Recipe for chicken or turkey empanadas

Receta en español
These homemade chicken or turkey empanadas are filled with leftover shredded turkey or chicken, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, cumin, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Empanadas are the one of the best ways to use leftovers and transform them into something different. These turkey empanadas are very easy to make, especially if you use store bought empanada discs, and will help you turn that leftover turkey from the holidays into a quick and tasty meal. One of the many things that I love about empanadas is their versatility; you can create something completely different every time you make them by combining different ingredients each time. For these empanadas I made a filling using onions, bell peppers, garlic, and tomatoes with spices like cumin and achiote; I also added a little bit of balsamic vinegar and fresh oregano to add extra flavor to the turkey.
Easy chicken or turkey empanada recipe Easy turkey or chicken empanada recipe
These empanadas can also be made with leftover chicken – great use for those times when you have leftover roasted chicken. They can also be made with ground turkey, but you will need to increase the cooking time for the filling if you use raw ground turkey. I like to serve empanadas with dipping sauces, for these I used a spicy cranberry mango sauce, other sauces that would pair well with these turkey empanadas are tree tomato aji or a quick chimichurri sauce.

Turkey or chicken empanadas

Chicken or turkey empanadas

Chicken or turkey empanadas

Recipe for homemade chicken or turkey empanadas filled with turkey or chicken, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, cumin, oregano and balsamic vinegar.


  • 12-15 medium sized empanadas discs, using homemade dough or store-bought empanada discs
  • 2 tbs butter
  • ½ white onion, sliced thinly
  • ½ bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ tsp ground achiote or annatto
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 cups shredded turkey or chicken
  • 2 tbs turkey gravy – you can replace this with a combination of broth and butter
  • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tbs fresh oregano – can be replaced with 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 egg, yolk and white separated
  • Suggested dipping sauces:
  • Spicy cranberry mango sauce, tree tomato aji or a quick chimichurri sauce


  1. Melt the butter in a medium size frying pan.
  2. Add the onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, achiote, and cumin. Cook for 10 minutes over medium low heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix in the shredded turkey and stir well.
  4. Add the turkey gravy and balsamic vinegar; continue cooking over low heat for another 5 minutes.
  5. Let the turkey filling cool down, and then add in the chopped oregano.
  6. To assemble the empanadas spoon the turkey mixture on to the center of the each empanada disc.
  7. Brush the edges of the empanada discs with the egg whites, you can also use water but the egg white acts as a natural “glue” that helps seal the empanada.
  8. Fold the empanada disc and seal the edges gently with your fingers, twist and fold the edges of the empanadas with your fingers. To seal the edges further you can use a fork to press down and finish sealing the empanadas.
  9. Let the empanadas rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until ready to bake, this will help them seal better and prevent leaks.
  10. Lightly brush the top of the empanadas with the egg yolk; this will give them a nice golden glow when they bake.
  11. Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden, exact time will depend on the size of the empanadas and your oven.
  12. Serve warm.

Cook the onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, achiote and cumin for about 10 minutes Veggies for a chicken or turkey empanada filling

Add the shredded turkey or chicken Add the gravy or broth and balsamic vinegar
Let the empanada filling cool down before serving Chicken or turkey empanada filling
Making homemade turkey empanadas Brush the empanadas with egg wash before baking
Baking the turkey empanadas Homemade turkey or chicken empanadas
Turkey empanadas with spicy cranberry mango sauce Turkey empanadas recipe
Turkey or chicken empanadas