Spiced Chicken Empanadas


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes:


Appears in

My Street Food Kitchen

My Street Food Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2015

  • About

Their origins were in Spain, but empanadas are eaten all over South America. Each country has its best-loved variations made with beef, seafood, chicken or cheese. This piquant chicken version with chillies and raisins is from Argentina and is baked instead of the usual deep-frying.

Preparation: 30 Minutes, Plus 1 Hour Chilling
Cooking: 45 Minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 350 g (12 oz) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 3 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons baby capers in brine, drained
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (concentrated purée)
  • tablespoons raisins


  • 350 g (12 oz/2⅓ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 175 g (6 oz) unsalted butter, cold, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar


To make the filling, heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Season the chicken, then cook on both sides until browned. Remove from the pan and drain off any excess fat. Reserve the pan and cut the chicken into 2 cm inch) pieces. Add the remaining oil, onion and garlic to the reserved pan and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add all of the remaining ingredients, including the chicken, and 2 tablespoons of water. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes so the flavours meld together. Remove from the heat, spread onto a tray and stand until completely cooled. It’s a good idea to put the tray in the freezer to cool it down quickly.

Meanwhile, to make the pastry, put the flour, butter and salt into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and vinegar and process until the pastry just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, shape into a ball, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface about 4 mm (3/16 inch) thick. Using a 10 cm (4 inch) diameter pastry cutter, stamp out 12 rounds from the pastry. Place on the prepared trays and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) or 180°C (350°F) fan forced. Put a heavy-based baking tray in the oven to preheat.

Place a portion of the cooled filling on one half of each circle and fold the pastry over the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal well, then use a fork to press them together or fold the pressed edges over like petals.

Lay the empanadas on a large piece of baking paper and then on the preheated baking tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve warm with any of the three sauces in the Brazilian Churrasco recipe.