Juicy Colombian Chicken Empanadas

If you’re looking for a delicious dish that celebrates the rich heritage of Latin American cuisine, then these Colombian chicken empanadas are exactly what you’re looking for.

chicken empanadas ready to eat

I’m pleased to present my twist on Chicken empanadas, which will soon become one of your favorite Colombian snacks. It’s so delicious that you’ll be craving another serving before you know it!

And guess what? If you’re searching for more chicken recipes, you’re in for a treat!

I’ve curated more awesome recipes, such as this air fryer Honey Balsamic Chicken Breast recipe, Chicken Tostadas, or this Greek Chicken Souvlaki with a delicious Tzatziki sauce.

What Are Colombian Chicken Empanadas?

These hand-held delights are a variation of the traditional Spanish empanada, each country infusing its unique twist.

In Colombia, the empanada is an art form – a masterpiece crafted with love and precision.

At its core, a Colombian Chicken empanada is a savory pastry that features a golden, crispy crust that encapsulates a delicious filling.

The star of the show is the seasoned chicken, complemented by a medley of spices. It’s the perfect union of textures and flavors, creating a symphony that dances on your taste buds.

chicken empanadas up close

Cultural Significance of Chicken Empanadas

Empanadas have roots in Spanish cuisine, but each region added its unique touch as they traveled across the Atlantic to Latin America.

In Colombia, making empanadas is a way of expressing the nation’s agricultural abundance and culinary creativity.

Empanadas are often associated with celebrations and gatherings. From family reunions to festivals, these savory pastries symbolize togetherness and the joy of sharing a meal with loved ones.

Latin America is a melting pot of diverse cultures, which is reflected in the numerous ways empanadas are prepared.

Before we dive into the recipe, it’s worth noting that different regions in Colombia may have their own special twist on the classic recipe.

Colombian Chicken Empanadas Ingredients – What You Need

Empanada Dough

  • Yellow Masarepa (precooked cornmeal)
  • Hot water
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

Chicken Filling

  • Cooked chicken, shredded
  • Onion, finely chopped
  • Cloves garlic, minced
  • Red bell pepper, finely diced
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken broth
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped

Variations of This Colombian Chicken Empanadas Recipe

One of the beauties of Colombian Chicken empanadas lies in their versatility. While the classic recipe is a star on its own, adventurous souls can explore various twists to suit their taste buds.

Add Melted Cheese: Add a decadent touch by including a melting cheese like mozzarella or queso fresco to the chicken filling. The gooey, cheesy goodness complements the savory chicken and adds an extra layer of indulgence.

Spice it Up with Chilies: For those who crave a bit of heat, consider adding diced jalapeños or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the filling. This heat brings a spicy kick that makes the empanadas much more flavorful.

Switch Chicken with Vegetables: After a vegetarian option, you can go meatless by substituting the chicken with a medley of sautéed vegetables such as zucchini, mushrooms, and spinach. Seasoned with the same spices, this vegetarian version is a tasty alternative.

How to Serve Your Chicken Empanadas

Colombian Chicken empanadas can be enjoyed on their own or accompanied by various sides and sauces that will spark your appetite.

  • Aji Sauce: A traditional Colombian condiment, Aji sauce is a spicy and tangy blend of chili peppers, cilantro, and lime. It adds a zesty kick that complements the richness of the empanadas.
  • Guacamole: The creamy texture of guacamole provides a refreshing contrast to the crispiness of the empanadas. Plus, the subtle avocado flavor enhances the overall dining experience.
  • Salsa Fresca: A classic salsa made with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice adds a burst of freshness that cuts through the savory layers of the empanadas.

Tips for Making Colombian Empanadas

Creating the perfect Colombian chicken empanadas requires a bit of practice, so here are some tips to make sure you succeed.

  • Ensure your dough is properly chilled to achieve that coveted flaky, crispy crust. Cold butter and water are your allies in creating the desired texture, so don’t rush this step.
  • There’s nothing worse than a leaking empanada in a frying pan. To prevent the filling from oozing out during frying, seal the edges of the empanadas securely. Use a fork to crimp the edges or employ the repulgue technique, a traditional method of folding and sealing.
  • Maintain the oil at the right temperature before frying. A hot oil bath ensures a quick and even cooking process, resulting in golden-brown empanadas with a crispy exterior.
  • While shredded chicken is a classic choice, feel free to experiment with different textures. Try mincing the chicken for a more uniform filling, or leave it chunky for a heartier bite.

Colombian Chicken Empanadas are at their prime when served fresh and hot. Serve immediately, soak up the crispy crust and the flavorful filling, and enjoy!


Can I prepare Colombian Chicken Empanadas ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can assemble the empanadas and freeze them on a baking sheet before transferring the remaining pieces to a sealed container. When ready to enjoy again, fry them straight from the freezer, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time.

What’s the secret to a flavorful chicken filling?

It’s all about the seasoning. Don’t shy away from using a blend of cumin, paprika, garlic, and fresh cilantro. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.

Can I add mashed potatoes to chicken empanadas?

You definitely can! A mashed potato filling can add a delightful creaminess and texture to chicken empanadas, complementing the savory chicken filling and creating a comforting, hearty flavor profile.

Are there gluten-free options for the dough?

Yes. You can experiment with gluten-free flour, or a mix of cornmeal and gluten-free flour for the dough. Keep in mind that the texture may vary slightly from the traditional version.

chicken empanadas featured image

Colombian Chicken Empanadas

Easy and delicious, Colombian Chicken Empanadas encapsulate the essence of Colombian cuisine in every bite. These delightful pockets of joy are renowned for their perfectly crispy exterior and juicy, spice-infused chicken filling.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Course Snack
Cuisine Colombian
Servings 6
Calories 274 kcal


Empanada Dough:

  • 2 cups yellow Masarepa (precooked cornmeal)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • tsp salt
  • tsp garlic powder
  • tsp onion powder

Chicken Filling:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped


Prepare the Empanada Dough:

  • In a large bowl, mix together the yellow Masarepa, hot water, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir until the mixture is smooth and homogenous.
  • Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes, allowing the Masarepa to absorb the water. After resting, knead the dough for a couple of minutes until it's soft and pliable. If the dough is too dry, add a bit more water.

Prepare the Chicken Filling:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped onions and garlic, sautéing until they become translucent.
  • Mix in the red bell pepper, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper, cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the shredded chicken and chicken broth to the skillet. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Cook for about 5 minutes until the mixture is heated through and the flavors meld.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Let the filling cool down before using it in the empanadas.

Assemble the Empanadas:

  • Divide the dough into golf ball-sized portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten it between two pieces of plastic wrap to form a circle.
  • Place a spoonful of the chicken filling in the center of each dough circle.
  • Fold the dough over to enclose the filling, forming a half-moon shape. Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges and seal the empanada.

Fry the Empanadas:

  • Heat oil in a deep fryer or a large, deep skillet to 350°F (175°C).
  • Fry the empanadas in batches, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  • Remove the empanadas from the oil and drain on paper towels.
  • Serve the empanadas hot, accompanied by your favorite dipping sauce, such as aji or salsa.


Calories: 274kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 20gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 668mgPotassium: 319mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 821IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 191mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!

Similar Posts

5 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating