Crispy golden brown empanadas are fun to eat–and make! Recruit a sibling to help you crimp the edges of your empanadas.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
If using homemade Pie Dough, sprinkle flour over clean counter. Place dough on floured counter and sprinkle dough with a little extra flour. Use rolling pin to roll dough into 14-inch circle, about ⅛ inch thick, rotating dough and reflouring counter in between rolls. (Store-bought dough is already rolled out.)
Using 3¾-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 10 rounds of dough, discarding dough scraps. Transfer dough rounds to parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover baking sheet loosely with plastic and refrigerate while making filling.
In 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium heat for 1 minute (oil should be hot but not smoking). Add beef, shallot, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, and salt. Cook until beef is no longer pink, about 3 minutes, stirring often with wooden spoon to break up meat.
Carefully pour ¼ cup water into skillet and cook until mixture is thick but not dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and let cool slightly, then refrigerate mixture until completely cooled, about 30 minutes.
Once filling is chilled, use clean wooden spoon to stir in cheese and cilantro.
Remove baking sheet from refrigerator and discard plastic. Use 1-tablespoon measuring spoon to place 1 tablespoon filling in center of each dough round. Shape, seal, and crimp empanadas.
Use 1 cup rinsed black beans instead of ground beef and ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese instead of Monterey Jack cheese. In step 4, add beans along with shallot and cook until warmed through, about 3 minutes. In step 5, use back of wooden spoon to mash up beans in bowl before refrigerating.
You can stuff these savory pockets with just about anything! We made a classic ground beef and cheese filling, but you can also try our vegetarian option with black beans. But don’t stop there. You can get creative, making empanada fillings out of different kinds of cooked meats, vegetables, and cheeses. Just be sure to follow our sealing and crimping directions so the good stuff doesn’t burst out of the dough wrappers.