Ground Beef Empanadas (w/ Sweet Potato!)

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These sweet potato ground beef empanadas are made with a simple homemade dough and a delicious spiced sweet potato and ground beef filling. Don’t forget to dip your empanadas in the irresistible green sauce.

Empanadas with green sauce on top.

Super Easy Ground Beef Empanadas

These ground beef empanadas are pretty easy to make! And guess what? You even make a simple homemade dough. You are not going to believe how simple and delicious these delicious little morsels are.

Another great thing about this recipe is that you have a choice about how you are going to make them; in the oven or the air fryer. Both methods are easy and delicious.

Why you’ll love it!

Reasons why you’ll love it.

The flavorful filling and crispy outside makes for the most delicious dinner.

You dip these empanadas in an extraordinary green sauce that is so delicious.

You can make a batch of these empanadas and eat half immediately and half later!

Empanada dough wrapped in plastic wrap.

Featured Ingredients

  • Flour: be sure to use fresh, all purpose flour for this recipe. If you use a whole wheat or white whole wheat you will end up with a tough or dense empanada.
  • Sweet potatoes: it doesn’t matter what color sweet potato you use. They give great texture and nutrition to these little empanadas.
  • Ground beef: the ground beef is kind of the star of the show. They give these empanadas a salty and rich flavor.
  • Spices: the filling for these empanadas are spiced rather than mixed with a saucy sauce or cheese. The spices we use are simple, cumin, salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano.
  • Green sauce: you are going to add this green sauce to the roaster for things to dip everything at your house. It is a mixture of fresh herbs, lime juice, vinegar and more.

green sauce in bowl.

easy

green sauce

These empanadas are served with an easy to make green sauce that is packed with flavor. And? We slather it on everything. Check out this whole post for all the green sauce details.

Make it!

Simple Instructions

mix up the green sauce

Place all the ingredients for the green sauce into a food processor and process. If the green sauce is to dry and not processing, you may need a bit more oil or a bit of water. Process until it reaches your desired consistency. Place it in the refrigerator.

Make the dough

Before cooking up the fillling, you’re going to want to make the dough for these empanadas. They need about 30 minutes to rest in the refrigerator.

 Mix the purpose flour, salt, and 1 tablespoon of oil to a large bowl and mix together. It should start to look a little crumbly. Start adding the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring it until it becomes very coarse and crumbly. 

Though the mixture will feel crumbly, it should take shape when you mold it with your hands. Shape the dough into a disk and tightly cover the dough with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Empanada dough in a bowl.

Cook Up the filling

While the empanada dough is in the refrigerator, mix up the filling. Cook the ground beef in a large skillet and add the spices to the beef. Cook the beef until it is almost fully cooked.

Remove the beef from the skillet but leave the drippings and cook the vegetables with the rest of the spice mixture in the skillet for 5-7 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the ground beef to the skillet as well as the white onion, cilantro, and apple sider vinegar.

Ingredients in a skillet.

Assemble the empanadas

Don’t be nervous to assemble the empanadas, it can even be fun!

 After the dough has rested, cut the disk into 8 triangles. Roll those triangles into balls and then place them on a floured surface. Roll out each ball of dough into a circle with a rolling pin, roughly 4 inches. 

Place 1-2 tablespoons of the ground beef mixture into the center of the empanada. Dip your finger into some water and trace it along the outside of one half of the empanada. Fold the dough over the filling and squeeze the edges together to seal completely.

Sweet Potato Ground Beef Empanadas on parchment paper before baking.

Cook the Empanadas

Air Fryer Instructions: Preheat your air fryer to 400℉. Spray your air fryer with cooking spray and place 2-4 empanadas in the basket. Brush each empanada with oil using a pastry brush. Fry for 3 minutes, flip and fry for an additional 3-4 minutes. 

Baking Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place the empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush each empanada with oil using a pastry brush. Bake the empanadas for 10 minutes. Flip the empanadas and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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Top Tips

If the dough isn’t sticking together, don’t freak out. This empanada dough is very forgiving. If you mix up the empanada dough and it doesn’t stick together when you try to shape it, add a teaspoon of water to the mixture and try again.

Add whatever filling you would like. We wanted to keep the filling simple and spiced. If there are other ingredients you’d like to add to the empanadas, go for it.

Make sure the empanadas are sealed. In order for the empanadas to stay sealed, don’t skip wetting the outer edges of the empanada and sealing them with your fingers or a fork.

FAQ

What are beef empanadas made of?

These beef empanadas are made with ground beef, spices, sweet potatoes, and fresh onion and cilantro.

What are 3 types of empanadas?

There are so many different types of empanadas in the world. Ground beef empanadas, cheese empanadas, and shredded chicken empanadas are our favorite.

What country are beef empanadas from?

Empanadas have influence from Spain, Argentina, and many other countries around the world.

Do I have to make homemade dough for these empanadas?

No, feel free to use store bought dough for this recipe!

Storage

Let these empanadas cool and store them in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freezing Instructions

To freeze the empanadas wrap them individually in parchment paper and store in a freezer storage bag for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen follow steps 6 or 7. Cooking times are the same.

Sweet Potato Ground Beef Emanadas on a plate with topping.

Sweet Potato Ground Beef Empanadas

These sweet potato ground beef empanadas are an easy at-home meal to make with the whole family. They are made with homemade dough, an easy ground beef filling, and served with a green sauce.

Prep:1 hour 30 minutes

Cook:30 minutes

Total:2 hours

Fat 28

Carbs 34

Protein 10

Ingredients

Green Sauce

  • 2 cups cilantro packed
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 10 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 green onions ends trimmed
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

Empanada Filling

  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground oregano
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons coarse salt
  • ½ – lb. ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup avocado oil or olive oil separated
  • 1 small sweet potato peeled and diced into ¼-inch cubes
  • ½ small white onion minced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro minced
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions 

  • Make Green sauce: Place all of the ingredients for the sauce into a food processor and pulse until combined. Add the sauce into a bowl and place the sauce in the refrigerator for later.

  • Make Empanada Dough: Add the all purpose flour, salt, and 1 tablespoon of oil to a large bowl and mix together. It should start to look a little crumbly.

  • Next, start adding the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring it until it becomes very coarse and crumbly.

  • Shape the dough into a disk and tightly cover the dough with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

  • While the dough is in the refrigerator, prepare the empanada filling: Add the cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and salt to a small bowl and mix. Set aside.

  • Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat and add the ground beef to the skillet. Break the beef up with a spatula into small pieces and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the minced garlic to the beef and toss. Finally, add half of the spice mixture to the ground beef and mix again. Cook the beef until just fully cooked, about 5 minutes.

  • Remove the skillet from the heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the ground beef and place it in a separate bowl. Leave the beef drippings in the bottom of the skillet.

  • Add ½ tablespoon of oil to the skillet (or more, depending how much beef drippings there is) and place back over medium/high heat. Add the sweet potato to the skillet and toss with the oil. Add the rest of the spices to the sweet potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked but not mushy.

  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add the ground beef to the sweet potatoes and toss the two ingredients together. Add the white onion, cilantro, and apple cider vinegar to the ground beef and toss together until combined. Set aside.

  • Assemble empanadas: After the dough has rested, cut the disk into 8 triangles. Roll those triangles into balls and then place them on a floured surface. Roll out each ball of dough into a circle with a rolling pin, roughly 4 inches.

  • Place 1-2 tablespoons of the ground beef mixture into the center of the empanada. Dip your finger into some water and trace it along the outside of one half of the empanada. Fold the dough over the filling and squeeze the edges together to seal completely.

  • Air Fryer Instructions: Preheat your air fryer to 400℉. Spray your air fryer with cooking spray and place 2-4 empanadas in the basket. Brush each empanada with oil using a pastry brush. Fry for 3 minutes, flip and fry for an additional 3-4 minutes.

  • Baking Instructions: Preheat the oven to 400ºF and place the empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush each empanada with oil using a pastry brush. Bake the empanadas for 10 minutes. Flip the empanadas and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Remove the empanadas and serve with the herb sauce.

Tips & Notes

  • The sauce is supposed to be a bit chunky.
  • If you want the beef mixture to be spicy, use a hot sauce instead of apple cider vinegar.
  • The air fried empanadas may not be golden brown depending on what oil you use.
  • Freezer Instructions: To freeze the empanadas wrap them individually in parchment paper and store in a freezer storage bag. To reheat from frozen follow steps 6 or 7. Cooking times are the same.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 423kcal Carbohydrates: 34g Protein: 10g Fat: 28g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 3g

Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.



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