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easy chicken empanadas

I’m just going to come out and say that I have no idea how authentic these empanadas are. (I’m guessing not at all.) I’ve never had a real empanada (which is terribly sad, of course), but what I can say about these particular empanadas is that they are incredibly delicious! A tasty and flavorful cheesy chicken filling stuffed into homemade pastry dough and baked until golden – what more could you want? We had these as a light dinner with a side salad, but I think they would also make perfect little appetizers for a party. This pastry recipe is one of my favorites because it’s basically foolproof. I like that the pastry gets its moisture from cream cheese and butter instead of ice water, which means there’s no fine tuning involved. The filling mixture is super easy to put together as well, and is so good that I wanted to eat it on crackers. Authentic or no, I’m definitely going to keep making and enjoying these empanadas!

Easy Chicken Empanadas 

for the crust:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
pinch of salt
8 tablespoons butter, diced
8 ounces cream cheese, cold, cut into pieces

for the filling:
2 cups cooked shredded or chopped chicken (I used rotisserie)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup enchilada sauce
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced (optional)
1 egg, beaten

To make the crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in the cream cheese until a dough forms. Knead until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Roll out the dough and cut it into large circles (I used a 3 7/8 inch biscuit cutter, but you could use a small bowl instead). In a medium bowl, mix together the chicken, cream cheese, shredded cheese, enchilada sauce, and jalapeño. Place a tablespoon-sized scoop of filling on each of the circles of dough, and fold the edges together. Crimp the edges with a fork or twist them together to seal the dough. Place on the prepared baking sheets and cut a slit in the top of each empanada, or pierce each with a fork a few times. Brush each empanada with the beaten egg. Bake in preheated oven 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

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