Puff Pastry Ham and Cheese Empanadas

Famous Latin American Empanadas on a plate
Felipex/Creative RF/Getty Images
Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 60 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
255 Calories
17g Fat
17g Carbs
9g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 255
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 405mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 9g
Calcium 137mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(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.

The light and flaky pastry combines perfectly with the melted cheese and ham. If you've been resorting to commercially-prepared hot pockets for quick breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, this can be your go-to alternative. You can make these empanadas and freeze them unbaked, then take them straight from the freezer to the oven for a quick hot treat.

Your kids will love them as they are simple but delicious. Pair them with a big green salad bursting with vegetables for lunch or servings of fresh fruit for breakfast. You can also pack these in brown bag lunches as they taste great at room temperature as well as hot.


  • 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 cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch salt (to taste)
  • 1 package puff pastry dough (frozen)
  • 1/4 pound ham (deli)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water​

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.

  3. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.

  4. Whisk the flour into the melted butter and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes.

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

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

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

  8. 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-inch-by-4-inch rectangles.

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

  10. Place a piece of ham in the center of each rectangle that has been brushed with the egg yolk mixture. There should be an edge of dough all around the ham. Top ham the ham with 2 tablespoons of the cheese mixture.

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

  12. 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.

  13. When ready to bake, prick the top of the empanadas several times with a fork and brush tops lightly with the egg yolk mixture.

  14. Bake 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.

  15. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Traditional masa empanada dough is made with flour and lard and requires plenty of kneading. You can make these ham and cheese empanadas using traditional dough if you prefer but keep the idea of using puff pastry (homemade or store-bought) in the back of your mind as an easier alternative.

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