Seafood and Fish Empanada Filling Recipes

Being from Maryland and having the Chesapeake Bay at my disposal growing up, I’ve grown accustomed to fresh seafood anytime. This helped to quickly develop my palette for high-quality seafood at premium freshness. And of course my love for Old Bay. Below are some recipes for empanada fillings that include a lot of the foods I’ve taken for granted most of my life and now can’t live without. But, before you get started on your empanada filling, don’t forget to check out some common empanada mistakes that I’ve discovered along the way while perfecting my Argentinian empanada skills.

Citrus Tuna Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

Makes 6 medium-sized empanadas.

  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed and cut into small dice
  • 1 celery rib rib, scrubbed and diced
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • zest of 2 mandarin oranges
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 2 small cans chunk white tuna in water, drained
  • 3 Tbsp dry white wine
  • Extra lime and orange zest


  1. In a medium-sized pan, melt butter and cook onion, celery and carrot until al dente (approx 2 minutes)
  2. Toss onion mixture into a mixing bown with all other ingredients and mix until well-incorporated.
  3. When assembling the empanadas, use extra orange and lime zest on top when brushing with egg wash.

tuna empanada filling

Shrimp Bisque Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

Makes 12 medium-sized empanadas.

  • 1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1/2 Cup minced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Cup heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste (add Old Bay if you like)
  • 3 egg yolks, well beaten


  1. In a deep saute pan on medium-high heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter and add onion and garlic. Cook until soft or 2-3 minutes.
  2. Chop raw shrimp into small pieces.
  3. Add shrimp to the pan and saute until pink and no longer translucent, 2-3 minutes only. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Melt 6 tablespoons butter in the shrimp pan and stir in flour until smooth.
  5. Add cream, salt and pepper and cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened.
  6. Stir small amount hot mixture into egg yolks, then stir back into sauce. Add shrimp and let cool completely, or chill for one hour before assembling your empanada.

Check out another similar recipe for a Fish and Lobster Pie from a fellow foodie. Or check out our chicken empanada, beef empanada and pork empanada filling recipes.

Ham & Pork Empanada Filling Recipes

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your empanadas turn out the way they should is use the best ingredients possible, while keeping things affordable. I would say this is most important consideration with pork fillings. The slow-cooked varieties are much more forgiving since you’re cooking the meat for an extended period of time (6-10 hours) but you’ll notice a huge difference in flavor with premium meats and produce. Check out the common empanada mistakes page before you start anything so you can see what to avoid instead of ruining the first few batches of empanada filling.

Ham and Cheese Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbl Butter
  • 1/4 C. Dry White Wine
  • 1 C. Yellow Onion finely chopped
  • 2/3 C. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbl Flour
  • 3 Tbl Dijon Mustard
  • 2 C. Chopped Ham
  • 2 C. Shredded Pepper Jack or Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tsp Cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tsp Salt


  1. Heat butter in pan and sautee minced onion for 2 minutes until clear.
  2. Add White wine and cream
  3. Fold in cheese and stir until melted
  4. Add chopped ham and stir until integrated. Let mixture cool and thicken.

Ham & Cheese Empanada Filling


Sausage, Cheese and Blackbean Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 small tomatoes from a can, diced
  • 4 Mexican chorizo sausages
  • 1 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg yolk


  1. Prepare empanada dough and chill.
  2. Remove casings from sausages and roughly chop. Sauté sausages in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil until nicely browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  3. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and chopped onion to the skillet with the cumin and chili powder. Cook onion, stirring often, until soft. Add tomato and 1 tablespoon sugar and cook a few minutes longer.
  4. Mix onions mixture and sausage together in a bowl. Stir in grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill mixture for about an hour (or overnight) if possible.

saute sausage and onions

Calzone Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 Cups Ricotta
  • 1/2 Cup Mozzarella
  • 1 Cup diced salami
  • 1 Cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 Cup Fresh Oregano
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbl Salt


  1. Prepare empanada dough and chill.
  2. Drain tomatoes for 30 minutes to 1 hour in a fine mesh strainer.
  3. Coarsely chop salami and place into a medium-sized bowl.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.


If pork isn’t your thing, check out our chicken empanada, beef empanada and seafood empanada filling recipes.

Beef Empanada Filling Recipes

Before you get started on your empanada filling, don’t forget to check out some common empanada mistakes that I’ve discovered along the way while perfecting my Argentinian empanada skills.

Ground Beef and Potato Empanada Filling

Filling Ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes, boiled for 5 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 5 green olives sliced
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Grate the potatoes and set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the ground beef and saute until brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Add potatoes, onion, bell pepper, olives, spices, salt and pepper. Cook until ingredients are soft. Let cool.

Slow-Cooked Beef Empanada Filling

Preparation of Beef

  1. Soak 3-4 lbs of a beef roast in salted water for 5 hours
  2. In the water have one yellow onion quartered, 2 medium carrots in big pieces, 2 pieces of celery cut into big pieces, 6-8 cloves of garlic – smashed, 1 tbl mustard seed, 1 large bay leaf, 2 tbl salt, 1 tbl black pepper
  3. Slow-cook meat on low for 6-8 hours
  4. Remove meat and strain juices to keep for beef broth.

Filling Ingredients:

Makes 3 Cups of Empanada Filling:

  • 2 Cups of slow-cooked beef (see above) cubed
  • 1/4 Cup reserved beef broth
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 Small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Large green onion, green and white part chopped
  • 1 Tbl dried oregano
  • 1 Tbl garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 Tbl flour
  • 5 stuffed green olives coarsely chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg chopped
  • 2 Tbl butter
  • 2 tsp salt and 1 tbl black ground pepper


  1. In a large pan with medium-high heat, saute the yellow and green onion in butter with the bell pepper for 2-3 minutes until soft.
  2. Incorporate garlic powder, cumin and flour until well mixed.
  3. Mix in the chopped beef and beef broth and let reduce until thick.
  4. Add salt and pepper and let cool.

    Also check out our chicken empanada, seafood empanada and pork empanada filling recipes.

    Common Empanada Mistakes

    I have been inspired lately to explore empanadas and master the Argentinian style pastry. Traditional empanadas from Argentina are baked or fried with white flour and, when done well, come out with a beautiful flaky texture and have plenty of filling without being hollow or greasy.

    I have had empanadas in many restaurants in Costa Rica, such as Donde El Ché, and have been enamored with how beautiful and delicious they turn out. This post is to fill everyone in on the mistakes I’ve made and discovered throughout my exploration in search of the perfect dough and filling recipe. I’d like to share with everyone some tips and tricks as well as things to avoid when making empanadas. Has anyone else had as much trouble as I have getting things right? Once you’ve read the tips below, make sure you try out the recipes I’ve posted for vegetarian empanadas, chicken empanadas, beef empanadas, seafood empanadas or ham empanadas.

    Empanada Dough

    • Never, never, never use processed doughs if you want true empanadas. This is a shortcut that’s not at all worth it in the end. Once you make your own successfully, you’ll never seek out Pillsbury again.

    • When using a recipe with baking powder, know that your empanada will grow in size, but will be very hollow inside. I prefer to have a pocket full of filling rather than air.

    • Never use more than one stick of butter or 1/2 cup of shortening for every three cups of flour or you’ll end up with dense, crumbly dough.

    • Know that when you have a dough recipe with yeast, you’ll end up with a different texture more like pita bread. If you like this type of dough, great. But don’t expect a recipe with yeast to produce authentic results.

    • Jazz up the dough by adding your favorite fresh, dried or powdered herbs and seasonings to the flour before mixing. My favorites include fresh cracked black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, ground oregano, cumin and garlic powder.

    • For baked dough use very cold butter and for fried dough use solid shortening.

    • Never use oil as this will create undesirable texture of the dough before rolling it out.

    • For baked dough, always use ice water, never lukewarm or hot.

    • For baked dough, always refrigerate the dough ball for at least 3 hours before assembling your empanadas.

    Empanada Filling

    • Make sure your filling in not too watery or juicy or it will make the dough soggy.

    • To reduce the moisture of your filling, place it in a fine mesh strainer for at least an hour.

    • It is a good idea to let your filling cool or even refrigerate it before assembling. Using warm or hot fillings will degrade the dough before baking/frying.

    • The best fillings use high quality meats, produce and cheeses. Don’t skimp on quality.

    • You need about 2 cups of filling for 12 empanadas.

    • Only place 2-3 tablespoons of filling in each.

    • Filling ingredients should be in small or fine pieces for best results.

    • Slow-cooked fillings are no-fail. Remember to let the filling cool before using it.

    Empanada Assembly

    •  Roll out the dough on a floured surface without using plastic wrap, parchment or waxed paper. It’s easier to work with the dough on a simple cutting block or countertop.

    • Extremely large circle cutters make it difficult to assemble, I stick to 6-8″ circles.

    • If your empanada dough is correct, you don’t need to wet the edges to seal them.

    • It’s always a good idea to roll out a new piece of dough if you put a hole in it by accident.

    • There are many different techniques and styles for closing empanadas and here is a great video that demonstrates many. The family is Latin-American so everything is spoken in Spanish, but she does a great job showing a variety of ways to form the final empanada.