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Easy Homemade Empanadas

Empanadas are little meat pies that are full of deep, rich flavors of beef, pork, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices surrounded by an egg-washed soft crust.

empanadas on plate with cilantro

 This homemade recipe is very versatile; one batch will be able to make 4-5 sizeable empanadas for dinner-think of them as the Mexican version of a calzone- and still have enough left over for smaller, appetizer-sized pies to enjoy later!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

This is one of my favorite things to make for the Cinco de Mayo festivities. Pair with tortilla chips, fresh guacamole, and a tasty margarita or Mexican beer and you have the perfect snack or meal to share with family or friends.

In fact, I think my quick and easy avocado and black bean salsa would go awesome with this! I'm going to make sure to add this next time I make these.

Of course, as with most recipes I make, there is always a bit of tweaking involved.

I did not have ground beef on hand, so I subbed in ground turkey and to ease the heat from peppers, I omitted them altogether. 

The original recipe does not call for garlic, but being Italian, I must add it to everything, so you will find garlic & garlic powder in my version.

The final change was made to the portions used in the original recipe; I found the measurements to be a lot of food for our size family but would be perfect for a large family or for a party.

Can You Freeze Empanadas?

This empanada recipe also freezes extremely well and is another reason I love making it so much.

If I know our schedule will be really busy, I will prepare a batch, cook, and freeze. When we need a quick dinner, I preheat the oven at 350 degrees, take out 6-8 pies and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Heat up for 10-15 minutes and dinner is ready! Easy-peasy!

Ready for some delicious? Great! Let’s make

Easy Homemade Empanadas

empanada filling in cast iron pan

First, we are going to fill our Lodge Cast Iron skillet with some total goodness. I love using this pan- it is so versatile; you can use it to cook basically anything on the stovetop from eggs to steak. You can also bake a big cookie, pie, or crisp.

The uses are endless really. I have the 10-inch(pictured above), 12-inch and Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Square Grill Pan in my pantry so I am ready for anything!

empanada dough fold

Then we are going to fill our dough rounds and fold in half. Seal up with a little water around the edge, pinch closed, and finish off by pressing the tines of a fork around the edge.

Bake off in the oven and we are left with a fabulous crust surrounding bite after bite of pure yum.

empanadas with filling

I mean, really. Don't you want to just sink your teeth into this?

Perfect for Cinco De Mayo or anytime you want a little Mexican flare on your table!

Yield: 12

Easy Homemade Empanadas

empanadas on plate with cilantro

Easy homemade empanadas are pockets full of juicy ground turkey, spices and baked into a small pocket. This dish also freezes really well!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with basil and oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • For dough:
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 stick butter, cold & cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with tablespoon water (for brushing top of dough)


  1. In large skillet, add oil and ground turkey. Cook 5-6 minutes then add onion and garlic. Cook thoroughly until no pink remains.
  2. Add chili powder, garlic powder, salt & pepper. Stir well. Add tomatoes, stir and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cilantro, stir and turn off heat. Let mixture cool.
  3. While filling mixture is cooling, prepare dough:
  4. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  5. Add butter cubes and cut in with pastry cutter to resemble small crumbs.
  6. Using your fingers, begin to squeeze together flour mixture as you slowly add 1 cup of cold water. Dough will be sticky.
  7. Remove dough ball from bowl and place on surface dusted with flour. Knead dough 2-3 times.
  8. Divide dough in half. Knead each half 4-5 times until smooth dough ball forms.
  9. Cut dough ball into 4 equal sections. Repeat with other dough ball.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes.
  11. To make Large empanada:
  12. Take 1 dough section and cut in half.
  13. Roll out on floured surface into 6-inch circle.
  14. Fill half of dough circle with meat mixture. Wet bottom half of circle with water and fold dough in half.
  15. Seal with fingers by pressing down the edges. Complete seal by pressing firmly with tines of fork.
  16. To make Smaller empanada:
  17. Take 1 dough section and roll out to 12 inch circle.
  18. With large biscuit cutter, cut circles out of dough.
  19. Repeat fill and seal process above.
  20. At this point you may freeze empanadas.
  21. Place on baking sheet and place in freezer until firm (about 2-3 hours). Wrap in plastic wrap and store in freezer bags for later use.
  22. To bake fresh or frozen empanadas:
  23. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with egg wash mixture. Bake 15 minutes. Rotate tray and bake additional 15 minutes or until tops are deep golden brown.
  24. Serve with jalapenos, salsa and sour cream.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 784mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g

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The Cubicle Chick

Wednesday 29th of April 2015

These look so good. And I'm super hungry right now during this flight, so it's not helping. Lol.

Kelly Pugliano

Thursday 30th of April 2015

Haha! Sorry to make your tummy growl! Hope you have a fantastic time at Mom2.0...this conference is definitely on my bucket list!


Wednesday 29th of April 2015

I do these at home and my family loves them. I love them too!

Kelly Pugliano

Thursday 30th of April 2015

They are so nice to have in the freezer for quick meals!!

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