Nutrition Facts

Spanish Turkey Empanadas

Cooks in 45 minutes
Serves 8 servings






Ray Lampe, Dr. BBQ


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 - (1.41oz) packages Sazon seasoning
  • 1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup sliced green olives with pimento, drained
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 Empanada discs
  • 1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water


Empanadas are a tasty and fun finger food that work great for tailgating. These can be made ahead and served at room temp or warmed quickly on the grill at the game. The filling is a classic Spanish Picadillo made extra tasty with the addition of ground Turkey (think Spanish Sloppy Joe or in this case Sloppy Tom).

Preheat the oven to 375°. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up into small pieces as you go. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until all the pink is gone. Add the cumin and Sazon and mix well. Cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, olives, and raisins. Mix well and cook, stirring often until it’s cooked down to a consistency that will be thick enough to use as a filling for the empanadas. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Remove from the heat and set aside.

One at a time lay an empanada disc on a smooth surface and roll it out just a little with a rolling pin. Add 2 tablespoons of the filling to the center. Fold the disc over. With your fingers and little bowl of water, wet the inside where the disc will be crimped. Close the empanada squeezing out as much air as possible, then crimp the edge all around with the tines of a fork. With a sharp pointy knife, cut three slits in the top so that hot air can escape as it cooks. Place the empanada on a well-oiled or a silicone lined baking sheet. Repeat for as many empanadas as you get out of the batch being careful not to overfill them. Brush the empanadas with the egg wash and place in the oven. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with hot sauce on the side.

Tip: If you have extra discs, open a can of pie filling and utilize them to make dessert hand pies.