Beef Empanadas

Our favorite Mexican dish - Beef Empandas in Red Chili sauce { } A crispy, airy taco made from dough and filled with red chile sauce, shredded beef, and olives.

We make Mexican food a TON at our home. It’s something I grew up having coming from a hispanic family, and it’s something we all love. Yes, I know I don’t look like I’m half Mexican, but I am, and I’m so grateful I have learned to make so many Mexican dishes over the years.

Of all the Mexican recipes we make, there is one that is the entire family’s favorite. They’re called Beef Empandas. Have you had them before? You can find them in restaurants, but in my opinion, they don’t taste 1/10 as good as the ones my Grandma Luna would make. Fortunately, my grandma taught my mom how to make them and my mom is the only one in the family who makes them still. When I had my baby back in October and my mom came in town to help, I also asked if she would teach me how to make Empandas. I am happy to report that I NOW know how to make this delicious recipe. And if this sounds crazy, it was on my “Bucket List” in life (to learn how to make empandas). I have only made them once since she has left, but I was so excited I did it all on my own and that they tasted just like my mom’s. The hubby was especially excited because these are his favorite as well.


So, what are empandas exactly? They’re a a crispy, airy fried taco filled with red chile beef and olives. I admit they don’t sound super great from that description, but I promise you they are! In fact, we have tons of family and friends who tell us all they want for their birthdays is a plate of empandas. It’s true! I’m so glad I can make them myself now and hope to one day teach my own children so they can continue to make this family favorite recipe.

I really hope you give these a try, because I think you’ll love them just as much as we do. Although we won’t be in Arizona for Christmas Eve, my entire family (cousins and all) will be gathering to eat Empandas and other favorite Mexican dishes. It’s a bit sad knowing I won’t be there, but I’m glad my mom has taken the time to teach me some of these recipes so we can still enjoy them being away from “home”.

Here’s the recipe for these amazing Beef Empandas:

Beef Empanadas Recipe

5 from 2 votes
A crispy, airy fried taco filled with red chile beef and olives.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Let dough set 4 hours
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 455 kcal
Author Lil' Luna



  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening or lard
  • 1 1/4 cups water


  • 2 1/2 lb roast beef cooked and shredded (I cook mine the day before using my Crock Pot Roast Recipe)
  • red enchilada sauce
  • diced olives
  • vegetable oil for frying


  1. Dough: Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon until mixed well and a little sticky. Pinch away a golf ball size piece of dough and roll into a ball. Set onto a plate and cover with seran wrap for 4-6 hours (we usually make ours in the morning to be ready for dinner)

  2. Coat meat with red enchilada sauce and add a small can of diced olives (however much you like). Set aside.
  3. Roll out dough ball on a floured surface to about a 5-6 inch radius.
  4. When dough is rolled out put about ¼ cup of roast beef mixture on one side of the disk. Fold the other half over and pinch around the entire edge.
  5. Deep fry in ½" oil on medium heat on both sides until golden brown.
  6. Let set on a paper towel lined paper plate.
  7. Serve warm.


I think lard works better than shortening, but lard and shortening both work.

You can buy your red Enchilada sauce, but I like the same sauce I use as my Red Cheese Enchiladas. Go HERE  for that recipe.

I also make my Shredded beef the day before using my Crock Pot Roast recipe.

Our favorite Mexican dish - Beef Empandas in Red Chili sauce { } A crispy, airy taco made from dough and filled with red chile sauce, shredded beef, and olives.

Our favorite Mexican dish - Beef Empandas in Red Chili sauce { } A crispy, airy taco made from dough and filled with red chile sauce, shredded beef, and olives.

Seriously, my friends – these are amazing!

I’m dying to know if you try them and like them too. 🙂

For more great Mexican dishes be sure to check out:

Restaurant-Style Mexican Rice - it is one of the easiest and most delicious recipes you'll try!! Our whole family loves it!

Mexican Rice

Restaurant-Style Red Cheese Enchiladas - an old family favorite recipe that is simply the best. Corn tortillas filled with tomato sauce, chile puree, salt & garlic pepper and topped with lots of cheese.

Red Cheee Enchiladas

These are SOOO good! You will love these Cream Cheese and Chicken Taquitos. They are a great dinner recipe that the whole family will enjoy!

Cream Cheese and Chicken Taquitos

Mmm – I LOVE Mexican Food!

For all recipes on the site be sure to go HERE.

For all Dinner ideas go HERE.

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Kellyn Carpenter

Kellyn is a mom of 4 and loves to try and test out new recipes. She loves to find the best dinner and dessert recipes around and share them with those in the blogosphere.

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  1. Oh my goodness – I’m drooling. I would probably do some with carnitas too as that is my absolute TO DIE FOR favorite. If you happen to have a recipe for that – send it on my way. Seriously obsessed with it. 🙂 I can’t wait to make these. They look so good.

  2. Kristyn, Recipe states to leave the dough on a plate covered for 4-6 hours….my question is: do you leave it out on your kitchen counter or in the refrigerator? Please let me know ‘cuz I can’t wait to make these!

  3. So I felt a little intimidated trying something as yummy and tricky sounding as Empanadas, but this was SO easy (& amazingly yummy!). They are literally like little meat donuts. My whole family gave it a thumbs up and my friends were impressed to hear I’d made Empanadas-I just tell them Lil Luna recipes are yummy and EASY. Try it, you won’t be disappointed!

  4. I cant wait to make these. Im half mexican too and i dont look like it either. My grandma would always make her tamales with a black olive in the middle. Ive never seen anyone else do it. When i saw your empanandas with a black olive, it made me really miss my grandma. My grandma would Make her empanaDas Sweet by adding pumpkin in them. SounDs gross but its really good. Some meXican baKeries make them that way still. Thanks for sharing your recipe