Air Fryer Empanadas - Pro Home Cooks

I love nothing more than an overly stuffed deep fried empanada. Golden brown and super crispy on the outside stuffed with perfectly seasoned piping hot fillings. I actually remember the time where I would go to the Queens malls and stand in line to order my usual. One spicy chorizo corn empanada and one guava and cheese empanada. As a creature of habit, I would always start with the spicy chorizo so I could have the flavor of the guava and cheese linger. Is that TMI?

The problem I always had after was wanting more. No kidding, I could eat like 6 of them. My body would feel horrendous from all the oil but my soul would be very happy. With the awesome invention of the air fryer, I can now make and eat more empanadas without the guilt and I can add a touch more veggies to the them for health and balance. What’s even more awesome is that you can now find empanada wrappers in your local Spanish market in the freezer section so that’s what I decided to use. If you can’t find it, you can make your own or you can use pie dough! Just remember to roll it to a 1/8 of an inch thick.

As for fillings I went with a spicy beef perfectly seasoned with cumin, Dominican oregano, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and chili powder for a bit of a kick. I made a small roux so that theres just a bit of sauce to keep the meat tender and flavorful but not so much that everything is oozing out. As for my all time favorite, I picked up some guava jelly at my local Spanish market and sliced it into pieces. Packed it in with a couple slices of mozzarella cheese and baked them right in the air fry with a spritz of oil. They came out perfectly golden brown, crispy on the outside, burn your tongue hot on the inside but it’s worth the price to pay to be reminded of some of the best empanadas I’ve ever had.

Air Fryer Empanadas - Sweet & Savory

Ingredients for Spicy Beef Empanadas:

  • 1 small onion, quartered  
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded & quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 pack of empanadas shells
  • Eggs for brushing

Ingredient for Sweet Guava & Cheese:

  • 1 pack of empanadas shells
  • 1 pack of guava jelly, or your favorite jelly
  • Mozzarella cheese (preferably low moisture whole milk)
  • Eggs for brushing

    Instructions for Spicy Beef & Cheese Empanadas :

    1. To a food processor, add the onion, green pepper, garlic, and cilantro. Blend until everything is finely processed. Pour the sofrito to an airtight container and set aside.

    2. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon of oil to a skillet on medium heat. Once it starts to shimmer, add the ground beef along with ¼ cup of the green sofrito you made in step 1. 

    3. Using your spatula, crumble the meat into small pieces while combining it with the sofrito. Saute for 4 - 5 minutes or until the ground beef is cooked.

    4. Tilt the pan to one side and use a paper towel to collect the excess liquid. Discard the paper towel.  

    5. To the pan, add in the flour and all the seasonings (cumin, oregano, cilantro, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, salt and pepper). Mix to combine. Cook for 30 - 45 seconds.

    6. Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes to break down the tomato. Slowly pour in ¼ cup of water while simultaneously mixing to avoid any lumps. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes. The meat should be saucy but not runny. Shut the flame off and let cool.

    7. Place one of your empanada wrappers shiny side down. Using a tablespoon, place two tablespoons worth of filling to the center.

    8. Seal by folding in half & crimp with a fork or follow the photos below to achieve a twisted border.

    9. Brush the tops with a beaten egg then using a knife make a slit to allow steam to escape. Air fry at 400F for 7 - 8  minutes or until golden brown. Serve with some sofrito & sour cream. Enjoy!

      Instructions for Guava & Cheese Empanadas :

      1. Place your empanada wrappers shiny side down.

      2. Add about 1 slice of guava jelly or 1 tablespoon of your favorite jelly to the center of the dough. Top with a slice of mozzarella or 1 tablespoon worth of shredded mozzarella.

      3. Seal by folding in half & crimping the edges with a fork or follow the photos above to achieve a twisted border.  

      4. Brush the tops with a beaten egg then using a knife make a slit in the center of the empanada to allow steam to escape. 

      5. Airfry at 400 for 6 - 7 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy while still warm. 

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        By Alex C

        Senior Food Writer at Pro Home Cooks