We’ve been on a chicken kick in our home recently. We had chicken enchiladas earlier this week, then Instant Pot Chicken Pho the next day. There’s a lot of leftover shredded chicken that I needed to use up. I also had a can of enchilada sauce that I never used, so I figured it was pantry clean-up day. Chicken enchilada empanadas were my solution.
Chicken Enchilada Empanadas are simply the perfect way to use up leftover shredded chicken (or leftover rotisserie chicken). Plus, it’s super easy to make. The only time commitment required is the making the chicken enchilada mix (which takes maybe 10 minutes on the stove) and then stuffing the dough with the chicken enchilada mix.
If you want it to be extra delicious, you can make the enchilada sauce from scratch. The best homemade enchilada sauce recipe I found was Cookie and Kate’s, except I added chili powder to make it more spicy and I used chicken broth for extra flavor (since I don’t keep vegetable stock on hand.)
I cheated and used canned enchilada sauce because that’s what I had in my pantry and I needed to get rid of it.
However, I did make my own empanada dough from scratch see below). You could also use puff pastry for a short cut.
Homemade empanada dough is super easy to make using a stand mixer. I use the Kitchen-Aid Professional Mixer that my sister bought me for Christmas one year. I use it ALL the time when making dough, pie crusts, or cake. But you don’t need a mixer to make dough from scratch. It just makes it easier. You can use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour and then mix the dough by hand.
Empanadas are so versatile. You can stuff it with whatever you like. Earlier this week, I made some chicken and cheese empanadas (just using shredded chicken and two types of Mexican cheese). You could make cheese empanadas too.
For those of you who like to food prep, empanadas can be frozen for later use, or you can cook them right away. I always make a batch to freeze for a busy weeknight when I don’t have the energy to cook.
You can fry them, but I prefer baking them because it’s just easier. I can pop it in the oven, walk away and do chores, and come back. It makes my busy mom life much simpler.
Enjoy and Happy Eating!
Chicken Enchilada Empanadas with Homemade Empanada Dough
For the Empanada Dough
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup cold water
- 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
For the Chicken Enchilada Filling
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1 tsp taco seasoning
- 1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
- 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
- 1 cup queso fresco cheese, grated or crumbled
For the Egg Wash
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp water
First, Make the Empanada Dough
- Sift flour with salt. Using a stand mixer, add butter to the sifted flour. Mix until there are small, pea-size clumps of butter. (You can also use a pastry blender to cut the butter into flour.)
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg, cold water, and vinegar.
- Add the egg mixture into the flour and blend until it forms a sticky dough.
- Lightly flour a cutting board. Gather all the dough and turn it out on the floured board. Knead gently and form a ball. The dough is now ready to be used.If you're making the empanada dough in advance, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The dough will be good for 1-2 days.
Next, Make the Chicken Enchilada Filling
- In a skillet or frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the chopped onions, green bell pepper, and celery. Saute until the onion is soft and translucent, and the vegetables are soft.
- Stir in the taco seasoning until well combined.
- Add the enchilada sauce and stir to incorporate it into the vegetable mix.
- Mix in the shredded chicken and Mexican cheese. Stir until the Mexican cheese is melted, then remove from heat.
Assemble the Empanadas
- Separate the empanada dough into 8 equally sized balls.
- Flour the rolling pin. Roll the dough balls flat until they're about 1/4" thick.
- Place a spoonful of the queso fresco cheese in the middle.
- Add a spoonful of the chicken enchilada mix on top.
- Fold the dough in half and use a fork to crimp the edges together.
- You can now either freeze the prepared empanadas in a ziplog bag or freezer-safe tupperware for later use, or you can bake them now!
Bake the Chicken Enchilada Empanadas
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, crack one egg and mix with 1 tablespoon of water. This is your egg wash.
- Place the empanadas on the baking sheet. Brush the egg wash on the top of the empanadas.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Enjoy!