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Smoky chipotle chicken empanada with a little heat and a whole lot of flavor! Perfect for an entree or small plate appetizers.
Who doesn’t love a flaky pastry filled with spicy meat and cheese?! The smokiness of chipotle peppers gives these empanadas a similar flavor to chicken tinga minus the tomato sauce. I’ve recently updated this recipe to 1.) change the way the chicken breast is prepared and 2.) add Monterey Jack cheese inside of the empanadas.
Pan-searing perfectly seasoned chicken breast before shredding is pretty much how I roll these days. Doing it this way instead of mincing or chopping the chicken makes it easier to fill the shells since it lays flat. It also provided more room for the cheese! Previously, I suggested cotija cheese as an add-in. I made the switch to Monterey Jack cheese and haven’t looked back. It adds a much appreciated creaminess.
What you need to make smoky chipotle chicken empanadas
You don’t need many ingredients at all. Most of the ingredients list is made of spices.
Empanada discs– It goes without saying that empanadas require some sort of outer pastry. I prefer to just buy them but I’ve had success with homemade as well. I’ll be sure to update this recipe again with the homemade empanada dough recipe when it’s posted.
Chicken breast– Or any other meat or vegetable filling you can imagine. Beef empanadas are the truth; especially my Jamaican beef and potato empanadas.
Chipotle with adobo– These peppers are hot! I love the taste and heat they bring to the dish. The sauce within the can is what you really want in the filling. Be sure to finely chop the peppers so no one gets a mouthful of heat.
Cheese– This is strictly optional but I wouldn’t skip it. I don’t think it can be said that chicken and cheese is ever a bad idea.
Let’s Make Smoky Chipotle Chicken Empanadas!
I start by seasoning chicken breast with cumin, garlic and onion powders, cumin, salt, and pepper. After pan-searing the chicken breast to perfection, I shred and simmer it in sauteed garlic and onion, chipotle with adobo, and a little chicken stock.
Next, I stuff empanada shells with the chicken and a mound of Monterey jack cheese.
Then they get deep-fried to golden perfection.
I served them with sour cream to cool off the heat of the chipotle. So so so delicious!
Add these empanadas along with more of my easy appetizers to your game day menu!
Spicy Caribbean Barbecue Chicken Wings– Jerk spiced wings covers in a habanero pineapple barbecue sauce. Cool these spicy Caribbean barbecue chicken wings off with a side of seasoned sour cream.
Get the recipe here!
Chicken Spring Rolls with Cilantro Yogurt Dipping Sauce– Crispy chicken spring rolls with cool creamy cilantro yogurt dipping sauce is a filling appetizer fit for small plate gatherings or main entree.
Get the recipe here!
***This recipe was updated 1/5/20 for recipe updates and added content. It was first published on 5/22/17. ***
Smoky Chipotle Chicken Empanada
- 12 empanada discs defrosted
- 3/4 lb chicken breast
- 1/2 c chicken stock
- 1/2 c white onion diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 tbsp chipotle with adobo 1-2 peppers finely minced with 3 tbsp sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 c Monterey Jack cheese shreds
- 1 c sour cream
- oil for frying
- Season both sides of the chicken breasts with a mixture of the salt, pepper, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium flame and sear the chicken for 6 minutes on each side until fully cooked. Use a food thermometer to check for 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the pan onto a plate and shred it for later use.
- To the heated pan, add the diced onion and garlic. Sauté until softened then add the shredded chicken, chipotle peppers and chicken stock. Allow the mixture to simmer for 4-5 minutes until it thickens; remove from the heat.
- Begin filling the center of each empanada disc with chicken and cheese if using it. Take care to seal ends with a fork or press.
- Heat the frying oil in another skillet over medium flame. Fry 3-4 empanadas in batches until golden brown turning as needed. Serve them hot with sour cream on the side!