Turkey Empanadas

turkey empanadas

For the last few weeks, I have craved empanadas.  Seriously craved them.  I decided to search high and low for a recipe that would just “work” because I never made them.  I have ordered my fair share of empanadas but making them were a different story.  I am so glad I took the plunge and tried a great recipe, and I am pleased to present these turkey empanadas to you.

turkey empanadas

When I first read the recipe from Beef Empanadas recipe from Leite’s Culinara,I knew I found a winner.  I know great pie dough when I see it so I knew this one was great since it is very similar to my homemade pie dough.  The vinegar in it is key to the flakiness, and I also add an egg yolk to mine to make it tender.  I did however omit the sugar because I tend to dislike sweet pastry crust in savory dishes.

turkey empanadas

For the filling, I replaced the beef with ground turkey.  I also omitted the raisins and olives because I didn’t have any on hand.  I added a tiny bit of paprika as well to the filling to punch up the flavor just a bit.

turkey empanadas

After rolling out the lovely dough and adding in the filling, I crimped the sides and fried them until golden brown.  They were so delicious.  I really loved the flavor of the flaky crust paired with the amazing juicy filling.  Using the ground turkey was an awesome choice too.  It lightened the recipe a little which is hard to do when you are deep frying pie dough.  Thanks to this recipe, my empanada cravings have ceased, and I have a mainstay whenever they decide to resurge.

Turkey Empanadas

Turkey Empanadas

Slightly adapted from Leite's Culinara


    For the dough:
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • For the filling:
  • 1 tablespoon peanut, corn, or canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup homemade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Corn or canola oil for frying


    To Make the dough:
  1. 1. Combine the flour and salt in your food processor and pulse a couple of times. Add butter and pulse until it resembles coarse meal.
  2. 2. Lightly beat the eggs with the water and vinegar. Add to flour crumbs and pulse until dough forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead for 2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. To Make the filling:
  4. 3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion softens. Add ground turkey, crumble and cook until pink is gone. . Drain of grease. Stir in tomato paste then add stock or broth and paprika simmer until the liquid almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  5. Assemble the empanadas:
  6. 4. Roll the dough on a generously floured work surface until it’s about 1/8 inch thick. Cut the dough into 3-inch rounds with a floured biscuit cutter or glass, stamping out as many rounds as possible. Roll out any dough scraps and cut out additional rounds if possible. Brush any excess flour from the dough rounds.
  7. 5. Working with 1 round at a time and keeping the rest covered with plastic wrap, spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on one side of the dough round. Fold the dough over to enclose the filling and crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Cover with plastic wrap while you form the remaining empanadas. [The filled, uncooked empanadas can be frozen on a baking sheet, and stored in an airtight plastic bag or container for up to a month. You’ll need to bake the unthawed empanadas, rather than fry them, in a 350°F (176°C) oven for 20 to 25 minutes.]
  8. 6. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Pour enough oil into a deep-sided pot to reach a depth of about 1/2 inch and heat until it registers about 325°F (163°C) on a deep-fry or candy thermometer.
  9. 7. Fry the empanadas in small batches, turning them once, until browned and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the empanadas to paper towels or a brown paper bag to drain for a few moments, and then transfer to a baking sheet. Place the fried empanadas in the oven to keep warm while you fry the remaining empanadas. Serve at once.
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  1. Love empanadas! I’ve never actually made them myself, but definitely need to remedy that soon. That filling looks incredible!

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Oh Ashley, same here. This was the first time I made them and they are so delicious! I am going to play around with different fillings and try a few more!

  2. I love empanadas! I first had them when I went on a Miami food tour while on vacation. They were the first thing i made when we returned home. I love that you used ground turkey too.

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Oh gosh! I bet the ones you had in Miami were so fantastic Jamie! The turkey was awesome in these too!

  3. I can’t get over how pretty your blog looks ahh! Everytime I see your layout I have a little heart attack because it is so darn adorable <3 Random part of the comment over – let's get to these empanadas. They look fantastic and I love that they're stuffed with turkey instead of beef! How yummy! xx

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Awww thank you so much Consuelo! I loved getting my blog redesigned. It feels more like me now for sure! Also yes these empanadas are seriously so delicious!

  4. OMG Jocelyn, great minds (and stomachs?) think alike! I JUST put beef empanadas on my blog too: http://www.inmyyellowcardigan.com/2014/06/13/beef-empanadas/

    But I’m pinning yours as these look AMAZING.

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Awww thanks so much Marisssa! You are a woman after my own heart. Anyone who loves empanadas is a fan of mine!

  5. They look so flaky and delicious!

  6. I love empanadas! The last time I had them was in NY in Times Square from a food truck at midnight, SO GOOD for a cold winter night! These look so delicious!

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Food trucks make the best empanadas. We have an awesome food truck here in Chicago that has some of the best empanadas around!

  7. I love empandas and order my fair share all the time!! Amazing that you found a great recipe. I cannot wait to try these. They look amazing.

  8. What a fab recipe, Jocelyn! I love empanadas, but *shock* I’ve never made them! This looks like something I can handle, and they look amazing! Pinned!

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Girl you can definitely tackle these! I was amazed how simple they were to make!

  9. I recently made baked empanadas with an olive oil pastry crust and loved them BUT I know I would love these even more because you did the right thing and deep fried these babies!! Vinegar in the pastry dough?!!! I gotta try this!!!! LOVE!

  10. These look incredible Jocelyn! Can’t wait to make these soon. Bookmarked:)

  11. Does sound wonderful. However, although you list paprika in your ingredients list – you never mention it in the recipe itself.

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Hi Zita, thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. I updated the recipe to include the addition of paprika!

  12. So yum! Your empanadas look mouthwatering, Jocelyn! Definitely have to try making my own sometime soon!

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Thanks so much Kathi! Once you start making your own, you may never buy them again!

  13. Jocelyn, these look spectacular – I love learning how to make things that we usually end up buying. thanks for a great recipe!

  14. I have had a craving for empanadas for a few weeks too! Looks yummy!

  15. Now I’m craving empanadas, Jocelyn! These look amazing, and I love that you filled them with ground turkey. Delicious!

  16. These look so delicious! Now I’m craving them too.

  17. Loving your creativity! Those empanadas look and sound absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing :)

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  18. You are the empanada queen! I like to eat these but never have made them… now you inspire me to try it!

  19. Love the look of these empanadas. I think that you started my craving for empanadas!

  20. Now I’m craving them!!! LOVE these, especially with the ground turkey!

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Yes! They taste lighter but still delish. Now I want to try them with ground chicken!

  21. Your picture is amazingly clear; you made me create a Pinterest board just for meat pies. LOL!! I love empanadas too. I’m going to try these, but substitute the ground turkey for ground chicken. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Oh I love ground chicken and would love to try that next time as well! Let me know how it turns out for you!

  22. Vinegar, huh? I’ve never heard that before.
    I made baked empanadas before and they were awesome! And way healthier than deep-fried ones :)

  23. Me likey some of these! Mmmmmm. I’m hungry.

  24. These sound amazing! Empanadas are my favourite kind of food!

  25. Vinegar in a pie dough? Oh wow, got to try that! You must have been reading my mind, Jocelyn, because I’ve been thinking about empanadas lately, too. I leafed through an Argentinian cook book the other day and there were so many different varieties! Turkey sounds wonderful, though, but I must admit I’d be tempted to add those olives and raisins. Sounds absolutely delicious!

    • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says:

      Helen, you should totally add the olives and raisins! That is what makes it authentic for sure!

  26. First off Jocelyn, I saw these everywhere yesterday!! They totally caught my eye. Empanadas are just the best appetizer, snack or dinner item. I had great ones at a restaurant in NYC and fell in love (didn’t have them before then!) Totally want to make my own now…turkey sounds just right for in them! THanks for sharing, pinned for later :)

  27. My coworkers are Columbian and they bring in the best empanadas! I need to try this@ yum!

  28. Your empanadas look mouthwatering!!

  29. My mouth is watering! These look amazing! I’ve always wanted to make them. :)

  30. I’ve never made empanadas, but I love them. This turkey version sounds and looks delicious!

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