These savory Air Fryer Empanadas with chicken are a lighter version of the classic dish that turns out every bit as delicious and satisfying! Thanks to the magic of the air fryer, we can use less oil than deep frying and still get that perfectly-golden pastry shell. Meanwhile, the shredded chicken and melty cheese filling come together for an irresistible snack or meal!
Have you ever tried empanadas? If you've tasted these delicious filled pastries before, then you're going to be thrilled to see how easy it is to make Air Fryer Chicken Empanadas right at home!
Empanadas are popular throughout Latin America and Spain. (Though admittedly, this version is very much Americanized and kid-friendly.)
The filling is made from a combination of meats, cheeses, and veggies that's wrapped up in a pastry and deep-fried.
I love making empanadas in the air fryer because they turn out every bit as delicious but without all the oil you get from deep frying.
Best of all, you can have these savory turnovers on the table and ready to go in less than 30 minutes! This makes a great easy dinner and fun appetizer for any party.
- Pie crust - I use a 7-ounce store-bought pie crust. You can choose a gluten-free brand if necessary.
- Chicken - You want a ½ cup of cooked and shredded chicken. You can use chicken breasts or thighs. Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken works great and adds a lot of flavor. If you don't have pre-seasoned meat you can stir plain shredded chicken with spices like cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.)
- Cheese - Shredded will work best for melting. I like to use cheddar.
- Milk - You only need 1 tablespoon to help seal the edges of the empanadas.
- Egg - We want to brush the tops of the pie crust shell with the egg wash before cooking the empanadas in the air fryer.
Tips & Tricks
- Lay the empanadas in a single layer in the air fryer basket with a bit of space between each one. That way, the hot air can properly circulate and cook the pie crust empanadas to golden brown perfection.
- If your air fryer is small, you may have to cook in batches.
- Make air fryer beef empanadas by sauteeing ground beef with taco seasoning, onion, and red bell pepper in a large skillet and using that in place of the chicken. You could also use ground turkey, chorizo, ham, beans, or any other protein you like.
- Be careful not to overfill the empanada dough, so the edges of your air fryer empanadas will be less likely to split while air frying.
What Should I Serve with Empanadas?
- Spanish Cauliflower Rice is a fast and easy side dish that gets an extra pop of flavor from lime juice and cilantro.
- With a smoky heat and kick of garlic, it doesn't get much better than Bacon Guacamole!
- The red onion, tomatoes, cilantro, and jalapeños in Homemade Queso Dip really make the flavors in this dish sing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you Bake These in the Oven?
While Air Fried Empanadas will turn out crispier, you can certainly bake empanadas if you prefer. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
Do empanadas reheat well?
While they're going to be the most crispy when fresh, empanadas will reheat reasonably well within a day or two. I recommend using the air fryer to re-crisp them.
Can you freeze them?
Yes you can! Just make sure you use a refrigerated pie crust in your Chicken Empanada Recipe (don't use a pie crust that was previously frozen).
Freeze the cooked empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer-safe container for up to two months.
Do I need to preheat my air fryer?
I highly recommend it! This will give you the crispiest crust on your Chicken Empanadas.
Tools Needed to Make Air Fried Empanadas
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- Air fryer
- Rolling pin
- Circular pastry cutter (optional, but nice to have)
- Measuring spoons
- Fork for pressing the edges
- Silicone brush
How to Make Air Fryer Empanadas
Preheat your air fryer to 375°F.
Roll out the pie crust on a lightly floured surface and cut it into 3 circles.
Gather the remaining pie dough, roll out again, and cut it into a circle to form the empanada discs. (You can use an empanada press if you have one, but it isn't necessary. A cookie cutter will also work.)
Place 2 tablespoons of cheese and 1 tablespoon of chicken in the center of each circle. (If you want to prep ahead, you can combine the meat and cheese mixture in a small bowl.)
Dab the edge of each circle with milk. Fold the circles in half so that the two sides of the dough come together.
Use a fork to press the sides of the empanadas to crimp the edges.
Brush the tops and bottoms of the empanadas with the beaten egg.
Place in a single layer in your air fryer. Spray with cooking spray or brush with melted butter if you like.
Air fry empanadas for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown.
Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce. (We like sour cream and salsa.)
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30-Minute Air Fryer Chicken Empanadas
- Air Fryer
- 1 store-bought pie crust about 7 ounces - gluten-free if necessary
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup shredded chicken such as Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat your air fryer to 375° F.
- Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out the pie crust and cut it into 3 circles.
- Gather the remaining dough and roll out again. Cut it into a circle. (You can use an empanada press, but it isn't necessary.)
- Place 2 tablespoons of cheese and 1 tablespoon of chicken in the center of each circle.
- Dab the edge of each circle with milk. Fold the circles in half so that the two sides of the dough come together.
- Use a fork or empanada to press the sides of the empanadas.
- Brush the tops and bottoms of the empanadas with the beaten egg.
- Place in a single layer in your air fryer and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.