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Mini Crab Empanadas

A crab empanada with filling showing being held up by grasp. You'll love this recipe, I guarantee!
Mini Crab Empanadas

I love baked crab dip but more than anything I am a huge Latin Fusion and Leftover creator lover. Here I am sharing with you what I do with my leftover Baked Crab Dip. I make mini empanadas! Woohoo! Because, why not?! What’s even better about them is that I get to freeze a few for another day.

So here is how it usually plays out… I make a huge amount of baked crab dip when I have a gathering. I also have a bunch of other appetizers because as a natural entertainer, I can’t help but having way too much food for the amount of people I have invited. There is always bound to have something left over. I have created many leftover baked crab dip leftover recipes but this is the first I share with you. Let’s get to it and check out the recipe!

A plate with a few empanadas that are fried golden and filled with crab dip.
Mini Crab Empanadas
Watch me make it!

A crab empanada with filling showing being held up by grasp. You'll love this recipe, I guarantee!

Mini Crab Empanadas

A perfect appetizer! Here you learn how to use my leftover Baked Crab Dip or straight up going into the mini empanadas recipe. Let's go for it!
4.34 from 3 votes
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Latin, Latin Fusion
Keyword: appetizer, best baked crab dip, best crab dip ever, best crab empanadas, crab, crab dip, dip, how to make ahead crab dip, how to make crab dip, How to make crab empanadas, mini crab empanadas
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Servings: 40 mini empanadas


If starting with the Baked Crab Dip

  • 8 oz Jumbo lump Crab Meat drained
  • 1/4 cup red pepper diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh chives finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 oz whipped cream cheese
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup Panko

If going straight to the empanadas

  • omit the panko over top No baking needed
  • 20 empanada discs, cut in half thawed, follow package instructions
  • water for sealing the empanadas watch video in this recipe for reference
  • 1 inch deep corn oil in a skillet for frying


  • Place crabmeat in a bowl and flake lightly.
  • Stir in red pepper, parsley and chives. Stir gently.
  • Add mayonnaise, cream cheese, lemon juice and hot sauce and stir gently again.
  • Place in a baking dish.
  • Heat oven to 425 degrees and position rack in the second upper track of the oven. Right before baking, sprinkle the Panko evenly on top of crab mixture.
  • Bake until the Panko is looking lightly toasted and you can see bubbling at the edges of the baking dish. This can be about 20 minutes. keep your eye on it.
  • Once done, serve with crostini, melba toast or preferred way.

If going straight to Mini Crab Empanadas

  • Follow all instructions but do not top crab mixture with panko and don't bake.
  • Instead, cut empanada discs in half.
  • Moisten edges with water.
  • Place about 1/2 teaspoon of the crab mixture in the center.
  • Fold over and seal with the ends of a fork.
  • Watch my video for reference.
  • Once all are filled and sealed, you can freeze those you won't be cooking by placing them on a plate, without overlapping, in the freezer for about 30 minutes and then placing them in a ziploc bag. Keep in freezer until you are ready to fry.
  • Once ready to fry, in a skillet add about 1 inch in height of corn oil over high heat.
  • Once oil is hot, lower heat to medium. Wait one minute.
  • Then add each mini empanada one at a time. Fry until lightly golden brown, turning as needed. Remember, the crab is already cooked and all we need is to cook the exterior.



Make ahead:
Go through all the steps except sprinkling the Panko mixture over top of the crab and DON’T bake it.
Once you fill and seal the empanadas, the ones you will not be immediately frying, place in the freezer without overlapping for about 30 minutes. The put them in a ziploc bag and keep in freezer until you want to fry. Thaw for about 1 hour and fry as instructed in this recipe.


  1. When going straight to the empanadas you say in the first step don’t bake the crab mixture. Then you say in the last sentence “the crab is already baked.” When did the baking occur? Will the frying cook the crab mixture?

    1. Hi! What I was saying is if you are making the empanadas, you don’t need to bake the crab mixture. If you are making it as a crab dip, you do. I sometimes use leftover crab dip that was already baked to fill the crab empanadas. I hope I am making sense in this explanation. Sorry if I confused you!

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