When you have leftover cranberry sauce from your holiday dinner and don’t know what to do with it, make these cranberry sauce and cheese empanadas. They’re sweet, savory, a little tart, and the perfect texture.
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Leftover Cranberry Sauce
There are countless ways to use this leftover cranberry sauce and today I’m going to share my favorite way.
Cranberry Sauce and Cheese Empanadas
A few years ago after our Thanksgiving feast I had a too much leftover cranberry sauce and I knew I wanted to make a dessert with it since I had no more turkey roast.
Amigos, honestly these empanadas came to exist purely out of leftovers in my refrigerator.
Luckily the combination turned out to be mouthwatering and the it became a tradition to make these empanadas after Thanksgiving.
Mexican Thanksgiving Recipes
- Easy Mexican Vegan Turkey Roast
- Vegan Stuffing | Mexican Turkey Stuffing Made with Bolillos
- Easy Vegan Mushroom Gravy
- Mexican Espagueti Blanco | Espagueti a la Crema (Vegan)
- The Easiest Mexican Green Beans | Ejotes a la Mexicana
Are These Empanadas Vegan or Vegetarian?
The great thing about this recipe is that you can choose whether to make them vegan empanadas or vegetarian empanadas.
To make them fully vegan use vegan empanada dough or vegan puff pastry and use a vegan cheese that melts but doesn’t liquify.
For the vegetarian version use butter based empanada dough or puff pastry. Use a dairy cheese and whole fat milk or egg wash to brush the empanadas with.
- Mexican Cranberry Sauce: This is my own recipe and it’s sweetened with piloncillo and flavored with aromatic Mexican spices. You could use whatever sauce you have leftover.
- Cheese: I used a cheddar cheese from a local Mexican brand called “Planet Vegan”. You could use Manchego or Chihuahua or Asadero for a very melty cheese.
- Empanada Disks: I just buy them from the grocery store but you can also use homemade or use puff pastry or homemade pie dough instead.
- Grated Piloncillo: You can substitute with brown sugar or dark muscovado.
- Soy Milk
How To Make Leftover Cranberry Sauce Empanadas
This dessert couldn’t be easier!
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C and line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Have all ingredients ready to use.
Step 2: Add about one tablespoon of the cranberry sauce to the empanada disk then add a large pinch of the grated piloncillo over the cranberry sauce.
Step 3: Place a piece of cheese on top of the cranberry sauce, and you can add more piloncillo if desired. Brush the edges with a little soy milk.
Step 4: Fold in half then press edges down and use a fork to fully seal the empanada pocket. Brush top of the empanada with milk then sprinkle a generous amount of grated piloncillo.
Step 6: Place in the center of the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Step 7: Allow to come to cool slightly before serving – careful not to burn your hands or mouth. Serve with extra cranberry sauce for dipping, if desired.
What Do These Empanadas Taste Like
Cranberry and cheese empanadas are sweet, a little tart, savory, with hints of orange and aromatic spice. The savory cheese compliments the sweetness of the piloncillo and tart cranberry sauce.
The empanada dough I used are just those store-bought disks that have a slight crispness to them. Which I happen to love the soft and crisp textures in these empanadas.
How to Serve
Serve on their own or with coffee or tea if desired.
I love to eat these empanadas when they’re still a little warm out of the oven with a cup of café con leche.
They make a delicious dessert or sweet treat.
How to Store
You can store any leftovers in a sealed container or a covered dessert platter. You can also store in the fridge and warm up slightly before serving if desired.
These empanadas will keep fresh for about 3.
Leftover Cranberry Sauce and Cheese Empanadas
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup Mexican Cranberry Sauce from my recipe
- 12 pieces of cheese vegan or vegetarian
- 12 empanada disks or puff pastry or pie dough
- 1/2 cup grated Piloncillo
- 1/4 cup Soy Milk or dairy milk
- Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C and line a baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil or parchment paper. Have all ingredients ready to use.
- Add about one tablespoon of the cranberry sauce to the empanada disk then add a large pinch of the grated piloncillo over the cranberry sauce.
- Place a piece of cheese on top of the cranberry sauce. Brush the edges with a little soy milk.
- Fold in half then press edges down and use a fork to fully seal the empanada pocket.
- Brush top of the empanada with milk then sprinkle a generous amount of grated piloncillo.
- Place in the center of the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to come to cool slightly before serving – careful not to burn your hands or mouth. Serve with extra cranberry sauce for dipping, if desired.
More Delicious Dessert to Try
- Easy Guava and Cheese Empanadas Recipe
- Fresas con Crema (Mexican Strawberries & Cream)
- Vegan Fresas con Crema
- The Best Nata Pound Cake (Panqué de Nata)
- Easy Pan de Elote or Mexican Sweet Corn Cake with Cream Cheese
Nancy Lopez is a food blogger and author of the cookbook Mexican Tamales Made Meatless. Born in Mexico, raised in the US, and currently living in Southern Mexico, she has followed a meatless diet for almost 10 years. It is her passion and mission to share all she has learned about vegan Mexican cooking and vegetarian Mexican recipes. Mexican Made Meatless is a blog dedicated to preserving the authentic flavors of Mexican cuisine just without the meat. It’s a place to celebrate Mexican culture and all it’s delightfully delicious traditional foods. Read more…