My Mom’s Crispy Beef Samosas
Crispy, crunchy beef samosas (or keema samosas) are eaten all around the world! We start by making a delicious beef filling then wrap it up into cute little triangles using spring roll wrappers. Bake or fry them fresh, or you can freeze these for later too!
Bet you can’t eat just one!
These beef samosas are straight out of my childhood. My mom would always have a batch of these in the freezer to fry up whenever we got home from school or if we had guests over for tea, and of course, samosas are a staple for so many families in the month of Ramadan!
I love recipes like these keema samosas because they are made all around the world and are called some variation of the same name. Samosa, samboosa, sambusa, and sambousak are all variations from different cultures for the same thing – cute little triangles filled with ground beef (or poultry, potatoes + peas, or cheese, etc.) filling.
What are samosas?
A samosa is a fried pastry stuffed with a savory filling. It can be made with ground meat, potatoes and peas, cheese, and many other ingredients. Pakistan, India, Kenya, Egypt, Lebanon, and countless other countries make these cute appetizers. You can serve samosas on their own or with a chutney or sauce on the side.
Ingredients for beef samosas:
- Ground beef: I like to use 90-95% lean ground beef for this recipe. You don’t want the filling to be excessively greasy!
- Ginger and Garlic: I use ginger and garlic paste that I find premade at the Asian grocery store. Nowadays you can find this in mainstream grocery stores as well. Many stores have tubes of these ingredients in the refrigerated food section of the store. You can also use a combination of ginger and garlic paste, just use double the amount if the ingredients are combined. You could also grate fresh ginger and garlic if you’d prefer to use that instead.
- Seasonings: You’ll need a few different spices for this recipe: kosher salt, Indian chili powder, red pepper flakes, garam masala, and turmeric. Keep in mind that Indian chili powder is a little different than cayenne. If you use cayenne, you’ll want to start with 1/2 teaspoon and adjust as desired.
- Onions: The chopped onions go in towards the end once the protein is cooked. These add lots of crunch and flavor to the samosas!
- Cilantro: Some parts of the world call this coriander leaves. These go intowards the end with the chopped onions. If you aren’t a fan, I suggest using less, but once the samosas are fried, I personally can’t single out the flavor of cilantro! You can omit it if you’d like though.
- Serrano Pepper: Add freshness and a tiny kick. I usually remove the seeds and ribs before mincing these finally, so all you get is the pepper flavor without too much heat!
- Lemon Juice: I like to use freshly squeezed for this recipe to make sure that it gives the samosa the best flavor. The acid in the lemons also helps cut the spice a bit!
- Spring Roll Sheet: You could also use samosa wrappers (which I have a difficult time finding in my area.) There are a few go-to brands I like to use such as Spring Home or Wei-Chuan. You can also use Lumpia wrappers but I don’t suggest egg roll wrappers for this recipe. They are slightly thicker and have a different texture once fried.
- Egg White: a beaten egg white is used as an egg wash that we brush on the samosa wrappers before folding. This just ensures that the samosas stay wrapped and don’t pop open!
Making the beef samosa filling and folding:
- Start the filling. Add the ground beef to a saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook and crumble the meat for 1minute then add 1 cup of water and continue to break down the ground beef with a wooden spoon as you let it boil. You want the ground beef to cook in the water for 5-6 minutes and for it to no longer be raw. Drain the beef in a sieve, but don’t let it sit in the sieve for too long. You want some of the water to still be in the beef.
- Saute the filling. Immediately add the ground beef to the same skillet and season with salt, chili powder, red pepper flakes, garam masala, turmeric, ginger and garlic paste. Stir and toss the meat to evenly coat it in all the seasonings. If the seasonings are adhering to the meat because it’s too dry, you can add another 1-2 tablespoons of water to help the filling and seasonings come together. Allow this to cool completely.
- Mix it. Once the beef filling has cooled, stir in the chopped onions, cilantro, and serrano peppers. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Once the filling is ready, we’ll fold them up and fry them!
- Wrap it up. I’ve got step-by-step pictures to help you fold these samosas! I’ll be honest, they do take a little bit of skill to master, but don’t let that stop you from making them! You can practice folding these with a sheet of paper first if you’d like. That’s how my mom taught me back in the day. Once you fill the pocket you’ve created with the ground beef, you’ll use the egg wash to help stick the ends of the wrapper to the triangle you’ve created. Some people use a flour and water slurry to stick the wrapper down, the egg white is easier though, in my opinion!
- To freeze. If you want to freeze these for later, place the prepared samosas on a baking tray or sheet pan in a single layer. Make sure to leave space between them so it’s easy to lift them out once frozen. Pop them in the freezer for a few hours to freeze. Then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag and fry them from frozen when you’re ready to serve! These keep for 3-4 months easy in the freezer!
- Or to bake them. Heat a few inches of oil in a frying pan (or sauce pan) over medium heat or heat your deep fryer according to manufacturers directions. When the oil is hot, gently place a few samosas and fry them.When the oil is hot, gently place a few samosas and fry them. They take roughly 5-8 minutes to turn golden brown. Then remove them to a plate with paper towels to dry up any excess oil and enjoy!
FAQs about beef samosas:
- Can you make these in the air fryer? Yes, you can bake these in the oven or air fry these samosas as well. For an air fryer, I suggest heating it to 350ºF and cooking the samosas for 13-15 minutes. I like to spray them with cooking spray, flip them around the halfway mark and spray again. To bake, I suggest lining a baking sheet with parchment paper, spraying the samosa with cooking spray, and baking at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes, flipping around the halfway mark. Keep in mind the air fryer ones will gain a little color but not as much as the ones that are fried – but still just as tasty!
- How many beef samosas should I make per person for a party? Okay, these dissapear superfast! They are just that good! Depending on the number of sides I’m serving with these, I usually make about 2 per person and then throw in an extra 1 to 2 to be on the safe side!
- Can you make these with something other than beef? You can also make these with ground chicken to make chicken samosas, lamb samosas, or even with turkey if you’d like!
- How far in advance can I make samosas? These last for 4 months in the freezer, so I usually made a larger batch and then keep them around. We seldom have any left around the 4-month mark!
- What kind of oil do you suggest frying samosas in? I like to use avocado oil, but you can also use canola oil or vegetable oil.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Chicken Puff Pastry
- Homemade Naan (and Garlic Naan)
- Finger Lickin’ Butter Chicken
- 30-Minute Spicy Shrimp Masala
- Best Garlicky Palak Paneer
- 1 pound (90–95%) lean ground beef
- 1 ½ teaspoon EACH: ginger paste AND garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Indian chili powder (or ½ teaspoon cayenne)
- ½ teaspoon EACH: red pepper flakes AND garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 small onion, finely chopped (~10 ounces chopped)
- ½ bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 Serrano peppers, seeded and minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 28-30 spring roll sheets, cut into 3 pieces (see notes)
- 1 egg white, whisked
- Oil, for frying
- BOIL: Add the ground beef to a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook and crumble the meat for 1 minute then, add 1 cup of water. Continue to break the ground beef down and cook for 5 minutes or until the meat is almost cooked. Drain the ground beef in a sieve in the sink, but don’t let it sit in the sieve for too long.
- SAUTE: Immediately add the ground beef back to the same saucepan. You want it to still have some water so the seasonings combine easily. Season with salt, chili powder, red pepper flakes, garam masala, turmeric, ginger paste, and garlic paste. Cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes until the seasonings are fragrant and combine with the ground beef. If the mixture is too dry, where the seasonings won't combine, add 1-2 tablespoons of water but make sure you dry the meat out completely. Remove and allow the beef filling to cool in a bowl.
- MIX: Once the ground beef is cooled to room temp, add onions, cilantro, serrano, and lemon juice and toss to combine. Taste and adjust with more salt to preference.
- WRAP: Add 2 tablespoons of ground beef to the pocket of the spring roll sheets (see images above for directions.) I like to do a 2-ply with the sheets to make them extra crispy but you can do a single wrap if you’ve made these before successfully. Fry or freeze.
- FREEZE: Place the samosas in a single layer on a large sheet pan and pop them into the freezer for 3-4 hours. When frozen, pop the samosas into a freezer-safe bag and freeze until ready to fry. I fry from frozen!
- OR FRY: Heat a few inches of oil in a saucepan to 365ºF. Add a few samosas at a time and fry them until golden brown and crispy, about 5-8 minutes.
- Ginger and garlic paste: You can find this easily now in most mainstream grocery stores. If you’re using a blend of ginger and garlic paste, replace it with 1 tablespoon total.
- Spring roll wrappers: These are different from egg roll wrappers. They are easily available in Indian/Asian grocery stores. Look for brands like Spring Home or Wei-Chuan. They are also sometimes labeled Lumpia wrappers.
- Air Fryer Directions: spray one side of the samosa and add them to a preheated air fryer at 375ºF for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway and spraying the other side as well.
- Reheat: Reheat the samosas in an air fryer at 330ºF for 8-10 minutes flipping halfway through.
- Frozen Samosas: will last for up to 4 months in the freezer.