Just For Fun

Beef Empanadas — A Kid-Friendly Lunch Recipe for Families

by Gina Homolka

My kids love empanadas (and so does my husband!). They are perfect to make whenever I have leftover picadillo or taco meat. Typically, empanadas are deep fried, but using the air fryer gets them golden and crisp without the oil and they take under 10 minutes to cook. I make a few at night and refrigerate them, then pop them in my daughter’s lunchbox the next day.

If you don’t have an air fryer you can bake them on a nonstick baking sheet in a 400-degree oven until golden, about 18 minutes. You can find the empanada dough in the freezer in most supermarkets.


Makes 8 empanadas


  • 8 Goya empanada discs (in frozen section), thawed
  • 1 cup picadillo or taco meat
  • 1 egg white, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon water


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 325 degrees F for 8 minutes. Spray the basket generously with cooking spray.
  1. Place 2 tablespoons of picadillo in the center of each disc. Fold in half and use a fork to seal the edges. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  1. Whisk the egg whites with water, then brush the tops of the empanadas.
  2. Bake 2 or 3 at a time in the air fryer for 8 minutes, or until golden. Remove from heat and repeat with the remaining empanadas.