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Best Ever Chicken and Cheese Empanadas

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Hi, I'm Kasey. There are two things you should know about me. One: over two years ago, I quit my job to move into a van that I bought and renovated with my boyfriend of 6 months with the goal of driving from Canada to Argentina over the course of a year. 18 months,15 countries, 7 major breakdowns, 5 ferries, 2 new transmissions, and 1 engagement later, we finally shipped our van back to Texas from Argentina where we threw our belongings into backpacks and flew to New Zealand followed by Southeast Asia to continue the journey. The second thing you should know about me is that I’m not really a chef, but the only thing I like more than cooking is baking. Now, I know you can’t necessarily just self-proclaim yourself as a chef and earn the respect of a chef. However, from my findings, there aren’t a lot of chefs out there cooking and even baking (via a crockpot!) exclusively in a van that’s meant to be a tiny home on wheels and is not even capable of food truck-esque level cooking. Therefore, I’ve taken the liberty of proclaiming myself the world’s first and foremost (don’t research this too much) Van Chef! That’s right, everything you see on my site is made in my 2000 Dodge Pleasureway Van, aka Alfred. I’m working with a 2 burner gas stove that runs off propane, a microwave (that only works when we’re plugged into electricity or have the generator running), a cooler (no fridge!), a sink (thankfully with running water), and a pantry/cupboard that no one will ever be jealous of. Since that’s not challenging enough, you should also know that all of these recipes were also made during our travels meaning most of the ingredients were purchased from local bodegas, fruit and vegetable stands, and the occasional big box store (albeit with mostly new brands and even ingredients I’ve never seen before). We are now entering a new post-covid phase where we’ve moved back to the States and are working remote jobs, but we’re also back with our van and hopefully posting new recipes again soon! In the meantime, we also started a website and YouTube channel to help others realize the long-term travel dream. Check it out at www.howtolongtermtravel.com or on Instagram @howtolongtermtravel or on the How to Long-term Travel YouTube Channel.

The best ever chicken and cheese empanada recipe! We’ve had who knows how many empanadas in the past year. And while most are good, there’s those few that go beyond good to “Oh wow, this is incredible! I’ll have 4 at once…”And these are just like that! Sooo much flavor in these little guys that you won’t be able to stop at eating just a couple.

chicken empanadas

Best Ever Chicken and Cheese Empanadas

Meat Based
We’ve had who knows how many empanadas in the past year. And while most are good, there’s those few that go beyond good to “Oh wow, this is incredible! I’ll have 4 at once…”And these are just like that! Sooo much flavor in these little guys that you won’t be able to stop at eating just a couple
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dinner
Servings 24 empanadas
Diet Meat Based


  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2.5 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper
  • 1/2 Green bell pepper
  • 1 Small white onion
  • 8 oz Mexican cheese blend
  • 6 oz Light cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1.5 tsp Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 tsp Chili powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne
  • 2 tbsp Hot sauce
  • 24 Pre-made empanadas dough rounds
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 6-8 tbsp Achiote oil / oil infused with peppers /vegetable oil
  • Salsa / guacamole / sour cream to serve


  • Season chicken on both sides with 1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning per breast.
  • Sauté chicken in 1.5 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat until cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Once cooled, shred chicken into small pieces and place in large bowl.
  • Sauté peppers and onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat about 5 min or until softened and just starting to brown.
  • Add peppers and onions to bowl with chicken.
  • Add cheeses through to hot sauce into bowl with chicken and veggies and mix thoroughly. Taste mixture and adjust spices as desired.
  • Place 1 empanada dough round at a time on flat surface.
  • Place about 1.5-2 Tbsp chicken filling in center of dough.
  • Dip finger into water and run along edges of empanada to dampen slightly (this helps dough to stick to itself).
  • Fold dough over filling and press edges together. Using a fork press down on edges all the way around the half moon to fully close empanada shell and give a decorative seal. Flip empanada over and repeat on other side to ensure a good seal.
  • Continue until you’ve made 24 empanadas or used all of your chicken.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp achiote oil over high heat until lightly bubbling.
  • Pan fry empanadas 3-4 at a time about 2 min on each side or until crunchy on both sides.
  • Remove and drain on paper towels.Continue until all empanadas are fried. Pour more oil in sauté pan as needed.
  • Serve with salsa, guacamole, and/or sour cream as desired


Calories: 116kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 7gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 208mgPotassium: 139mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 571IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 126mgIron: 1mg
Keyword oven, pastry, picnic, spicy, Stovetop
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