Have you ever tried an empanada? These flavorful savory pastries are a special treat that you need to make. These delicious baked chicken empanadas can be made ahead or frozen, so they'll be ready anytime!
Curious what you need to make chicken empanadas? Let's go over a few of the key ingredients for these delicious savory hand pies.
- Shredded Chicken: As the key protein in the filling, it makes these empanadas hearty and protein-packed.
- Onions: Chopped onions and garlic are aromatics that add a lot of flavor to the filling.
- Chicken Broth: This liquid adds moisture to the filling and prevents it from sticking to the pan as it simmers.
- Spices: We used a mixture of salt, oregano, cumin, paprika, and cayenne, but feel free to experiment with other spices if you like.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to Make
Prep all the ingredients for the baked chicken empanadas by shredding the chicken, chopping the onions and roasted red peppers, and mincing the garlic.
- Cook the onions until soft, then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Stir in the roasted red peppers, tomato paste, and spices. Add the chicken broth, bring to a boil, and let it cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
3. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lime juice and the shredded chicken and set aside to cool.
4. Divide the empanada dough into 16 pieces and roll them out into six-inch circles.
5. Place ⅛ cup of filling in each empanada and brush the edges halfway around with beaten egg.
6. Fold the dough over and pinch the edges tightly to seal.
7. Crimp the edges with a fork or with your fingers (see the recipe card below for instructions).
8. Brush each empanada with beaten egg and cut two small vent holes in the top.
9. Bake at 375°F for 35-40 minutes, until golden, then let them cool on a wire rack.
10. Are these baked chicken empanadas calling your name? Crisp golden pastry and meaty goodness is just too good to pass up.
Chicken empanadas are made from a thin dough filled with chicken, onions, and spices. The circle of dough is folded in half and crimped to create the empanada's distinctive half-moon shape.
We prefer to bake empanadas because you can cook them all at the same time, which is a lot faster, and they're a little healthier without the extra grease. Deep fried empanadas do have a better flavor and texture, so cook them whichever way you prefer.
- Taste the cooked filling and adjust the seasonings as desired; make it spicy if you want!
- You can substitute all-purpose flour for the bread flour; just realize that the dough won't be as strong and chewy. Bread flour contains more gluten than all-purpose, and strengthens the dough.
- Make the filling and dough up to 3 days ahead of time.
- Freeze unbaked empanadas on cookie sheets, then transfer to a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Bake the frozen ones straight from the freezer--no need to defrost.
Other Savory Pie Recipes
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Baked Chicken Empanadas
For the Empanada Filling
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 ⅓ cups yellow onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 3 cups shredded chicken, from 2 large poached chicken breasts
Making the Empanada Dough
- Place the bread flour, lard, and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Rub the fats into the flour by pinching them together and fluffing the mixture with your hands until evenly blended.
- Add the salt, sugar, and half of the water and stir with your fingers. Gradually add more water as needed to create a moist, but not sticky, dough. Make sure all the flour is picked up from the bowl.
- Knead the dough several times to finish blending the ingredients together.
- Split the dough in half, shape into discs, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
Making the Filling
- Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat, then add the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more, until fragrant.
- Stir in the roasted red peppers, tomato paste, and spices until well mixed. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone.
- Stir in the lime juice and shredded chicken and remove from the heat. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
Shaping the Empanadas
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two 11 by 17-inch cookie sheets with parchment paper. Beat an egg in a small bowl until well blended.
- Divide each disc of dough into eight pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, then roll it into a six-inch circle with a rolling pin.
- Place ⅛ cup of the filling in the center of the circle. Brush the edge of the dough halfway around with beaten egg, then fold the dough over to create a semicircle. Press the edges firmly to seal.
- Crimp the edges with a fork or with a rope pattern. To make the rope pattern, place your left index finger at one end of the empanada. Using your other hand, grasp the dough right beside your index finger and pull it up. Then, place your left index finger on the pulled-up dough and repeat. Pinch off any extra dough at the other end. You can use this to make an extra empanada.
- Place eight empanadas on each tray, then brush them with beaten egg and cut two small vent holes in the top with a knife.
- Bake them at 375°F for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown. Rotate the trays halfway through for a more even bake. Let them cool on wire racks for 20 minutes before serving.
- Both the empanada filling and dough can be made up to 3 days ahead.
- Feel free to add extra spiciness to the filling if you want!
- You can substitute all-purpose flour for the bread flour in the pastry, but realize that you won't have the same result.
- Unbaked empanadas can be frozen on cookie sheets, then placed in zip-top freezer bags and frozen for up to 3 months. Bake them right from frozen.
- Eat any extra filling in a tortilla, or use it to make another batch of empanadas.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.