Sweet and Savory Chicken Empanadas

Whip up Sweet and Savory Braised Chicken Empanadas with Jalapeño Cilantro Dip, made with 7UP®, today. It's a dish packed with flavor.

Empanadas are made by wrapping dough around a filling – like meats, cheeses, vegetables, or other seasoned ingredients – then baking or frying them. Serve these sweet and savory chicken empanadas as an appetizer when you have a large group, as a side or a snack, or even as a main dish. Using 7UP in the marinade adds to the flavor and tenderness of the chicken. And the use of pie crust for the wrapper makes them easier to make and just as delicious to eat. Don’t forget the Jalapeño Cilantro Dip recipe. It’s a sweet-tangy kick that adds a great layer to the empanadas.


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 glug olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Fresno chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 2 12-oz. cans 7UP®
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup small-diced potatoes
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh-grated Oaxaca cheese
  • 1 box prepared pie crust (2 pie crusts)
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • Jalapeño Cilantro Dip
  • 4 jalapeños, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Juice of lemon and lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 bunches loosely packed cilantro, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
  • Ready In: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Serving Size: 3-4 people


  • Filling

  • Heat a cast-iron skillet with a lid over high heat.
  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, and a glug of olive oil.
  • Sear until golden, set aside.
  • In the same pan, add onion and cook until soft.
  • Add in garlic and Fresno chilies; season with salt and pepper.
  • Whisk in honey and 7UP®, and bring to a boil.
  • Add chicken back in, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Remove chicken from liquid and pull with two forks.
  • Reduce liquid for 10-20 minutes until thick, adding in potatoes and cooking until tender.
  • Add in red bell pepper; cook another minute or two.
  • Empanadas

  • Preheat oven to 350° and line baking sheet with parchment.
  • To build, unroll pie crust and cut out 3-4-inch circles.
  • Fill one side with chicken, top with potatoes/red bell pepper, and sprinkling of cheese.
  • Fold pie crust over and seal by pressing with a fork or your fingers.
  • Chill slightly to allow to firm up before baking.
  • Brush egg and water onto empanadas.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  • Mix softened butter, pepper, and honey in bowl; brush on hot empanadas.
  • Dip

  • Pulse jalapeños, garlic, lemon, lime, and salt in food processor until finely minced.
  • Add cilantro in four batches, pouring in olive oil as it processes.
  • Puree the honey in, and taste for seasoning.
  • Let sit at least 30 minutes to marry flavors.

Tips from 7UP

The Jalapeño Cilantro Dip is a version of the traditional chimichurri sauce, which originated in South America. The sauce has become popular all around the world and has seen even more variations. If you feel like exploring the world of chimichurri, try adding these elements: fresh oregano (prevalent in Argentine chimichurri, it adds a fresh herb element), kale (for added greens and goodness), or roasted jalapeño (roast before blending to bring out different flavors).

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