Get creative with your leftover turkey and make these flaky, savory empanadas, served with a roasted red pepper sauce.

Got leftover turkey? Make these delicioso turkey empanadas! Repin to save.

Here’s a fun and creative idea for using up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. Empanadas!

What Are Empanadas?

Empanadas are little meat and/or veggie-filled pockets. They’re popular in the Caribbean and Latin America, where you can find them filled with beef or chicken, potatoes, hard-boiled egg, olives, raisins, onions, and other good stuff.

Empanadas are great for parties. They’re a breeze to prepare, and you can bake dozens of them at a time. Especially when you use a ready-made dough like I did.

Turkey empanadas, made out of leftover turkey. Served with a red pepper sauce. Repin to save!

Where To Buy Empanada Wrappers

I buy empanada wrappers at a local Mexican grocery store. They’re usually in the freezer section. If you’re stuck and can’t find them, you can:

  • Make your own
  • Use pie crust
  • Use refrigerator crescent rolls
  • Make these pot-pie style using puff pastry

Empanada wrappers

Empanada Variations

If it’s not Thanksgiving – or if you don’t have leftover turkey on hand – you could certainly use chicken to make these empanadas. Or make a veggie filling. Or one with ground beef.

The point is – empanada fillings are extremely versatile. Use ingredients that you already have on hand, and flex your creativity muscles to make something delicious.

I made a quick roasted red pepper sauce, but you could serve these with a fruit chutney or chipotle cream sauce.

More Leftover Turkey Recipes

More Empanada Recipes

Ground beef empanadas (Argentine-style)

Breakfast empanadas (filled with scrambled egg and bacon)

Turkey empanadas: A delicious way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey! Click through for recipe.

Turkey Empanadas

Yield: 20 empanadas
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

If you're using ready-made empanada dough, be sure to check the package instructions for bake time and temperature.


For empanadas

  • 1 package empanada wrappers
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped turkey
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers (or 1/4 cup chopped green olives)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For roasted red pepper sauce

  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Mix all turkey filling ingredients together and season to your liking.
  2. Place one large tablespoon of turkey filling in the middle of each empanada dough round. Fold the dough over and seal edges by pressing together. Seal with a little water, if necessary.
  3. Place in oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until crust is browned and filling is hot.
  4. To make roasted red pepper sauce, combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree.

Did you like this recipe?

Please give it a 5-star review on the recipe card above!