Savory Ham Empanadas – A Perfect Party Appetizer

Hey there, foodies! Have you ever craved a quick and easy snack that’s both savory and delicious? Look no further because I’ve got the perfect recipe for you – Simple Ham Empanadas! As a chef specializing in Brazilian and American cuisine, I can assure you that this recipe is a crowd-pleaser.

These empanadas are filled with diced ham, cheddar cheese, and stuffed green olives to add a punch of flavor. The best part is that you can use premade puff pastry for an effortless homemade feel. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for taking the time to create such a mouth-watering dish.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the entire process of making these Simple Ham Empanadas. From outlining the ingredients, giving step-by-step instructions, providing tips for perfect results, and even offering make-ahead and reheating suggestions – everything necessary to achieve a satisfying output. So get ready and let’s dive into this empanada journey together!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Simple Ham Empanadas
Simple Ham Empanadas

Have you ever craved something cheesy, savory, and full of flavor? Look no further than this simple ham empanada recipe. This recipe is perfect for a quick and easy meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and inspired. Whether you’re a busy parent looking for a delicious meal to feed your family, or just someone who loves to try new recipes, these ham empanadas are the perfect choice.

One of the best things about this recipe is how easy it is to make. Using pre-made puff pastry or pie dough as the base, you can easily whip up a batch of these empanadas in no time. The recipe ingredients are simple and straightforward, including diced ham, cheddar cheese, stuffed green olives, eggs, and a few spices. With just a little bit of prep time and some basic kitchen skills, you can create delicious homemade empanadas that will impress family and friends alike.

The flavor combination of ham and cheese is a classic that never goes out of style. In this recipe, the savory ham is complemented by the creamy cheddar cheese and tangy olives, creating a perfect balance of flavors in each bite. And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can always switch up the recipe by adding other ingredients like cooked bacon or diced onions.

Another great thing about these empanadas is their versatility. They make great appetizers or main dishes, depending on how big you make them. Serve them at parties or gatherings for an easy finger food option that everyone will love. Or pair them with your favorite sides like salsa or guacamole for an easy meal at home.

In conclusion, there are so many reasons why you’ll love this simple ham empanada recipe. From its ease of preparation to its delicious flavors and versatility in serving options, this recipe checks all the boxes for a great meal or snack option. Give it a try today and let your taste buds be the judge!

Ingredient List

 Bite into a warm, flaky empanada filled with savory ham and cheese!
Bite into a warm, flaky empanada filled with savory ham and cheese!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Simple Ham Empanadas:

Puff Pastry or Pie Dough

  • 1 package premade puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions.
  • Alternatively, use pie crust or empanada dough recipe.

Ham and Cheese Filling

  • 2 cups of cooked ham, chopped into small pieces.
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.
  • ½ cup of stuffed green olives, sliced.
  • 1 large egg for egg wash.

Empanadas Dough Ingredients (if not using premade)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting.
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder.
  • ½ teaspoon salt.
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces.
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk.
  • Ice water as needed.

These simple ham empanadas ingredients are readily available in your local grocery stores.

The Recipe How-To

 These empanadas are perfect for a quick and easy snack or meal.
These empanadas are perfect for a quick and easy snack or meal.

Now that we have all of our ingredients ready, let’s start making our Simple Ham Empanadas!

Step 1: Prepare the Ham Mixture

First, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add ½ tsp of onion powder and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and cook until the sugar dissolves. Then, add 2 cups of cooked ham – chopped into small pieces – and continue cooking for a few minutes until the ham is lightly browned. Set this mixture aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Empanada Dough

Roll out the store-bought premade puff pastry dough or make homemade empanada dough. If you want to make your own dough, click on the link to find an empanada dough recipe that we recommend.

Step 3: Assemble the Empanadas

Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Cut the rolled-out dough into circles using a cup or cookie cutter (around 4 inches in diameter). Spoon a small amount of the ham mixture onto one half of each circle. Top with some shredded cheddar cheese (or another type of cheese you prefer) and a couple of stuffed green olives.

Fold the pastry over and press the edges together with a fork to seal. Brush each empanada with an egg wash (made by whisking an egg in a bowl), put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.

Step 4: Serve and Enjoy!

Serve your warm and fragrant ham cheese empanadas as appetizers or snacks. They can be paired with various dipping sauces such as piquillo pepper sauce or cream cheese. You can also store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days, and reheat them in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for about 10-15 minutes.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to make simple yet delicious ham empanadas!

Substitutions and Variations

 Make these empanadas at home with just a few simple ingredients.
Make these empanadas at home with just a few simple ingredients.

The beauty of making simple ham empanadas is that there are endless ways to customize the recipe and experiment with different ingredients. Feel free to substitute or add ingredients based on your personal taste preferences.

If you’re not a fan of ham, you can switch it out with cooked bacon, sausage, ground beef or chicken. You can also make it vegetarian by using chopped mushrooms or tofu as a filling instead.

For the cheese, cheddar can easily be swapped with mozzarella, Swiss or pepper jack cheese. If you want a creamier texture, try adding some cream cheese to the mixture.

If you’re looking for a bit more flavor, try adding some diced onions or bell peppers to the ham mixture. You can also add some spice with chili powder, cumin or jalapeños.

For a more colorful presentation, consider mixing in some chopped stuffed green olives or piquillo peppers into the filling mixture.

To change up the crust, you can use pre-made pie dough instead of puff pastry. Alternatively, mix all-purpose flour and butter to create your own empanada dough recipe.

Lastly, feel free to experiment with different dipping sauces like salsa, guacamole or even a homemade piquillo pepper sauce.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to this simple ham empanada recipe – so get creative and have fun exploring new variations!

Serving and Pairing

 Add a bit of spice to these empanadas by adding chopped jalapeños to the ham filling.
Add a bit of spice to these empanadas by adding chopped jalapeños to the ham filling.

When serving these delicious ham empanadas, there are a few different ways you can present them. I like to arrange them on a platter with some fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes to add a pop of color to the plate.

In terms of pairing drinks with your ham empanadas, you have a few options. These empanadas are savory and rich, so I would suggest serving them with a light beer or a refreshing sparkling water. If you prefer wine, a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio can complement the flavors of the dish nicely.

For a complete meal, you can serve these ham empanadas alongside some roasted vegetables or a simple salad. They also make great appetizers for parties or potlucks. Just be prepared to make plenty of them, as they tend to disappear quickly!

Finally, if you want to really elevate this dish, consider making a homemade piquillo pepper sauce to serve alongside your ham empanadas. This spicy sauce adds an extra layer of flavor and pairs perfectly with the savory filling.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Serve these empanadas with a side of spicy salsa for a burst of flavor.
Serve these empanadas with a side of spicy salsa for a burst of flavor.

These simple ham empanadas are perfect for preparing ahead of time and storing in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to bake them. To make ahead, follow the recipe steps up to baking, cool the empanadas completely, and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When reheating, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and place the frozen empanadas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until heated through and golden brown. You can also reheat thawed empanadas using this method, but they may cook more quickly, so keep an eye on them.

If you have leftovers that have been baked and cooled, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat them, simply place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375°F (190°C) for 10-12 minutes or until heated through.

One tip for make-ahead and reheating is to not overfill the empanadas. Doing so can cause them to burst open while baking or when reheating. Keep it simple and stick with a moderate amount of filling so that each bite is perfectly balanced.

Overall, these simple ham empanadas are a great choice if you want to prepare meals ahead of time or have leftovers that you need to reheat quickly. They’re easy to make, store well, and taste delicious with every bite.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Impress your friends and family with these homemade empanadas.
Impress your friends and family with these homemade empanadas.

When it comes to making empanadas, getting the perfect results can be a challenge. However, with a few key tips and tricks, you can make your simple ham empanadas recipe absolutely delicious. Here are some tips that can help you achieve perfect results.

First and foremost, make sure you are using high-quality ingredients. Using fresh ham and good quality cheese will have a significant impact on the final taste of your empanadas. Also, ensure that the premade puff pastry or pie dough is fresh and not expired.

Another key tip is to dice your ham into small pieces. This will help to ensure that the ham cooks evenly during the baking process. It is also important to drain any excess liquid from the ham mixture before adding it to the empanadas.

When filling your empanadas, be careful not to over-stuff them. Over-filling can cause the dough to burst during baking and make your ham cheese empanadas look messy. Similarly, be sure to seal the edges of your empanadas tightly with a fork or by pinching them together with your fingers before adding them to the oven.

Also, pay attention to temperature settings when making this recipe. Preheat oven accordingly so that the proper internal temperature should be reached without accidentally burning them tough or breaking them apart.

Finally, allow your baked ham cheese empanadas to cool for a few minutes before serving them. This will help the filling settle and prevent it from spilling out when you bite into it.

By keeping these tips in mind and practicing regularly, you’ll soon become an expert at making simple yet delicious ham cheese empanadas!


Before we wrap up this simple ham empanadas recipe article, I’d like to anticipate and address some of the most frequently asked questions people ask about this recipe. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or novice home chef, there may be some lingering doubts or uncertainties that need clarification. So, let’s dive right into it!

Is it better to fry or bake empanadas?

Whether you prefer the crispy texture of fried empanadas or the slightly healthier option of baked ones, both methods result in a scrumptious snack. Depending on your schedule and dietary preferences, you can choose to bake them in the oven or fry them for a faster option.

Which dough is best for empanadas?

The majority of individuals tend to utilize their preferred pre-made pie dough when preparing empanadas due to similar ingredient requirements. The ingredients for most pie dough involve flour, butter, salt, water, and occasionally egg, which are nearly identical to the ones needed for this recipe.

What are 3 types of empanadas?

In the province of Tucumán, which is famous for hosting the National Empanada Festival, the locals have a special way of making their empanadas. They use three different fillings, including beef, tripe, and chicken. The dough is then wrapped around the fillings, and they are cooked in beef fat using a clay oven.

Can you use store bought dough for empanadas?

Need a quicker alternative for making empanadas? No need to worry, you can utilize store-bought pie dough as a substitute. However, keep in mind that the dough might need to be rolled out to produce a flaky result. This dough is more preferable for baking rather than frying, but can still be used as a great option for making delicious empanadas.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this simple ham empanadas recipe is a must-try for anyone looking for a quick and easy meal that packs big flavors. With just a few ingredients, you can create a delicious savory treat that is sure to please everyone in your family or group of friends. Whether you’re using store-bought puff pastry or making your empanada dough recipe from scratch, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make these savory treats.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different variations of this recipe. Try substituting different types of cheese or adding other ingredients like diced peppers or onions to enhance the flavor profile. The possibilities are truly endless with this versatile recipe.

Remember to follow our tips for perfect results and make-ahead options so that you can enjoy these ham empanadas whenever you want. And if you have any questions, check our FAQ section for helpful answers.

So what are you waiting for? Head to the kitchen and make these delicious ham empanadas today! Your taste buds will thank you for it.

Simple Ham Empanadas

Simple Ham Empanadas Recipe

Great fingerfood for a party. Ready-rolled puff pastry makes these quick and easy. Can be pre-made to step 4.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Latin American
Calories 304.8 kcal


  • 2 eggs
  • 40 g stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 95 g ham, finely chopped
  • 30 g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 sheets premade puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten


  • Preheat oven to hot 220C (425F). Line, or lightly grease, 2 baking trays.
  • Place the eggs in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain and cool in cold water for 5 minutes. Peel and chop.
  • Combine the egg, olives, ham and Cheddar in a large bowl.
  • Cut out five 10cm rounds from each pastry sheet (15 in total). Place 1 tablespoon of filling onto the centre of each circle. Fold the pastry over, to create a half-circle, and seal the edges.
  • Place the empanadas on the prepared trays about 2cms apart. Brush with the egg yolk and bake for 15 minutes, or until puffed and dark golden in colour.
  • You may need to swap the trays around at the 10 minute mark to cook evenly. If they start to brown too much loosely cover with foil. Serve hot.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 67gCalories: 304.8kcalCarbohydrates: 22.4gProtein: 6.5gFat: 21.1gSaturated Fat: 5.6gCholesterol: 41.3mgSodium: 282.4mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 0.4g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Beginner Cook, Cheese, Easy, For Large Groups, Ham, Inexpensive, Lunch, Meat, Pork
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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.