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Our Chicken Empanada Recipe is the best way to use leftover chicken! They have a buttery, flaky dough and flavorful chicken filling with caramelized onions.
This savory hand pie recipe is easy to make ahead of time and store in the freezer for later. Empanadas de Pollo are perfect for parties and the holidays!
What is an empanada?
Empanadas are baked or fried hand pies that can have either a savory or sweet filling.
You may also hear them referred to as empanaditas, empanadillas, or pastelillos, depending on where they are from. They are essentially turnover pastries.
There are endless possibilities for empanada fillings. This is the best chicken empanada recipe using shredded chicken, caramelized onions, and warm spices, all baked in a shortcrust empanada dough.
🥟 Empanada Dough Recipe
Our recipe for shredded chicken empanadas uses a homemade empanada dough recipe, but this is optional!
You can also use Goya discos, which are found in the frozen foods section of most grocery stores, or premade pastry dough.
- Make your own dough for empanadas using our recipe
- Use store-bought pie dough – you can use premade pie dough to make empanada shells.
- Use Goya discos – Goya makes frozen empanada dough discs that are perfect for this shredded chicken empanadas recipe. You can find it in the freezer section of your grocery store along with other international foods.
🍗 Chicken Empanada Filling
The flavor in this chicken empanadas filling makes them similar to a Peruvian chicken empanadas recipe! Peruvian empanadas have a few other ingredients, like olives. You can even add a little lime zest if you’d like!
The filling is easy to make – it uses just ten simple ingredients, including the seasoning.
🔪 How to Make Chicken Empanadas
How to Make Empanada Dough
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Slowly add in melted butter, followed by enough water to create a soft and smooth dough.
- Form the butter pastry dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
If using Goya discos instead of making your own empanada dough recipe, make sure to thaw them for at least 30 minutes before making the filling, so they’re ready to bake when you need them.
Making Chicken Empanada Filling
- Drizzle oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 15-20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Stir in shredded chicken and season with the paprika, cumin, salt and pepper, and ground chili. Add water and cook, uncovered until most has evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Make ahead tip: At this point, the filling can be refrigerated until the next day if desired.
Assembling the Empanadas
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the butter pastry dough into a thin sheet. Use 4 ¾-inch circular cutter to cut out circles of dough. If you don’t have one, use a small plate or bowl and cut around it as a guide. If using Goya discos, skip this step.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of the chicken empanada filling in the center of each circle. Brush the edges lightly with a little beaten egg, fold the dough over the filling, and press the edges together to seal.
- Seal completely using the tines of a fork or create a rope appearance by pulling the edge out slightly and folding over, starting from one end and finishing at the opposite side. Repeat until all are folded and sealed.
- Place the chicken empanadas two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake until golden, 20-25 minutes.
❓ Can you make empanadas ahead of time?
Yes! One of the most convenient things about this chicken empanada recipe is you can prepare both the filling and dough ahead of time.
And, if you’re wondering what to do with leftover chicken, our chicken empanada recipe is a perfect dish to use it in. Leftover chicken recipes have never tasted so good!
The pie dough recipe can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to two days in advance. After simmering the chicken empanada filling, it can also be refrigerated overnight.
This will even give the flavors more time to develop and deepen, so I recommend trying it if you want to make our chicken empanadas recipe ahead of time.
❄ Can you freeze baked empanadas?
Yes! After assembling and sealing our chicken empanada recipe, you can arrange them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet, unbaked, and freeze until solid.
Transfer to a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to three months. You can bake them straight out of the freezer with a quick brushing of egg wash before placing in the oven, but you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.
⭐ Family Foodie Tips
- If you’re not sure what to do with leftover chicken, all kinds, like shredded rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken breast, work perfectly for the empanada filling.
- Be careful not to over-stuff the pastry, or the crust may become difficult to close and split open while baking.
- I made the edges look like a rope by pulling the edge out slightly and folding over, starting from one end and finishing at the opposite side.
- You can also use a fork to crimp the edges, or an empanada press. Whichever method you use, the important part is to make sure they are completely sealed to keep the chicken empanada filling inside.
🥗 What goes with homemade empanadas?
You can enjoy this chicken empanada recipe on its own as an easy lunch, snack, or dinner, or you can serve it with side dishes as part of a larger meal!
Serve baked empanadas with rice, beans, or corn. Vegetables are a great choice for pairing with this hand pie recipe!
Puerto Rican rice is also a great choice to serve with our chicken empanada recipe.
📖 Easy Empanada Recipes
What could be better than an easy empanada recipe? Try a few more below:
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Let us know what you think of this recipe below with a comment and rating! This is one of our favorite recipes with chicken, and we would love to hear how it goes for you.
💬 Reader Reviews
Delicious! I added a bit of cheese and used the provided pastry recipe. This was my first time making empanadas and pastry, so I was impressed how well they turned out.Olivia on Pinterest
Chicken Empanada Recipe
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch granulated sugar
- ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
- ½ cup cold water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions diced or thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cooked and shredded
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground red chili
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 egg beaten
To make the empanada dough:
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough blade, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Slowly add in the melted butter, followed by enough water to create a soft and smooth dough.Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the empanada filling:
- Drizzle the oil in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 15-20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.Stir in the shredded chicken and season with the paprika, cumin, salt, black pepper, and ground chili. Add the water, bring to a simmer, and cook, uncovered, until most of the water has evaporated, 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. At this point, the filling can be refrigerated until the next day if desired.
To assemble and bake the chicken empanadas:
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a thin sheet. Use 4 ¾ inch circular cutter to cut out circles of dough.
- Place about 2 tablespoons of the cooled chicken mixture in the center of each circle. Brush the edges lightly with a little beaten egg, fold the dough over the filling, and press the edges together to seal. Seal completely using the tines of a fork or create a rope appearance by pulling the edge out slightly and folding over, starting from one end and finishing at the opposite side. Repeat with remaining empanadas.
- Place the empanadas two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops with beaten egg and bake until golden, 20-25 minutes.
- I made these Chicken Empanadas using a homemade pie dough, but you can easily substitute with premade Goya discos, which are found in the frozen section of most grocery stores.
- Be careful not to overfill the empanadas or the crust may become difficult to close and even break open while baking.
- To seal the empanadas, I made a rope appearance by pulling the edge out slightly and folding over, starting from one end and finishing at the opposite side. You can also use a fork to crimp the edges. Whichever technique is used, the important part is to make sure the empanadas are completely sealed along the edges to keep the chicken filling inside while baking.