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Discos (Recipe: empanadas filled with chicken picadillo)

Store-bought discos, filled with chicken picadillo, make for quick and easy empanadas.

To give credit where credit is due, my husband Ted discovered discos.

Not the John Travolta, dancing queen, glitter ball kind of discos.

The take 'em out of the freezer, stuff 'em and bake 'em, empanadas don't get any easier than this kind.

Made by Goya, discos come in packs of 10, each 5-inch 120-calorie flaky pastry round separated by a piece of plastic wrap. You can find them in the refrigerator aisle of most Latino specialty markets, or at supermarkets in Latino communities.


Store discos in the freezer, and defrost in the refrigerator or at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before using. Or, cut open one side of the package and put in the microwave on defrost for 10 seconds at a time, just until you can separate the circles; then, let the dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes or so and they are ready to handle.

Stuff them with any type of filling: spicy smoky Argentinean beef, curried pork, rhubarb and strawberries, vegetarian cheese and onion, or tilapia, tomato and olive. Or use the discos like mini-pizzas, topped with Tex-Mex spaghetti sauce and cheese.

Quick and easy chicken picadillo empanadas: all of the goodness, with much less work, when you start with store-bought discos. 

Empanadas filled with chicken picadillo

From the pantry, you'll need: onion, garlic, tomato sauce, cinnamon, green olives, raisins, capers, white vinegar, sugar, salt, fresh ground pepper.

This classic Cuban filling, most often made with beef, gives a sweet-and-sour flavor to the rather bland chicken, but could be made with ground turkey or pork, too. Makes enough for 25 empanadas; can be frozen.


1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 large green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb extra lean ground chicken
1/4 cup tomato sauce
Pinch of cinnamon
1/4 cup sliced, stuffed green olives
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp capers
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and green pepper until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. Add the chicken and break it up well. Stir in the remaining ingredients, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce is a thick consistency and no liquid remains. Set aside to cool, or refrigerate (or freeze) for later use.


Remove discos from the freezer and set on the countertop to soften.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a Silpat (silicone liner) or parchment paper. Place a small bowl of cold water on your work surface.

Beat one large egg with one teaspoon of water (egg wash), and set aside.

Set out one disco. Place a heaping Tbsp of filling in the center. Wet your finger with water and run it around the edge of the disco. Fold the dough over to make a half-moon shape. Press the edges to seal, then take a fork and press into the dough all around the folded edge. Place the empanada on the baking sheet. Make the remaining empanadas, then, using a brush, paint each with a bit of the egg wash.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 11-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve hot or at room temperature. Cooked empanadas can be frozen and reheated in a 350°F oven.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More empanadas:

Goat cheese and olive empanadas
, from The Perfect Pantry
Asian turkey and cabbage empanadas with spicy dipping sauce, from The Perfect Pantry
Curried pork empanadas, from Simply Recipes
Caprese empanadas with tomato, mozzarella and basil, from Laylita's Recipes

If you can find discos in your grocery store, it's easy to make these empanadas with a traditional chicken picadillo filling.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


OK, this is my kind of pastry product. No mixing? No rolling? Perfectly cut? I'm in!!!

I love these things! I made empanadas using them the other day, they were a cinch! These filling recipes sound yummy too!

Another product I haven't seen before--thank goodness we have you to keep us informed! I hope I can find these, they sound like the perfect solution for those of us who can't make our own pastry.

Rand and I discovered these in L.A. and used them to make empanadas for a party. Such a agreat product. Your filling looks tasty too.

Yummy! i haven't been able to find them around here... but I keep looking! :)

Oooh, looks good, and I've even got a doohickey to shape and seal the empanadas (I'm no better and folding and sealing than I am at rolling out).

I think we need to reschedule the rest of Ole week for when I come to Providence for Drop In & Decorate...I promise, I'll make sure you have no trouble getting rid of leftovers :)

I love empanadas and thanks for the info on those discos. I was looking for something like the discos for that quick "you got a small bit of something and want to make more out of it". I have some apples that have been wandering and a bit of roasted chicken, now they have a home.

...and they're also delicious fried which is the more Caribbean way (Puerto Rico, Cuba, etc.). In South America, particularly Argentina, where they are very popular they strictly bake them. I love them.

I have never seen that product before, but you can bet I'm now on the search. What a timesaver!

How cool! I didn't even realize they made these. I love empanadas but am rarely in the mood to roll out the pastry. Discos change all that - thanks for letting us know.

I remember you posting about these before and I had been on the lookout for them since. My local grocery started carrying them and I have some in the freezer just waiting for an Ole' type dinner!

I have STILL never been able to find these. GAAAH. You tease me, Lydia! You tease me!

Wow! I have to see if I can find these. I doubt it, but I'll give it a try.

Oh I haven't seen these but I want some!

TW, the package says "for empanadas", but once I realized they are just circles of dough, I started to think of all sorts of things to do with them (fruit tarts, maybe??).

Alta, I love how easy it is to make empanadas on short notice with these in the freezer.

Kathy, I am definitely pastry challenged. Discos are a lifesaver.

Kalyn, the great thing about this filling is that it's delicious in lettuce wraps, or tossed with some Dreamfields rotini, too.

Ginny, Kristen, Genie, Pam, EB: I found these in my regular grocery store, in the Goya frozen foods section. Ask your supermarket to order them if they carry other Goya frozen products.

Sandra, I have a Chinese dumpling maker that will crimp these, but I usually seal them simply with a fork.

Maris, I might just have to do a second Ole Ole week -- I have so many Latin-inspired recipes in the works.

Kim, if you can find these at your local market, toss a few packages into the freezer. You can take out a few at a time to use up those leftovers.

Joan, I've never tried to fry the discos, but I'm sure they'd be fine. I like the taste of the baked empanadas.

Kathy, this is definitely one of those convenience foods that makes it easy to dress up any little bits of things you have left in the fridge. And they're quick -- they bake in 11-12 minutes.

April, I wonder whether Goya has improved its distribution. I used to find these in Boston but not here in RI, and now they're in the markets here. Not complaining -- I'm thrilled!

Mmmmmm . . . I've never seen chicken picadillo before--I'm going to have to try these!

Oh wow! I have to looks for Discos in my market. The last time I tried to make my own Empanada dough, I needed a chainsaw to cut through it!

Love the Picadillo recipe too. I'll have to try it with chicken.

That's so great that they sell empanada rounds... I've never seen those before...

No Discos here, more like rock n ROLL for me, but these do look delightful enough for me to start rolling Lydia! Love the flavours of the mince filling!

Melanie, this is a lovely, light filling. It would make a great topping for a pizza, too, with a bit of sharp Manchego cheese.

Susan, you will fall in love with these -- so good for sweet fillings, too, little fruit turnovers....

Julia, I found them at Shaw's supermarket, and at Foodie's in the South End.

Deeba, I'll bet you could use this filling with a traditional samosa dough.

Oh my, I've never seen these. I'll have to go looking for them!

Lydia, these sound delish! Who doesn't love a flaky pastry? Thanks for the tip, I'll have to check out my Mexican market and see if these are available.

Ciel, happy hunting -- I hope you have success finding these in your supermarket!

Jason, a Mexican market usually has a full complement of Goya products, so look in the freezer or refrigerator aisle.

Best shortcut ever!

love the short cut for sure. i don't think i've ever made picadillo de pollo, but beef and turkey are definitely staples in my kitchen!!

que buen idea...

Those look awesome! It's been far too long since I made empanadas.

I've always wanted to try making empenadas. These discos would definately make it less of a "project". Thanks

Sara, yes it is!

Bren, I love this picadillo for lots of uses, not just empanadas. It's nice and light, compared to the same thing made with beef.

Brilynn, I don't know if these will qualify as jumbo empanadas, but they're large, and delicious.

Amy, it's so easy with these discos, you will not think of it as a project at all. Fun and fast.

I love empanadas filled with anything! Thanks for the new filling!

That is some tasty looking picadillo! Wrapping it in golden brown flaky pastry would make it even better!

I'm gonna try these soon, soon, soon! Yummy in me and hubby's tummies.

were I cant find the disc for empanadas here in Warner Robins GA?I look every were and cant find the disc.How I cant by the disc on line by a box?

These are great! I use them to make Jamaican beef patties. Not having to make/roll dough is a huge time saver and you're guaranteed perfect pastry every time!

What a find! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I am already planning Xmas 2012 with my family. Yes, it takes me that long to plan Xmas dinne....for 12 to 14

Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I made it with ground turkey and it was delicious! Folding them and crimping them with a fork was very easy and my family just ate them up! Thanks for your large store of light but flavorful and healthy recipes!

I can not find these discos. Any idea where i. Can get them? I am in Modesto. Thanks

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