Flavorful gluten-free beef empanadas are made with Fathead dough and a tasty ground beef filling. These baked empanadas are low carb, keto and addictive!
These gluten free beef empanadas are so good. I make them for my family once a month. The only reason I don’t make them more often is that despite being relatively easy for its type, this an involved, multi-step recipe, and I am a very lazy cook.
I started making beef empanadas after we visited Buenos Aires. Needless to say, while in Argentina, we enjoyed lots of great steaks, and lots of deep-fried empanadas.
Upon returning home, I just had to make empanadas! But I wanted to make baked empanadas rather than fried ones, and I wanted the empanadas to be gluten free.
Settling on the filling for these baked beef empanadas was easy. Onion, garlic, beef and spices – it’s a delicious, very flavorful filling that’s great all on its own, if you have leftovers after filling your empanadas.
What dough to use for gluten free beef empanadas?
The dough was more challenging, until I found several recipes online that use Fathead dough for these kinds of things – empanadas, calzones, and pizza dough.
Fathead dough is a dough made from shredded mozzarella, cream cheese and almond flour. Every time I work with Fathead dough I’m amazed at how it comes together as real dough (albeit more sticky and harder to work with). I am especially impressed with how well it bakes, puffed and golden and tender and so TASTY! It’s a miracle dough.
(Another gluten free dough that I really like is this coconut flour pizza crust).
How to shape the empanadas?
When it comes to shaping the empanadas, you have two options. One option is to place a heaping tablespoon of the beef mixture in the center of one circle. Then top it with another circle, and pinch the edges closed. The second option is to place a heaping tablespoon of the beef mixture on one half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Then fold the dough over to make a half-circle and pinch the edges closed.
The second option is tastier, in my opinion, because the ratio of beef to dough is better. It also produces more empanadas (albeit smaller ones). The drawback to this option is that since Fathead dough is more fragile than wheat dough, the circles tend to form small tears when you stretch them over the filling to make a half-circle.
However, this is not really an issue, because (a) you’ll likely have additional scraps of dough and can patch the tears, and (b) as the empanadas bake, the dough puffs and everything comes together beautifully – no spills.
In the video, I demonstrate both options for shaping these beef empanadas.
Although wheat flour empanadas edges are often crimped with a fork to make a pretty pattern, I find that the gluten free dough is a bit too sticky for that. So I skip this step.
So here you go – a fairly easy recipe for wonderful baked empanadas – golden puffy dough enveloping savory, flavorful beef. And if you prefer a vegetarian option, check out my recipe for baked vegetarian empanadas!
Gluten Free Baked Beef Empanadas
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (85/15)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (4 oz)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese (6 oz)
- 1 oz cream cheese, cubed
- 3/4 cup blanched finely ground almond flour (3 oz)
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and onion and cook, stirring to break down the beef into small pieces, until beef is no longer red, about 4 minutes. Drain.
- Return the drained beef mixture to the skillet. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, cumin and smoked paprika. Cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
- To make the Fathead dough, place the mozzarella in a medium microwave safe bowl. Place the cubed cream cheese on top. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir with a rubber spatula, then microwave for 30 more seconds. Stir again, then mix in the almond flour as best as you can – dough won’t come together yet. Add the egg and mix well with the spatula, then use you hands to work the batter into smooth, elastic, slightly sticky dough.
- Place the Fathead dough between two parchment sheets, as shown in the video, and roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut as many 3.5-inch circles as you can, using a cookie cutter or a wine glass. Re-roll the scraps and cut more circles. You should be able to get about 12 circles.
- Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheet. Place a heaping tablespoon of the beef mixture on one half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border, then fold the dough over to make a half-circle and pinch the edges closed.
- Bake the empanadas for 10 minutes. Carefully turn them over, and bake 8-10 minutes longer, until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.