Chipotle Turkey Acorn Squash Empanadas

Chipotle Turkey Acorn Squash Empanadas


Chipotle Turkey Acorn Squash Empanadas

Chipotle Turkey Acorn Squash Empanadas

Turn your leftover turkey and squash into smoky, spicy empanadas. 
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Course Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 10 empanadas


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 huge clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 canned chipotles in adobo, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo from the jar of chipotles in adobo
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed roasted acorn squash from 1 smallish acorn squash
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded cooked turkey I used a combo of dark and light meat
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 frozen annatto (or plain) empanada wrappers, defrosted (or homemade, see note)


  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Meanwhile, saute the onion, garlic, and peppers in the butter and oil until the onion is translucent. Add the adobo, squash, and turkey and saute until cooked through and the mixture is evenly coasted in squash. Allow to cool slightly (about 10 minutes).
  • Place the wrappers on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put 1/4 cup filling into each wrapper, leaving a 1/4 inch margin.
  • Fold the top over the filling, using the tines of a fork to seal firmly, using a bit of water on the edge if needed.  Brush with beaten egg if desired.
  • Bake for 18 minutes. Serve immediately.


  • Make your own empanada dough using this recipe if desired.
  • If using frozen, defrost overnight in the fridge the day before you want to make the empanadas. 
  • Roast the squash the night before, mash and refrigerate overnight to speed up the empanada process the next day. Or make double when making your holiday squash dish and reserve some for this use.
  • To roast squash, half the squash vertically. Place open-side down on a foil-lined pan and bake for 40 minutes at 425 or until fork-tender. 
  • Sweet potato or pumpkin would make a good sub for squash. 


What I enjoy most about blogging and creating recipes around Thanksgiving and other holidays is come up with fun ideas to use up leftovers.  Growing up we’d mostly just have sandwiches. Sandwiches can be great but there other things you can do with your leftovers. I’ve posted a lot of Thanksgiving leftovers recipes in years past using up everything from mashed potatoes to turkey to cranberry sauce. I also keep a running list of ideas throughout the year and empanadas have been on it for a long, long time.

We are people who generally make every little thing by scratch and I couldn’t ever get up the energy to make empanada dough right after making such a big meal. Then the pandemic came and my husband discovered frozen empanada discs. We made empanadas earlier in the year and the discs were just fine. Not quite as tasty as when we made our own dough the year we made sweet potato empanadas for Thanksgiving dessert but honestly, pretty good. The real charm of an empanada is in the filling anyway.

I am not saying these are some traditional empanadas with a recipe passed down from generations before but I am saying they are very, very tasty. If you don’t feel like eating Thanksgiving flavors again right after the holiday, this is the leftover recipe for you. It takes two ingredients that can be a little bland (turkey and winter squash) and with the addition of chipotle, turns them into a pleasingly hot and robustly flavored entree. If you are having squash this week, I highly recommend roasting extra just for this. Or feel free to use any leftover savory roasted squash,  I’m sure it would be fine.



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