Argentinian Chicken Empanadas

This recipe for Argentinian chicken empanadas was our second go at this month’s box from the America’s Test Kitchen Young Chefs’ Club. This months theme? Dumplings!

Related foods across the globe

I’ve not made this filling previously, but a Facebook friend talked about her friend’s Argentinian chicken empanadas when I asked my network to help identify the source of a recipe my mother used to make. It was a spiced beef with raisins from the Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene. It’s made with onion, garlic and ground beef which are sauteed and then stewed for 15 to 20 minutes with water, tomato sauce, rice, basil, cinnamon and cloves, salt and pepper. Mom used to serve it in pita.

I looked through my cookbooks, and the closest I found was picadillo, a somewhat related dish made in Latin America and the Philippines. One friend thought that the beef dish was Moroccan. Another mentioned lumpia. A third talked about a Middle Eastern dish called arayes. The medieval literature expert thought it sounded like a recipe for Canelyne Pie.


Tips and tricks

The chicken empanada filling

The Test Kitchen Kid’s empanada filling is made with a mixture of onion, red pepper, garlic and ground chicken seasoned with paprika, cumin, oregano, tomato paste, and a bit of cayenne. It was the raisins and olives that made me think of that picadillo conversation. It’s a great example of how foods migrate and get adapted as they move around the globe.

Now don’t get me started about dumplings…

pan with empanada filling made with ground chicken, onion, red pepper, olives, and raisins.

Rolling the dough

The ATK recipe instructed us to throw out our dough scraps after the first roll. When you ignore that instruction, the re-rolled scraps were enough for more than 6 more empanadas!

Re-rolled empanada dough will lose a smidge of flakiness after a brief chill and re-roll. But I promise you there will be no complaints about having more empanadas.

Folding empanadas

Kiddo has become expert at empanada making. We also tried one of those empanada makers, a small gadget that is supposed to seal in the filling. It didn’t work as well as hand-making them, and it didn’t save us any time.

empanadas ready to be folded and sealed.
sealing the folded chicken empanadas.

FAQs about making these chicken empanadas

Do you bake or fry empanadas?

You can cook them either way. I prefer to bake them to reduce the oil and calories.

Can I freeze empanadas?

Yes, just like other recipes that use pastry dough, you can freeze the pastry itself or the finished empanadas, either before or after cooking.

Cooking and baking with kids

Check out some other of our cooking adventures, including the fig bacon jam pasta recipe that kiddo and I developed together or the strawberry heart pop tarts we made. You can also read my thoughts about the different baking kits for kids we have tried over the years.

inside of a chicken empanada showing the flaky dough and filling.

Related recipes

Check out this recipe for sausage rolls for another savory treat wrapped up in pastry!

What’s next?

If you have any questions about the ATK Young Chefs’ Club or want to chat about cooking and baking with kids, feel free to send me a note or leave a comment here.

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking? Get inspiration here:


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