Empanadas de Pollo: Chicken Empanadas

Chicken Empanadas Recipe

 The Spruce

  • 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
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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. 

Ingredients

  • For the Empanada Dough
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter (chilled)
  • 3/4 cup chilled 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.

    Chicken Empanadas dough recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and then stir in 1 teaspoon salt and the sugar.

    Chicken Empanadas dough recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Adding by tablespoons, blend the butter and shortening (or lard) into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter , or with two knives, until fairly well blended.

    Chicken Empanadas dough recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Whisk the egg yolks with 3/4 cups water.

    Chicken Empanadas dough recipe
     The Spruce
  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.

    Chicken Empanadas dough recipe
     The Spruce
  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.

    Chicken Empanadas dough recipe
    The Spruce 
  7. Taste for salt and add more if needed.

    Chicken Empanadas dough recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 1 hour. 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.

    Chicken Empanadas dough recipe
     The Spruce

Make the Filling

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe ingredients
     The Spruce
  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.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe
     The Spruce
  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.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Shred chicken into small pieces.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Moisten with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid. Set aside.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Heat oil in a skillet. Add chopped onions, paprika, cumin, chili powder, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe
     The Spruce
  7. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until onions are soft and clear, and the mixture is golden brown.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe
     The Spruce
  8. Remove from heat and stir in the chicken. For best flavor, refrigerate filling until the next day.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Stir chopped hard-cooked egg and olives into the cold filling mixture.

    Chicken Empanadas filling recipe
     The Spruce

Assemble and Bake the Empanadas

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. Separate empanada dough into golf ball-size pieces and roll each one into a smooth ball.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce
  3. Let rest 5 minutes.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
    The Spruce 
  4. On a floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a circle about 6 inches in diameter.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce
  5. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of filling in the middle of the circle.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce
  6. Brush the edges of the dough along the bottom half of the circle lightly with water.

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

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce
  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.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce
  9. Heat oven to 425 F.

  10. Place empanadas on a baking sheet.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce
  11. Mix egg yolk with water and brush mixture lightly over the entire surface of each empanada.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce
  12. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and slightly puffed.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce
  13. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    Chicken Empanadas Recipe
     The Spruce

Tips

  • For best flavor, make the filling the day before and chill it overnight in the refrigerator.
  • You can make the dough ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for up to two days before using it.