Vegan Beef Empanadas with Cheese

A crispy, tender crust combines with vegan beef and potatoes to make Vegan Beef Empanadas with cheese; a delicious dinner you’ll want to serve time and time again! This vegan empanada recipe is a delicious combination of vegan meat crumbles with potatoes and vegan cheese.

A hand holds a vegan empanada, dipping it into a red sauce.

If you’re into vegan beefy, cheesy dinners, sit back and be prepared to be wowed by my Vegan Spaghetti Pie recipe. The photos alone will make you hungry! But don’t stop there, because you might also want to ooh and ah over my cheesy  Vegan French Dip Sandwich. All the vegan beef and cheese, please!!

I knew the first time I tried an empanada I was going to find a way to make an empanada vegetarian.

OK. Look. Usually I’d be gushing about how super easy this recipe is, but I’m not saying that today. The truth is, empanadas are not easy. There’s a little work involved, but the good news is there are ways to make the process go smoothly. And I like to add some fun along the way too.

The thing is, these Vegan Beef Empanadas are SO worth the effort! That crust is both crispy and tender and, believe it or not, we dipped it in a marina sauce. I know. It’s strange. Because the empanadas are Mexican-themed, but for some reason the marina sauce worked. You know, if it ain’t broke…

Tips for Making Vegan Beef Empanadas

If you’re wondering how to make vegan empanadas, these tips will make the process a lot easier beginning with the vegan empanadas dough! Making Vegan Beef Empanadas will take a little bit of time, but I think these tips will make it go much better:

  1. Have some forethought. Make the dough ahead of time so you can allow it to rest in the fridge and so you’re not doing every step all at once.
  2. Work in batches. I cut the dough in half, covered the remaining half in plastic wrap and worked from there. It seemed to work better for me to cut the project in half like that.
  3. Assembly line these babies! As my instructions show, be sure to cut the dough into sections and then create dough balls. Then roll those dough balls out. I use the first one to create the right size and then used it as a reference for the rest of them. I placed them one on top of the other until all the dough was rolled out.
  4. Portion the filling. You want to make sure you have the right amount of filling for that very last bit of dough. So, because I cut the dough in half, I decided to do the same thing with the vegan beef mixture. I used a spatula to draw a line down the middle of the skillet and then I used one half for filling the first half of the dough balls.
  5. Keep some whiskey nearby. No, not for drinking; although there’s nothing wrong with that in my book. But I kept a little bowl of whiskey on the side to wet my fingers as I handled the dough. There’s a reason behind the madness here. You want these Vegan Beef Empanadas to have a flaky crust. The less water you use the better. Too much water will create a tougher dough. But you need some moisture to pinch the dough together. So, I used whiskey to add that moisture because it evaporates as it bakes. Perfection!
  6. Get out the earbuds! Listen to a favorite podcast, audio book, or album and the time will fly.
  7. Soy Please! Be sure to have some Soymilk on hand, because, in my mind, nothing makes a perfect egg-free egg wash like soy milk. I don’t know why, but it does the trick. Add a thin coating of soy milk and your vegan beef empanadas should get a nicely browned crust. Just be sure to use a plain (non vanilla- flavored) soymilk. I show some alternatives below if you don’t have any on-hand.
  8. Keep a towel nearby. Making empanadas is messy work…which is just one more reason why I love it! Don’t you think life has gotten entirely too tidy? Every now and then we need to mess things up. Just my two cents. 😬 Keeping a towel around can help you dry off your hands. That way you won’t get any of the color from the filling mixture on the outside of the crust too.

So, there you have it, my tips for making empanadas vegan and easy! And look at that picture. The one right below this sentence. Doesn’t that make you want to stop everything and make ’em?

A row of vegan beef empanadas on a serving platter next to a bowl of red sauce.

Expert Tips to Make Empanadas

Use these expert tips to make this vegan empanada recipe perfect every time:

  • I recommend a double batch because this vegetarian empanada recipe freezes well.
  • I used whisky in this recipe, similar to the way I use vodka in pie crusts — it adds moisture to the vegan empanada dough recipe to make it pliable, and bakes off during the baking process, resulting in a crispier crust.
  • You can use whole wheat pastry flour to make a more healthy empanada dough without butter
  • Add corn to make corn empanadas!
  • You can add more or less cheese, depending on your preference
  • You don’t have to dip empanadas in marinara sauce. Try salsa instead. Or better yet, try salsa mixed with some vegan sour cream. Oh the yum of it!
  • If you don’t want to use veggie crumbles, cook up some marinated tofu for tofu empanadas!
  • Try adding fresh basil or cilantro to the vegan empanada filling
  • Speaking of cilantro, have you ever heard of cilantro pesto? I made some last year and it would be perfect for dipping these empanadas (just replace cilantro with basil in your favorite pesto recipe)
  • How about sweet potatoes instead regular potatoes? I think it would work!
  • You could also add some sliced jalapeños to the filling as well.
  • Note: You can use an empanada maker which will make pressing the empanadas so much faster!

I could go on all day with this Vegan Empanadas recipe! There’s just so many ways to make these! I would definitely want to serve my Mexican Taco Dip on the side. Delish!

An empanada is cut and half and stacked. It sits next to red sauce and more empanadas behind it.

We hope you love this recipe for Vegan Beef Empanadas with Cheese as much as we do. If you decide to make it, snap a photo and share it with us using #namelymarly on Instagram or Twitter. We LOVE seeing your photos!

A hand holds a vegan empanada over red sauce.

Vegan Beef Empanadas with Cheese

These vegan empanadas are made with vegan crumbles, potatoes and vegan cheddar cheese. It’s a tasty vegan dinner to serve for special occasions! Make a double batch and freeze half to have them available for weeknights too.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Spanish
Keyword: Vegan Beef Empanadas
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 20
Calories: 181kcal
Author: Marly


  • 1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 cup Vegan Butter , cold & cut into slices
  • 3/4 cup Water , cold
  • 1/4 cup Whiskey* , cold
  • 1 tablespoon Plant-Based Milk (Not vanilla flavored)
  • For the Vegan Beef and Cheese Filling:
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Chopped Onion
  • 1 large Red Potato, , diced
  • 1 1/2 cups Veggie Crumbles , thawed
  • 1 cup Vegan Chorizo
  • 4 cloves Garlic , peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1 1/2 cup Vegan Cheddar Shreds


  • Combine both flours, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add cold vegan butter pieces and pulse until well incorporated. Add cold water and whiskey and continue pulsing until the dough comes together. Remove from the food processor and transfer to a bowl. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate while proceeding with the following.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil. Add the chopped onion and cubed potatoes. Cook for 7 – 10 minutes until slightly tender. 
  • Add the veggie crumbles and vegan chorizo. Stir with a spatula, breaking any larger chorizo pieces apart. Add minced garlic, thyme, and paprika. Stir to combine. Then add broth, bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until potatoes are tender and the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Heat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Create a ball out of the dough. Cut the ball in half. Wrap one half in plastic wrap and place back in the fridge. With the other half of the dough, divide it into 3 dough balls about the size of a golf ball. Use a rolling pin to roll each ball into a 5″ circle. You should be able to create around 10 circles in with this half of the dough ball.
  • For the filling, run your spatula down the center of the skillet divide it in half. This helps keep filling proportions the same. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of one of the rounds. Wet your finger with water or pour a little bit of whiskey in a small bowl and use that to wet your finger. Then run your finger around the edges of the circle of dough. Wrap the dough around the filling and use that moisture on the edges to press edges together. Fold the edge back to create a crust and use your fingers to pinch pleats. Repeat with each dough circle.  
  • Brush tops of each empanada with plain plant-based milk (such as soy milk) or melted vegan butter. Bake 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown.  
  • Repeat these last few steps with the remaining half of dough that’s been refrigerated.
  • Once done, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve with marinara sauce or salsa. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. 


  • We used something like Jack Daniels, but you could sub with plain vodka. If you are against using alcohol, feel free to use water, just use it sparingly. 
  • Use an empanada maker to help speed up the empanada process!
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Beef Empanadas with Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 181 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 340mg14%
Potassium 114mg3%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 2g8%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 295IU6%
Vitamin C 0.8mg1%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Whatever vegan dinner recipe you’re diving into, enjoy!

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4 Responses to Vegan Beef Empanadas with Cheese

  1. hey marly… am also reads your posts but this is one of my favorite recipe and your vegan beef empanadas looks so yummy and crispy. thanks for sharing….!

  2. Hi! I see the recipe calls to use whiskey to wet the dough so it folds together before baking but then I also see vodka in the instructions added to the flour mix with water in the food processor. I don’t see vodka listed in the ingredients list though. Do you use vodka and whiskey in this recipe?

    • Hi Angela. Sorry about that, I experimented with both when developing the recipe. Either will work fine, I just happened to choose whiskey. I’ve made the change in the recipe. Thanks!


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