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Corn & Crab Empanadas

Need a new way to use up that summer sweet corn? These Baked Crab and Corn Empanadas are a handheld savory snack that’s bursting with flavor and fun to eat! Baked instead of fried, they’re a lightened up version of a classic Latin American bite.  
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Argentinian, Cuban, Latin American, Mexican, Spanish
Servings: 12 empanadas
Author: The Kitchen Prep


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ tablespoons diced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno pepper seeds removed for less heat
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon adobo seasoning see notes
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 6 oz can white lump crab drained
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 12 store-bought empanada dough discs thawed

For Egg Wash

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Make Filling

  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper, corn and jalapeno pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes until they begin to soften.
  • Sprinkle adobo seasoning over mixture and stir to combine. Squeeze fresh lime juice into mixture, scraping the bottom of the pan to get any browned bits.
  • Remove from heat and add cilantro, crab meat and mayonnaise, folding it together gently until mostly uniform, being careful not to break up the crab too much. Set aside to cool.

Make Egg Wash (for Baking)

  • Whisking together egg and water. Set aside.

Assemble Empanadas

  • Place the thawed empanada dough discs on prepared pan. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the crab mixture into the center of each circle.
  • Brush a bit of egg wash around the edge of the dough circle -- this will act as a "glue" to keep the empanadas well-sealed.
  • Fold the dough over the filling to form a semi-circle, pressing down to adhere the edges. Using the tines of a fork, crimp the edges of the empanada.
  • Brush the exterior of the empanada with egg wash.
  • Repeat with the rest of the filling -- you should get 12 empanadas.

Bake Empanadas

  • Bake the empanadas for 20-25 minutes, until they turn golden brown and glossy, and have puffed up. (They may also have some bubbly air pockets that form on the surface.)
  • For frying directions, see Instructions section above or notes section below.
  • Let cool slightly before serving with your favorite salsa, dip or aioli.


  • Adobo seasoning can usually be found among the ethnic spices in the regular spice aisle, but if you can't find it you can simply use a blend of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric and oregano or you favorite spice blend.
  • If you can't find frozen empanada dough discs, you can either make your own empanada dough OR you may also use store-bought frozen pie dough or puff pastry dough cut into approximately 5 inch circles. The texture will be different than traditional empanadas, but they're still good!
Frying Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in the pan to about 350°F. (You can check the temperature using a meat or candy thermometer)
  2. When the oil has come to temperature, carefully place a few empanadas into the hot oil. (A spider or large slotted spoon is a good tool to use for this to avoid splashing.)
  3. Fry until the empanada dough is golden, about 2 or 3 minutes, then carefully flip it and allow the other side to cook until golden brown. When both sides done, carefully move the empanadas to the cooling rack in the oven. Continue with the next batch.
  • Swap out your fillings with seasonal summer veggies like zucchini or grape tomatoes!
  • Give your proteins a switch by using shrimp, shredded rotisserie chicken or cooked ground beef instead of crab.
  • Change up your seasonings! Taco seasoning, Old Bay or your favorite blend will give these a different flavor profile.
Diet-Specific Substitutions
This recipe is naturally dairy-free.
  • Gluten-Free: I haven't tried it myself, but this recipe for gluten-free empanada dough looks like a good option. Gluten-free puff pastry dough would make a good alternative in a pinch.
  • Vegan: To make these vegan, sub out the crab meat with chopped hearts of palm or your favorite crab meat alternative. This article shares some vegan crab alternatives that may work. Note: Imitation crab meat is typically not vegan.