How to Cook Frozen Empanadas in the Air Fryer – So Crunchy!

I love me some empanadas, but often don’t have time to make them from scratch. When you need a quick meal instead, I’ll teach you how to make frozen empanadas in the air fryer for an easy alternative.

how to cook frozen empanadas in the air fryer dinners done quick

Why You’ll Love It

Just preheat your air fryer, pop the empanadas in, and you’re ready to enjoy a tasty meal in 15-20 minutes.

Best of all, there’s no need to defrost – just throw your frozen empanadas in your air fryer as-is for a super easy meal!

You can even pair them with some air fryer cooked Mahi Mahi for some tasty, spicy fish tacos for the ultimate spicy handheld assortment!

What You’ll Need

trader joe's chicken chimichurri frozen empanadas in packaging
  • Frozen empanadas, regular or mini, any brand or flavor

Ingredient Tips

  • Frozen empanadas. I typically go for Trader Joe’s, Goya, or the Casa Mamita mini frozen empanadas. Beef, chicken, and vegetable varieties all work equally well

How to Cook Frozen Empanadas in the Air Fryer:

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F, following manufacturer guidelines
  2. Remove frozen empanadas from all packaging
remove frozen empanadas from their packaging
  1. Spray the air fryer basket with nonstick spray to prevent your empanadas from sticking
spray the air fryer basket with oil to prevent sticking
  1. For a browner crust, brush empanada crust with egg wash or butter, or spray with olive oil mist
  2. Place the frozen empanadas in the preheated air fryer basket, allowing air space between each
place trader joe's frozen empanadas in air fryer basket
  1. Air fry for 15 minutes at 350°F, flipping empanadas every 5 minutes
  2. Empanadas are cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Add additional cook time in 1 minute increments if needed to achieve this
  3. Rest for 2-3 minutes before consuming (they will be hot)
  4. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!
serve trader joe's frozen chicken empanadas with your favorite dipping sauce

What Sauces to Serve with Empanadas

  • Chimichurri
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado ranch
  • Queso
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro lime sauce
  • Southwest ranch
  • Chipotle sauce

Which sauce is best will vary on your personal tastes as well as what’s in your empanada filling. Feel free to mix and match and find your favorite combos!

In fact, try them with my easy, creamy air fryer queso cheese dip!

crunchy air fried chicken chimichurri empanadas from trader joe's

Recipe FAQs

Can You Cook Frozen Empanadas in an Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook frozen empanadas in an air fryer. 

You’ll get a heated filling and a warm, golden brown crispy crust using this method.

You don’t need to defrost them ahead of time, meaning you can cook the empanadas directly from frozen for less prep time required.

How Long Should I Cook Frozen Empanadas in the Air Fryer?

Full size frozen empanadas generally take 15 to 20 minutes to cook in the air fryer. Frozen mini empanadas typically take slightly less time, between 10 and 15 minutes being common.

You’ll just want to cook until the exterior is golden brown and the interior reaches a temperature of 165°F.

What Are the Best Frozen Empanadas?

• Trader Joe’s frozen empanadas
• Goya frozen empanadas
• Casa Mamita mini frozen empanadas

The above are the most common top picks for the best frozen empanadas. However, there are many other brands that you may enjoy as well. 

Can You Reheat Frozen Empanadas in the Air Fryer?

You can reheat frozen empanadas in the air fryer. Coming from a refrigerated state, the empanadas should take around 5 minutes at 350°F to reheat in your air fryer.

That said, frozen empanadas are best enjoyed cooked from their frozen state. They tend to dry out if you need to reheat them again.

Recipe Expert Tips

  • I’m air frying frozen chicken empanadas, but this method works with beef, potato, pumpkin, and all other varieties of frozen empanadas as well
  • My frozen empanadas were cooked perfectly at 15 minutes in a Ninja Foodi Dual Zone air fryer. However, different brands, models, and air fryer sizes will cause cooking times to vary slightly
  • Don’t use a higher heat! 350°F is the perfect place to cook the filling through without burning the crust of your dough
air fryer empanadas on a wooden plate with lime jalapeno salsa and sour cream

Other Air Fryer Frozen Handhelds to Try

Final Thoughts

It’s so simple to cook frozen empanadas in the air fryer and with so many great brands to choose from, you’ll be tempted to use them every time!

While I do still love a homemade one, the frozen version undeniably saves time. These frozen empanadas make a great lunch, or dinner when paired with some additional sides.

You could also add them to an appetizer spread, perfect for a game day platter!

how to cook frozen empanadas in the air fryer dinners done quick

Air Fryer Frozen Empanadas (Chicken, Beef, or Vegetable)

Your air fryer cooks up frozen beef, chicken, or vegetable empanadas from their frozen state in just about 15 minutes. The golden crust and warm interior makes them delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 3 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 18 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American, Mexican
Servings 2
Calories 250 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Frozen empanadas (any brand or flavor)
  • Olive oil spray (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 350°F, following manufacturer guidelines
  • Remove frozen empanadas from all packaging
    2 Frozen empanadas (any brand or flavor)
  • For a browner crust, brush crust with egg wash or butter, or spray with olive oil mist (optional)
    Olive oil spray (optional)
  • Place the frozen empanadas in the preheated air fryer basket, allowing air space between each
  • Air fry for 15 minutes at 350°F, flipping empanadas every 5 minutes
  • Empanadas are cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Add additional cook time in 1 minute increments if needed to achieve this if necessary
  • Rest for 2-3 minutes before consuming (they will be hot)
  • Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

Notes

  • I’m using Trader Joe’s chicken frozen empanadas here. However, this works equally well with other brands, such as Goya, and other flavors, such as frozen beef empanadas
  • For mini frozen empanadas, reduce cooking time to 10 minutes to start
  • You can apply an additional spritz of oil when you flip your empanadas to get a really crunchy crust
  • Dipping sauce suggestions: chimichurri, sour cream, avocado ranch, queso, salsa, cilantro lime sauce, southwest ranch, or chipotle sauce
  • Pair with rice and beans to make a complete meal
  • Exact nutritional values will vary depending on specific brand used and total amount consumed, so please consider this as only a guideline or estimate

Nutrition

Serving: 110gCalories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 12gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 560mgPotassium: 230mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gCalcium: 20mgIron: 2.2mg
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Katie Vine