Turkey Empanadas Recipe | Practically Homemade (2024)

Home / Recipes / Appetizers / Thanksgiving Leftovers: Turkey Empanadas Recipe

ByJune Albertson-DickPublishedUpdated

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My second favorite thing about Thanksgivingare the leftovers. There are so many great things to do with them. In fact, just heating them up in the original form is fabulous but I love to step it up a little bit. This Leftover Turkey Empanadas Recipe is filled with fabulous flavors and wrapped in a flaky crust. What could be better than that? Keep scrolling to see all of the fun ingredients.

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To keep the filling simple, the recipe is using ingredients that you probably already have on hand. The addition of cream cheese gives it a smooth and creamy texture.

In the past I have used refrigerated pie crust for the outside shell but this time I went with puff pastry dough. It was a good decision.

The puff pasty dough bakes up so light and flaky and is a great contrast to the filling. The combination is pretty darn amazing.

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Using Puff Pastry for your Empanada Crust

Refrigerated pie crust will totally work but after using puff pastry I just don’t think that I can ever go back! Puff pastry gives you layers of pastry goodness.

Begin by taking your thawed puff pastry sheets and laying them out onto a flat surface.

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Using a 4″ round cookie cutter, cut 4 circles from each sheet {giving you 8 rounds}. You could also make triangles if you don’t have a round cookie cutter.

These Easy Baked Churros are a great way to use the leftover dough!

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Creamy Leftover Turkey Empanada Filling

In a skillet over medium heat, add one tablespoon of oil and saute 1/4 of a small onion until it is softened.

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Add 1 cup of leftover turkey, 2 ounces of cream cheese and a heaping tablespoon of green chilies.

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Stir mixture continually. Your goal is for the cream cheese to melt {remember we want creaminess}. Then add 2 heaping tablespoons of your favorite salsa.

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Followed by a teaspoon of taco seasoning. Stir to combine filling and remove from heat.

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How to Assemble your Leftover Turkey Empanadas with Puff Pastry Dough

Place the 8 rounds of puff pastry onto a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet. Add a tablespoon {or a little more} of filling onto the top of each puff pastry round. Top with shredded cheese.

You do not want to add too much filling or it will be hard to close the turkey empanadas. If they don’t seal properly then the filling will come out of the pastry as it bakes.

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Fold the puff pastry over and seal the edges of the empanada with the tines of a fork. You want to press down firmly enough to form a seal in the dough.

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Then take the fork and poke holes in the top of each empanada. These small holes will help air escape while they bake.

If you want a nice and golden color {and who doesn’t} then use an egg wash {1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water} and lightly brush onto each pastry.

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Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the Leftover Turkey Empanadas are golden brown and puffed up.

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These turkey empanadas are best served warm but can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just heat in the microwave until warm.

It is such a fun and delicious way to use up the leftover turkey you will have in a couple of days. Although you could also substitute cooked chicken in the filling any time of the year.

These turkey empanadas were a hit at home and I know they will be at yours too! Happy Turkey Day!

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Want some other awesome appetizer ideas? Try these recipes…

  • Little Smokies Pigs in a Blanket Wreath
  • Jalapeno Popper Crescent Bites
  • Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball
  • Baked Mozzarella Sticks
  • Pepperoni Pizza Biscuit Pull-Apart Dip

Turkey Empanadas Recipe | Practically Homemade (14)

Turkey Emapanadas Recipe

Leftover Thanksgiving turkey never tasted so good. Made into a delicious creamy filling and stuffed inside puff pastry, they will be a new family favorite.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course

Cuisine: Mexican

Author: June Albertson-Dick

Prep Time: 15 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes minutes

Servings: 8 empanadas

Calories: 99kcal

5 from 1 vote

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  • 1 pkg puff pastry {2 sheets thawed}
  • 1 tbsp oil {I used olive oil but vegetable oil works too}
  • 1/4 small onion {chopped}
  • 1 cup leftover turkey {chopped}
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp green chilies
  • 2 tbsp salsa
  • 1 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water


  • Preheat oven to 450°. Layout both sheets of puff pastry onto a flat surface. Cut out 4 circles {using a 4" round cutter} from each sheet. Place the 8 rounds onto a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.

  • To make the filling, add 1 tablespoon of oil into a medium skillet over medium heat. Once warm, add onion and cook until softened. Add leftover turkey, cream cheese and green chilies to the onions and stir. The goal if for the cream cheese to melt and become creamy. Add your favorite salsa and stir to combine and lastly add taco seasoning and stir. Remove from heat.

  • Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the middle of each puff pastry round and top with shredded cheese. Be sure to not over fill or the empanadas will not seal properly and they are hard to close. Fold the puff pastry over the filling in half and seal the edges together using the tines of the fork. You want to be sure and press hard enough to create a seal. Using the same fork, poke a couple of holes into the top of each empananda. This will allow steam to escape while the bake. To get the golden brown color on top, brush each empanada with egg wash. To make the egg wash just whisk the egg and water together.

  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until your turkey empanadas are golden brown. Serve warm or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1empanada | Calories: 99kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 50mg | Sodium: 135mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 212IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @PracticallyHomemade or tag #practicallyhomemade!

Turkey Empanadas Recipe | Practically Homemade (2024)


What is empanada filling made of? ›

What Is An Empanada? Empanadas are crescent-shaped, savory pastries made of dough and filled with a variety of ingredients. Empanada filling varies greatly, and can include anything from beef, chicken, pork, tuna, shellfish, cheese, and / or vegetables, seasoned vibrantly, then baked or fried to perfection.

What types of premade dough can you use to make empanadas? ›

As mentioned above many people will use their favorite pre-made pie dough to make empanadas. This is because the ingredients for most dough recipes are very similar. Most pie doughs use flour, butter, salt, water, and sometimes egg; an ingredient list almost identical to those needed for this recipe!

How do you keep fried empanadas crispy? ›

The best way to keep fried foods crispy? Just place them on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. If you're frying multiple batches, throw the whole setup into a low oven to keep everything warm as you keep frying and adding to the rack.

Are empanadas baked or fried? ›

Similar to an American turnover but far more versatile, an empanada is a fried or baked pastry shaped like a crescent moon. Once the bread has been made with flour dough or corn flour dough, it's then stuffed with myriad fillings depending on the occasion and your taste.

What pastry is empanadas made from? ›

Cut thirty-two 11.5cm discs from 8 sheets frozen coles brand shortcrust pastry. Drop 2 tablespoons of beef mixture in the centre of each disc. Fold in half to enclose filling, pinching the edges to seal. Place empanadas, seam-side up, on the prepared trays.

Is empanada dough the same as pie crust? ›

While pie dough is designed to be flaky, empanada dough is meant to be more tender. Pastry for empanadas has a higher flour-to-fat ratio, making it sturdy and perfect for wrapping around meaty fillings. Some recipes use lard or an additional egg as the fat source, but our recipe keeps it simple and easy with butter.

Is empanada dough the same as tortilla dough? ›

There's not a lot of difference — chief one being that you use ice water with empanada dough, and hot water for tortillas. Another difference is the flour.

Can you make empanadas with pizza dough? ›

And while we love traditional empanadas, fussy pastry dough is a lot to tackle on a busy weeknight. Here, we use our favorite dough hack, ready-made pizza dough, for a quick-ready-to-roll crust. It's crisp and tender and works perfectly to enclose the grass-fed ground beef, bell pepper, and golden raisin filling.

What is the best store bought dough for empanadas? ›

Here's a delicious, flaky wrapper that's perfect for capturing all your favorite flavors: GOYA® Empanada Dough. Our line of ready-to-use flour dough discs are the #1 ingredient for preparing a wide variety of empanadas, a favorite in Latin America and around the world.

Why do my empanadas open when I fry them? ›

The best filling and the best dough won't do you any good if your empanadas won't stay closed when floating in fry oil, and won't matter much if your dough is oil-logged and soggy after frying. To prevent these culinary disasters, you need to seal your empanadas well and fry them at the right temperature.

Why put vinegar in empanada dough? ›

Adding a little vinegar to your dough will result in a tender, pliable, and flaky crust because it slightly inhibits gluten development, leading to a crust that is flakier and easier to work with. The great thing about vinegar is that you really only need a little bit of it to help your pie/empanada dough.

Do empanadas taste better fried or baked? ›

Both cooking methods produce delicious empanadas. If you want a healthier merienda, bake them in the oven. If you're working with less time, frying them is the way to go. Try both and ask your loved ones to vote on their favorite.

Can you fry Goya empanada dough? ›

Made with GOYA® Empanada Dough for Frying

GOYA® Empanada Dough for Frying comes ready to be stuffed with your favorite ingredients, whether they are sweet or savory.

Can I bake Goya empanadas instead of frying? ›

Empanadas Argentinas are always baked instead of fried, so your family can enjoy them regularly, too. Make them in no time with authentic, pre-prepared GOYA®

Are empanadas usually corn or flour? ›

In Colombia, empanadas are a beloved street food that can be found in almost every city and town. They're typically made with a cornmeal dough (not corn flour) and are filled with a mixture of ground beef, potatoes, onions, and spices.

Are empanadas healthy? ›

While it's quite tasty, it isn't the healthiest meal you can consume. The great news is you can still get your empanada fix with all the flavor, but less calories, fat, and more nutrition with healthier versions.

What are Mexican empanadas made of? ›

The empanada dough is similar to a pie dough. It is made with cold butter, cold water, flour and egg. It comes out perfectly flakey, crispy and golden brown! The homemade empanadas are then stuffed with ground beef, potatoes, cumin, chili powder, paprika, peas and fresh herbs.

What is empanada sauce made of? ›

This is a sweet and tangy dipping sauce. It's a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, salt, and vinegar or lime juice. Sometimes it also includes garlic, oregano, or parsley as well.


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