Taco Empanadas with Pie Crust

5 from 15 votes

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Taco empanadas are a cinch to make with refrigerated pie crust instead of empanada dough. Make this easy Tex Mex recipe for dinner tonight!

three empanadas with pie crust stacked on white plate

Some people call these hand pies and some prefer to call them empanadas. Technically, I guess they could be called either.

Easy Meal Planning – 3 meals from 1

I want to share an idea with you. This is a great way to plan dinners for the week. There are a lot of ways to do this, but here’s an example to help you visualize it.

On taco night, you could cook a double or triple batch of ground beef for tacos. Do the same thing with refried beans and arroz rojo (Mexican red rice).

Dinner One

That night, you’ll enjoy a delicious taco dinner. Just be sure to chop up extra tomatoes and onion, shred extra cheese, jalapenos, or whatever else you use for taco toppings.

Dinner Two

The next night, you’ll make taco salad. Half of the ingredients are already prepped and ready to reheat, so it doesn’t get much easier!

Dinner Three

On the third night, use up the leftovers by making your family taco hand pies… or if you prefer, call them empanadas with pie crust!

Taco Empanadas

Confession: Sometimes when I make empanadas with pie crust, I feel like I’m cheating. I mean, I have a recipe for empanada dough and it’s super easy to make. So, why not make it? Well, because sometimes life is BUSY, and when we get home, the last thing we want to do is spend any more time than necessary putting dinner together.

Do you ever feel like that? If so, I totally understand, but using shortcuts is not cheating; it’s smart!

baked mini tacos stacked on white plates

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Refrigerated Pie Crusts- The brand you use doesn’t matter at all. Just about every brand sells them in packages of two; presumably for using to make a double crust pie.

    The recipe shown below uses 2 boxes, or 4 crusts, and it makes 24 taco empanadas. Of course, if you prefer to make authentic empanadas, you can use my empanada dough recipe. If you go that route, make some sweet apple empanadas for dessert!
  • Lean ground beef– Feel free to swap this out and use any other ground meat of your choice like chicken, turkey, or even ground pork.
  • Taco seasoning– Feel free to buy a packet of premixed seasoning if you want. Otherwise, homemade taco seasoning is great to have on hand.
  • Refried beans– Again, buy the canned beans, or use my recipe to make authentic refried beans.
  • Shredded cheese– I use two types of shredded cheese because I like the extra flavors. Any type of shredded cheese is fine.

🎯 Smart Shopper’s Tip

Bags of shredded cheese are convenient, but because the shreds are coated in an anti-caking agent, they don’t melt very well. For the best meltability, buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself. It’s less expensive per ounce, too!

step by step Mini Taco Hand Pies

Video: Making Empanadas with Pie Crust

Want to see how easy it is to make taco empanadas? Scroll down to the recipe card and watch the video!

Mini Taco Hand Pies

Taco Empanadas FAQ

Can you make fried empanadas with pie crust?

While it’s technically possible, deep frying pie crust isn’t going to hold up well. However, you could probably pan fry them, and it’s definitely possible to cook them in an air fryer!

How do you serve an empanada?

These little hand held taco pies make a great appetizer or party snack, but they’re great as a main dish too. Just serve them with Tex Mex or Mexican side dishes like charro beans, rice, cowboy caviar, or cactus salad!

For other Tex Mex ideas, try my recipes for Easy Chicken Tamale PieTex Mex Stuffed Peppers, or Frito Chili Pie!

baked taco empanadas stacked on white plate

This post, originally published on Kevin is Cooking April 13, 2018, was last updated with new content on Sept. 16, 2021.

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three empanadas with pie crust stacked on white plate

Taco Empanadas with Pie Crust + Video

5 from 15 votes
Taco empanadas are a cinch to make with refrigerated pie crust instead of empanada dough. Make this easy Tex Mex recipe for dinner tonight!
Servings: 24 servings
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 40 minutes



  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In a large skillet brown ground beef, red onion and Taco Seasoning Spice Blend over medium heat, breaking up to crumble.
  • Add the refried beans and stir in cheese. Set aside to cool slightly. Meat mixture will thicken.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pie crust to about 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 4 inch round circular mold (I used the refried beans container lid) cut 6 circles, re-rolling dough if needed. Repeat with other pie crusts for 24 circles.
  • Top each dough circle with about 2 tablespoons of the filling. Fold in half and press edges with a fork to seal. (You can use a 4-inch mold or dumpling press if you have one). Place on a lined baking sheet. (See Note 3)
  • Brush the tops and sides with beaten egg then pierce the top of each with a fork. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.



  1. See my Taco Seasoning Spice Bend Recipe or use your favorite.
  2. I buy a pint of refried beans and used 8 oz (1 cup) to keep the beef mixture holding together, but not too loose.
  3. These can be frozen and sealed in an air tight freezer bag or container at this point for future use. Brush with egg wash after thawed and follow remaining instructions.


Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 233mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1.3mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Tex Mex, Western
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image empanada broken open on top of taco empanadas


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. Question- can you prepare these as described, then refrigerate them to bake the following evening? I don’t want to freeze, just refrigerate. Will they get soggy? Thanks!