Ham and Cheese Empanadas Recipe

Famous Latin American Empenadas
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Ratings (10)
  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 12 empandas (12 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
255 Calories
17g Fat
17g Carbs
9g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although these are not traditional empanadas because they are made with puff pastry dough, they are still very popular, especially for breakfast. They are often shaped as a square, maybe to distinguish them from the classic round empanadas. This light and flaky pastry combine perfectly with the melted cheese and ham. You can make these empanadas and freeze them unbaked, then take them straight from the freezer to the oven for a quick hot lunch.


  • 1 package puff pastry dough (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cheese (grated smoked gouda, edam, or similar)
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan (grated)
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch of salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 pound ham (deli)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water​

Steps to Make It


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheight.

  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.

  3. Whisk flour into butter, and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.

  4. Whisk milk into flour/butter mixture and bring to boil, stirring. The sauce will thicken slightly.

  5. Whisk 2 eggs into mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 -2 minutes more or until sauce has thickened.

  6. Add grated cheese and parmesan and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and salt to taste.

  7. Roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry dough on a floured surface to 12 inches square. With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into 12 3 x 4-inch rectangles.

  8. Mix egg yolk with water, and brush the edges of half of the rectangles with the egg yolk mixture.

  9. Place a piece of ham in the center of the rectangles brushed with egg yolk. There should be an edge of dough all around the ham. Top ham with 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture.

  10. Cover the ham and cheese with one of the plain rectangles, and firmly press down around the edges to seal.

  11. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry. Pastries may be frozen at this point or kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours before baking.

  12. Prick the top of the empanadas several times with a fork, and brush tops lightly with the egg yolk mixture.

  13. Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

  14. Serve hot or at room temperature.