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Recipe: Easy empanadas

These are fantastic for a easy quick dinner at home or for an appetizer for a party!

Posted Updated

Susan Caldwell of Lil' Chef

What’s an empanada? Empanadas are baked or fried turnovers that are made with pastry dough and stuffed with endless combinations of meat and/or vegetables or fruit.

They’re named after the Spanish verb empanar, which means to coat or wrap in bread. Typically, empanadas are usually shaped like half-moons and range in size from bite-sized to family-sized. Have your children help you in the kitchen stuff these and cut them out with various cookie cutters!

These are fantastic for a easy quick dinner at home or for an appetizer for a party!

Easy empanadas
  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1 (8-ounce) package shredded cheese blend
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
  • Water
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 7 ingredients. Unroll 1 pie crust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining pie crusts, making 12 to 15 circles total.
  • Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month).
  • Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
Susan is a Raleigh mom of two and owner of Lil' Chef, a cooking studio for kids and teens in Raleigh's North Hills. She regularly offers recipes on Go Ask Mom. Find recipes here every Friday.

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