Keto Beef Empanadas

Empanadas, those delightful hand pies from Spanish cuisine, take a low-carb twist in this keto-friendly version. Using fathead dough, these empanadas are filled with a savory ground beef mixture, offering a satisfying and healthy alternative to the traditional wheat-based variety. Here’s everything you need to know to create these mouthwatering keto empanadas in your own kitchen.

Ingredients You Will Need

Before diving into the step-by-step process, let’s take a closer look at the ingredients. Each component has been carefully chosen to ensure maximum flavor while keeping the carb count low.

Cooking Oil

Avocado Oil: With its neutral flavor and high smoke point, avocado oil is perfect for cooking the beef filling. It’s a healthy fat that complements the keto diet wonderfully.

The Filling

Ground Beef: Opt for 85% lean ground beef. This balance ensures your filling is juicy without being overly fatty.

Onion and Garlic: Freshly minced garlic offers the best flavor, but pre-minced garlic from a jar works in a pinch.

Seasonings: A blend of sea salt, black pepper, ground cumin, and smoked paprika provides a robust flavor profile.

The Dough

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese: Essential for making fathead dough, mozzarella adds the necessary elasticity and mild flavor.

Cream Cheese: Full-fat cream cheese contributes to the dough’s richness and smooth texture.

Almond Flour: Use blanched, finely ground almond flour to achieve the best dough consistency.

Egg: A large egg helps bind the dough together and adds structure.

Optional Variations

To customize your empanadas, consider these variations:

  • Meat Alternatives: Substitute ground pork, chicken, or turkey for the beef. Dark meat works best for moisture.
  • Cooking Oil: Use olive oil or ghee instead of avocado oil for different flavor nuances.
  • Herbs: Add dried thyme or oregano to the filling for an extra layer of flavor.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Keto Empanadas

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

  1. Combine Cheeses: Place shredded mozzarella and cubed cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds until melted and smooth.
  2. Add Almond Flour: Mix in the almond flour as thoroughly as possible. It won’t fully combine at this stage, but that’s okay.
  3. Incorporate the Egg: Add the egg and mix well. Use your hands to knead the mixture into a smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky dough.

Step 2: Roll Out the Dough

  1. Prepare Parchment Paper: Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to prevent sticking.
  2. Roll Thin: Roll the dough to about ⅛-inch thickness. Use a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass to cut out 3.5-inch circles.

Step 3: Cook the Filling

  1. Heat Oil: In a large skillet, heat avocado oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook Beef and Onions: Add ground beef and finely chopped onions. Cook until the beef is no longer red, breaking it down into small pieces, for about 4 minutes. Drain any excess fat.
  3. Add Garlic and Spices: Return the beef mixture to the skillet. Stir in minced garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika. Cook for another minute to blend the flavors.

Step 4: Assemble the Empanadas

  1. Fill the Dough: Place a heaping tablespoon of the beef mixture onto one half of each dough circle, leaving a ½-inch border.
  2. Form the Empanadas: Fold the dough over to create a half-circle. Pinch the edges closed to seal the filling inside.

Step 5: Bake to Perfection

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Bake: Arrange the empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, carefully turn them over, then bake for an additional 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  3. Cool and Serve: Let the empanadas cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tips for Perfect Keto Empanadas

Shaping the Empanadas

There are two primary methods for shaping empanadas, each with its own benefits:

  • Two Circle Method: Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of one dough circle, top with another circle, and pinch the edges closed.
  • Half-Circle Method: Place the filling on one half of a circle, fold the dough over, and pinch the edges. This method creates a better filling-to-dough ratio and produces smaller, more numerous pastries.

Handling Fathead Dough

Fathead dough can be more delicate than traditional dough. If the dough tears while shaping, use extra scraps to patch it up. As the empanadas bake, the dough will puff up and seamlessly blend together, preventing any spills.

Crimping the Edges

Traditional empanadas often have crimped edges for a decorative finish. However, keto dough can be a bit sticky for crimping. If you prefer, you can skip this step without sacrificing taste or texture.

Serving Suggestions

As an Appetizer

Serve two empanadas per person as a tasty starter. They pair well with a simple dipping sauce like salsa or guacamole.

As a Main Course

For a more substantial meal, serve three empanadas per person. Complement the dish with a fresh salad such as:

  • Arugula Salad: Toss arugula with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  • Tomato Salad: Combine cherry tomatoes, red onions, basil, and balsamic vinegar.
  • Cucumber Salad: Mix sliced cucumbers with dill, vinegar, and a touch of olive oil.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers


Store leftover empanadas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, cover and microwave at 50% power until warmed through.


For longer storage, freeze the empanadas for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator before reheating.

Keto Beef Empanadas

Recipe by Admin
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: AppetizersCuisine: American, Spanish


Prep time


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These keto empanadas feature a delicious ground beef filling encased in a cheesy, low-carb fathead dough. Perfect for appetizers or a main course.


  • Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

  • ½ lb. lean ground beef (85/15)

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (4 oz)

  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • Dough:
  • 1 ½ cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (6 oz)

  • 1 oz cream cheese, cubed

  • ¾ cup blanched, finely ground almond flour (3 oz)

  • 1 large egg


  • Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cook the Filling:
  • Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add ground beef and onion, cooking until beef is no longer red (about 4 minutes). Drain excess fat.
  • Return beef mixture to skillet. Add garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika. Cook for 1 more minute. Set aside.
  • Prepare the Fathead Dough:
  • Place shredded mozzarella and cubed cream cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds until smooth.
  • Mix in almond flour. Add the egg and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Roll Out the Dough: Between two parchment sheets, roll the dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut into 3.5-inch circles using a cookie cutter or wine glass. Re-roll scraps to make about 12 circles.
  • Assemble the Empanadas:
  • Place a heaping tablespoon of the beef mixture on one half of each dough circle, leaving a ½-inch border.
  • Fold the dough over to form a half-circle and pinch the edges closed.
  • Bake:
  • Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully turn them over and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
  • Cool and Serve: Let empanadas cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories: 293kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 6g
  • Protein: 18g
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Sodium: 378mg
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 2g

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