Mexican Chicken Empanadas stuffed with juicy chicken, black beans, bell peppers, and cheese baked in a hot, flaky golden pastry are an irresistible appetizer, dinner, or snack that can be made ahead of time and frozen for later!
Empanadas are pastries most often stuffed with savory fillings and are very popular in South America. They come from the Latin word, “empanar” which means “to bread.” In fact, I’ve heard “empanadas are to South Americans what sandwiches are to Americans,” meaning, empanadas are as common as sandwiches and equally as versatile with endless filling combinations and styles of dough. And once you try these Mexican Chicken Empanadas you’ll understand why.
MEXICAN CHICKEN EMPANADAS
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These Mexican Chicken Empanadas are wonderfully satisfying with their golden, flaky dough giving way to the hearty, fiestalicious cheesy filling. But what you will love almost as much as the taste is just how easy this recipe is! For these Mexican Chicken Empanadas, I’ve created a very simple, shortcut recipe that doesn’t involve braising chicken or making your own dough BUT still tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen.
To make the chicken filling, we first sauté diced red bell peppers and black beans for just a couple minutes. Then, we add our cooked, diced chicken, taco seasonings and enchilada sauce and heat through. How easy was that?! We will add our cheese directly onto the filling before folding over the dough so it doesn’t get lost.
For our empanada dough, we use store-bought puff pastry. If you have never used puff pastry dough, it is located in the freezer section of your grocery store and is wonderfully easy to work with. When baked it becomes beautifully puffy, flaky and golden, perfect to cocoon our irresistible filling.
These Mexican Chicken Empanadas can be made and devoured in one sitting or you can freeze them before baking and store them until your cravings strike. When it’s empanada time, all you have to do is move as many empanadas as your heart desires straight from the freezer to the oven for the perfect prep-ahead appetizer, meal or snack!
Want more Mexican food recipes?
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole
- Mexican Street Corn
- Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas
- Slow Cooker Poblano Chicken
- More appetizer recipes…
Tools used to make this Mexican Chicken Empanadas recipe
Large Skillet: This skillet is my go-to kitchen tool. It’s large circumference and high sides make it perfect for cooking anything from one pan meals to soups and sauces.
Baking Sheet: A nice big baking sheet is a must-have for any kitchen. This half pan sheet is large than a regular cookie and works great for anything you’re baking.
Silicone Mat: I use a silicone mat on my baking sheet practically every time I bake. The mat makes for easy cleanup and my foods don’t stick to the pan.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and black beans and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the chicken, taco seasonings, and enchilada sauce. Stir to combine and cook until heated through. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
- Lay out 1 sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll it out into a rectangle that's 12 x 18 inches. Cut 2 rows of 4-inch circles (using a cookie or biscuit cutter) from the dough for 8 circles total. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry. Gather dough scraps and roll them out big enough to cut 4 more circles. You should have a total of 20 dough circles.
- Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture in the center of each circle and top with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Check each empanada to ensure there is about a finger's width of space between the filling and the edge. Lightly brush the edge of half of a circle with egg wash and fold the dough over the filling to make a half circle. Crimp the edges together with a fork to seal.
- Place the empanadas on the baking sheet so they are not touching. Then pierce each empanada two times with a fork so steam can escape while baking. Brush the tops and sides evenly with egg wash.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5-10 miuntes. Serve warm with your favorite dip, if desired.
- You can use chicken breast, thighs, or rotisserie chicken from the store (without the skin) to make the filling.
- To freezer for later: When empanadas are lined up on the baking sheets before baking, transfer the entire baking sheet to the freezer. Once frozen, place individual empanadas in a freezer-safe food storage bag. When you're ready to bake, line the desired amount of empanadas on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until golden and cooked through.
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