Chicken Empanadas

Chicken Empanadas

Empanadas are stuffed pastries that are baked or fried. They’re usually stuffed with savory meat like chicken, ham, chorizo or beef. In this recipe, we use chicken breast that’s cooked in tomato sauce flavored with onions, garlic, spices and olives for a salty kick.

Chicken empanadas in a basket lined with a red and white checkered paper with hot sauce and a platter of empanadas in the background.

 

These shredded chicken empanadas are great as an appetizer, snack, lunch or a light dinner. Either way, they’re delicious!

 

Making empanadas is easy; just make sure you set up a proper building station where everything is at your fingertips. After a couple you’ll be a Pro!

 

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All right, let’s get started!

 

Chicken filling ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1½ pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast, (usually 2 breasts) cut in half lengthwise to make thinner pieces
  • 1½ teaspoon Salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Small Onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ¼ cup White Wine
  • 1 (8 ounce) Can Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cup Water
  • ½ cup Pitted Spanish Olives, chopped

 

Empanada ingredients

  • 10 Large Empanada Discs
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Water

 

You will also need

 

Cook’s Notes

Depending on where you live you may be able to find empanada discs in the freezer section of larger food chains or Latin markets. They are round, thin dough discs that come frozen, usually ten to a pack. In Spanish they’re called Discos para Empanadas.

 

Defrost the discs according to package directions prior to using. If you can’t find the empanada discs, pie dough works well for baked empanadas. Use your favorite brand and bake until golden, adjust the cooking time if needed.

 

Cook the Chicken

Cut the chicken breast in half lengthwise to make two thinner pieces; like butterflying but go all the way through. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and black pepper.

 

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, non-stick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turn and cook another 3-4 minutes.

 

Don’t worry that the chicken is not cooked through. We just want to get it going and brown it a little bit. It will finish cooking in the sauce.

 

Take the skillet off the heat and remove the chicken from the skillet. Set it on a pan or plate and cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil and/or place it in the microwave or oven. The chicken will stay warm away from drafts.

 

Make the tomato sauce

Do not wash the skillet. We want to make the sauce with those delicious bits of chicken left in the pan.

 

Place the skillet back over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them for 3 minutes until they’re translucent, stirring frequently.

 

Next, add the garlic, dried oregano and cumin, cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.

 

Add the white wine to the skillet; cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates. Stir frequently while gently scrapping any bits off the bottom of the skillet.

 

Finally, add the tomato sauce, ¼ cup of water and the chopped olives and stir to combine. Here’s a tip: I like adding the water to the empty can of tomato sauce and give it a swirl, that way I get every drop out!

 

Place the chicken back in the skillet, along with any juices collected on the plate.

 

When the sauce returns to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

 

Turn the chicken occasionally and keep the sauce at a simmer. If it’s boiling too vigorously, lower the heat just a touch. We need that sauce later so we can’t let it cook away.

 

Take the internal temperature of the chicken breast, it needs to be at least 165°F at the thickest part. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure.

 

Remove the chicken from the skillet and continue cooking the sauce, covered on low heat. It should be barely at a simmer so it doesn’t cook away.

 

Shred the chicken

  • Let the chicken cool enough to handle. Then, place it on a cutting board or pan and shred using two forks.
  • Return the shredded chicken to the skillet and stir well until the sauce is absorbed. Taste the chicken filling and add salt, only if needed.
  • Take the shredded chicken off the heat, uncover and allow it to cool. We can’t fill the empanadas with a filling that is hot, the dough will be impossible to work with.

Shredded chicken on tomato sauce before being stirred, in a large, black skillet.

 

Make the chicken empanadas

Preheat Oven to 350°F

 

While the shredded chicken cools, prepare an empanada building station

  • Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Prepare a small bowl with water.
  • Prepare a small bowl with the egg and 1 tablespoon of water, beat with a fork.

Empanada disks, shredded chicken, a small bowl of water, pastry brush, small scoop and a fork arranged on a wood cutting board.

 

Working with one empanada wrap at a time, add about 3-4 heaping tablespoons of the shredded chicken just a little off center on the wrap. Arrange the chicken so it’s not mounded in the middle. Don’t go all the way to the edge.

Shredded chicken being added to an empanada disk.

 

Use a pastry brush (or your finger) to moisten the edges of the dough with water. Go all the way around.

An image of a blue pastry brush moistening the edge of an empanada disk with shredded chicken in the middle.

 

Fold the empanada disk in half, press the edges together gently and use a fork to seal and crimp the edge.

An image of a fork crimping the edge of the folded empanada.

 

Place the empanada on the lined baking sheet. Repeat until the baking sheet is full.  Cover the empanadas with a moist (not wet) paper towel so the dough does not dry out while you build the rest of the empanadas.

 

Use a paring knife or other sharp tip to make 2-3 small slits on the top of each empanada so they can vent while they bake.

 

Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash.

An empanada being coated lightly with egg wash using a blue pastry brush

 

Bake the chicken empanadas for 35-40 minutes, or until they’re a nice golden color.

 

Rotate the pans, top to bottom/bottom to top, about halfway through the cooking time (more often if necessary) so that the empanadas brown evenly.

 

Serve the empanadas with your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!

Chicken empanadas served in a basket lined with red and white checkered paper with hot sauces and a platter of empanadas in the background.

 

For more deliciously different appetizers and snacks, try one of these recipes:

Baked Beef Empanadas

Yuca Frita – Yuca Fries

Tostones – Fried Green Plantains

Chicken Taquitos

 

Chicken empanadas in a basket lined with a red and white checkered paper with hot sauce and a platter of empanadas in the background.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Chicken Empanadas

In this chicken empanadas recipe, chicken breast is cooked in tomato sauce flavored with onions, garlic, spices and olives for a salty kick.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time1 hr 10 mins
Cooling Chicken Filling30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Cuban
Keyword: chicken, empanadas
Servings: 5
Calories: 508kcal
Author: Elizabeth

Ingredients

Chicken Empanadas Filling Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • pound Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast cut in half lengthwise to make thinner pieces
  • teaspoon Salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Small Onion finely diced
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ¼ cup White Wine
  • 1 8 ounce Can Tomato Sauce
  • ¼ cup Water
  • ½ cup Pitted Spanish Olives chopped

Empanada Ingredients

  • 10 Large Empanada Discs
  • 1 Egg beaten
  • 1 tablespoon Water

Instructions

  • You will also need: 2 Large baking sheets, parchment paper, pastry brush

Start the Chicken

  • Cut the chicken in half lengthwise to make two thinner pieces.
  • Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and black pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large, deep, non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes, turn and cook another 3-4 minutes. Don’t worry that the chicken is not cooked through, it will finish cooking in the sauce.
  • Take the skillet off the heat and remove the chicken from the skillet. Set it on a pan or plate and cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil and/or place it in the microwave or oven.

Make the tomato sauce

  • Do not wash the skillet.
  • Place the skillet back over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them for 3 minutes until they’re translucent, stirring frequently.
  • Add the garlic, dried oregano and cumin, cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  • Add the white wine to the skillet; cook for 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates. Stir frequently while gently scrapping any bits off the bottom of the skillet.
  • Add the tomato sauce, ¼ cup of water and the chopped olives and stir to combine. Place the chicken back in the skillet, along with any juices collected on the plate.
  • When the sauce returns to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10 – 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through – at least 165°F at the thickest part. Turn the chicken occasionally and keep the sauce at a simmer.
  • Remove the chicken from the skillet and continue cooking the sauce, covered on low heat. Keep it barely at a simmer so it doesn’t cook away.

Shred the chicken

  • Let the chicken cool enough to handle. Place it on a cutting board or pan and shred using two forks.
  • Return the shredded chicken to the skillet and stir well until the sauce is absorbed. Taste the chicken filling and add salt, only if needed.
  • Take the shredded chicken off the heat, uncover and allow it to cool. We can’t fill the empanadas with a filling that is hot, the dough will be impossible to work with.

Make the Empanadas

  • Preheat Oven to 350°F
  • While the shredded chicken cools, prepare an empanada building station: Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, prepare a small bowl with water, prepare a small bowl with the egg and 1 tablespoon of water, beat with a fork.
  • Working with one empanada wrap at a time, add about 3-4 heaping tablespoons of the shredded chicken just a little off center on the wrap. Arrange the chicken so it’s not mounded in the middle. Don’t go all the way to the edge.
  • Use a pastry brush (or your finger) to moisten the edges of the dough with water. Go all the way around.
  • Fold the round in half, press the edges together gently.
  • Use a fork to seal the crimp the edge of the empanadas.
  • Place the empanada on the lined baking sheet. Repeat until the baking sheet is full. Cover the empanadas with a moist (not wet) paper towel so the dough does not dry out while you build the rest of the empanadas.
  • Use a paring knife or other sharp tip to make 2-3 small slits on the top of each empanada so they can vent while they bake.
  • Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the tops of the empanadas with the egg wash.
  • Bake the chicken empanadas for 35-40 minutes, or until they’re a nice golden color.
  • Rotate the pans, top to bottom/bottom to top, about halfway through the cooking time (more often if necessary) so that the empanadas brown evenly.

Video

Notes

Depending on where you live you may be able to find empanada discs in the freezer section of larger food chains or Latin markets. They are round, thin dough discs that come frozen, usually ten to a pack. In Spanish they’re called Discos para Empanadas.
Defrost the discs according to package directions prior to using. If you can’t find the empanada discs, pie dough works well for baked empanadas. Use your favorite brand and bake until golden, adjust the cooking time if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 2g | Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1490mg | Potassium: 556mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 141IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 4mg
The nutritional information above is computer generated and is only an estimate. There is no guarantee that it is accurate.This data is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only.

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