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Spanish Chicken Empanadas

These Spanish chicken empanadas are flaky pockets of meaty goodness served with a flavorful romesco sauce! Tender pastry dough is stuffed with a savory mix of shredded chicken, onions, tomatoes, herbs and Manchego cheese. These beauties make a wonderful main entree or starter for your next dinner party.

A chicken empanada sliced open to reveal the filling.

Why This Recipe Works

Who can resist a meaty empanada? These delicious hand pies are stuffed with savory goodies and served with a luscious Spanish romesco sauce which takes it to the next level.

The great thing about empanadas is that they’re super versatile and you can pack them full with your favorite combination of flavors! If you’ve tried our spicy pulled pork empanadas or mini tuna empanadas, you’re already familiar with the delicious combo of flaky pastry dough and a savory filling.

This shredded chicken empanadas recipe checks all those boxes. With Spanish flavors of saffron and smoked paprika, they are irresistibly good!

These empanadas are:

  • Meaty and flavorful.
  • Easy to make (you can use leftover roasted chicken for the filling).
  • Perfect served as a finger food main course or as tasty appetizers.
  • A delicious spin on traditional empanadas.
  • A healthy baked chicken empanadas recipe (that’s right, there’s no frying involved).
A plate piled with Spanish Chicken empanadas, romesco sauce in background

The Ingredients

Simple ingredients come together for these Spanish chicken empanadas. We use pre-cooked chicken for the filling. It’s a great way to make use of leftover baked chicken quarters or rotisserie chicken!

You will need:

  • Pastry dough. You can make your own or purchase pre-made pie crust. If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, use our gluten-free pie dough.
  • Oil. Olive oil or whatever you have on hand.
  • Onion. Finely chopped.
  • Garlic cloves. Fresh garlic will have more flavor than dried garlic.
  • Roasted red peppers. You can substitute with roasted poblanos or grilled sweet peppers.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes. We used the kind packed in oil because they are softer and meatier than the ones in a bag.
  • Spices. Dried oregano, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and saffron.
  • Cooked shredded chicken. If you don’t have any leftover chicken, you can cook frozen chicken in an Instant Pot or make a quick batch of roasted chicken thighs.
  • Chicken broth. Store-bought or homemade bone broth.
  • Manchego cheese. We love the rich, nutty flavor of Manchego in this recipe but you can substitute it with Asiago, Parmesan, or Pecorino.

ingredients for empanada dough

iingrdients needed for Spanish Chicken Empanadas

How to Make Spanish Chicken Empanadas

The first step to making these baked chicken empanadas is to make flaky, buttery pastry dough. If you want to take a shortcut, purchase pre-made dough.

A few tips when making the dough: a food processor ensures that the dough mixes well and everything is distributed evenly. Pulse it just until the dough resembles coarse gravel.

To see the full process scroll to the bottom of the page to view the printable recipe card.

skillet of chicken empanada filling

Make the filling in a large skillet over medium-low heat. You’ll first cook the veggies, then add the other ingredients and spices. Set the filling aside so it can cool.

empanada dough with egg wash being brushed on

Brush the edges of one circle of dough with egg wash.

partially completed chicken empanada on a board

Place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling on the lower 1/3 of the pastry round and add a few cheese cubes.

filled empanada on board with fork, dish of filling and cheese in background

Lift the upper portion of the pastry over the top to cover the filling. Use a fork to crimp together the edges.

empanadas being brushed with egg wash

Place each filled empanada on a baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Bake until golden brown.

Baked Spanish chicken empanadas on a cooling rack

Transfer the Spanish chicken empanadas to a serving platter. Serve them hot with the romesco sauce.

You can enjoy these shredded chicken empanadas with a different dipping sauce if you like. Try them with mole sauce or tomato garlic sauce. The sauce is super easy to make in advance, too.

Tips for the Best Empanadas

  • You can make the pastry dough in advance and keep it refrigerated or frozen until ready to use. If you’re using frozen dough, make sure to thaw the dough at room temperature until it’s pliable.
  • After you cut the pastry rounds, stack them with sheets of parchment paper separating each one so they don’t stick together.
  • The filling will make 10 empanadas. If you have extra pastry rounds you can fill them with sugared apple slices for a quick treat.
  • Store-bought, pre-made empanada dough rounds can be located in the frozen foods section of most grocery stores.
Two chicken empanadas on a plate.

This Spanish chicken empanada recipe makes flaky, tasty hand pockets stuffed with a delicious, Spanish-inspired filling! We’ve never met an empanada we don’t love and this one’s a new favorite. 😉

Some Other Recipes We Are Sure You Will Love:

For a taste of a true Southern dish, the classic Cheesy Shrimp and Grits is a ‘must’! Creamy grits with lots of cheddar cheese, a rich Creole sauce with zesty andouille sausages, and giant, pan-grilled shrimp.

This recipe for Lebanese Garlic Sauce is a delicious condiment that you can use as a dip, marinade, or sauce. It’s perfect for adding flavor to grilled chicken, beef shawarma, fish, or vegetables.

This Chicken Pot Pie with White Wine Sauce is a twist on the classic recipe. The rich creamy wine sauce is cream-free!

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Part of a chicken empanada, showing the filling.

Spanish Chicken Empanadas

Yield: 10 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Spanish Chicken Empanadas are flaky little pastry pockets stuffed with shredded chicken, onions, tomatoes, herbs, and Manchego cheese.

These savory hand pies get baked (not fried) and served hot with a Spanish romesco sauce or marinara sauce. You can eat them as the main entree or as appetizers.

Ingredients

For the Dough:

  • 3-1/4 cups (390 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz. cold butter (2 sticks), cut into bits
  • 6 tablespoons ice-water
  • 1 large egg

For the Filling:

  • 2 tablespoon olive
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
  • 12 ounces jarred roasted red pepper, drained
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken (or chopped)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 8 ounces Manchego cheese
  • 1 egg white, whisked with a tablespoon of cold water
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

For the Dough

  1. Measure the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  
  2. Distribute the butter bits over the top of the flour and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
  3. Whisk the egg and water in a dish and pour into the opening of the processor while pulsing the machine.  Pulse the dough just until it begins to resemble coarse gravel. (If you need additional water, drizzle it 1 tablespoon at a time).
  4. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and press together into a ball.  Flatten the ball and divide it into two flat discs. Wrap each disc with plastic film and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.  
  5. Remove the discs from the refrigerator.  On a lightly floured work surface roll out one disc to a thickness of 1/8 inch.  Cut into 6-inch circles and place on a plate. Place parchment paper between each pastry round so they don't stick together.
  6. Repeat with the second pastry disc. Gather the scraps together, then roll and cut into as many rounds as possible.  You will need 10 pastry rounds for the filling.

To Make The Filling:

  1. Add the oil to a large skillet set over medium-low heat. When it is hot sauté the onions for 3-4 minutes until softened.  Add the garlic, roasted red peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently for another minute.  Stir in the oregano, paprika, salt, pepper, and saffron.  
  2. Add the chicken, tossing together until well combined. Drizzle in enough of the chicken broth a few tablespoons at a time to moisten the mixture enough that it clings together slightly.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside to cool.

To Assemble the Empanadas:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Working with one 6-inch circle at a time, brush the edges with egg wash.  Place 2-3 tablespoons of the filling on the lower 1/3 of the pastry round. Add a few cheese cubes, then lift the upper portion of the pastry over the top to cover the filling.  
  3. Use the tines of a fork to crimp and seal the edges together.  Place the filled empanada on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat the process until all the empanadas are filled and on the baking sheet. 
  4. Brush each empanada with egg wash and transfer the baking sheet to the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Transfer to a serving platter, serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley and a dipping sauce such as Romesco sauce or marinara.

Notes

  • The dough can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use. 
  • Pat the roasted red peppers dry with paper towels.
  • If using frozen dough, thaw at room temperature until pliable.  
  • As you cut the pastry rounds stack them separated with parchment paper squares.  
  • We used rotisserie chicken for the filling. Three cups came to about 1-pound of chicken.
  • The filling will make 10 empanadas.
  • If there are extra cut pastry rounds fill them with sugared apple slices for a quick treat.
  • Store-bought, pre-made empanada dough rounds can be located in the frozen foods section of most grocery stores.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 601Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 129mgSodium: 748mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 24g

Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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angiesrecipes

Wednesday 10th of August 2022

They look fantastic! I must try that roasted chicken and cheese filling. angiesrecipes http://angiesrecipes.blogspot.com

John / Kitchen Riffs

Wednesday 10th of August 2022

Such tasty bundles of goodness! It's been quite some time since I've made empanadas, and suddenly I'm craving them. Funny how that works. :-) These look terrific -- thanks.

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