Chicken and Cheese Empanadas

A coworker and I were talking about food (what else would we be talking about—well besides shoes). She was telling me how she took on the task of making 100 empanadas for her Super Bowl party. 100?? WOW! How was she going to fry them all? She told me that she actually bakes them…really? And they’re still delicious? Her Portuguese grandmother approved, so I believed her. She told me where to find the dough (pre-made in the frozen section…AWESOME!), and I took on a mission of my own to make empanadas. I’m really not a fan of ground beef, which is the traditional filling. Something about it just doesn’t sit right with me. I’ll usually substitute ground chicken, ground turkey, or shredded beef. I decided that chicken and cheese would be delicious inside that crispy pastry (although my friend’s grandma would not approve of the cheese part I’m sure). I stopped at the supermarket on the way home and picked up the dough. You can find empanada dough in the Goya frozen section. Be sure to pay the extra dollar to get them with the paper sheets in between—it will really make your life easier.

The empanadas turned out great!  I served mine with rice and beans. They are really quite fun because you can eat them with your hands.  I boil the chicken with seasoning and then shred after. This makes it so easy because I don’t have to keep my eye on the chicken. While the chicken is cooking, I can do all the chopping. The only tweak I would make next time would be to chop the shredded chicken so it’s a bit more “eater friendly”, so take the extra step if you want. They’ll taste just as good either way. And your tip for the day—when chopping bell peppers, make sure to cut them with the inside facing upwards, it’s easier than facing the inside down.

Chicken and Cheese Empanadas
makes 20 empanadas
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 medium white onion finely diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 tomato or 3 large campari tomatoes finely diced with juices
  • 2 sazón packets (with coriander and annato)
  • water
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • mexican oregano (can substitute italian oregano)
  • ancho chile powder (can substitute regular chile powder)
  • 4 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 6 ounces shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 2-10ct packages of empanada dough with paper sheet in between
  • 1 egg
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. First you'll need to start the chicken. Fill a pot with enough water to completely cover the chicken. Add one sazón packet and a good bit of garlic powder, onion powder, and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, and let cook for 20-30 mins or until fully cooked. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the water and let sit for a few minutes.
  3. Shred the chicken using 2 forks—alternatively you can wait until the chicken has cooled and shred with your hands. At this point, you can chop the shredded chicken into small pieces.
  4. Next, the filling. Coat the bottom of a skillet with extra-virgin olive oil on medium heat. Saute the onion, pepper and tomatoes until softened.
  5. Add the packet of sazón, pinch of mexican oregano, ancho chile powder and cayenne pepper, and stir in 3 tablespoons of water.
  6. Mix in the shredded chicken.
  7. Once combined, mix in the cheese.
  8. Now, time to assemble the empanadas! Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  9. Spoon the filling in the center of your dough disc—make sure you leave the dough on the paper sheet so it doesn't stick. Don't overfill—you may have some filling left over.
  10. Fold the dough in half and seal using a fork by pressing down the edges all the way around. Discard the paper sheet, and place the empanada on a greased baking sheet. I grease a piece of aluminum foil and place that on the sheet for easy cleanup.
  11. Combine the egg and 2 tablespoons of water to create an egg wash.
  12. Brush the egg wash generously on top of each empanada.
  13. Place in the over for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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2 Responses to Chicken and Cheese Empanadas

  1. Vanessa says:

    I am said co-worker, and by the looks of them, I think Tanya’s empanadas came out better than mine!