Taco empanadas are a cinch to make with refrigerated pie crust instead of empanada dough. Make this easy Tex Mex recipe for dinner tonight!
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).
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Taco Empanadas FAQ
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!
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 Pie, Tex Mex Stuffed Peppers, or Frito Chili Pie!
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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Taco Empanadas with Pie Crust + Video
- 1 lb ground beef (80/20)
- 1 red onion medium, chopped
- 2 tbsp Taco seasoning (See Note 1)
- 1 cup refried beans (See Note 2)
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese shredded
- 4 pie crusts (frozen/thawed 2 packages double pie crusts)
- 1 egg beaten
- 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 1/4 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.
- See my Taco Seasoning Spice Bend Recipe or use your favorite.
- I buy a pint of refried beans and used 8 oz (1 cup) to keep the beef mixture holding together, but not too loose.
- 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.
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.
Even though we live in Austin, Texas, we are NOT Tex-Mex snobs. Nope…we love it all. I cook for the whole family & these empanadas are a big hit with the grandchildren. Sometimes I change it up with black beans & corn but always use the red onion. Thanks so much for posting such an easy, delicious, family-friendly recipe.
Thanks and so appreciate you trying it and coming back to let me know Lisa. Enjoy!
These were delicious. The beans do a great job of holding the filling together but it blends in well enough not to scare those that don’t like beans.
Thanks so glad you enjoyed this one Courtney. 🙂
Just love the taco empanadas!
I look forward to you emails.
That makes me smile, thanks so much Shelly!
I made these for game day and they were a big hit. I added 1/4 pound of chorizo as well. The beans and cheese added a creamy texture and held the filling together really well. I also made a little dipping sauce out of sour cream and chili verde salsa that I had on hand. This recipe is a definite keeper!
Kevin! Just wondering what you recommend lining the pan with? I ran out of parchment, but have aluminum foil… do I need to make a store run😬..?
Foil would be fine Liz. Hope you enjoy them!
I love everything Kevin cooks! His recipes are easy to follow and delicious! I love this recipe and will make this soon. I’m going to change it up a bit (I hope you don’t mind) but I’m going to omit the beans and cheese and add a little corn, sautéed carrots and peas. This recipe reminds me of a taco, empanada, pasty combo. Thanks for sharing your cooking!
Thank you for stopping by and trying out a recipe! Glad you found it!
Could you tell me the diameter of the refried bean lid you use. I am in Canada and we only get our refried beans in a can. Thanks so much. This looks bigger then a can lid so I could probably find something bigger to use if I knew the dia.
Colleen I wrote in the instructions “On a lightly floured surface, roll out a pie crust to about 1/4 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. You can make these bigger or smaller, depending on what you prefer! The lid was just what was on hand at the time. Hope this helps.
Thank you so much. I must have missed this when reading. I always scan recipes to see if I will like and I am definitely going to give this one a try. I make my own taco seasoning as well but I might even give yours a try. Have a good day.
What a friendly and not at all passive-aggressive way to shame someone for being human and making an error!
Not at all understanding this comment Nora?
Your comment “I wrote in the instructions” and putting the part she’d obviously missed in bold text so she and everyone else would be sure to see it just seemed wholly unnecessary and not terribly kind. People make mistakes. She didn’t read and retain every single word of the piece and she asked a question that had already been addressed in the piece. It happens. You pointed out her mistake to her and everyone else who reads these comments, instead of simply answering her question and moving on. You could have simply said, “The lid I used was 4 inches,… Read more »
Ok Karen….uhhhhhh…..I mean Nora. Nahhhhh we’ll call you Karen. The response from Colleen, clearly shows that this was not taken out of context. You are doing exactly what you’re complaining about. I know you’re bored with the current state of the world and I am as well. That’s why I have the time to comment on your comment. Anywho, you’re right(not really). Feel better. Great! That my community service for the day. TTFN! That means “TA TA FOR NOW.” This way you don’t have to ask what I meant. Now go cook something!!
So interesting that the men are so clearly unwilling to hear in this conversation. Absolutely Coleen bent over backward to apologize, because that’s what we women have been trained by the men of the world to do. And what a wonderfully human and nuanced indictment to call me “Karen” and to assume that from one comment on the internet, you know enough about my entire character to lump me in with a bunch of other people whom you also know so well!
nanny state get a life Karen/
Nora: you really are a pain in the ass Karen.
Most of the recipes i find online are so complicated. Ive browsed your site and found most of them pretty easy. Thanks! I look forward to making your recipes very soon.
Now that made my day! Thanks Maricel! 🙂
They were delicious so enjoyed this recipe
Excellent, thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know Paulette!
These are good, I make one extra large! Paired with sour cream and cholula
Love it Peter. I like the smaller version although I probably eat more. 🙂
I can’t find where you say how many are a serving. It says it makes 24 hand pies and the nutritional info says per serving but I can’t find you defining a serving. Is it per a single hand pie?
The quantity is 24, you determine how many are a serving is to you. The nutrition information is for each Jill.
Hi! So glad that I found your site! I’m going to try your honey balsamic brussel sprouts for sure, but then I saw this recipe. This is going to be my new use for leftover taco meat! Going to the store to get pie crust and beans now.
Hi there Judy! So happy you found me and are trying recipes. Lots to see and I hope you enjoy! 🙂