A Journey Back in Time for Easy Turkey-Stuffed Argentinian Empanadas

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Empanadas with Jennie-O turkey

Credits: JENNIE-O®

If there’s something that calls out the Argentinian food culture, it’s their mouth-watering empanadas. They say you can find an Argentinean anywhere in the world. Well, wherever there’s an Argentinean, there will surely be an empanada… or several. Twelve… or twenty-four, to be more precise. As the writer Jorge Luis Borges said, “the most important virtue of Argentinian people is friendship.” And this dish surely represents that warmth and good vibes he aimed to describe.

In Argentina, making empanadas is a rule. The hit at any gathering is the beef ones! But creativity with fillings has only progressed. Today, we introduce a bold, flavor-packed idea: Argentine-style empanadas made with JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey! This twist to tradition infuses these beloved pastries with a lighter, leaner essence, brimming with nutritious attributes while preserving juiciness and rich flavor.

There isn’t just one way to make them, but almost as many variations as there are Argentinians. In general terms, people usually put whatever they have on hand at home, even if it’s just a bit of chopped onion, ham, cheese, and a hard-boiled egg. Already a classic, empanadas are comfortable to eat, simple to prepare, always turn out well, and no one can resist their charm.

The craziest of all is that as much as they’d love to believe it, empanadas aren’t purely an Argentine invention. The word ’empanada’ comes from ’empanar’ in Spanish, which basically means putting food in between bread. Interestingly enough, this concept started in Europe during the Middle Ages as a solution for the long military campaigns of the time, like the Crusades, where participants needed something succulent and easy to eat on the go. Breads turned out to be the perfect ‘container’ for any meal during those journeys. Naturally, over time, the concept of a ‘stuffed’ meal – or a meal ‘in-between bread’ – evolved and transformed into a culinary staple.

A version of empanadas landed in Argentina with the wave of European immigrants who arrived in the mid-19th century. Over time, each region of the country applied its theories of how they should be. The versions are varied: there are different types of dough, and fillings, some even sweet, according to the tradition created in each province.

Join us in this adventure!

Preparation Time: 1 hour

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Servings: 12

Calories: 200 kcal


-20 frozen empanada discs

For the Argentinean Turkey Empanada Filling:

-16 oz. JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey 

-1 medium onion, chopped

-2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

-2 tablespoons pitted green olives, sliced

-½ teaspoon ground cumin

-4 teaspoons raisins

-A pinch of sugar

-A pinch of salt

-A pinch of pepper

-Chopped parsley

-2 tablespoons oil

-1 beaten egg


Defrost the empanada discs by leaving them at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

The filling:

1- Heat oil in a skillet and fry the onion for a couple of minutes.

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2- Add the JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste, parsley, raisins, and sugar. Cook over medium heat until the meat is completely cooked. Remove from heat.

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3-Add the sliced hard-boiled eggs and the olives.

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4- When it’s time to assemble the empanadas, preheat the oven to 355° F.

5- Spoon the mixture onto the center of each dough circle.

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6- Fold the empanadas and seal the edges with the tips of a fork or by hand.

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7- Once the empanadas are ready, brush them with beaten egg and bake them in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 355º F or until golden brown.

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Fried Empanadas

If you prefer not to bake them, the fried version of Argentinian empanadas is very straightforward.

Simply follow all the steps for preparation that we already mentioned, but instead of baking, cook them in a deep skillet with plenty of vegetable oil. Keep in mind that you should use enough oil to cover the empanadas completely. Fry them until they turn golden.

Argentinian empanadas transcend gastronomy; they also represent that unbreakable bond among friends. Each bite of a good Argentinian-style empanada is a delicious sensory journey that will also help you understand some of the intensity and passion that fills their relationships. Besides, be it an appetizer or a main course, their versatility will consistently cater to your guests’ preferences.

Note: For optimal food safety, ensure that the JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey used in this recipe reaches an internal temperature of 165° F (74° C) when fully cooked. We recommend using a food thermometer to accurately measure the temperature.

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