Empanadas de Pollo: Chicken Empanadas

Marian Blazes
  • Total: 70 mins
  • Prep: 40 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 10 to 15 Empanadas
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
391 Calories
24g Fat
4g Carbs
37g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 15 Empanadas
Amount per serving
Calories 391
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 167mg 56%
Sodium 161mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 37g
Calcium 38mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chicken empanada recipe, known as empanadas de pollo in Spanish, starts with a delicious dough stuffed with a traditional chicken filling, caramelized onions, olives, and pieces of hard-cooked egg. Be as creative as you like with it, though.

Nothing beats some flaky, hot, freshly baked chicken empanadas, except maybe eating another one at room temperature, or having a cold one the next day for lunch. 

Chicken empanadas are delicious no matter how you serve them and they can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizer, or snack. 

For best flavor, make the filling the day before and chill it overnight in the refrigerator.


  • For the Empanada Dough
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (chilled)
  • 12 tablespoons lard (or vegetable shortening, chilled)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water
  • For the Filling
  • 2 to 3 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1​ bay leaf
  • Water (or chicken broth)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large onions (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon​ chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 3 hard-cooked eggs (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup green olives (sliced)
  • For Assembly
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this empanada dish is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Empanada Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and then stir in 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar.

  3. Blend the butter and shortening (or lard) into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, or with two knives, until fairly well blended.

  4. Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cups water.

  5. Stir in the 1/2 cup of the water-egg mixture, a little bit at a time, until the dough starts to come together smoothly.

  6. Keep kneading the dough, adding more of the water-egg mixture as needed (you may need a few tablespoons extra of water), until the dough is smooth. The dough will seem a bit saggy until it has thoroughly chilled.

  7. Taste for salt and add more if needed.

  8. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour. The dough can also be kept in the fridge for up to two days. When ready to use, the dough should be soft and smooth, not elastic. If you poke a hole in the dough with your finger, the indentation should remain.

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Poach the chicken by placing the chicken breasts in a small pot with the bouillon and bay leaf, and cover with water or chicken broth.

  3. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Let cool in the broth.

  4. Shred chicken into small pieces.

  5. Moisten with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

  6. Heat oil in a skillet. Add chopped onions, paprika, cumin, chili powder, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until onions are soft and clear, and the mixture is golden brown.

  8. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken. For best flavor, refrigerate filling until the next day.

  9. Stir chopped hard-cooked egg and olives into the cold filling mixture.

Assemble and Bake the Empanadas

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Separate empanada dough into golf ball-size pieces and roll each one into a smooth ball.

  3. Let rest 5 minutes.

  4. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.

  5. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the circle.

  6. Brush the edges of the dough along the bottom half of the circle lightly with water.

  7. Fold the top half of the circle of dough over the filling to form a semicircle, and press edges together firmly to seal.

  8. Brush the pressed edge with a little bit of water and fold the edge over itself, pinching and crimping as you go to make a braid-like effect.

  9. Heat oven to 425 F.

  10. Place empanadas on a baking sheet.

  11. Mix egg yolk with water and brush mixture lightly over the entire surface of each empanada.

  12. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed.

  13. Serve warm or at room temperature.