AIP beef flours gluten free paleo Tapioca 

AIP Picadillo Empanadas!

Full disclosure, these are really labor intensive. Also, delicious, and the more you make them the easier they are.

I adapted the crust recipe from My Heart Beets blog, she uses almond meal in her recipe, which I have substituted with the corresponding amount of coconut flour. Rule of thumb: 1/3 cup coconut flour per cup of almond flour (useful info on AIP!).

Growing up, empanadas were a staple, as was picadillo. It was lovely to revisit this Cuban treat in an autoimmune friendly rendition.

My first go at these, I baked half & fried half. Bake them. They turn out crispier!
The lighter ones are the recipe I’m sharing here today. It will make roughly 15.

December2015 198

AIP Picadillo Empanadas!

30 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

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    For Empanada "Dough"
  • 1 cup tapioca flour (up to 2 tbsp more if needed)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 10-12oz full fat coconut milk
  • pinch salt
  • For Beef Filling:
  • 1lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 turnip
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pitted, green olives
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp Italian herb seasoning (rosemary, thyme, oregano)
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp sea salt


  • Pre-heat oven to 350F
  • Shake your coconut milk can, if the fat is solidified run the can under warm water until you can shake it and hear the fluid liquid.
  • Whisk all ingredients together. It will be like pancake batter. If your batter feels a little thin add more tapioca at this point. If it feels thick, add a little more milk.
  • Heat a skillet or griddle on medium heat.
  • Use coconut oil cooking spray or other liquid fat.
  • Ready a baking sheet lined in parchment paper by your skillet.
  • Make sure your skillet is heated all the way to medium heat when you begin or your batter will spread too thin.
  • Pour 1/4 cup rounds, try to make them thin and round, it helps if your skillet is not slanted to one side.
  • Spray your skillet, carefully pour your batter, move skillet around or use a spatula to help shape if needed. I use the same 1/4 cup to pour the batter and at the same time do a gentle dabbing motion in a circle to get the right shape.
  • Then wait until the edges begin to look just cooked, 60-90 seconds usually.
  • Using a thin spatula, move your half cooked "pancake" to the baking sheet, uncooked side down (this will be the outside of your empanada).
  • If the pancakes tears when you put the spatula under it, let it cook a little longer.
  • Place a spoonful of filling in the center, close your empanada.
  • Run a moist finger around the inside edges, then use a fork to press both sides together.
  • Repeat this until batter is done. I like to make 3-4 inch rounds, they will be easier to close.
  • Spray all of them with coconut oil lightly.
  • Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes. Until edges are golden.
  • *this recipe is forgiving. If your empanadas have lots of little tears in them or aren't closing well, it's ok, they will repair in the oven.
  • With your fingers or a spoon scrape up any left over batter from the bowl and blot on any boo boo's, when they bake it will seal it.
  • Picadillo Filling:
  • Dice onion, garlic, turnip, olives & cranberries in to small pieces.
  • In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp cooking fat.
  • Add in onions, garlic & bay leaves.
  • Saute until onions are translucent.
  • Add in beef, break it up with spatula, add in seasoning and stir often until brown.
  • Add in cranberries & olives.
  • Lower heat.
  • Stir & simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Taste, adjust & ready to fill empanadas!


You can really put ANYTHING inside these. So, go wild. My "spiced", cranberry spiked beef blend was pretty bomb though. Just saying ­čÖé



Phoenix Helix Recipe Round Up #113

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11 Thoughts to “AIP Picadillo Empanadas!”

  1. Paz
    I love empanadas. I love that these sound very healthy! I will put it on my list of recipes to try this new year. Thank you! :)
    1. Yes! I made more today for a client. They are always a hit, and honestly the more I make them the easier they get!
  2. jazzie
    These look amazing. I am going to try it this weekend. Do they freeze well? I want to double the recipe.
    1. They do freeze well indeed. They also keep will in the fridge for a few days, the dough isn't greasy like regular empanadas so they don't get soggy easily.
  3. C
    These look delicious. How many does this recipe make?
    1. The recipe makes 6-7 if I recall correctly!
  4. marie
    Can I substitute arrowroot for the tapioca or use a plantain crust instead?? If using plantain can I still freezer them & should they be cooked before freezing?? Thanks.
    1. Not sure what you mean about Plantain crust? Check out my Plantain tortilla recipe. But yes you can use arrowroot too. Als check out my Yuca flatbread, that dough makes awesome empanadas too!
  5. Marie
    Thank you so much for the quick response. I was referring g to a recipe which substituted empanadas dough made out of plantains instead of flour. I'm aip and tapioca is not my friend at this point. I think I will use arrowroot which works for me. Can't wait to try recipe.
  6. Vicki
    I love you. This starts month 2 on the aip diet and I've had many more misses than hits. And then I made your empanadas today. OMG. I added some balsamic vinegar and 1 T. collagen mixed in water to the meat mixture. These are seriously wonderfully amazingly great. I made 1/4 the recipe, which actually made 4 empanadas, and I ate them all. They warmed up crisp and delicious in the toaster oven. Did I mention that I love you? I haven't had good empanadas since the '80s when my Chilean friends used to make them. I will try to wait a day until I make them again, but that will be really hard. You are amazing and so generous to share this recipe!!!
    1. Whoot whoot!!! So glad you love them! It's always necessary to have a good empanada recipe on hand :)

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