Keto Empanadas (Beef, Almond Flour)
These keto beef empanadas are delicious buttery, flakey South American-style pastries filled with spiced ground beef.
Plus, they are dairy-free empanadas with only 2.3 grams of net carbs per serving!
Are Empanadas Keto-Friendly?
No, you can’t eat classic empanadas on a keto diet. In fact, traditional empanadas dough is made of wheat flour, a high-carb flour that is not keto-approved.
For a list of my favorite flours, read my keto-friendly flour guide.
How To Make Keto Empanadas
You can make keto empanadas with many different doughs.
Most recipes use the classic fathead dough like the one I use in my keto bagels or keto cinnamon rolls.
While fathead dough is very low in carbs and flexible, it’s not a flakey dough.
To make flakey empanada keto dough that mimics the authentic empanadas crust, I recommend instead using my recipe below!
To make my buttery, flakey, easy-to-roll, and fold keto pastry dough, you need a food processor and the ingredients below:
- Almond flour – I recommend using ultra-fine, golden almond flour and not almond meal. In fact, almond meal is coarse and can add a gritty texture to pastry dough that most people don’t like if new to keto. Read more about flour selection on my keto flour guide.
- Xanthan gum – this is the key ingredient to creating a dairy-free flexible keto pastry dough. You can’t swap this ingredient or remove it from the recipe. It is a must-have here.
First, beat the eggs with water and set them aside.
Then, add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine the xanthan gum evenly into the flour.
Finally, add the egg mixture and process at a high speed until it forms a tacky, slightly sticky dough ball.
Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes to set the dough.
To make the ground beef empanadas keto filling, you need only a few basic ingredients.
I like to cook the meat before making the pastry dough to give time for the meat to cool down.
In fact, adding hot meat to the dough can soften the dough too much, making it fragile and difficult to fold.
All you need to make beef empanadas filling are:
- Ground beef
- Olive oil
- Tomato paste
If you don’t mind adding a few net carbs to the recipe, add:
- 1/4 cup diced green olives
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper
Making The Beef Empanadas Filling
First, warm olive oil in a non-stick skillet and cook the onions for a few minutes until soft. If you want to use red bell pepper and olives, add them now.
Then, add ground beef and cook, breaking the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is not red.
Finally, stir in spices and tomato paste and keep cooking for a few minutes.
Transfer the cooked meat to a bowl and set it aside to cool down while making the keto pastry dough for your empanadas.
Rolling the dough
This keto dough is super easy to roll between two pieces of lightly-oiled parchment paper. Place the dough ball in the center of one piece of oiled parchment paper.
Press the dough with another piece of oiled parchment paper on top and start rolling with a rolling pin.
Then, use a round shape of about 11-cm/4.5-in diameter to cut out dough circles. You can use a cookie cutter or a breakfast bowl.
The dough should weigh about 20g/0.7oz.
Repeat until all the dough has been used, gathering the extra dough from the sides to reform more circles of dough.
Filling The Dough
You must add only 1 tablespoon of meat to each empanada.
If you added more meat, the dough can break on top or be difficult to fold in half.
It is also a great way to keep the carbs in control as you measure precisely the amount of filling per serving.
First, add the tablespoon of meat to the center of the dough circle.
Then, wet the edges of the circle with a wet finger or pastry brush.
Finally, fold them in half and press with your fingertips to seal the edges.
You can also use the back of a fork to create a lovely pattern on the borders of the empanadas but be careful, press gently, or the dough can break easily.
To prevent these keto-friendly empanadas from sticking to the baking sheet, cover the baking tray with a piece of oiled parchment paper.
Brush the top of the keto empanada dough with beaten egg and water if you like.
This is optional, but it adds a lovely golden brown color to the dough.
Baking The Pastries
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and bake these keto breakfast empanadas for 25 minutes or until the dough is crispy and golden brown.
Serving Keto Empanadas
These are perfect as a keto breakfast or keto meal. The best sides are keto-friendly vegetables like lettuce, baby spinach, or cucumber slices. Add these vegetables on the side with a drizzle of olive oil.
You can also serve these keto empanadas topped with a dollop of:
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese
- Fresh chili slices
- Keto-friendly guacamole
These keto beef empanadas store very well in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To rewarm the empanadas, place them on a baking sheet covered with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes at 212°F (100°C).
Freezing Homemade Empanadas
Yes, you can freeze homemade empanadas in a sealed container, and place pieces of parchment paper between each pastry to prevent them from sticking to each other.
Thaw the day before, in the fridge. Rewarm in the oven for 10 minutes at 100C/212F.
Keto Vegetarian Empanadas Filling
If you are looking for a meat-free keto filling, swap the ground beef for:
- Cauliflower rice
- Broccoli rice
- Crumbled tempeh or tofu
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make the dough without a food processor?
Yes, you can knead the dough by hand in a large mixing bowl. I recommend oiling your hands with olive oil or coconut oil as the dough can be sticky.
More Keto Mexican Recipes
If you love Mexican keto recipes, I have some delicious options for you to try:
Made this keto beef empanada low-carb recipe? Share a comment or review below. I love to hear back from you.
Keto Beef Empanadas
Want My Kitchen Equipment?
Keto empanada dough
- 2 cups Almond Flour , fine, blanched, lightly packed, sweep
- 2 large Eggs
- 2 tablespoons Water
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoons Xanthan Gum – don't skip or swap
Ground beef filling
- ½ tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 tablespoons Diced Onion about 1 small onion
- 12 oz Ground Beef
- 2 tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 teaspoon Ground Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder or 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup Chopped Fresh Parsley – optional
To brush on top
- 1 large Beaten Egg
- Before you start, remember to scroll up in the post to watch the recipe step-by-step picture to help you make easy keto empanadas.
Cook beef filling
- In a non-stick pan, warm olive oil over medium heat.
- Cook the onions until soft and fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in ground beef and break the meat with a wooden spoon to brown the meat evenly. Cook for 2-3 minutes until no more red parts can be seen.
- Stir in tomato paste, cumin, paprika, salt, garlic powder, oregano, and fresh parsley – if used.
- Cook for 1 more minute until flavors are evenly combined, and then use a slotted spoon to drain the meat and transfer to a clean bowl. Set aside.
Prepare the keto empanada dough
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking tray with lightly oiled parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs with water. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a food processor, using the S blade attachment, add almond flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Process for a few seconds to combine.
- Add the beaten egg mixture and process again at high speed for about 30 seconds or until it forms a dough ball. It should be slightly sticky, but easy to gather pieces together into a pastry dough ball.
- Wrap the pastry dough ball into a piece of cling film wrap and refrigerate 10 minutes before using.
Roll the dough
- Remove the dough from the fridge and roll between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Using a 4.5 in (10cm) round shape – it can be a breakfast bowl or cookie cutter – cut out dough circles. Repeat with the remaining dough, then reroll dough scraps once to cut out more dough circles. You should be able to make 15 circles of about 20 g/0.7 oz each.
- Place 1 tablespoon of meat filling in the center of the circle, then lightly moist the outer edges of the circle with water.
- Fold the circle of dough half and press the edges with your finger to seal. You can gently use the back of a fork to create lovely marks, but sometimes it breaks the dough, so I prefer to avoid this option. You can also use an Empanada Press for a perfect shape.
- If the top of the pocket crack when you fold it, rub a bit of water with your fingertips to fix the cracks or add a tiny piece of extra dough to fill the gap.
- Lay the empanadas on the baking sheet covered with a lightly-greased piece of parchment paper.
- Brush the top of each empanada with beaten egg mixture.
- Bake for 25 minutes in the center rack of your oven or until the crust is golden brown and filling hot inside. You can add a piece of foil on top of the empanadas to prevent the top from browning too fast.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze individually and defrost the day before at room temperature.
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Preparation:Under 30 Minutes
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The filling is delicious! And the flavor of the crust is very good too, however, it was a little difficult to work with (and rather sticky) and there was no where near enough dough to make enough for the filling. But as for taste, these are quite good!
I want to get the dough right…instructions say to put it in the fridge for 10 minutes, then says remove the dough from the freezer…where am I putting the dough to cool for 10 minutes? Fridge or freezer?
Sorry for that, it should go in the fridge not the freezer, Enjoy!
Could I add a sugar free substitute to the dough to make sweet ones?
Yes, it should work well
I just made this!! They were delicious! I did struggle a little the dough was kind of dry it would break while I was trying to roll it so I had to roll in smaller amounts at the time! Thankyou for this recipe!
What would the carb count be if I used fresh ground chicken thighs, instead of beef?
We can’t recalculate the nutrition panel for any changes you do in a recipe, use a nutrition app to check that. Ground chicken instead of beef won’t impact carbs, only proteins and fats
Oh, my! This looks great! I am also inspired to try this as a ‘pocket’ for jamaican patties, perhaps samosas….. perogy….etc! spices can be added to the dough, I am certain to tailor to the filling…..I Am Inspired by this recipe… thanks Carine!
Hi! Can I use psyllium husk instead of xantham gum?
I didn’t try this option, feel free to experiment but you will probably need more of it
Thank you for your recipe! My daughter has egg allergy can i substitute the eggs?
No sorry you need eggs in this recipe