Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

Shredded chicken + cheese + spices all wrapped up in a flaky shell–you can’t go wrong with these tasty Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!

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Shredded chicken + cheese + spices all wrapped up in a flaky shell--you can't go wrong with these tasty Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!Life has a funny way of keeping you on your toes.  Just when you think you’ve figured it all out, life comes along to mix it all up again.  As you guys know, our son (first child!) was born back in November.  We’ve spent the last couple of months adjusting to our new schedule, and I think we’ve managed pretty well.  Sure, there have been some sleepless nights.  And I may or may not have Googled how to change a diaper.  But all in all, I think we’ve managed pretty well.

And then this week Mom went back to work.  It’s been awesome having her around to help with the baby.  But it’s time to transition to the next phase.  After visiting several daycare centers in our town, we found one that we really, really liked, so we decided to take Robbie to day care a couple of days a week.  But Dad (i.e. me) will need to step up his game a bit here, too.  I’m ready for this!

Shredded chicken + cheese + spices all wrapped up in a flaky shell--you can't go wrong with these tasty Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!All of this Dad talk has made me think back to the classic “Dad-isms” from my own childhood.  There was the “I will turn this car around” warning that always seemed to follow after my sister touched my side of the back seat.  (Of course, the car was never actually turned around…but the threat was enough.)  #IWillTurnThisCarAround

Oh, and how could I possible leave out the “You’re cruisin’ for a bruisin'”?  That’s when you knew you better “Shape Up or Ship Out.”  Of course, I was a stubborn kid, so I usually ended up on the shipped out side of things.  But I turned out ok, right, Dad?  #CruisinForABruisin

Shredded chicken + cheese + spices all wrapped up in a flaky shell--you can't go wrong with these tasty Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!And when all else failed, there was always “Go Ask Your Mom.”  Talk about a cop-out.  “Go Ask Your Mom” is just Dadspeak for “No.”  But as a kid, it meant “Yes” as long as I could convince Mom.  And Mom was a lot easier to convince than Dad.  #GoAskYourMom

While we’re at it, let’s hit a few other favorite Dadisms.  There was “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”  (Man, wouldn’t it be nice if it did?)  And “If I told you to jump off a cliff, would you?”  (Well, it depends if there is a pool beneath that cliff, Dad…)  Or “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.”  (You’re going to take away my Nintendo?  Noooo….)  And who can forget “We used to walk uphill both ways to school.  In the snow.”  (My Dad grew up in Texas.  It didn’t snow, and the land is flatter than a pancake out there.)

Shredded chicken + cheese + spices all wrapped up in a flaky shell--you can't go wrong with these tasty Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!While this Dadspeak is downright funny to think about, these sayings are also some of my favorite memories of childhood.  I mean you gotta love “I will turn this car around.”  No childhood is complete without that one.  So as I continue my journey into Dadhood, I’ll need to make sure to sprinkle these sayings in there occasionally.  After all, I want to make sure Robbie has good memories of his childhood!

A couple of days ago, I decided to hop in the kitchen and make us something fun for dinner.  After a little bit of internal debate, I landed on empanadas.  We didn’t have any ground beef in the fridge, but I did find some canned chicken in the pantry.  Done.  Cheesy Chicken Empanadas for dinner tonight!  There’s something so appealing about empanadas.  They’re hand-held and packed with a delicious filling!

Shredded chicken + cheese + spices all wrapped up in a flaky shell--you can't go wrong with these tasty Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!I fully recognize that these Cheesy Chicken Empanadas don’t have much to do with classic Dadisms, but you know what…this Dad is all about delicious food, so there.  Enjoy!

What were your favorite Dadisms growing up?

What is your favorite empanada filling?  I’m feeling another empanada night soon…

Shredded chicken + cheese + spices all wrapped up in a flaky shell--you can't go wrong with these tasty Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!

Cheesy Chicken Empanadas

Shredded chicken + cheese + spices all wrapped up in a flaky shell–you can’t go wrong with these tasty Cheesy Chicken Empanadas!
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 12 empanadas
Calories: 287kcal


For the Dough

For the Filling


For the Dough

  • Using a medium bowl, add flour, salt and chili powder; stir until well combined.
  • Add cubed butter and blend with a dough cutter (or two table knives) until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, water and vinegar. Pour liquid mixture into dry mixture; toss with a fork until just combined.
  • Turn mixture out onto floured surface and fold 2-3 times. Shape dough into a rectangle, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the Filling

  • Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once melted, add diced poblano and onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onion begins to soften. Add garlic, stir and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in shredded chicken, cumin, paprika and cheese; set mixture aside.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Divide dough into 12 equal pieces (~1½ ounces each). On a floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 5” disc.
  • Divide filling evenly between the discs. Top each with shredded cheese. (Tip: Place filling and cheese in center of discs.)
  • Brush edges of the discs lightly with egg. Fold discs over and use a fork to seal edges. Brush tops of empanadas with remaining egg. Place empanadas on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
  • Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown in color.


To make this recipe super easy, just use frozen (and thawed) puff pastry instead of making your own dough.

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  1. Man you have all my respect. Changing diapers, sleepless nights, feeding the baby, etc…I’m not sure if I’d be able to manage it. I’ll be probably in panic mode like 24/7.
    What amazes me is that you find the time to cook delicious food such as these empanadas, and you even made the dough from scratch *Fist bump*

    1. Hah! The first couple days are like “uhhh…what did we just do…” but then you figure out how to google stuff, and coincidentally it all gets easier. Except for the sleeping part. Oh, and the changing diapers. I mean I know how to do it now, but I need one of those disposable doctor’s masks for the “special” presents he leaves me. The kitchen gives me a nice relief from the baby duty…and we end up with dinner out of it. Win-win! 🙂

  2. Good Morning David, Just thought I’d add a little note to say how very much I enjoy your blog and your recipes.
    That said, now can I laugh and give you a little “sorry Charlie” note. I too heard the say expressions out of my mother & sometimes my dad…but i too was born and raised in Texas and it DOES snow there. Not very often but it does snow, mostly in the Panhandle area, sometime around the Dallas/Fort Worth area (only it’s pronounced Foat Wuth) It has even snowed (I use the word “snow” loosely in this instance) though it is more slush. In 1959 I was living in Indiana & my mother called long distance just to say, “Margo, we just got 3 inches of gorgeous dry fluffy snow” To which I replied, “That’s great Mother I 27 inches in the front & 31 in the back”

    Thank you again for all of the love and hard work that you put into your food blog and keep up the excellent work! Have a blessed day.!

    1. Hey there, Margo! Wow, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m really glad you jumped in and commented here. 🙂 Now you are indeed right that it does snow in Texas. But it’s somewhat rare (usually ice storms), and I do know for a fact that my Dad’s school was not uphill both ways from his house (east Texas). Haha! Thank you so much for being a fan of my blog…it really does mean the world to me!! (Keep the comments coming whenever you have thoughts about a post, too!)

  3. “Close the door! I’m not heating/cooling the neighborhood!”
    I envy the amount of time y’all had together to adjust to Robbie. Zach had to go back to work after 1 week and I totally cried and begged my mom to come over. She rocks.
    I agree with Mike, I’m impressed with how much cooking you’ve been able to do. I’m not there yet.
    Good luck Laura with returning to work!

    1. Oh that’s a great one, Lauren!! My Dad always fussed about us cooling the neighborhood…especially when we lived in Charleston where it’s pretty much always hot. I’m so glad your Mom lives close and has been able to help with the little one. There is nothing…like nothing at all…that can prepare you for being a parent. If my calendar is correct, then you should be getting to the point where you’ve got a routine and you feel like you just might kinda understand this whole thing. Hang in there, Lauren!! 🙂

  4. Hi David! All stages of life require us to adapt and compromise and I think you are doing an excellent job! I heard every one of those comments growing up and I’m sure I repeated them to my children, plus a few more! These little pies sound delicious! I would, however, sub in my own cooked chicken as I have bad memories of canned chicken (my mother was a horrible cook)! 🙂

    1. You are so totally right, Dorothy! Life just makes us adapt, and you know? Humans are pretty darned good at adapting. I might groan and moan about it a bit, but at the end of the day, we figure out how to do it. 🙂 P.S. Subbing in your own cooked chicken is totally acceptable (even preferred) here…I was just afraid I might fall asleep in the kitchen if I made this recipe take any longer. Haha!!

    1. It’s funny how Dadisms take us back to our childhoods, Ashley. I’m pretty sure Dad said all of those things to get us to behave…but they really just created awesomely hilarious (in hindsight, at least) childhood memories! 🙂

  5. Haha – we visited my sis in Dallas and if all of Texas is like Dallas – then it sure is as flat as a pancake! My dad had his share of “dadisms” too – the ones we heard most often were “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all” and “silence is golden” – thinking my sis and I were chatty! 🙂
    David – Robbie is gonna grow up to be just fine – especially eating his dad’s food – these sound delicious! I know this might be hard to believe, but while I’ve had a fried apple pie, I don’t think I’ve ever had an empanada – we almost got some in NYC but the lure of being in a boat on the water distracted us!

    1. I do believe all of Texas is like Dallas…”flatter than a flither” is what my Dad says. Of course, I have no idea what a flither is. But yeah. It’s flat! Haha. I appreciate the silence is golden thing. Robbie is a chatty little monkey, and Laura just said the other day that she bets he’ll be a chatty kid, too. Definitely silence will be golden! Now go get yourself some empanadas today, Shashi…although for the record, I don’t blame you one bit about wanting to be out on the water instead! 🙂

  6. If money grew on trees, this world would be inundated with gardeners, I think. And believe it or not, I’ve never made empanadas (We don’t count that package of frozen empanadas, right?). And now what do you think if they grew on trees, eh (Perhaps, stuffed with money)?

    1. Haha…that’s a great one, Ben! But wouldn’t it be great if money did indeed grow on trees? That would be pretty awesome! I’m thinking an empanada tree would be pretty darned incredible, too. “I’ll be right back! I’m just running out to pick us some empanadas from the garden for dinner!” 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Johlene! I try to keep the writing interesting…partly just to keep me from being so bored when I write up the post. All Dads are totally the same…and I will definitely continue the Dadisms as soon as Robbie is old enough to understand what I am saying. I think it’s part of the requirements that come with being a Dad. Haha!

  7. Honestly when you had mentioned you guys had Robbie I was thinking I would be reading less from your blog with all of your new responsibilities, but you are pretty amazing keeping up with your site and commenting PLUS all the new dad duties. You rock brother!
    Funny all of your Dad-isms I heard as well! Is there some universal secret dad book out there?
    I don’t think I have ever had the canned chicken but that’s a handy one. Love you made the dough and threw that poblano in there! Cheesy goodness. #WolfpackBaker

    1. Gee, thanks, Kevin. That means a lot to me! I’ve been trying my hardest to stay on top of the blog while also helping around the house as much as I can. (Honestly, though, some of these recipes recently were made way back in the Fall since I was working ahead. Not this one though…this one was made on a night when we were both dead-tired but still wanted something yummy for dinner!) Chicken breasts would have been easy, but man that canned chicken is a lifesaver when you need something quick. It shreds up beautifully, and I usually give it a quick rinse before tossing it into whatever recipe I’m making. (It works great for chicken salad sandwiches, too.)

      There must be a secret Dad book somewhere…and I need to get my hands on it!

  8. So beside being an amazing cook, you are an amazing Dad too?! I thought that version was out of stock 🙂
    My dad was like you David, it’s true that me and my sisters made him lose some hair, but we appreciate and still remember everything he did for us!
    Thanks for sharing Empanadas recipe I can’t wait to give it a try.

    1. Woah woah woah there, Muna! I don’t know if I can claim the title of amazing Dad. I can claim the title of Dad who googles how to do everything though…does that count?? 🙂 And I’m hoping that I can at least hang on to a little bit of my hair as little Robbie grows up. Haha…wishful thinking, right?

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