Semi-homemade baked chicken empanadas are a mess free, flaky hand pies stuffed with ground chicken. It is a great finger food, a starter and also a meal.
Empanadas are stuffed pastries, also known as hand pies or turnovers. Empanadas are semi-circle in shape, with sweet or savory filling and are either baked or deep fried. These are very popular in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean. Many countries have their own versions and are known by different names.
Three steps to prepare
There are three components to preparing baked empanadas. Prepare the dough, prepare the filling and, shape & bake.
The main ingredients of empanada dough are flour, butter and egg. Dough is similar to pie dough and is easy to prepare from scratch. Store bought pie crust and canned crescent dough also works great. These pre-made dough alternatives are very convenient and cuts down on some prep time.
I usually use refrigerated pie crust and never made the dough from scratch for empanadas. Empanada discs are also available in Latin American stores and in some supermarket in international freezer isles. However, to make the dough from scratch, check how to make empanada dough for baking on Laylita’s Recipes.
There are many choices to use for the filling. We prefer ground chicken and husband would not mind beef either but I usually avoid cooking beef at home. If using beef, substitute ground chicken with ground beef or follow this sauteed ground chicken recipe.
Other options for the filling are shrimp, vegetables and fruits with or without cheese. Mushrooms and cheese is a good filling for non meat eaters. Try this mushrooms and cheese open sandwich filling or ham mushroom cheese puff filling without ham for vegetarians.
Filling for Indian style sweet empanadas are a mixture of
- desiccated coconut + sugar
- sesame seed powder + sugar or jaggery
- sweetened cream of wheat + desiccated coconut.
Indian hand pies however are usually deep fried. Be as creative as you can for some interesting fillings.
Shaping & Cooking
To shape the hand pies, roll out the dough, cut into discs using a cookie cutter and place filling in the center. Then fold the disc into a semi circle and seal it with some water. To make a design on the edges, press the edges with a fork or pinch the edges between two fingers and twist a bit. Bake in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes at 400F or deep fry.
This post was first published in Feb 2014, republished in 2020.
Baked Chicken Empanada Recipe
Baked Chicken Empanada
- Rolling Pin
- Cookie Cutter
- Frying Pan
- Baking Sheet
- 1 ½ tbsp Oil
- ½ tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 1 small – Medium Onion sliced
- 5 Green Chilies chopped
- 1 medium Vine Ripe Tomato diced can use any variety of tomato
- ½ tsp Black Pepper Powder
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds powdered
- 1 ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 lb Ground Chicken
- ½ tsp Tabasco Hot Sauce
- 2-3 tbsp Chopped Cilantro
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
- 1 packet refrigerated Pie Crust I used Pillsbury brand and each box comes with 2 unrolled 9” crusts
- Remove the pie crust from the refrigerated and leave it on the countertop to bring to room temperature or follow instructions on the package.
- Heat oil and fry ginger garlic paste for a few seconds.
- Then saute onion, tomatoes, green chilies, pepper powder, salt, cumin powder a couple of minutes until tomatoes are mushy.
- Add ground chicken and stir constantly to avoid lumps of ground chicken.
- Cook for 5- 10 minutes until chicken is cooked and all the juices evaporate. It usually takes about 7 minutes on medium high – high flame.
- Taste chicken and adjust seasoning accordingly. I found the filling a bit bland and added ½ tsp Tabasco Hot Sauce.
- Turn off the flame, add cilantro mix properly.
- Once the chicken cools or just before filling the empanadas, add cheese and mix properly.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- You need to bake in two batches. Prepare empanadas with one crust and while those are baking, prepare the second batch using other crust.
- Unroll the pie crust onto a clean surface. Using a rolling pin, roll it out a little. The pie crust is 9” and roll it to 12” – 13″. You need not flour dust the surface but can do so if you feel the crust will stick to the surface.
- Using a 3” round cookie cutter or a biscuit cutter cut the crust into small circles/discs. I was able to cut out 11 circles from each crust. Keep the crust scrapes aside for reusing.
- Place about ½ tbsp of chicken filling in the middle of the circle and wet the edges of the disc with water or beaten egg. I used water. Fold the circle to make a half circle and seal the edges.
- To Curl Seal – Hold the empanada in one hand, starting from one corner, using two fingers of your other hand, press or pinch the sealed edges slightly and fold back. Right next to the folded edge / curl, repeat pinching and folding to curl empanada all around.
- To Seal with Fork – After filling and sealing the edges of the empanada, using the tines of the fork, press it on the edges of the empanada to make straight line marks.
- Place the empanada on a baking sheet. Repeat the above steps to fill and shape the rest.
- Scrapes the crust can be reused though I did not need to for the above quantity of filling.
- Egg wash the surface of the empanadas and bake for 18 minutes in a preheated oven.
- While the first batch is baking, prepare the second batch.
- I served the empanadas hot with some red chili sauce.
- We like fully stuffed empanadas and sometimes the filling leaks.
- Dough Options –Canned crescent dough and empanada covers/shells are other options to use instead of pie crust.
- Pie Crust Scapes – Pie crust scapes are reusable. Scrapes from both the pie crusts is enough to prepare at least 10 empanadas. If not using the scapes right away, roll it out into an 11” – 12” circle, place it on a wax paper and roll it with wax paper and refrigerated for later use.
- Filling Suggestions: Shredded chicken, seafood, beef, vegetables and fruits are other options.
- Indian style sweet empanadas filling options are desiccated coconut + sugar, sesame seed powder + sugar or jaggery or sweetened cream of wheat + desiccated coconut + sugar
This is my post for this week’s Global Cuisine theme. Check out the Blogging Marathon Page to see what my fellow marathoners are doing this BM.