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Cuban Beef Empanadas Recipe

Cuban Beef Empanadas (Empanadas de Carne)

Cuban Beef Empanadas are a staple at any Cuban window you pull up to in the greater Miami area. There is a reason for that. It’s has the perfection dough to beef ratio. It stays crunchy while the beef is nice and soft.

It’s easy to see that the Cuban Beef Empanadas or Empanada de Carne arose out of the need to use every last drop of food we had. Abuela made entirely too much Picadillo or Ropa Vieja and so she made them into empanadas. Look at empanadas as the perfect way to make something out of the leftovers you might have thrown out.

Making Empanadas has become pretty simple. With the help of frozen empanada dough, you can take leftovers from taking up room in the fridge into something delicious and totally new. The best part is they make the perfect grab and go snacks, or pack them right into lunch boxes. The best part is, you can freeze them, and they will last you the month.

Any time we make Picadillo, we usually try to make extra on purpose with the intention of being able to use the leftovers for different things throughout the week. In our collective decade of parenting experience, we have found that making extra for leftovers comes in very very handy.

So in this recipe today we are using our leftover Picadillo, so they are Cuban Beef Empanadas or Empanadas de Carne. However you can apply this same process to anything you have too much of. If you have chicken, you can add in a little cheese and make chicken and cheese empanadas. If you have left over beef, or veggies the same thing applies.

We are also going to be baking the Beef Empanadas, because it is lighter and a little healthier. However if you like to fry them, you can just go ahead and do this process and fry them instead.

Just watch out for which kind of empanada dough you bought. Check the packaging of your empanada dough to see if it is for baking or frying. It makes a big difference.

Let’s get started

Cuban Beef Empanadas (Empanadas de Carne)

Recipe by Abuela's CounterCourse: AppetizersCuisine: CubanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 12 empanada discs

  • 2 cups of picadillo, at room temperature

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons of milk


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Then line a sheet pan with parchment and oil so the empanadas won’t stick. Set aside.
  • In a bowl whisk the egg with milk. Set aside.
  • Lay out all the disks of empanada dough on a cutting board. Start filling each one. Fill each disc with about 1.5 tablespoons of filling. Keep in mind you want to leave about a 1/2-inch space along the border. If you overfill it could explode while baking, and then you have a mess.
  • Only brush half of the disk with egg wash. Fold the other side over and pinch with fingers or with a fork.
  • Since we are baking them, cover the top side with the egg wash mixture. Make sure to poke a tiny hole where the edges are crimped so the steam can escape.
  • Place them on prepared sheet pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Until the empanadas are golden brown.
    Serve warm.