chicken empanada

Among the empanadas I’ve tried over the years, my favorite is still my mom’s baked version. As usual, I am wary of trying her chicken empanada.

It’s the seasoning, I think! I don’t know how much salt and pepper to put and when I ask her, her reply is always “to taste”. In my defense, when my mom comes to visit, she adjusts her seasonings too as some of the ingredients here taste different from what’s available in Manila…(i.e. the sugar is not as sweet, the soy sauce is milder in taste, etc…). My only problem is that I really don’t know how to do this “season to taste” so I still follow her recipe to a T.

Recently though, I am more daring in  trying out her recipes and I am very happy to report that I’m slowly learning to do the “season to taste” thing. In fact, I did her Chicken Pastel just last week and my elder son told me…”Really, Mommy, this is so good. I’ll give you a 11.5/10 mark”…Ha!

There are actually two ways of cooking empanada…baking and frying. The fried ones are usually made with ground pork, raisins and potato and although I like it too, I can’t help but cringe a bit whenever I have this version of empanada. I don’t know if it’s the raisins or the aftertaste of the oil or lard…it’s just a bit “icky” for me. As for the baked ones, I have not tried any yet that I liked except for my mom’s and the ones we made at our Foods class when I was in secondary school.

I’m not really into cooking at that time so I did not bother saving the recipe. For a time, my mom would often serve chicken empanada in her catering business and I’m just happy to have some whenever there’s spare. When we moved here, of course, the only way for me to satisfy my craving is to make them myself.

I’ve seen a few empanada recipes from my cookbook collection but I find the closest to what I’m looking for from my Maya Cookbook. The filling is very close to what I grew up eating but I’m not so happy with the dough. I find it a bit salty so I added more sugar. I also put the whole can of mushroom soup in the filling simply because I don’t want the other half to go to waste. I’ve tried them using half a cup and whole can of soup and for me, the change in taste is insignificant.

Here’s the recipe…hope you like them.



1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ kilo chicken breast, boiled and flaked
1 small carrot, cubed
¼ cup cubed red bell pepper
1/4 kilo potatoes, cubed and fried
1/2 cup condensed cream of mushroom soup
½ cup water

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup cold butter, cubed
1 egg
2-4 tbsp water
Eggwash (1yolk plus 2 tbsp milk)

Prepare Filling:

chicken empanada

  1. In a skillet, heat butter then saute the garlic and onions.
  2. Add flaked chicken, carrots, red bell pepper and potatoes. Stir-fry for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in the soup and water.
  4. Cool until thick. Set aside to cool.


Prepare Crust:

  1. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
  2. Cut in the butter until the mixture is mealy (I use a fork to do this).empanada crust
  3. Add the egg and enough water to form a ball of dough.empanada crust
  4. Let the dough rest for a few minutes (I place in the fridge to chill).
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF and prepare 2 baking sheets when ready to assemble.
  6. Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick (use two sheets of baking or wax paper on top and bottom of dough to prevent sticking and for easier handling of dough…may need to sprinkle the two sheets with flour occassionally) then cut into 4×5 inch rectangles.
    ***You can use a big round cutter or invert a bowl or saucer on the dough and cut around it with a knife.
  7. Place about 3 tablespoons (or less depending on the size of your dough) of the filling at the center of each dough.empanada filling
  8. Fold and crimp the edges to seal. (I just press the edges together then seal by pressing the tines of fork along the edges. You can dip your fork in flour if it gets too sticky).chicken empanada
  9. Place empanadas on baking sheets and brush with eggwash.
  10. Bake until golden brown.

chicken empanada