Tasty and Easy Ham and Cheese Empanadas Recipe

Welcome to my kitchen, where I specialize in creating mouth-watering dishes inspired by both the Brazilian and American cuisines. Today, I’m excited to share with you my recipe for baked Ham and Cheese Empanadas. These savory treats are a delightful blend of flaky and buttery pastry dough filled with rich and cheesy ham goodness that is bound to leave your taste buds begging for more.

Empanadas are traditionally filled with beef or chicken, but these ham and cheese empanadas provide a unique twist on the classic recipe – and I promise you won’t be disappointed! The delicate blend of diced ham, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan cheese creates a medley of flavors that will have your taste buds jumping for joy.

Whether served as an appetizer for a party or enjoyed as a quick snack on-the-go, these ham and cheese empanadas are a hit every time. So, roll up your sleeves and grab your apron, because we’re about to embark on a delicious culinary journey together.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Ham and Cheese Empanadas
Ham and Cheese Empanadas

My dear food lovers, if you’re looking for a quick and easy recipe that will tickle your taste buds with an explosion of flavor, then look no further! I am thrilled to share with you my delicious Ham and Cheese Empanadas recipe. This dish is sure to leave everyone at the table delighted and satisfied.

Now, let me tell you why you’ll love this recipe. First of all, it’s a perfect combination of sweet and savory with the salty deli ham beautifully balanced by the creamy cheddar cheese. The addition of cayenne pepper and onion powder gives this dish an extra kick and depth of flavor.

Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can serve it as an appetizer, snack or as a meal itself. It’s a great way to use up leftover ham of any kind, be it cooked or baked ham – this recipe will always come in handy. Additionally, you can tweak the filling with any cheese you have on hand such as mozzarella or smoked gouda.

Thirdly, making these empanadas couldn’t be easier because we use frozen puff pastry dough as the base for the empanada crust. This saves us time on preparing homemade empanada dough from scratch. Plus, empanadas are perfect for a quick meal since they cook up perfectly in just 20 minutes—no fuss, no trouble.

In conclusion, these ham and cheese empanadas will leave your taste buds hopping with joy. They are perfect for any gathering, easy to make and so scrumptious – they’ll disappear in no time! Trust me when I say that once you try them out, they’ll become a staple in your weeknight meal rotation – your family will thank you!

Ingredient List

 Bite into a cheesy and savory Ham and Cheese Empanada!
Bite into a cheesy and savory Ham and Cheese Empanada!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cooked diced deli ham
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For the Ham Mixture:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups diced cooked ham
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated smoked Gouda or Edam (similar to Gouda)

For the Empanada Dough Recipe:

  • Flour (1 cup)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Egg (1)
  • Purpose Flour (1/2 cup)

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Baked ham, diced ham and even leftover baked ham can be used in this recipe.
  • Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese or any type of cheese you prefer can be used as a substitute of mozzarella and smoked gouda or edam.
  • For an Argentinian twist, use empanada discs instead of puff pastry.
  • The recipe ingredients can make around 12 pieces with a dimension of approximately 3×3 inches.

The Recipe How-To

 A warm Ham and Cheese Empanada fresh from the oven is hard to resist.
A warm Ham and Cheese Empanada fresh from the oven is hard to resist.

Let’s now dive into the how-to section of this ham and cheese empanadas recipe. Here are the steps you should follow to make 8 delicious empanadas:

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).

Step 2: Prepare the filling

In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups of diced cooked ham and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese until well combined.

Step 3: Roll out the dough

Roll out the frozen puff pastry sheets onto a lightly floured surface. Use a round cutter or a sharp-edged bowl to cut out circles (about 4 inches in diameter) from the dough. You should be able to get around 8 circles per sheet.

Step 4: Fill the empanadas

Place around 1 tablespoon of filling onto each round dough circle. Fold over and seal the edges by pressing them together with a fork.

Step 5: Arrange on a baking sheet

Once you’ve filled all 8 empanadas, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Step 6: Brush with egg wash

In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of milk. Brush this mixture over each empanada using a pastry brush.

Step 7: Bake until golden brown

Bake your ham and cheese empanadas for about 20-25 minutes, or until they turn golden brown on top.

Your delicious ham and cheese empanadas are now ready! Serve them hot and enjoy every bite.

Substitutions and Variations

 Ready to bake these delicious Ham and Cheese Empanadas?
Ready to bake these delicious Ham and Cheese Empanadas?

As a chef, I know that experimenting with different ingredients can be the key to discovering new and exciting flavors. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try to make this Ham and Cheese Empanadas recipe even more flavorful.

For a twist on the classic flavor, try adding some spicy jalapeño peppers to your ham and cheese mixture. The heat from the peppers will add an extra kick to your empanadas.

If you prefer a different type of cheese, feel free to use any kind of shredded cheese in this recipe. Pepper jack cheese or mozzarella cheese work exceptionally well in place of cheddar cheese.

Not a fan of ham? Swap it out for cooked ground beef or cooked chicken for a meatier empanada filling. You can also try using cooked shrimp for a seafood twist.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, substitute the ham for caramelized onions, mushrooms, bell peppers or spinach sautéed in olive oil until they’re tender and fragrant.

To make this dish sweeter, add some diced pineapple to your Ham and Cheese mixture. This is a popular variation in Brazil where they love their empanadas filled with tropical fruit.

For those who love cream cheese, substitute half of the shredded cheese in the filling with cream cheese. It will make for an even creamier and meltier texture that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.

No puff pastry? No problem! You can use pie crust instead to create a crunchy twist on these delicious snacks.

The options are endless when it comes to customizing this recipe. So give it a shot and let your creativity run wild.

Serving and Pairing

 Look at that flaky crust with the melted cheese and ham inside!
Look at that flaky crust with the melted cheese and ham inside!

When it comes to serving and pairing these delicious empanadas, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. The savory and satisfying flavors of baked ham and cheese make these empanadas a fantastic appetizer or snack for any occasion.

If you’re hosting a party or get-together, consider serving these empanadas alongside a variety of other small plates for a fun and flavorful spread. Pair them with crisp veggies and dip, spicy chicken wings, or even some fresh fruit for a well-rounded snack table that’s sure to please all your guests.

These ham and cheese empanadas are also a great option for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Serve them warm with a side salad or some fresh cut veggies for a satisfying meal that’s both hearty and healthy. You can even make some extra empanadas ahead of time and freeze them for an on-the-go meal option that you can enjoy anytime.

For those looking to add a little something extra to their menu, try pairing these cheese empanadas with a refreshing white wine like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. The fruity notes and crisp acidity of these wines serve as the perfect complement to the rich flavors of baked ham and melted cheese.

Overall, when it comes to serving and pairing these delectable ham and cheese empanadas, the possibilities are truly endless. Whether you’re hosting a party, feeding your family, or simply looking for a tasty snack, these empanadas are sure to satisfy your cravings in every way possible.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Enjoy a little taste of Brazil and America in one hand-held pastry.
Enjoy a little taste of Brazil and America in one hand-held pastry.

Making these delicious ham and cheese empanadas ahead of time is a great idea if you’re short on time. The good news is that they freeze really well, so you can prepare them in advance and have them ready whenever you need a quick and easy meal.

To make ahead, simply follow the recipe instructions, let the empanadas cool to room temperature, and then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Make sure to label the container with the date and contents before storing it in the freezer.

When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen empanadas, take them out of the freezer and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and bake the empanadas for 10-15 minutes or until golden and crispy.

Storing baked empanadas is also easy. Simply wrap them in plastic wrap or foil and store them in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Reheating baked empanadas is best done in the oven as microwaving may cause them to become soggy. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and bake for 5-7 minutes or until heated through.

With these simple tips, you can easily make, store, and reheat these ham and cheese empanadas, ensuring that you’ll always have a delicious meal at hand!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The aroma of baked ham and melted cheese will make anyone's mouth water.
The aroma of baked ham and melted cheese will make anyone’s mouth water.

One of the biggest challenges when making empanadas is getting the dough to turn out just right. But don’t worry, with some helpful tips, you can make perfectly flaky and delicious ham and cheese empanadas every time.

Firstly, make sure you use frozen puff pastry dough that has been thawed properly. If the dough is still too cold, it will crack and tear when you try to fold it around the filling. On the other hand, if it’s too warm, it will become sticky and difficult to work with.

Secondly, give your empanadas enough space on the baking sheet so they can expand as they cook. If they are placed too close together, they will stick and turn out mushy.

Thirdly, brush the tops of your empanadas with an egg wash before baking them. This will give them a beautiful golden brown color and a shiny appearance.

When it comes to making the filling, I suggest using cooked ham instead of deli ham. Cooked ham has a more robust flavor and texture which complements the richness of the cheese. Additionally, using both cheddar and parmesan cheese in equal amounts gives each bite a delicious combination of flavors.

Lastly, if you’re feeling adventurous, try experimenting with different types of cheeses such as smoked gouda or edam. These varieties add an exciting twist to the traditional recipe without compromising its authenticity.

With these tips in mind, your ham and cheese empanadas are sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any gathering!


Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Ham and Cheese Empanadas recipe is a must-try that is sure to become a favorite in your household. With its flaky crust and savory filling of diced ham and melted cheese, it’s the perfect appetizer or snack for any occasion. Not to mention, it’s also a great way to use up leftover ham from special occasions.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of cheeses; mozzarella, cheddar, smoked gouda, or even cream cheese would all make great additions. You can also add some extra flair by mixing in some onion powder, cayenne pepper or brown sugar to the ham mixture.

Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and don’t forget to preheat your oven to ensure perfect results every time. And don’t be fooled by how simple the recipe may seem – the end product will impress everyone who tries it.

The best part? These empanadas are easy to make ahead of time and can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for quick and convenient snacking. So why not try making a batch today?

Whether you’re hosting a party or simply looking for a new addition to your snack repertoire, these Ham and Cheese Empanadas are guaranteed to satisfy your cravings. So go ahead and give them a try!

Ham and Cheese Empanadas

Ham and Cheese Empanadas Recipe

This was listed as a top 5 breakfast in Peru on About.com. Although these are not traditional empanandas 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.
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Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Argentinian
Servings 12 empanadas
Calories 441.6 kcal


  • 3 sheets frozen puff pastry
  • 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 cheese, grated
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1/4 lb deli ham
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Melt butter in saucepan on medium-low heat.
  • Whisk flour into butter, and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.
  • Whisk milk into flour/butter mixture and bring to boil, stirring. Sauce will thicken slightly.
  • Whisk 2 eggs into mixture and cook, stirring, for 1 -2 minutes more or until sauce has thickened.
  • Add grated cheese and parmesan and stir until melted. Remove from heat and add cayenne pepper and salt to taste.
  • 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.
  • .Mix egg yolk with water, and brush the edges of half of the rectangles with the egg yolk mixture.
  • 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.
  • Cover the ham and cheese with one of the plain rectangles, and firmly press down around the edges to seal.
  • Repeat with other sheet of puff pastry. Pastries may be frozen at this point, or kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours before baking.
  • Prick the top of the empanadas several times with a fork, and brush tops lightly with the egg yolk mixture.
  • Bake 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.
  • Serve hot or at room temperature.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 115gCalories: 441.6kcalCarbohydrates: 33.5gProtein: 10.1gFat: 29.7gSaturated Fat: 9.3gCholesterol: 62.6mgSodium: 386.7mgFiber: 1.2gSugar: 0.5g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Breakfast, Brunch, South American
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.