Baked Chicken Empanadas

Level: Challenging
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 26 min
Cooling Time: 15 min
Yields: 20 empanadas


Costa Ricans make exceptional empanadas, a dish introduced to them by the Spanish. This version is a savory baked chicken and cheese empanada and is a great way to use up leftover cooked chicken. For best results, do not overfill the empanadas or the dough may tear. If you enjoy empanadas and make them often, an empanada mold is a worthwhile gadget that turns them out quickly and easily.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup warm NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
  • 1 large egg white lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Lowfat 2% Milk
  • 1 cup cooked, chopped boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 1 small breast)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro or herb of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded 4 cheese Mexican cheese blend or any shredded cheese


flour, baking powder and salt in food processor; process for 5 seconds. Add shortening; process until the mixture looks like cornmeal. With the machine running, add the warm milk through the feed tube; process until dough almost gathers into a ball. (You may need to add a tablespoon or so of water). Transfer to a floured surface; knead for a few seconds. Cover with plastic wrap; let stand for 30 minutes.

butter over medium high heat in medium skillet. Cook onion and garlic until onion is softened. Stir in evaporated milk, chicken and bouillon; cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in cheese, mixing well. Remove from heat. Let cool.

PREHEAT oven to 350º F. Lightly grease baking sheet.

FORM dough into 9-inch log; cut into 12 portions about 3/4-inch each. On a lightly floured surface, roll portion with a rolling pin out to 1/4-inch thick. Cut dough into 4-inch circle using a wide-mouth glass, jar or can. (You may get an additional 4 circles by rolling out left over dough). Lightly brush the edge of half the circle with egg white mixture.

PLACE about 1 heaping teaspoon of the chicken filling in the center. Fold half of the circle over to form a half-moon; press the edges together firmly. (Overfilling will cause dough to tear and not seal.) Gently press end of fork into dough to form ridges, if desired. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with egg white mixture. Pierce tops of empanadas once with a fork.

BAKE for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven; let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Unbaked empanadas may be frozen. Freeze on baking sheet lined with wax paper until hard. Store in freezer containers. Bake frozen; add additional 5 minutes to bake time.

Fill empanadas with 1 heaping teaspoon of pineapple jam for a sweet treat or try the popular version with Costa Rican white spaghetti squash, chiverre.

Oh My Chicken....

by n. nancy , canada on Jul. 2013

This was so easy to make and so flavorful... It is the BEST recipe that I've come across. Definitely a staple in our house. Takes some time, but well worth the investment. I added extra cheese to the chicken mixture.

Great tip!

by G. Glenda , on Mar. 2010

We loved these and I'm impressed that they bake so well instead of fried. Wonderful tip that they can be frozen.


by T. Tina , Luskville, Québec on Mar. 2010

Easy to make, baked nicely and I loved the taste - I guess you could put just about anything in them. Will make them again!

Baked Chicken Empanadas

by J. Jessica , , on Mar. 2009

These were very very very good. The crust baked well and browned beautifully. The filling was tasty too. Although I added a little extra spice to mine. Be sure to taste it before you remove it from the stove to make any adjustments.

top empanadas

by a. a , , on Dec. 2008

Hi all, I love cooking and have done empanadas in past in fact, I bake then an add powdered sugar on top its really good. I will be making this recipe for x-mas and see what happen it looks so good :)


by E. Elsa , CEDAR PARK, TX on Aug. 2008

I tried these chicken empanadas and they were great. Everyone liked them. I also tried them with the pineapple jam and the kids loved them. Next I will try making them with pumpkin. My husband loves pumpkin everything. Thanks for sharing.

Funky white woman's kitchen.

by E. Elizabeth , DAVENPORT, IA on Apr. 2008

I love the Mi Cocina Latina web site! We love to travel and we have eaten Latin American dishes. Making these makes me feel like I'm on vacation.

Great chicken recipe.

by n. neida , BROOKLYN, NY on Oct. 2007

I tried the recipe and my husband loved it.