Trinidad Chicken Puffs Recipe

7.8.16 | Recipe by Renz

The most perfect party time favorite. These delicious puff pastries are filled with a well-seasoned chicken mix. A popular Caribbean party favorite, this Trinidad chicken puffs recipe is a great option for get-togethers.

A platter of filled chicken puffs on a blue cake stand.

There is nothing that reminds me of the joys of childhood more than thinking of puffs.

When I see a puff, I think of a birthday party with endless snacks and drinks.

It was a staple at all family events, this choux pastry is usually filled with well-seasoned chicken or cheese or tuna.

And they are usually gobbled up in no time.

Today I reminisce and share the recipe for my favorite of them all, these delightful chicken puffs.

Family gatherings are so important to me. I love birthday parties and live for any type of get-togethers: house visits, beach limes, trips to the forts. Those were all exciting. But you see birthday parties??

Those were the grand prize get-together.

The excitement of sharing that day with a sister, cousin, a friend was one thing. Being able to celebrate that special day and have some fun was pure joy.

One thing we knew, as for most parties in Trinidad and Tobago, there was going to be food and snacks galore. Cheese paste sandwiches and puffs and even stuffed prunes with peanut butter were all party favorites.


What do Caribbean people call "puffs"?

What we refer to as puffs is really the shell for choux pastry or cheese puffs.

It's stuffed with some kind of paste be it chicken which is my favorite filling, fish (tuna), or cheese.

They are like profiteroles. But unlike them, they are not required to be frozen after stuffing.

Choux pastry is a light, crispy pastry shell that can also be used to make eclairs to gougères. Though they are fancy in name, they are pretty easy to make.

Two stuffed puffs face showing the fillings with a platter in the background

Ingredients for Puffs

As I mentioned, these look fancy and taste amazing. So it's surprising that they come forth from some of the most basic pantry items.

This recipe's ingredients are nothing fancy or out of the ordinary.

Shells: Flour, eggs, butter, sugar, salt, and boiling water

Types of fillings: Meat - I love chicken but you can also use other types of meats. Fish (tuna is the common substitute). You can easily use canned chicken chunks as I do for the tuna, but I much prefer to use fresh chicken breasts (or even a rotisserie chicken) and make my seasoned chicken.

Meat seasonings: thyme, garlic, celery, red onion, black pepper, salt, pimento peppers, bell peppers, dijon mustard, pepper sauce.

How to make Trini style cheese puffs

I must confess though the hardest part of me was creating the shells and making them look nice. On my first attempt, they came out looking like ducks. Ha!!

To make the dough for the shells, melt your butter in water over medium heat. Add salt, flour, and sugar to melted butter and mix vigorously. You want it to all get incorporated smoothly. Mixing till a ball is formed.

Once you get the initial incorporation, continue mixing together for about another five minutes, then remove from the heat.

We need to get the mixture to cool to room temperature prior to adding the eggs.

Have you ever gotten a puff and it smells really eggy fresh scent? The eggs were added to the hot mixture and it started to cook. We don't want that to happen.

Once cooled, add eggs one at a time to get it fully mixed in.

Then you can add the mixture to your piping bag to make your shell casings.

Thank goodness for YouTube, and I found a great tutorial on making the shells look "cute" from Gordon Ramsay. (from the 1-minute mark).

On a baking paper-lined baking tray, bake your shells for about 40 minutes.

Unstuffed baked puff shells on a plaid napkin

Now to make your filling. You can make any type of meat filling just about the same way.

Canned meats can be used, but personally, I find they have this weird taste. Well, not tuna but chicken. I prefer to season up my chicken breast and then control my level of seasoning to my taste.

Add the chicken to some water making sure that the water is the same level or coves the chicken. Let it boil till tender so I can shred it up. If you have an instant pot, you can do the shredded chicken in there even faster.

Once it's tender, remove and shred or blend. It's best to use a processor/blender because you don't want it to be chunky. More on the smooth side.

Put the blended chicken mixture in a large bowl, add the other seasonings, and mix everything until combined. Taste test for salt and pepper levels to your liking.

With your shells completed and your filling done it's now time to build the puffs.

Slit your puffs mid-way and take about a tablespoon of chicken mixture or pipe in with your bag.

Repeat until all your shells are filled. Or use as many shells as you wish at the time. The rest can be frozen.

Baked chicken puff shells on baking sheet. Two are stuffed.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you do not want to use any meat, a cheese filling is a great substitution. Just use the cheese from the cheese paste sandwiches.

  • A rotisserie chicken is also perfect if you are short on time. Debone the meat from the carcass and add the meat to the blender or processor. Once blended fine, add the rest of the ingredients. You just need to be mindful of the salt level now since the rotisserie chicken would be well seasoned. I would add salt last after taste testing.

  • For the shells, it is very important that you make sure you measure the ingredients exactly. Also, DO NOT open your oven while baking.

  • Something I've also learned is placing parchment paper on your baking sheet is important. It creates a great base for the dough to cook evenly. Dampen it a little using a brush. Since this is an egg heavy dough, it will help like water does with cheesecake. 

Don't have a piping bag?

If you don't have a piping bag, no worries. You can take a Ziploc bag and cut one of the corners and use it to pipe the mixture. You can check out the step-by-step process of using a Ziploc bag instead of a piping bag.

You can also just use a spoon to "drop" the mixture on the baking sheet.

Can you make the Trinidad puffs recipe ahead of time?

Yes, these can be done ahead of time. Well, the dough can be made. The uncooked dough can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. This can be done up to two days prior to use.

Shells already baked can also be frozen without filling. Pack them flat in a Ziploc bag and store them. These can be kept for up to three months.

When ready to use, thaw the shells in the fridge, then bake them for about 10 minutes.
A stuffed chicken puff being held in a hand

Do you know that you can use choux pastry mix to make eclairs too?

So I'm basically giving you a many-in-one recipe today. Thank me later.

Have you ever had chicken puffs?

I hope you have, and if you didn't I wish you would take some time and try these out.

They are really great mouth stuffers for parties. And the shells can be easily made before and frozen till needed.

Ok, enough talking, let me go pop a few of these in the belly!!