
The air fryer empanadas recipe I followed and the corresponding picadillo recipe, is from Gina Homolka via her @skinnytaste TikTok channel, and it's been watched 603k times and counting.
Air fryer empanadas ingredients
For the picadillo filling:
1-1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 large chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp pitted green olives
For the empanadas:
Empanada discs – you can also use pie pastry/shortcrust pastry
Air fryer empanadas method
To make air fryer empanadas you will need the following:
Step 1: Begin by making the picadillo. Finely chop the onion, mince the garlic, and add both to a pan of oil on low-medium heat. Cook until the onion starts to soften. You can also add cumin or other spices at this stage.
Step 2: Add the ground beef and cook until it starts to turn brown.
Step 3: Once the ground beef is almost cooked, add the tomato sauce and olives. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced.
Step 4: If you’re making your own empanada discs, roll out the pastry. Place a circular bowl upside down on the pastry sheet and cut around it with a knife.
Step 5: Once the picadillo mixture has finished cooking, leave it to cool. It's possible to add the mixture to the discs and pastry when warm but this can make them softer and cause them to fall apart.
Step 6: Add a spoonful of picadillo mixture to the center of your pastry circles.
Step 7: Fold the circle in half to create a semi-circle and encase the picadillo inside. Use your fingers, or a fork to pinch the edges together to form a seal.
Step 8: Brush the empanadas with egg wash and place in the air fryer at 380°F (195°C) for eight to 10 minutes, or until golden.
Step 9: Serve!
Air fryer empanadas verdict
I hadn’t ever tried an empanada before making this recipe so I wasn’t sure what to expect but they’re delicious.
The crispy crust works so well with the soft meat, sweet tomato, and olives. All the juice soaks into the pastry, to give it a lovely salty, garlicky taste and they’re such a great way to use up leftover meat if you don’t want to make picadillo from scratch.
Since trying this recipe for the first time I’ve made both small and large empanadas. The mini versions are great for my children’s lunchboxes or after-school snacks.
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