Island Bites: Puerto Rican Chicken Empanadas (Empanadillas de pollo)

What is an empanada?

Empanada is a tasty popular dish in Latin and Caribbean countries. It is a stuffed flaky pastry, baked or fried in shape of a half-moon. There are different fillings for the empanadas in each country, with beef and chicken being the most popular.

In Puerto Rico, empanadas (also known as empanadillas) are fried treats, never baked. Empanadilla de carne (ground beef empanada) is Puerto Rico's favorite, but fish, crab, "pizza", and chicken empanadillas are also found in every kiosk around the Island.


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3.6 stars from 15 ratings of Puerto Rican Chicken Empanadas
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 35 min


  1. In a big bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add oil or lard and warm water. Mix until incorporated. Use just enough water to form a dough ball.
  2. Turn empanada dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 or 4 minutes. Cover and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

For the dough:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbs oil, lard or vegetable shortening
  • 2 tsp salt
  • water, warm
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


  1. Add oil to a big skillet. Sauté sofrito in hot oil for two minutes at medium-high temperature. Add tomato puree, olives, peppers and spices. Mix and sauté for another two minutes. Add salt & pepper.
  2. Add chicken to the sauce and turn down the temperature. Cover and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the sauce and let it rest for a minute or two. Shred the chicken.
  4. Add the shredded chicken and small diced potatoes to the sauce. Let it simmer uncovered until the sauce is reduced and the potatoes are fork tender.
  5. Let it cool completely.

Chicken filling:

  • 3 boneless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 tbs sofrito
  • 2 tbs roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8-10 olives, sliced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 ground cumin
  • salt & pepper

Want a beef empanada?

Check out this ground beef filling recipe:

Puerto Rican Alcapurrias


To make empanadas:

  • Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 1/8 inch layer.

  • Use a cutter or small plate to cut 5 to 6 inches circles or discs.

  • Put a scoop of the chicken filling in each dough disc, fold and seal the edges with a fork.

  • Heat two inches of oil in a skillet at medium-high temperature. Fry empanadas two or three minutes per side, until golden and crispy.


  • Pizza empanadas are also very popular among Puerto Ricans. To make pizza empanadas, just add your favorite marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese to your dough discs.
  • To seal your empanadas you could pinch or twist the borders instead of using a fork.
  • Annato oil can be added to the dough to give it color and flavor.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

This was a very different recipe. Thank you for sharing. Looks good!

Thief12 profile image

Thief12 2 years ago from Puerto Rico

Me want!! :-D Voted UP!

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 2 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Thank you, guys!

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

I love this recipe idea. I will have to try it soon. Thanks for sharing from your recipe collection.

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 2 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

I hope you like it. Thanks!

Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 2 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

This looks delicious! I have heard of these, and just made dough similar to this recently. Soon I will test this one out.

Thanks for sharing this with us, and have a great day!

~ Kathryn

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 2 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Hope you like it! Thanks for the comment!

CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 2 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

I love chicken empanadas. I don't remember the last time I did this at home. Now, I really feel like it. :)

Bookmarking and will surely try it.

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 2 years ago from Puerto Rico Author

Thanks CrisSp!

OldRoses profile image

OldRoses 24 months ago from Franklin Park, NJ

Thank you for reminding me that I haven't eaten empanadas in years. I used to love them. I can't wait to try this recipe and eat empanadas again. Voted up and shared.

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 24 months ago from Puerto Rico Author

You're welcome!

FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 24 months ago from United States

I don't know if it's just me, but I'd love to dip my empanadas in vinegar. I miss them! Thanks for sharing your recipe. I've never tried cooking empanadas yet myself but I will try!

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 24 months ago from Puerto Rico Author

I've never dip empanadas in any kind of sauce, but will try the vinegar. Thanks for the comment!

Pam 9 months ago

I just did your empanadas and they came out amazing!!!! Thank you for the recipe!

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 9 months ago from Puerto Rico Author

Glad you liked them!!

Gio 3 months ago

Wow!!! These came out so good! I omitted olives because I don't like them and didn't have roasted peppers but followed the rest of the recipe. Everyone in my house loved them. Thank you!

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 3 months ago from Puerto Rico Author

I'm glad you liked it! Thanks!

Veronica 10 days ago

How much baking powder do you add?

IslandBites profile image

IslandBites 10 days ago from Puerto Rico Author

Hi, Veronica. Add 1/2 tsp. Thanks!

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