These homemade Crispy Chorizo Empanadas are loaded with extra flavorful goodness! Perfectly seasoned chorizo (pork sausage), sautéed onions, corn, manzanilla olives, and cheese. That delicious filling is then wrapped in scratch-made, tender pastry dough and fried to crispy perfection. The best empanadas, ever! Cooking instructions for both air fryer and oven-baked empanadas included!

crispy chorizo empanadas with salsa and chimichurri sauce on large white platter

I am a complete fan, stan, groupie, and all else words for some chorizo…and also for nearly any kind of patty or empanada tbh. Maybe it’s my Caribbean roots or maybe it’s because I just know what’s good, who knows, ha! There’s a local spot near me that sells these killer chorizo breakfast burritos and it sparked this new recipe’s development. Y’all, these crispy chorizo empanadas tho, WHEW!

What Is An Empanada?

Many nationalities have a form of a baked or fried turnover/pastry shell filled with a combination of meat/fish/vegetables/cheese, and even sweet ingredients like guava or other fruit. Check out our delicious Jamaican Beef Patties, too! Latin cuisine has the beloved empanada, they’re bomb! What a patty or empanada entail: a handheld, compact, snack filled with goodness to enjoy on the go. They’re a real delight and the recipe possibilities are endless.

Crispy Chorizo Empanadas, Drool! 😍

Have you ever had chorizo before? This is a kind of pork sausage that has a few different variations. You might be familiar with Spanish chorizo which is a hard/dried, cured, smoked sausage (typically found in casings). This one can be sliced and is found with the ready-to-eat cured meats like pepperoni.

⇢ For these crispy chorizo empanadas, we’re using ground Mexican chorizo. Unlike Spanish chorizo, this type of fatty sausage is fresh and must be cooked (just like you would ground beef/chicken). Mexican chorizo is loaded with flavor because it is highly seasoned! Flavor from paprika, ancho chili powder, red chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, coriander, cinnamon, and so much more.

These empanadas are filled with juicy chorizo sausage and other filling ingredients that make them so incredibly good. Furthermore, while they might look challenging to whip up, empanadas are truly so easy to make! Everything here is authentically homemade, from the filling to the tasty empanada dough, y’all. While they take a bit of preparation, they’re worth the effort!

close up of two chorizo empanadas stacked on top of each other

What You’ll Need For These Empanadas

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • For the empanada dough: flour, sugar, salt, beef tallow (or other fat-see recipe card notes, below), and ice-cold water. This pastry dough is absolute perfection and yields a tender, buttery, and crisp dough once cooked.
  • For the empanada filling: olive oil, ground Mexican chorizo, onion, garlic, scallions, salt/pepper, manzanilla olives, corn, and cheese. Love all the elements taking place here and you will as well. Can we say flavor-filled?!

What Is Beef Tallow?

Great question! Tallow is just a fancier way of saying rendered fat. More specifically, beef tallow translates to beef fat. Therefore, it is fat that has been cooked down from any cut of meat from a cow. Beef tallow is very similar to lard, only it comes from a cow instead of a pig. It can be melted down into a liquid or stored in the refrigerator in a more solid, malleable form.

When kept at room temperature, it has a soft, pliable texture just like softened butter. All in all, it serves as an ideal butter replacement, essentially.

>> This brand is the one that I use almost exclusively (I grab it in Sprouts!). Animal fats like beef tallow or duck fat are incredible fats to use because they add so much more flavor to all sorts of recipes; flaky pie crusts, biscuits, roasted veggies, fries, pan-seared meats, and nearly anything deep-fried!

cooked chorizo in white skillet with olives, corn, and cheese on the side

How To Make Chorizo Empanadas

(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.)

  1. Make the dough. Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add in the fat and combine with the dry ingredients until little pea-sized bits form. Then pour in the ice water and bring the dough together.
  2. Knead the dough. Empty the dough out onto a clean surface and knead the dough. Just enough until the dough forms into one cohesive mass.
  3. Chill the dough. Cover the dough and place in the fridge to chill.
  4. Make the filling. Heat the oil and brown the ground chorizo until cooked through. Then add in the onion and cook until tender. Stir in the garlic, toss in the scallions, and then season the mixture with salt/pepper, to taste.
  5. Cool the filling. Add the olives and corn into the chorizo mixture. Then set the filling aside to cool down before assembling the empanadas.
  6. Chorizo empanada assembly. Roll out the dough then fill with some of the chorizo filling followed by a sprinkling of cheese. Shape the dough into a half moon and then use a fork to crimp or fold small pleats to seal.
  7. Fry the empanadas. A quick fry until they’re golden brown + crispy.
  8. Cool & serve. Let the empanadas cool some and then serve immediately!
chorizo filling with olives and corn in skillet with wooden spatula

Chorizo Empanada Filling 🤤

The filling in these crispy chorizo empanadas is giving absolute deliciousness! We’ve got that highly seasoned ground chorizo browned to a crisp and so flavorful on its own already. To kick things up a few notches, we’ll add in some extra garlic, sautéed onion, and scallions. So simple, and oh so good.

In addition, manzanilla olives are stuffed with pimientos and bring their briny, crisp, and slightly nutty vibe to the empanada party. Corn adds another filling element and a pop of color. Lastly, some shredded cheese for a truly mouthwatering, cheesy, and decadent bite! Textures and flavors on a milli!

⇢ Do y’all see that filling image, above?! Real talk, I could devour that chorizo filling alone with some rice and plantains on any given day, yum! However, these chorizo empanadas are incredible after it’s all said and done. They’re happily inhaled within seconds whenever I make them!

What To Serve/Pair With These Empanadas?

Most of the time these chorizo empanadas get shoved straight to the face whenever made lol. Although, sometimes when I wanna serve them up to entertain, they get a little more razzle dazzle. Here’s what we do:

  • salsa: nearly any kind of your favorite salsa for dipping!
  • chimichurri: another great option for zippy freshness!
  • guacamole: this one hasn’t been tried on my end, but I’ve had some friends scoop a little guac onto theirs and they love it!

Make Ahead Empanadas

These chorizo empanadas are great to prep ahead of time! You can prep both the dough and the filling up to 2 days in advance. For the dough, keep covered tightly in plastic wrap in the refrigerator. For the filling, keep it stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat the filling before assembling the empanadas. On the day-of cooking, it makes everything a breeze! Woohoo.

Storing/Reheating Leftover Empanadas

  • Refrigerate: Keep any leftover empanadas stored inside of an airtight container. They will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer: Keep any leftover empanadas stored inside of a flat, airtight baggie (helps to prevent freezer burn). They will keep in the freezer for up to 1 month- perhaps even longer!
  • Reheating: For the best taste and overall texture, I recommend reheating leftover empanadas in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F and reheat refrigerated empanadas for 10-15 minutes or until warmed through. For frozen empanadas, reheat for 20-25 minutes or until warmed through completely. Pre-made empanadas to have on demand, amen!! 🙌🏾

Air Fryer Empanadas

To me, nothing beats that signature crispiness of a traditionally fried empanada. I just gotta keep it real with ya. But friends, you can surely make these chorizo empanadas using other cooking methods as well. Here’s how:

  1. Prep the dough and the filling as written in the recipe card, below. Then fill and assemble all the empanadas just the same, too.
  2. Spray the air fryer basket generously (we use olive oil or avocado spray).
  3. Use an egg wash (1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water) and brush the tops of each empanada with the egg wash.
  4. Place the empanadas in a single layer onto the basket, cooking in batches.
  5. Bake at 350°F for 6-8 minutes, flipping the empanadas halfway during the cooking process until golden brown.
  6. Repeat until all empanadas are cooked, let cool and serve. Enjoy!

Oven-Baked Empanadas

  1. Prep the dough and the filling as written in the recipe card, below. Then fill and assemble all the empanadas just the same, too.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Spray the sheet with oil for good measure.
  3. Place the empanadas onto the baking sheet with a bit of space in between each one. Use an egg wash (1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water) and brush the tops of each empanada with the egg wash.
  4. Bake the empanadas for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. Let the empanadas cool and then serve. Enjoy!
cut open chorizo empanada on white platter

Tips + Tricks, FAQs, & More For The Best Crispy Chorizo Empanadas You Will Ever Have

As with many recipes, you may have additional questions regarding things to do (or change) for these chorizo empanadas. Like other BBR recipes, I always recommend sticking to the recipe as it is written in the recipe card, below. However, here’s some extra tidbits in case you need ’em:

  1. Making the dough: Feel free to bring the dough together in a food processor. Simply add the flour, sugar, salt, and fat/butter into the processor bowl. Then pulse together until the fat has blended with everything. Slowly stream in the ice water until the dough comes together.
  2. Chill the dough. Fat tends to soften when handling dough. Chilling the dough allows for the fat to solidify. Additionally, chilled dough is a lot easier to handle/roll out than room temperature dough.
  3. Use a kitchen scale: For precise weight/size of your empanadas, I recommend using a kitchen scale. This helps to divide the dough into equal pieces so that each of your empanadas will look uniform in size.
  4. Can I replace the chorizo? Oof…the chorizo here is truly the star of the show, peeps. However, if needed, ground beef, ground pork, and ground chicken are all great alternatives. Keep in mind that Mexican chorizo is highly seasoned as-is; if using any of the 3 mentioned, be sure to season the ground meat with spices to your taste!
  5. Let’s talk olives! I like the taste of Manzanilla (Spanish) olives, especially since they’re on theme with the Latin vibe here. Although, use whatever kind of olives you’d like, castelvetrano, kalamata, and other varieties.
  6. Cheesy, cheesy goodness. I recommend using super melty cheeses like shredded mozzarella, Oaxaca, and chihuahua cheeses.
black hand grabbing a chorizo empanada off white platter

Add these Crispy Chorizo Empanadas to your must-make list. It’s a surefire bet that everyone will drool over them! Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

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crispy chorizo empanadas with salsa and chimichurri sauce on large white platter

Crispy Chorizo Empanadas

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 50m
  • Yield: 7
  • Category: Appetizers & Snacks
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Latin

Description

These homemade Crispy Chorizo Empanadas are loaded with extra flavorful goodness! Perfectly seasoned chorizo (pork sausage), sautéed onions, corn, manzanilla olives, and cheese. That delicious filling is then wrapped in scratch-made, tender pastry dough and fried to crispy perfection. The best empanadas, ever! Cooking instructions for both air fryer and oven-baked empanadas included!


Ingredients

Scale

For the pastry dough:

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups beef tallow or duck fat/vegetable shortening- see notes
  • 1 1/4 cups ice cold water

For the chorizo empanada filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb ground Mexican chorizo (pork sausage)
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste or 5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 3 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Manzanilla (Spanish) olives
  • 1/2 cup whole kernel corn
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese
  • vegetable or canola oil, for frying

Instructions

For the pastry dough:

  1. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt together. Whisk the dry ingredients well to combine. Then add in the beef tallow/alternate fat (or butter, if using- see notes). Use your hands (fitted with disposable gloves, if desired) to pinch the fat into the dry mixture until little pea-sized bits form throughout and all the fat is coated with the flour mixture.
  2. Then make a small well in the center of the mixture and pour in the ice-cold water. Use your hands, again, to bring everything together as much as you can. Empty out the bowl and all residual bits onto a clean surface. Use your hands to knead the dough together, squeezing the dough onto itself until the dough forms into one cohesive mass with no dry bits.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Transfer the dough into the refrigerator to chill for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours- fyi: allow the dough to sit on the counter to soften some before assembling empanadas).

For the chorizo empanada filling:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and coat the bottom of the skillet with the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add in the ground chorizo. Use a wooden utensil to cook the chorizo, stirring often, until completely browned. Then add in the chopped onion, and continue cooking, about 3-4 minutes or until the onions are tender.
  2. Stir in the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add in the scallions, stir together and continue cooking the mixture for another 2-3 minutes. 
  3. Season the chorizo mixture with salt/pepper- to taste, and then remove from the skillet from heat. Toss in the olives and corn and fold within the mixture to combine. Allow the filling to cool down before assembling the empanadas.

Chorizo empanada assembly & cooking:

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. For optimal precision, use a deep fry thermometer to heat the oil up to 360°F. Then set a large baking sheet aside that’s fitted with a wire rack (or lined with paper towels).
  2. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and divide the dough into equal pieces for empanadas. I like to use a kitchen scale to get a uniform size in each piece of dough (I make mine about 5.5 ounces each, which will result in a total of 7 chorizo empanadas). You can weigh yours out to be smaller for more empanadas, too.
  3. After gathering the pieces of dough, roll them into the palms of your hands into a smooth ball. Then use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a round circle that is about 6-7 inches.
  4. Fill one side of the pastry with about 4 tablespoons of the chorizo filling mixture. For smaller empanadas, use 2 tablespoons. Then top the mixture with a few tablespoons of the shredded cheese. Fold the empty side of the pastry over the filling, forming a crescent shape (half-moon), tucking the filling in, if needed. Then, I like to use my hands to gently apply a little pressure over the filled empanada (ensuring that there is no trapped air/open space).
  5. Then use a fork to crimp the edges or fold small pleats (as pictured) to seal. Place the empanada onto a clean platter and repeat the process until all empanadas have been assembled and set aside.
  6. Once the oil temperature is reached, add the empanadas into the oil, working in batches (about 2 at a time). Fry the empanadas until they get crispy with a golden-brown color, about 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted utensil or kitchen spider to remove the empanadas and set onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining empanadas.
  7. Allow the chorizo empanadas to cool down for 5 minutes. Then serve immediately alongside your favorite salsas, chimichurri, or other sauces for dipping the empanadas, if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Please read the blog post in its entirety for more tips + tricks.
  2. For the pastry dough fat: I recommend using beef tallow, duck fat, or vegetable shortening. Otherwise, you can use 12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes or grated.

Keywords: empanadas, chorizo, chorizo empanada, chorizo filling, how to make empanadas, pastry dough for empanada, homemade empanadas