Paleo Chicken Empanadas

by Sara Lilian



These shredded chicken and veggie filled empanadas are up there with the best AIP – autoimmune protocol – Paleo recipes I have ever made! Thank you Christina Maria Curp of The Castaway Kitchen for creating such a hearty, delicious, family favorite freezer meal, that is also AIP Paleo too!

Shredded Chicken Empanadas

These homemade AIP Paleo Empanadas are the real deal! A little extra prep time is involved, but they are so worth it! Such a great meal or snack for those on the autoimmune paleo protocol. Make then once, and you will be wishing you made a double batch!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Latin American, Spanish

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Calories 194 kcal



1 Tablespoon AIP friendly fat (I used olive oil)
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (divided)
1 cup sauerkraut (AIP compliant)
1/2 cup fresh parsley (minced)
1/2 cup bone broth
2 Tablespoons molasses


1 3/4 cup cassava flour (plus more for dusting, as needed) (Otto’s Brand!)
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 Tablespoon gelatin (grass-fed beef)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water (approximately, as needed)
2 Tablespoons olive oil (for brushing)


Heat a large cast-iron pot or skillet on medium heat. In the meantime, peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. When the skillet has come to temperature, you can test this by drizzling water on the surface, when it dances it’s ready. Add in the fat, onion and garlic. Sauté until tender.

Add in the chicken thighs and 1 teaspoon salt. Brown on all sides. Then add in the sauerkraut and the parsley. Mix well.

Add in the bone broth and cover with a tight fitting lid. Lower heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the lid, stir in the molasses and let it simmer until the liquid is reduced by more than half. Remove from heat, use two forks to shred the chicken. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix whisk together the cassava flour, ½ teaspoon salt, cream of tartar and gelatin.

Drizzle in the olive oil and vinegar as you keep whisking until the dough gets crumbly.

Switch to a spatula. Next add in ¼ cup of warm water as you fold and mix with the spatula, add water one tablespoon at a time as needed until the dough is no longer crumbly.

Move dough to a flat surface and knead with hands until it is well combined. It should be malleable but not sticky. If it’s sticky dust with flour and knead again.

Make two equal sized flat disks with the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to work with it again, prepare a flat surface, have the warm water at hand and more flour for dusting as needed. Unwrap one disk at a time; it will be tough and crumbly. That’s fine. Let it come apart on your flat surface then add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to the dough and knead it back to a smooth malleable consistency. Divide the dough into various equal sized balls. Each disk should make about 5 balls.

Set one ball in the center of your workspace, gently flatten with your hand. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and use a rolling pin to shape a 4-5 inch round, about the size of a tortilla. Use a spoon to fill with a small mound of shredded chicken. Then use spatula or dough scraper to lift the top side of the dough, gently fold it over and pinch the edges closed. You can gently roll them up a little to create a decorative border or use a fork to imprint on them. Scrape the empanada up and place on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil.

Repeat this with all of the remaining dough. If some of the dough dries out as it waits its turn to be made into a lovely empanada, simply wet your fingers and massage it back to malleable texture. Alternatively, if you overdo the water on one, lightly dust it to dry up.


Once all of the empanadas are made, ensure they are spread out and not touching on the sheet pan. Place in the freezer for at least 3 hours. When they are properly frozen you can transfer them from the sheet pan to a freezer bag and store up to three months.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place the frozen empanada(s) on a sheet pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges are golden.

Note: I found that my fresh, non-frozen empanadas baked up nicely in 15 minutes, and then I broiled them for 2 minutes to lightly brown the tops.

Recipe Notes

I use Otto’s brand Cassava Flour (link) for the base dough.

I made a couple of minor changes, as I started with 1/2 of a whole roasted chicken (using the simple Instant Pot Method Recipe) and because I didn’t have sauerkraut on hand, I sauted up some shredded cabbage and carrot to sub for the sauerkraut.

This recipe is quite flexible! I also made 1/2 a batch with 1 egg in the dough, which worked fabulous, as did a 1/2 batch of the above, using gelatin as a binder. A+ Recipe!

Estimated Nutritional Information below, using My Fitness Pal to calculate.

Recipe makes: 10 empanadas
Calories per empanada: 290
Total fat: 14 grams
Total Carbs: 27 grams
Total Protein: 16 grams

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