Cheesy Picadillo Empanadas are filled with ground beef and stuffed with potatoes, tomatoes, and a slice of creamy Monterey Jack cheese.

Mexican Picadillo Empanadas on a wooden board with a side of salsa verde on a blue Mexican linen

Empanadas can be made sweet, savory, or spicy. The dough for this recipe is made with stout beer and salted butter, making the empanadas light, flaky, and flavorful. The texture is perfect and does not get soggy after baking, even after a couple of days in the refrigerator.

ingredients to make dough for beer empanada dough butter, beer, egg, flour, and salt

Empanadas de cerveza (beer dough empanadas)

The use of beer in the dough adds a slightly malty, yeasty flavor and the carbonation contributes to a lighter texture.

You can use this beer-infused empanada dough for both savory and sweet empanadas. To make sweet empanadas, you can add a couple tablespoons of sugar to the dough and/or sprinkle the tops of assembled empanadas with raw sugar before baking for additional sweetness.

empanada disk filled with picadillo and a slice of cheese

Stout or dark beer

Use stout or dark beer, as the carbonation is part of the leavening for the pastry. Stout is my beer of choice for this, but any dark beer will do.

pastry cutter trimming dough for empanadas on a wooden cutting board

You only need a small amount of beer for the dough. I would recommend setting out the beer at room temperature so that the dough is easier to knead.

creaming butter in a stand mixer land o lakes butter and a brown egg

Salted butter

Land O Lakes® Salted Butter is the all-purpose butter that improves the taste of everything it touches. 

This empanada dough recipe is buttery, flaky, and tender with the most incredible flavor.

The best part is that the butter is creamed at room temperature.

There is no need to have butter ice cold or to be careful not to over-knead. And there is also no need to chill the dough.

brushing egg wash on empanadas on a baking sheet

Empanada filling

Once you’ve mastered this simple empanada dough, there’s no reason you can’t use it to make any kind of empanada your heart desires, like these sweet Cherry Empanadas, Guava Empanadas, and Pineapple Empanadas, or savory Chorizo and Black Bean Empanadas or a spicy combo of Hatch Green Chile and Cheese Empanadas.

You could also simply stuff the beer dough with whatever meat and vegetable combinations you have on hand. Using the homemade dough rather than store-bought empanada dough or puff pastry will take any of these filling ideas to the next level.

Mexican ground beef picadillo in a cast iron skillet


Picadillo (Ground Beef and Potato) is an economical Mexican dish that is typically served as a filling in crispy tacos.


baked empanadas on a cooling rack

Serving empanadas

I recommend serving these empanadas warm with a dollop of salsa verde or your salsa of choice. For a spicier kick, serve empanadas with a chile toreado.

empanadas displayed on a Mexican talavera serving tray with a dish of salsa verde on top of a colorful Mexican tablecloth

Make ahead

If you want to make these picadillo empanadas ahead of time, I suggest not assembling the empanadas before baking. Otherwise, the dough will get soggy.

You can make the dough and picadillo the day before and refrigerate them.

Assemble and bake the empanadas the day you plan to serve them.

open empanada on a Mexican black plate filled with Mexican picadillo drizzled with salsa verde

How to store leftover empanadas

Keep them at room temperature for 2 hours on a plate or baking rack covered with a paper towel or cloth linen.

Store any leftover empanadas in a sealed container and refrigerate them. They can last up to one week in the fridge or freeze them for two months.

What is your favorite filling for savory empanadas? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

wooden cutting board with picadillo empanadas next to a bowl of salsa verde

Cheesy Picadillo Empanadas

5 (4 ratings)
Cheesy Picadillo Empanadas are filled with ground beef and stuffed with potatoes, tomatoes, and a slice of creamy Monterey Jack cheese.



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large russet potato or 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, sliced

Beer-infused empanada dough

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water



  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes, until translucent.
  • Add ground beef and brown. Using a potato masher, mash meat so you have small pieces of meat with no big chunks. Drain off excess grease.
  • Add garlic salt, pepper, tomatoes, and potato and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are done. Salt to taste.

Empanada Dough

  • Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, place the butter in the bowl and turn the mixer on medium-low speed and cream.
  • Add the egg and combine. 
  • Combine flour and salt in a bowl and add to mixer and combine.
  • Add the beer, as needed, to ensure the dough is soft and smooth.

Egg Wash

  • Crack an egg into a bowl and beat it thoroughly with a fork.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of water. Stir until combined.

Assemble and Bake Empanadas

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Divide empanada dough into 14 pieces. Roll out the dough balls into small round circles. Place a small dollop of filling on one half of each of the dough circles.
  • Place a slice of cheese over the filling.
  • Wet the bottom edge of the circles with egg wash to help seal the two halves. Fold over the dough to cover filling and seal off the edges with a fork pressing down along the edges or using a pastry cutter.
  • Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  • Brush each empanada with egg wash.
  • Puncture the top of each empanada with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking.
  • Place the empanadas on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes on lower rack in the oven. If after 15 minutes you notice the bottoms of the empanadas starting to brown, move the cookie sheet to the top rack. 
  • Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Set oven to broil and bake on top rack for 1 to 2 minutes, until golden brown.
  • Enjoy the empanadas warm or at room temperature. 



Serving: 14g, Calories: 448kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 19g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 873mg, Potassium: 386mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 724IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 121mg, Iron: 3mg

Photography by Jenna Sparks 

This post is in partnership with Land O Lakes. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.

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