Once you’ve got a reliable empanada dough recipe to work with then you can move on to the more important question…what should I put inside?! I’ve been eating this Chicken and Jalapeno version all week and I think it’s a combo worthy of being considered for your next batch.
Don’t forget that there are a few tips to keep in mind to keep your empanadas tender and flaky, so it’s worth checking out the Beef and Cheese Empanadas post at some point, but I’ll hit all the key topics in this post as well.
Spicy Chicken and Pickled Jalapeno Empanadas Recipe
I’m using a batch of our homemade Pickled Jalapenos but you don’t have to pickle your own just for these empanadas; a canned version would work too.
So that’s 1/2 cup of pickled jalapenos (and some carrots who don’t want to miss out on the fun). These will be diced up fine to make it easier to fit them in the empanadas.
You don’t have to worry too much about exact seasoning for the chicken in this dish so feel free to get creative. For this batch we used 1 Tablespoon crushed New Mexican chile, 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, freshly ground pepper, and 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
Chop up a large chicken breast and combine it well with this mixture. This will get sauteed off with 2-3 Tablespoons of chopped onion.
You’ll also need one cup of cheese. It seems like you can taste the cheese better when diced into bigger chunks (as opposed to grating) so it’s worth trying that for this combo.
But of course, before we do any work on the fillings it’s probably best to get the empanada dough started…
Mix 1.5 teaspoons of salt into 3 1/4 cups of all purpose flour. Dice up 6 oz. of butter (1.5 sticks) into small 1/2″ chunks and plop them into the flour. Use your fingers to mix it in just enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few chunks of butter laying about.
In a separate bowl, combine 2 small eggs, 1.5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar), and 1/2 cup of ice cold water. Add this mixture to the flour and roughly combine.
Dump onto a work surface but don’t knead it! Overworking the dough will result in dense empanadas so just use your hands to gently combine this mixture into a cohesive ball.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the fridge for 2 hours or so, or overnight works too. Chilling the dough is an important step so don’t skimp on it.
Once chilled, give your work surface a light sprinkling of flour and gently flatten the dough down to 1/4″ or less using a rolling pin. If your best surface is a cutting board then pull off 1/4 of the dough at a time to roll it out.
You can use a biscuit cutter, a small bowl, or even a glass to carve out an empanada circle. The above bowl was about 4″ in diameter and produced a medium-sized empanada (12 of them for this batch).
Add 1-2 Tablespoons of the chicken, some diced jalapenos, and plenty of cheese. You can dice up the chicken into smaller bits after cooking if you want.
Pull the edges up and pinch them shut with your finger. Then use a fork to lightly press down on the edges and seal them further.
Brush them with some eggwash and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400F, or until they are golden brown. This batch took the full 25 minutes in the oven.
Let them cool for a bit and then take a bite! They should be light and flaky with a burst of flavor from the chicken and jalapenos. So good!
I haven’t tried freezing these yet but probably will soon. They take a little bit of work to put together so building a big batch seems optimal. I think freezing them just before baking makes the most sense; then bake them directly from the freezer with an additional few minutes of baking time. Will report back when I try this.
Okay, don’t forget to chill that dough! Even though it takes a bit of pre-planning to add in the chilling time, it’s actually the quickest route to a batch of flaky, delicious empanadas.
Here's a great combo to consider for your next batch of homemade empanadas: spicy chicken and pickled jalapenos. Don't forget to chill the dough before rolling it out as this will keep them light and flaky.
- 1/2 cup pickled jalapenos
- 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 large chicken breast (or 2 smaller breasts)
- 1 Tablespoon crushed New Mexican chile or your choice of chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped onion
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 6 oz. butter (1.5 sticks)
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 2 small eggs
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 1.5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
- 1 egg (for the eggwash)
Start by mixing 1.5 teaspoons of salt into 3 1/4 cups of flour. Dice up 6 oz. of butter (1.5 sticks) into small 1/2" chunks and plop them into the flour. Use your fingers to disintegrate some of the butter into the mixture but don't worry about getting all of the butter dissolved. Mix it in just enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few chunks of butter laying about.
In a bowl, combine 2 small eggs, 1.5 tablespoons vinegar, and 1/2 cup ice cold water. Add this mixture to the flour and use a fork or spatula to roughly combine.
Dump onto a work surface but resist the temptation to knead! Just combine it enough to form a cohesive ball. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Chop a single chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and combine with the listed seasoning ingredients in a bowl. Saute 2-3 Tablespoons of onion in a drizzle of oil over medium high heat for a few minutes. Add the chicken and cook 3-5 minutes per side or until done. Set aside until needed.
Finely dice the jalapenos. Cut the cheese into chunks.
Once the dough has been chilled you can roll it out. If using a cutting board roll out 1/4 of the dough at a time. Sprinkle your work surface and rolling pin with flour before starting. Roll the dough down to 1/4" thickness or less.
Use a biscuit cutter or bowl to cut out circles of empanada dough. Fill each round with 1-2 Tablespoons of chicken mixture, some diced jalapeno, and plenty of cheese chunks. Lift both edges of the round and seal the edges using your fingers. Use a fork to seal the edges further.
For the eggwash, crack an egg in a bowl, add a splash of water and whisk. Brush the empanadas with the eggwash.
Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Dough recipe adapted from a popular recipe on Epicurious.
Don't worry about disintegrating all of the butter into the flour, leaving a few chunks will help the dough form layers.
Chilling the dough before rolling it out is muy importante.
Resist the temptation to knead the dough.
Using cold butter and ice cold water is recommended.
Our latest recipe is a Spicy Avocado Hummus.