While you could probably cover just about anything in a buttery pastry crust and call it a recipe win, when it comes to the savory side of the spectrum, the gold belongs to the empanada alone. Full-flavored, handheld, and absolutely delicious, baked Chicken Empanadas with a cheesy, green chile filling are perfect for any and every occasion!
The filling comes together with a simple mix of juicy, shredded chicken, green chiles, and Monterey Jack cheese. Fold up the dough (homemade or store-bought) and bake until beautifully puffed and golden brown!
Chicken Empanadas make for an excellent party appetizer or a seriously satisfying snack. Freeze and reheat them for quick-fix lunches or make-ahead dinners! If you love empanadas, bookmark these cheesy, taco-filled Beef Empanadas for next time!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN EMPANADAS
- Prep the Chicken – Cut the chicken breasts into slices and then shred it.
- Make the Filling – To make the filling, combine the shredded chicken, canned chiles, and grated cheese in a bowl, along with the cumin and salt. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Make the Egg Wash – In a small bowl, whisk together an egg and water and set it aside.
- Roll Out the Dough – Roll out the dough so that it is just over a 1/4″ in thickness. Then, use a round biscuit cutter to cut out circles. Then, roll out each circle so that it is just under a 1/4″ thick. Piece together any dough scraps and repeat, if needed.
- Add Filling – Brush the edges of the little circles with the egg wash. This will help to seal in the filling. Place a generous tablespoon of filling in the center of the dough round. Do not overfill.
- Seal – Bring the edges of the dough upward toward the center and pinch to seal. Lay the empanada on its side, and either braid over the edges or crimp with a fork to enclose.
- Bake – Brush the top of the Chicken Empanadas with the egg wash and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Bake for about 20 minutes at 400°F.
NOTE: If you are making the dough from scratch, that should be the first thing you do! You will need to plan ahead by a couple of hours as the dough will need to time chill before you can roll it out.
- Cooked and Shredded Chicken
- Monterey Jack Cheese
- Canned Green Chiles
- Ground Cumin
- Salt and Pepper
The filling for these Chicken Empanadas is extremely easy to make, consisting of chicken, cheese, chiles, ground cumin, salt, and pepper.
As for the dough, you have a few options! If you are in a pinch for time, you can use store-bought pie crust or even puff pastry dough! But, our number one choice for wrapping up any empanada is our homemade empanada dough recipe!
CHICKEN EMPANADA FILLING
As far as the chicken goes, you can buy chicken breasts and bake them yourself or use store-bought chicken.
We are particularly partial to this recipe for Oven-Baked Chicken Breasts — it’s a very straight-forward recipe that always results in tender, juicy chicken. However, if you have leftover chicken already on hand, these empanadas are a great way to put those leftovers to work for you. And, of course, you could also use store-bought rotisserie chicken! You will need about 2 cups of shredded chicken for this recipe.
Monterey Jack cheese is mild enough in flavor to let the green chiles shine and is an exceptional melting cheese. Freshly grated cheese is always best, but if you are in a pinch for time, you can use a good-quality pre-shredded cheese.
THE EMPANADA DOUGH
If you’ve ever made a homemade pie crust — surprise! You have simultaneously made empanada dough! The two are pretty much identical in both the way they come together and their ingredient list.
For this Homemade Empanada Dough, you will need:
- Butter and Shortening
- All-Purpose Flour
- Ice-Cold Water
The method you’ll find in the recipe card below uses a food processor. If you do not have a food processor and still want to make this dough, see this recipe for Flaky Pie Crust and use that instead!
HOW TO STORE CHICKEN EMPANADAS
Once your Chicken Empanadas have baked and cooled, you have three options: Consume right away, refrigerate, or freeze! You can keep Beef Empanadas in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To store them, place in a sealed, airtight container or a gallon-sized ziplock bag.
YOU CAN FREEZE THEM!
Empanadas freeze very well, and reheat beautifully! To make them in advance, allow them to cool completely, then transfer them to a freezer-safe, airtight container (without too much wiggle room) and seal, or store them in a freezer-safe, gallon-sized ziplock bag and place in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
5 MORE MEXICAN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
An easy recipe for baked Chicken Empanadas with a golden crust and a flavorful filling of shredded chicken, canned green chiles, and Monterey Jack cheese.
- 2 store-bought pie crusts or 2 dough rounds of homemade Empanada dough
- 1 pound cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/4 cup freshly grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 (4.5-ounce) cans diced green chiles
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Generous pinch black pepper
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon water
Slice the cooked chicken breasts, cutting against the grain, into strips about 1" thick. Then, shred each strip into bite-sized pieces and transfer to a mixing bowl.
Add the cheese, green chiles, cumin, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 400° and have ready 2 baking sheets lined with either parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Prepare the egg wash by whisking together the egg and the water. Set aside until ready to use.
Working with one at a time, roll out the dough so that it is just over a 1/4" thick. Use a round biscuit/cookie cutter (about 2 1/2" in diameter) and cut out rounds of dough. Roll each round out until it is about 3" in diameter.
Dip your finger in the egg wash and run it along the perimeter of empanada dough round and add a generous tablespoon of filling to the center.
Gently bring the edges of empanada upward to meet in the middle, and pinch firmly to seal. Fold the edges over and decoratively crimp with a fork, if desired. Repeat for each empanada.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and brush lightly with the egg wash. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until or until golden. Allow to cool slightly, serve and enjoy.
If you are making the Empanada Dough from scratch, you'll need to add 10-15 minutes to the prep time and allow for two hours of chill time.
Makes 12-14 Chicken Empanadas.
A flaky, buttery Empanada Dough that is easy to make and perfect for enclosing any empanada filling.
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into tiny cubes
- 8 tablespoons cold shortening cut into tiny cubes
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2/3 cup of ice-cold water
- Add flour and salt to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse until evenly incorporated.
- Add the butter and shortening cubes, a few pieces at a time with the motor running, until all fats are incorporated and pea-sized clumps begin to form. Slowly drizzle in a ½ cup of water, pulsing all the while.
- Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and knead until the mixture comes together. (If you do not have a food processor, use a pastry blender and a large mixing bowl to cut in the fats, and a sturdy wooden spoon to stir in the water.)
- Cut the dough ball in half using a knife or a pastry cutter, and form into two flattened round disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until chilled through, at least 2 hours.
Makes enough for about 14 empanadas.