Filipino Chicken Empanada Recipe

The sweet and flaky crust combined with the vinegary dipping sauce is basically one of the best little finger foods ever.
Photo by Heami Lee

Makes about 40
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 ½ hours minutes


for the dipping sauce:
½ cup|125 ml rice wine vinegar
¼ cup|60 ml white vinegar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced

for the dough:
3 cups|450 grams all-purpose flour
¼ cup|60 grams granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
16 tablespoons|2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
6 tablespoons|90 ml cold water


for the filling:
½ pound|245 grams boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
kosher salt, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 small Idaho potato, peeled and cubed (about 6 ounces|175 grams)
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cubed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 cup|170 grams frozen peas, defrosted
½ tablespoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten


  1. Make the dipping sauce: Combine the vinegars, pepper, salt, and scallions in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Make the dough: In a large bowl, combine mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Add ¾ cup|177 ml of water incorporating fully until the dough is no longer too crumbly and holds together when squeezed. If the dough is too dry, add more water, a tablespoons at a time, until a smooth dough is achieved. Form the dough together to form a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Make the filling: Place the chicken thighs, garlic, bay leaf, and salt in a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Drain, saving ½ cup|120 ml of the cooking liquid and discarding the garlic and bay leaf. Set the chicken aside until cool enough to handle, then shred the meat. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onion and potato and cover. Cook until the potatoes are slightly soft, 5 minutes. Add the shredded chicken, carrots, and red bell pepper and toss to combine. Stir in the soy sauce, fish sauce, and ½ cup|120 ml of the reserved cooking liquid and bring to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are soft and the liquid has almost evaporated, 5 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook until warmed through, then season with salt and pepper. Transfer the filling to a colander set over a bowl to remove any excess liquid and to cool completely. Makes 4 cups.
  5. Assemble the empanadas: Remove the dough from the refrigerator and rest at room temperature for at least 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. On a lightly floured surface, and working with one ball of dough at a time, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle about ⅛-inch thick. Using a 4-inch round cutter, cut circles out of the dough. Re-roll the scraps and repeat the process. Place the dough circles on a lightly floured sheet tray and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough.
  6. Heat the oven to 375°F. Lay out all the dough discs on a lightly floured surface and place ¾ tablespoon filling in the middle of each disc. Fold the circle in half, pinching out any air pockets. Seal with a fork. Place the beaten egg in a small dish with 1 tablespoon water and stir to combine. Transfer the empanadas to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and brush the egg wash over the top of each. Poke a few holes in the top of each empanada and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before serving with the dipping sauce.

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