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A crab empanada with filling showing being held up by grasp. You'll love this recipe, I guarantee!
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5 from 1 vote

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!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time7 mins
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
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.