Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Empanadas de Pollo (Chicken Empanadas)

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6-8 servings
This is a chicken empanada that tastes like the best crispy chicken taco you have ever had. A few fresh garnishes and your favorite salsa is all you need to enjoy a delicious Mexican treat!

If you have not tried empanadas de pollo (chicken empanadas) prepared with corn dough, you are missing out! But don't worry, we can fix that right now.

More often than not, you'll see both sweet and savory empanadas prepared from wheat flour, but for these ones I prepared an easy corn masa dough. It's the same dough you would make for corn tortillas. These crispy chicken empanadas need just a few minutes of frying time, and they're sure to be a crowd-pleaser! With the delicious flavor of corn in the dough, you might even think you're enjoying a crispy taco!


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  1. In a bowl, add the masa harina. Gradually mix in the warm broth until masa forms. Season to taste with salt. Roll into 18 masa balls. As you roll them, flatten them slightly and transfer them to a plastic storage bag so they are lying flat. Set aside while you make your filling.
  2. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil to a skillet and heat to medium. After a minutes, add the onion, poblano, serrano and garlic. Season lightly with salt and pepper and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato, corn and chicken. Stir well to combine. Taste for salt and pepper and cook for 7-10 minutes. Squeeze in lime juice and stir in the fresh cilantro. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  4. Using a tortilla press lined with plastic on both sides, gently press masa ball until flat (about 4 ½ inches). Remove top layer of plastic. Fill with 2 tablespoons of filling. Using the plastic on bottom, fold empanada over and gently press and seal the edges. If liquid leaks out, wipe away with paper towel. Place filled empanadas on baking sheet and keep covered with plastic.
  5. When ready, preheat 4 cups of oil in a deep skillet or medium pot until temperature reaches 365ºF. Using a large metal slotted spoon, carefully lower in 2-4 empanadas into hot oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes, turning as needed. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a metal rack. Keep warm in low-temperature oven.

Chef Notes

The key to preparing a successful empanada using corn masa dough is to make sure your filling is not too wet. If it leaks out while you are trying to fill it, the dough will get soggy and tear. No tortilla press? Press the masa corn dough balls using the bottom of a flat plate or pie plate.

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