Spicy Black Bean Empanadas

black bean empanadas

Watch the Empanadas Recipe Video on YouTube!

These spicy black bean empanadas are filled with black beans, corn and some sauteed vegetables but the star of the show is the empanada dough. My empanada dough is made with cream cheese and butter which makes it very flaky and tender. I add a little cornmeal, too, for texture.

My dear friend Nataly Dawn helped me with this video. She just released a new album and I wanted to do something to celebrate together! If you like music (who doesn’t?!) check out her YouTube channel and website for more info on the new album, titled Haze and available on itunes, CD or vinyl now.

Empanadas are portable and great for packing in a brownbag lunch or for a picnic. You can reheat them if you like, but I think they are just find at room temperature. Annnndddd in case you were wondering, you also don’t have to make bean empanadas! You can use the same dough but fill these with my picadillo recipe or shredded chicken and cheese or mashed sweet potato and cheese. Serve these with my orange aioli or salsa for dipping.

Black Bean Empanadas Recipe – printable!

bean empanadas


Spicy Black Bean Empanadas

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5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 8 1x


  • Dough:
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup buttter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced green onions (about 6)
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Optional: 1 egg for glazing the empanadas


  1. For the Dough:
  2. Combine the cheese and butter in a mixing bowl and beat with a paddle attachment or just with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined. Add flour, cornmeal and salt and mix well. Refrigerate while you make the filling.
  3. Black bean Empanada filling:
  4. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat and add onion. Cook, stirring for several minutes until onion is beginning to brown. Add jalapeño, garlic, tomato paste and spices and cook 60 seconds.
  5. Add beans and mash up about half the beans with your spatula.
  6. Add zest and turn off heat.
  7. To Shape:
  8. On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to ¼” thickness, or until it’s about a foot-and-a-half diameter circle. (If the dough doesn’t roll out easily — i.e. it springs back — let it rest longer)
  9. Cut 6″ circles from it. (You should get about 8 circles.)
  10. Plop 1/4 cup of filling onto the lower half of each circle and fold over to cover it.
  11. Use a fork to mash the seam together.
  12. Transfer to a baking sheet, leaving ½” between each.
  13. (If you like, brush the tops with beaten egg for a glossy look.)
  14. Bake at 375øF F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.


  • Serving Size: 1 empanada
  • Calories: 356
  • Fat: 18
  • Carbohydrates: 40
  • Fiber: 7
  • Protein: 11

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Empanada Dough Video

Black Bean Empanada Filling Video


  1. pat Soltis on November 1, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    I like Francis Mallmann’s recipe for “empanadas salteñas.” Filling is chopped beef, diced potato, onion, chopped hard-boiled egg. The dough is quite different from yours. It starts with what Mallmann calls a “salmuera” — boiling water, lard, and a little bit of salt. You stir that into the flour to make the dough.

    My Russian former girlfriend taught me how to ruffle the edges of the empanadas — you press the edges together, then keep folding them over each other. Do you get what I mean? No fork needed.

    Mallmann’s pastry comes out drier and crunchier than I imagine yours.



    • Hilah on November 3, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Pat! What an interesting dough! Sounds like the “hot water pice crust” recipe I’ve heard about but never tried. I bet it would be crispy. Sounds pretty easy, too.

      I think I know what you mean about the edges – kind of like you’d do a pierogi?

  2. Diana on November 2, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    I’m not going to make this because I know my skill limitations. Empanadas is something I leave to the pros and only eat at a restaurant. But I wanted to comment about that pic of your son in the email alert. Too adorable. I always thought my children were the cutest in the world when they were 2 years old, but yours truly is. How do you ever say no to that face? It does seem like yesterday that you were posting his first baby pics.

  3. Savvy on November 30, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    Hilah! My oh my, you have cleaned up so amazingly. I was charmed by your old orange kitchen and morning after partying cooking videos. I have a thing for orange formica. Ahhh… the 70s. Did you have olive green or avocado carpet to go with it?

    • Hilah on November 30, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      I miss that kitchen still! Not the rest of the house, though. 😉

  4. Carly McCall on January 27, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    I simply can’t get your dough to work for me. Does it benefit from a lot of kneading? I rested it in the fridge for 45 minutes after a good but not excessive mixing, but it remained very soft and prone to holes. It’s like a very finicky short pastry… I wondered if it needed some more working to develop the gluten, more like the other dumpling dough I am familiar with.

    Apologies if this is covered in your vid; I couldn’t watch it thanks to my shabby internet connection today.

    • Carly McCall on January 27, 2017 at 10:20 pm

      Actually never mind! They came out of the oven and they’re heavenly. That is a superlative dough, worth the worry lol. I’m in love!!

      • Hilah on January 30, 2017 at 8:06 am

        Excellent, Carly!
        Next time, you could add a little more flour to make it easier to work with. Or maybe have the butter and cheese slightly cooler, less soft.

  5. Wendy on January 14, 2018 at 9:11 am

    How much cilantro do you add & when do you use the paprika & oregano? Thanks!

    • Hilah on January 14, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Whoops! Sorry, Wendy! Typos. There’s actually no cilantro in it. Add the spices with the tomato paste.

      • Wendy on January 14, 2018 at 11:39 am

        Oh good! That’s perfect because I do not have cilantro! I’m sure this is going to be excellent..you really can’t go wrong with these ingredients. Thank you for sharing! :o)

  6. Heidi on May 11, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    The crust is out-of-this-world buttery and tender! Melt in your mouth. It’s different than the kind of dough used in Argentina but it sure is delicious. Instead of rolling out all the dough and cutting circles it worked better for me to form the dough into little 1.5 inch diameter balls and then roll them flat. It gave me more control over the thickness of each one. Thanks Hilah!

    • Hilah on May 12, 2018 at 7:35 am

      That is a GREAT idea for the dough, Heidi! Thanks for sharing your tip. Glad you liked the empanada crust 🙂

  7. Alison on October 2, 2018 at 7:42 am

    How many calories is one of these empanadas?

    • Hilah on October 2, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Thanks for alerting me to missing info! Just added nutritional data. One empanada is 356 cals

  8. pt on October 30, 2018 at 10:27 am


  9. joe & Patty on January 24, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    Says there’s corn in the filling. How much?

    • Hilah on January 26, 2020 at 9:47 am

      You know what? I decided they are better without it but I forgot to rewrite the introduction. But if you like, you can add 1/2 cup kernels

  10. Nana on February 11, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Very tasty empanada dough! I didn’t use your recipe for the beans (my bean loving toddler is very particular about black beans ??‍♀️), but we both loved the crust/dough. Easy to put together and work with and it tastes great. Thank you!

  11. Marjie Steel on February 13, 2023 at 4:47 pm

    I used white onion instead of green because that is what I had. I like a little spice so added 1/2 of one large jalapeno and added some cheese to the filling. I served these with a tomatillo salsa with cubed avocado and it was very delish!

    Thank you

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