These Keto ground beef empanadas are simply delicious! A traditional Cuban recipe remade to be keto-friendly, gluten-free, and low in carbs.
Featuring a keto pastry dough filled with our favorite leftovers, keto Cuban picadillo, and baked to perfection. Low-carb ground beef empanadas are the perfect way to use up leftovers to make a delicious and nostalgic keto snack or have a few and make it a meal!
If you are a fan of keto Latin recipes then also make sure you check out our Keto Cuban Recipes page. Or if you’re looking for more keto ground beef recipes, we have them all in one convenient place for you!
Keto Ground Beef Empanadas
If you’re not familiar with empanadas they’re a pastry dough filled with a variety of different filling options and then fried. It’s basically a hand pie.
They’re very popular in Latin cuisine with most countries having their own filling preferences. Here in Miami, the most popular is the Cuban picadillo empanadas.
In our family, empanadas are a little extra special. I have many fond memories of my Abuela making empanadas year-round for us all to enjoy. She made the best empanadas!
Abuela’s empanadas were so good that both she and my mom actually started their own small business making empanadas in their tiny kitchen decades ago! The business was such a success they couldn’t keep up with the demand!
So growing up hearing these stories and enjoying empanadas I knew I had to create a keto version that we could all still enjoy. These low-carb Cuban empanadas are actually baked making them much easier to cook.
No fryer necessary here so bring the kids into the kitchen to help out!
Now, making these keto-friendly ground beef empanadas is pretty simple but it does take some prep work and careful hands. But don’t be intimidated, I promise you can make these!
Like I mentioned before these empanadas use leftover picadillo as a delicious and traditional Cuban filling. Perfect for getting the most out of a recipe, and especially when using our very generous sized recipe for keto Cuban picadillo.
As for the traditional pastry for the gluten-free empanadas we’ve used our favorite keto crust recipe.
If you’re familiar with the viral fat-head dough recipe you’ll know that it uses melted mozzarella cheese to mimic gluten that isn’t present in keto-friendly flours.
Using that recipe’s logic, we developed our own version of the popular fat-head dough which is a great replacement for pastry dough in keto baking.
How to Make Keto Ground Beef Empanadas
The keto dough comes together easily and quickly by combining the almond and coconut flours, melted butter, eggs, and melted mozzarella cheese.
Then you’ll knead the dough (I like to sandwich the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper to avoid any sticking) to incorporate all the ingredients.
Once the dough is well combined, you’ll wrap it up in parchment or cling wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 15 minutes. Chilling the dough is crucial to the success of this keto pastry crust and closer to how traditional pie crust is made.
After the dough has chilled, you’ll roll it out about 1/4″ thick and cut out your empanadas. I use a mason jar lid as it’s a perfect size but you can simply use a 3.5″ round cookie cutter or anything round (like a glass cup) with a similar diameter.
You’ll lightly press the circle of dough in the palm of your hands, moving it back and forth from hand to hand like making tortillas. This will help flatten and thin the dough a bit as well as soften it making it easier to fold.
Then you’ll add a little bit of keto picadillo in the center and gently fold it in half. If the dough breaks, and it most likely will, you can gently press it back together. You can also take small pieces of softened dough and gently place them on any large cracks.
This dough mends easily so don’t worry too much about cracks, they’re easy to smooth and fix.
Place your low-carb empanadas on your parchment-lined baking sheet and use the tines of a fork to press the edges and seal them. Then you’ll brush them with an egg wash and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown.
What You’ll Need
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The following is a list of ingredients you’ll need to make these low-carb ground beef empanadas. Note that the full printable recipe card is at the bottom of the page.
Be sure you also visit our Keto Hispanic Food page for more Latin recipes!
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- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup of finely milled almond flour
- 1/2 cup of coconut flour
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon of water
Ground Beef Filling
- Start by making a batch of our Keto Cuban Picadillo recipe and reserving one cup. You can do this a day or two in advance, since the picadillo needs to be fully cool before using it in the recipe. If making the same day, simply place the cup of picadillo you will be needing in the freezer while you prepare the dough so that it cools quickly.
- Keto Pastry Dough: In a medium-sized bowl combine the coconut flour and the almond flour, and salt.
- Melt the unsalted butter and set aside.
- To the dry ingredients add the melted butter and combine quickly.
- Next, add the whole egg and combine.
- In a separate bowl, melt the mozzarella cheese in the microwave for a total of 90 seconds stirring halfway through. Once it comes out of the microwave mix well until fully incorporated. You can also melt the mozzarella cheese in a double boiler.
- Add the melted mozzarella cheese to the mixture and knead the dough with your hands until all the cheese is blended well into the dough. I recommend you do so between two sheets of parchment paper so that the dough doesn't stick to your hands.
- Wrap the dough in parchment paper and place in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes to chill.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk one egg and the teaspoon of water and set aside. This will be your egg wash.
- Once the dough has chilled, roll out into a large rectangle about 1/4" thick. Cut out your empanadas using a mason jar lid or 3.5" round circle cutter.
- Lightly press the circle of dough in the palm of your hands, moving from hand to hand like making tortillas. Add one small spoonful of picadillo in the center and gently fold in half. If the dough breaks you can gently press it back together or take small pieces of softened dough and place it on any large cracks. This dough mends easily just be gentle.
- Place on your lined baking sheet and press the tines of a fork along the edge of the keto empanada and brush with the eggwash. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm and enjoy!
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
The dough will most likely crack when folding them but you can repair them easily. The dough is very forgiving. For small cracks you can use your finger to gently smooth them. For large cracks you can simply add some more of the dough to repair them.
If the dough gets too soft you can place it back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to make it more manageable again.
The unbaked empanadas can be frozen for up to 6 weeks. Just store the unbaked empanadas in a freezer safe container that allows enough room for them not touch. Once ready to enjoy you can bake them straight from the freezer. Bake the frozen empanadas for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
The recipe makes 12 empanadas and the nutrition facts reflect a serving as one so that you can decide how many you can consume based on your personal keto macros.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 32.9gSaturated Fat: 16.7gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 3.9gNet Carbohydrates: 2.1gFiber: 1.8gSugar: 1.2gProtein: 7.9g