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baked empanadas on a wood board

Amazing Chicken Empanadas Recipe

This Chicken Empanada Recipe is the perfect way to use leftover chicken! Shredded chicken and caramelized onions are simmered in flavorful spices, then folded in a buttery shortcrust and baked until golden.
Course Main dish or appetizer
Cuisine South American
Keyword chicken empanada, chicken empanada recipe, chicken empanadas, empanada recipe
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 16 Empanadas
Calories 213kcal



  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup cold water

Chicken filling:

  • 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.
    Mixing empanada dough in a food processor

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.
    Chicken empanada filling in a skillet

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. 
    Cutting dough discs to make empanadas
  • 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.
    An unbaked chicken empanada with the edge crimped slightly to show how to fold 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.
    Close up of chicken empanadas on a wooden board


  • 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.


Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1.3mg