These air fryer empanadas are a great use for your leftover Instant Pot Vortex Rotisserie chicken or Instant Pot Carnitas. I made my Instant Pot Vortex empanadas shown here with chicken, but have also made them with pulled pork. They are also good with leftover roast beef (see our Instant Pot pot roast guide!)
What Are Air Fryer Empanadas?
Empandas are basically hand-held meat pies (aka hand pies), although they can also be made with cheese or just vegetables. They typically have a pastry crust and are popular in Latin and Filipino cultures. Normally they are fired, but by making them in your air fryer, they are a bit healthier as the amount of oil is reduced.
You can make empanadas with any type of filling you desire, but chicken, pork, and beef are the most common. An empanada differs from a pasty (paste) in that the meat is cooked before the pie is stuffed and the crust is more akin to pastry. Try these ideas:
- Air fryer beef empanadas
- Air fryer chicken empanadas
- Air fryer pork empanadas
- Air fryer cheese empanadas
- Air fryer vegetable empanadas
- Air fryer tofu empanadas
Instant Pot Vortex Empanadas Made Easy
Empanadas in the air fryer are pretty easy when you use premade pie crust as dough and a premade seasoning packet. If you want to do seasoning for your chicken or pork from scratch, this recipe and this recipe have different takes on seasoning that you could try.
I used Frontera Chicken Taco Skillet sauce.
Start out by shredding your meat, in my case, leftover rotisserie chicken, and add some onion plus your sauce.
Next, add in some cheese. I used cheddar, but you can use monterrey jack, pepper jack, or any cheese of choice. Mix it all up really good.
The air fryer chicken empanadas are formed using cut premade pie crust. Thaw the crust and roll it out with some flour under it so that it doesn’t stick. Then use a ramekin or small bowl to cut circles for the dough.
The ramekin makes a nice line for you to follow when cutting the pastry dough.
To make each air fryer empanada, put a bit of filling on the dough and fold it over. Do not over stuff your dough. If you do it will fall apart and have holes in it.
Crimp the pie dough around the empanada using a fork. Turn it over carefully and crimp from each side to seal the dough. I made six decent sized hand pies with my dough.
Preheat your air fryer or Instant Pot Vortex to 400. Spray the trays well with oil and give each empanada a good coating of oil. Then air fry for 10 minutes, turning the empanadas over part way through. You may need to experiment a bit with cooking time because larger empanadas cook a bit slower than small ones.
If you are making two trays of empanadas, switch the trays part way through in addition to flipping the hand pies. I usually make two trays and find myself doing a lot of try switching and empanada flipping! your Air fryer empanadas are done when they turn a nice golden brown.
Serving Your Empanada Hand Pies
I serve my empanadas with salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Yum! You can also make up some Instant Pot Refried Beans to go with them!
- Shredded chicken (or meat of choice)
- Package of chicken taco seasoning (or other seasoning mix of choice, I used Frontera Chicken skillet)
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used cheddar)
- 2 frozen pie crusts, thawed
- Dusting of flour (to roll out the crust)
- Spray cooking oil of choice (I use coconut or avocado oil)
- garnishes (I used sour cream, salsa, guacamole)
- Preheat air fryer or Instant Pot Vortex to 400
- Shred the meat
- In a medium bowl, mix the meat, onion, sauce, and cheese
- Roll out each pie crust over a dusting of flour
- Using a ramekin or small bowl make a circle imprint on the dough
- Cut out the circle
- Cut additional circles, re-rolling the dough as needed
- Place a small amount of filling on each circle and fold over into a half circle shape
- Pinch/crimp the dough shut using a fork
- Air fry for 10 minutes, turning the empanadas half way though
- Garnish with salsa, sour cream and/or guacamole
If using two trays, switch the trays part way through in addition to turning the empanadas. You may need to increase cooking time by a few minutes with multiple trays.