Jalapeno Popper Chicken Empanadas

Flaky pastry crust wraps itself around shredded chicken, cream cheese, cheddar, corn and jalapeños to make these golden brown beauties.

A kind of play on jalapeño poppers. . .Only better ’cause there’s chicken, corn and pie crust involved. Where ever there’s buttery, tender pie crust you can find me.

This recipe makes a lot of empanadas! About 32 of them. If you don’t have a crowd to feed you can cut the recipe in half. My thinking is if you’re going to go to the trouble of making them why not make extra? I solemnly swear they won’t go to waste.

You can tuck them into lunch bags the next day or just snack on them all day long because everything else in your refrigerator pales in comparison. To say they are major addictive is an understatement.

Fair warning.

Empanadas may seem too involved to make but the filling is a cinch to throw together and forming the pies goes pretty fast. To save time you can use premade refrigerated pie dough and rotisserie chicken. If you have hands to help you can form an assembly line for cutting, filling and sealing up the dough. Makes for speedy, fun, rewarding work.

The filling is versatile! You can add fresh tomatoes, salsa, diced avocado, chipotles or green chiles instead of the jalapeños, chopped cilantro, a different type of cheese, black beans instead of corn or chicken, seasonings like chile powder and cumin. . .Whatever your little heart desires at the moment or you have on hand.

Chicken Empanadas

Rating: 51

Yield: about 32 (4-inch) empanadas

Chicken Empanadas

Shredded chicken, cream cheese, cheddar, corn and jalapenos fill flaky pastry crust for a play on jalapeno poppers.


4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3/4 cups cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 + 1/4 cups ice water
8 ounces full fat or light cream cheese
2 overflowing cups cooked shredded chicken
1/3 cup sour cream
1 + 1/2 cups fresh shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 ounce can diced jalapenos, drained
1/2 cup corn
coarse salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
1 beaten egg
1 tablespoon milk or water


    Make the pastry:
  1. In a food processor pulse the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the butter and pulse until mixture is the texture of coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces butter remaining.
  2. Add 1 cup ice water to start and pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed adding more water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead just until dough comes together about 4 or 5 times.
  3. Divide into 3 equal portions, flatten them into disks and wrap in saran wrap. Refrigerate while making the filling.
  4. Melt the cream cheese in a microwave proof bowl until warm enough to stir about 25 - 50 seconds.
  5. Add the chicken to a large mixing bowl with the cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar, jalapenos and corn. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. In a small bowl beat the egg and milk together. Fill a separate small bowl with cold water. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them with oil.
  7. On a lightly floured work surface roll out one of the disks to about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out 4-inch circles using a biscuit/cookie cutter or a bowl and paring knife. Place about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto each circle.
  8. Use a pastry brush or your fingers to paint the edges of each circle with water then fold over and press the edges together with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate them for 20 minutes. Repeat until all the filling is used re-rolling scraps of dough if needed.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the empanadas lightly with the egg mixture and bake 14 - 17 minutes until golden brown and piping hot in the centers. Serve hot or at room temperature.


*Or 4 store-bought refrigerated pie crusts.

Pastry adapted from Martha Stewart

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved. No copying or duplication of any content (including photos) without the express written permission from the owner of this website.


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  1. Erin says

    My son just asked me if we can have these for dinner. I came across this on Pinterest and can’t wait to try this recipe!

  2. Ceci says

    Hola!! Las empanadas son una comida típica de mi país, Argentina… Las tuyas se ven realmente bien.
    Acá las podes comer con carne, de jamón y queso de verdura, de lo que sea!!!

    • says

      Hi Jewel! Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl. Dice up the butter and add it in – if you have a pastry blender use that or a fork or your fingers to cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse and crumbly with some little pieces of butter remaining. Toss with 1 cup of water and add more as needed a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together, then knead on a floured board 4 or 5 times. Then just go onto step 3. If you never made pie/pastry crust before you can look online for a tutorial.

      You can also just buy some premade pie crust and use that! Hope this helps!

  3. says

    Wow! This will come in handy the next time I have some of those smoked jalapeno bacon wrapped ABTs leftover. Chop them up with some chicken and make these. Great idea!

  4. says

    I have tried empanadas before and mine did not look anywhere as beautiful as yours. I am excited to try your pastry recipe (that was where mine flopped). I think this would be great to make in quantity to eat now and freeze for later. Thanks!

  5. says

    I love anything in a pastry so I’m sure I’d love these! They look perfect for leftovers for busy workday lunches too! We’d have to freeze some – If I actually left some I mean!

    Moon, hope you’re staying warm! Looks like there was snow coming your way. Wish we could cuddle to keep you warm! Purrs, Angel & Isabella

  6. says

    They sure do look good to me. I’m wondering if they would freeze well if, on the off chance, you don’t eat them all

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