Ham & Leek Empanadas

By Christina Collins

Cooked Ham & Leek Empanada
Cooked Ham & Leek Empanada

Ham & Leek Empanadas

This is a french inspired "cheater's" version of an empanada. This recipe uses store bought puff pastry instead of a traditional home made pastry dough and is stuffed with a savory filling of diced hame, sautéed leeks, spinach and gruyere cheese. It's an excellent lunch or savory first course.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 5 minutes
Course Appetizer, lunch
Cuisine French, International, spanish
Servings 4 people


  • 3/4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cups small-diced leeks, white and light green parts only
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 ounces smoked ham such as Black Forest, cut into 1/4″ dice
  • 2 ounces Gruyère cheese grated
  • 1 ounces 1 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. julienned basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • All-purpose flour for rolling
  • 1.5 sheets frozen puff pastry defrosted (1 package)
  • Fleur de sel or sea salt for sprinkling


  • Preheat oven to 400°.  
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
    Sheet pan lined with parchment
  • In a medium saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add leeks and sauté until tender but not browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in crème fraîche and simmer 1 minute. Set aside
    Leeks and butter cooking in pan
  • In a medium bowl, mix ham and Gruyère. Add leek mixture, spinach, basil, Parmesan, salt, and black pepper. Mix and set aside. 
    Ham & Leek Empanada Filling in a bowl
  • In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk
    Whisking eggs
  • Sprinkle a cutting board with flour, roll out 1 sheet of the puff pastry to an 11" x 11" square, and cut into 4 equal squares. Trim the edges for clean sides. (Tip: Use a pizza cutter to cut the pastry dough.)
    Making Ham & Leek Empanada
  • Brush edges of each square with egg wash. Place 1/3 cup of the ham and cheese filling in the center of each square. Fold each square diagonally to form a triangle, lining up edges of pastry. 
    Ham & Leek Empanada
  • Press edges with tines of a fork to seal. 
    Ham & Leek Empanada
  • Place empanadas on prepared sheet pans and brush each with egg wash and sprinkle with fleur de sel and pepper. 
    4 raw Ham & Leek Empanadas
  • Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving.
    Ham & Leek Empanada with side salad


Make Ahead Pro Tips!

  • To make ahead and freeze, assemble completely but do not bake.  Place assembled empanadas on the sheet pan in the freezer.  When frozen, transfer empanadas to a resealable plastic bag or vacuum seal.
    You don’t have to thaw before baking, but you might have to add a couple of minutes to the baking time.
  • To make ahead and refrigerate, assemble completely and refrigerate up to 2 days in advance of baking. Bake according to instructions. 
Keyword puff pastry, tapas

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