Prep 15 mins
Cook 40 mins
Total 55 mins
Golden and puffy, these homemade chicken empanadas are packed with a delicately spicy onion, cheese, and chipotle filling. You’ll be surprised they’re ready in under an hour, even with an avocado crema!
Homemade Chicken Empanadas
Baked to crispy, golden perfection, these homemade chicken empanadas are pocketfuls of cheesy goodness. Dipped into an easy avocado crema, they’re the ultimate quick dinner.
Loaded with a simple chipotle chicken filling, every bite is just the right amount of smokey and spicy. A bit of tomato sauce and oregano helps round out the flavors and gives the chicken a nice herby touch.
Freshly baked or frozen for later, these puffy empanadas pack your favorite Tex-Mex flavors and are the perfect on-the-go snack. Wonderfully juicy and saucy on the inside but crumbly and crunchy on the outside, you’ll love everything about them from start to finish.
What You’ll Need
You’ll be surprised how simple these homemade chicken empanadas are, even with the avocado crema. Check the recipe card for full ingredient amounts.
For the Empanadas
- Olive oil – You can also use vegetable, corn, or canola oil.
- Onion – Feel free to use white or yellow.
- Ground Chicken
- Mexican Oregano – Italian oregano is a good substitute if that’s all you’ve got on hand, but Mexican Oregano is best!
- Chipotle Sauce – Adobo sauce is amazing too! Use 4 finely chopped adobo peppers and add them in instead.
- Tomato Sauce – Try to use plain tomato sauce.
- Mexican Cheese Blend – Shredded mozzarella, Manchego, Chihuahua, or your favorite melty cheese will work too.
- Empanada Wrappers – You can use store bought or Homemade Empanada Wrappers.
For the Avocado Crema
- Mexican Crema – Sour cream is great too.
- Fresh Cilantro – Don’t use dried cilantro.
- Lime Zest – Feel free to leave it out.
Try these recipe variations for your homemade chicken empanadas and watch each version become a household favorite.
- Use turkey. Swapping the chicken for ground turkey is an easy twist on this yummy recipe.
- Use rotisserie chicken. Shredded rotisserie chicken is a great way to cut down on cooking time because you’ll only need to toss it in the sauce, making the filling much quicker. Or you could also make your own easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken.
- Add veggies. Add about 1/2 cup of yellow corn to the chicken filling for slightly healthier empanadas.
- Make it spicy. Add more chipotle sauce or adobo peppers to the filling to taste for extra heat.
How to make Chipotle Chicken Empanadas
These homemade chicken enchiladas and their avocado crema are ready in less than 10 steps!
- Cook the onion. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook on medium-low for 7 minutes or until soft and fragrant.
- Add the chicken. Place the chicken in the skillet and cook until no longer pink. Use a spatula to break it up as it cooks. Season with salt and Mexican oregano. Stir to combine.
- Add the sauces. Pour in the chipotle and tomato sauces. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Prepare the oven. Heat the oven to 375°F and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Set aside. You can also line it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat to avoid any sticking.
- Fill them. Place a large spoon of chicken filling into the center of an empanada wrapper and add some cheese. Don’t add too much filling or they’ll open up as they bake.
- Assemble them. Wet the edge of the pastry all the way around and fold it over like a quesadilla. Seal the edges with a fork. Brush the empanadas with the beaten egg.
- Bake. Place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and place them in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Make the avocado crema. In a bowl, mash the avocado and stir in the crema, cilantro, and lime zest. Serve with the empanadas.
These homemade chicken empanadas are practically fail-proof if you follow these simple tips.
- Poke holes. Use a fork to poke a couple of holes through the top layer of your empanadas. This will help steam escape and keep them from opening in the oven.
- Change the dough. Use store-bought, or make your own empanada dough, puff pastry, or pie crust. Whatever you’ve got on hand will work.
- Prep ahead. Make the filling in advance and only fill the wrappers. Bake right before lunch. It’ll save you lots of time throughout the week.
- Reduce the sauce. Cook the filling until the chicken has absorbed most of the sauce or the sauce has thickened. If the filling is too moist, it’ll ooze out during baking.
What to Serve with Chicken Empanadas
These homemade chicken empanadas are great with your favorite salsa, Guacamole, sour cream, and my Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing. Since the dough is a carb, I recommend going for more veggie-packed sides to lighten the meal.
This Mexican Street Corn Salad is always a crowd please, or go with the more traditional Elote! Beans are always a good addition too, our family loves these Frijoles Charros (Charro Beans) or Ranch Style Beans. …and of course, some good Mexican Rice is always perfect with beans.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Once fully cooled, refrigerate these homemade chicken empanadas in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also keep them individually in airtight bags for a quick on-the-go meal.
To reheat them, pop them into the microwave for up to a minute or until warm. You can also heat them in the oven at 320°F for 13-17 minutes.
Can You Freeze Homemade Empanadas?
Yes! You’ll have to freeze them unbaked, though. Assemble them as usual and then set them on a parchment-lined tray. Pop it in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Then transfer the frozen empanadas to freezer-friendly bags or containers and freeze for up to 3 months.
Once you’re ready to bake them, move them to the fridge overnight or set them on the counter to thaw (away from any heat and sunlight) for 1-2 hours. Once thawed, bake them as usual.
More Lunch Recipes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
- 1/3 cup chipotle sauce
- 2/3 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup Mexican cheese blend
- 12 (6-inch) empanada wrappers
- 1 egg, beaten
For the Avocado Crema
- 1 large avocado
- 1/2 cup Mexican crema
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook on medium low for 7 minutes, until translucent.
- Add the chicken and cook, breaking apart as it cooks, until no longer pink. Season with salt and Mexican oregano and stir to combine.
- Add the chipotle sauce and tomato sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 375°F and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place a large spoon of chicken filling into the center of an empanada wrapper and add some cheese. Wet the edge of the pastry all the way around and fold over. Seal the edges with a fork. Brush the empanadas with the beaten egg.
- Place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Avocado Crema: In a bowl, mash the avocado and stir in the crema, cilantro, and lime zest. Serve with the empanadas.
Storage: Once fully cooled, refrigerate these homemade chicken empanadas in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can also keep them individually in airtight bags for a quick on-the-go meal.
Amount Per Serving:
Calories: 224Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 323mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 12g
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