5.0 from 2 votes

Chicken Tinga Empanadas

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This chicken Tinga empanadas are a delicious and satisfying treat. The fried corn, paired with the smokiness of the filling, definitely makes a statement. We are using instant corn masa harina which cuts the prep time significantly. As a result, you will have more time in your hands to enjoy such a wonderful meal. The spicy and savory filling is balanced by a nice amount of sourcream, cabbage, and pickled red onions.

Youtube VIDEO tutorial on how to make chicken tinga empanadas.

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Chicken Tinga Empanadas

Recipe by Villa Cocina
5.0 from 2 votes
Course: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



I am going to teach you everything you need to know about empanadas in order to enjoy a delicious outcome! We are using  instant corn masa harina which cuts the prep time significantly and the outcome is one of a kind. Can you picture the flavor of fried corn paired with the smokiness of the chicken tinga? You are not ready for this. 

Servings: 12 ea


  • Sauce – Oven roasted
  • 1 lb tomatoes, quartered 

  • 1/4 white onion, roughly diced 

  • 4 ea garlic cloves, unpeeled 

  • Drizzle  of oil

  • * Blender *
  • 3-4 ea chipotles (in adobo)

  • 2 TBSP adobo sauce 

  • Make the filling  
  • 3 TBSP oil

  • 1 ea white onion, thinly sliced 

  • 3 ea garlic cloves, finely minced  

  • 3 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded 

  • Salt to taste 

  • Black pepper to taste

  • Masa – Dough 
  • 3 cups instant corn masa harina 

  • 1 tsp kosher salt 

  • 2-3 cups warm chicken broth, low sodium

  • Toppings
  • Cabbage, shredded 

  • Pickled red onions

  • Tomatoes, sliced 

  • Cotija cheese 

  • Mexican crema 

  • Mexican Salsa

  • Avocado slices 

  • Other
  • Oil for frying 


  • Oven roast: Preheat the oven to 425 Fº.  Place the tomatoes, onion and garlic on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the oil over them and roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until cooked though. Once ready, let them cool down. Peel the garlic and add all the roasted ingredients into a blender. Including, the chipotles and adobo sauce. Process until completely smooth. Set aside until needed.
  • Make the filling : Place a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the oil and once hot, sauté the onions. Once translucent and slightly brown stir in the garlic, cook for one minute. Add the chicken, cook for a couple of minutes. Then, pour in the sauce. Cook for 5 minutes or until most of the sauce has evaporated but still remains moist. Lastly, mix in salt and the ground pepper. Set aside and let it cool down completely. 
  • Masa- Dough: In a large bowl, combine the masa harina and salt until well distributed. Pour in the broth gradually, and knead in between additions. Stop adding the broth as soon as it’s fully hydrated and comes together to form a mass. Texture should to be firm but not dry. Now, continue kneading for 5 minutes or until smooth, and doesn’t stick to your cleans hands. Divide the masa into 12 balls, then flatten into a disk by applying pressure while rocking back in forth between your hands. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, to prevent them from drying out.  
  • Make the empanadas: Using a tortilla press make a thick tortilla, because it needs to be strong enough to hold the filling. Peel the top liner and add the cooled chicken filling to half of the tortilla. Don’t add too much because they will open up while frying. With the bottom liner still under, fold in half to create a half moon shape. Firmly press the edges to enclose the empanada, and remove most of the air from the inside. Using a fork, press the edges to seal and add decoration. Note: If you want to fry the empanadas as they are being made, skip to step # 6.
  • Alternative option: make 2-3 ahead of time, keep them covered with the plastic liner used to shape it. But, if you don’t have enough, place them over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap to keep the air out. Don’t make more than three at a time because the masa will dry out and start to crack before you fry them. 
  • Frying: Heat 1/2 an inch of a good frying oil to 350°F. Remove the plastic liner from the empanada and carefully lay over the oil. Allow the under side to turn golden brown and cook. Meanwhile, spoon some of the oil over it. Once the underside looks ready, carefully flip so the other side does the same. When fully cooked and crispy, transfer onto rack. Continue frying the rest by following the previous steps. 
  • Assemble: Top with cabbage, pickled red onions, tomatoes, cheese, Mexican cream, chipotle tomatillo salsa and avocado. Enjoy!

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