mini chicken pastillas

Mini Chicken Pastillas

a scrumptious delicacy wrapped in layers of Moroccan flavors!

The mini chicken Pastillas is a smaller version of the classic Moroccan chicken Pastilla, a scrumptious dish dating back to the prosperous Andalusian era. These mini delicacies feature aromatic chicken cooked in flavorful spices, a savory egg-onion filling, and a sweet cinnamon-orange blossom-flavored almond filling!

mini chicken pastilla

A Blend of Flavors from the Medieval Times!

Pastilla, Spanish for pastry, is pronounced Basteela, or B’stila, in the Moroccan language. While some think that Pastilla goes back to the medieval town of Fez, others believe that it originated in Andalusia and was brought to Fez through Arab-Andalusian families after the fall of Granada in 1492.

What I love most about Pastilla is the blend of aromatic flavors! It is an elegant dish that emerged from royal palaces to Moroccan homes and a delightful authentic staple that showcases Moroccan flavors like no other! Each bite is filled with saffron, cinnamon, and orange blossom notes as you dig in those crispy layers of warqa (phyllo dough).

mini chicken pastillas

Tips for a Succesful Pastilla

1. Make the Filling in Advance!

You can make the chicken filling up to a day in advance. Cook your chicken following the instructions below, and refrigerate your chicken and sauce overnight. Next, allow your chicken to thaw to room temperature before shredding it. Finally, heat the sauce, add the eggs, cook, and drain using a colander.

2. Blanching and Frying Almonds

Using fried blanched almonds is vital. Please follow the notes below for successful fried almonds!

3. The Phyllo Dough

You can make the dough at home or buy it from the store. Because the dough takes time, I recommend using store-bought dough if you are in a hurry. Whichever dough you use, please be sure your dough is at room temperature before assembling the Pastilla.

4. Butter… A Lot of It!

Because the warqa, or phyllo dough, dries out quickly, keeping the sheets moist as you assemble the Pastilla is vital. To do so, keep brushing your dough with melted butter while assembling. This tip will help maneuver the assembly, resulting in a moist middle and crunchy top layer.

5. Folding is Key!

It is important to layer the fillings in order: the eggs always come first, followed by the chicken filling, and finally, the almond mixture. Please follow the recipe instructions in an orderly manner for authentic pastillas!

mini chicken pastillas

Decorating the Pastilla!

The Pastilla should be ready when it turns slightly golden brown. Allow 10-15 minutes before decorating; otherwise, the hot pie will absorb all the powdered sugar.

Traditionally, we decorate the pie with powdered sugar-cinnamon designs. However, you may also modernize your mini pastillas by brushing them with honey and topping them with sliced almonds and rose petals!

You may experience different designs! Oh, and serve these delicacies with fresh Moroccan mint tea. Bessaha!

mini chicken pastilla

Mini Chicken Pastilla

Laila Benjelloun Bailey
The mini chicken Pastillas is a smaller version of the classic Moroccan chicken Pastilla, a scrumptious dish dating back to the prosperous Andalusian era. These mini delicacies feature aromatic chicken cooked in flavorful spices, a savory egg-onion filling, and a sweet cinnamon-orange blossom-flavored almond filling!
Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Moroccan
Servings 8 mini pastillas


  • deep skillet with lid, pot with lid, or dutch oven
  • 3.5" (9 cm) round cazuela or ramekin bowl


Chicken and Egg Filling Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breast (about 2 small)
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp EACH: ground ginger, turmeric powder, and cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley (divided)
  • a pinch of saffron threads mixed with 1/3 cup of hot water
  • 4 large eggs

Almond Filling Ingredients

  • 1 – 1/3 cup fried blanched almonds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 Mastic gum crystals (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp orange blossom water (you may add 1/2 Tbsp if the consistency is too dry)

Phyllo Dough Folding Ingredients

  • 24 sheets of phyllo dough (preferably 5" x 7" or 12 cm x 17 cm)
  • 5 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
  • 1 egg yolk

Decorating Ingredients

  • powdered sugar and cinnamon
  • Honey, sliced almonds, rose petals, etc.


Making the Chicken and Egg Filling

  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, turmeric powder, ginger, and ground cinnamon. Mix well and set them aside. Mix about five threads of saffron with 1/3 cup of hot water in a separate bowl, stir, and set it aside.
  • Heat a Dutch oven, deep skillet, or cooking pot. Put in the olive oil, onions, chicken, butter, one tablespoon of parsley, and the spice mixture. Stir and brown for 3-5 minutes. Add the saffron with water, cover, and cook for 20 – 30 minutes. Check the sauce regularly and flip the chicken. You should not need more water, but you may add just a few tablespoons to avoid burning if necessary.
  • Target a slightly thick sauce; remove the chicken and let the sauce sit for some time to thicken if the sauce is watery. Once you reach the perfect sauce consistency, add the eggs and the remaining tablespoon of parsley and whisk until cooked (uncovered). Transfer the egg mixture to a colander to allow it to drain from the water.
  • PS: allow the chicken to cool to room temperature before shredding it.

Making the Almond Filling

  • Blanch, fry and set the almonds aside to cool to room temperature. If you are unfamiliar with blanching and frying almonds, please refer to the notes below*. Next, mix two Mastic gum crystals (if using) with one tablespoon of powdered sugar and grind them using a mortar and pestle**. Transfer your almonds to a food processor, and add cinnamon, orange blossom water, mastic gum-powdered sugar mix, and the remaining two tablespoons of powdered sugar. Chop with the food processor until the almonds are crushed, powdery, or have the desired texture.

Folding the mini Pastillas

  • Allow the phyllo dough to thaw to room temperature if store-bought. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F, melt your butter, and brush your cazuelas or ramekin bowls with some butter. Next, place your phyllo dough sheets on a working surface and cover them with plastic wrap or a cloth towel.
  • Brush a couple of phyllo dough sheets with the melted butter and place them inside the ramekin bowl (some layers will hang over). Spread the egg mixture and gently press it to fit the round mold. Add the chicken, gently press it, and spread the almond mixture. Brush the over-hanged layers with butter before folding them to close the pastilla.
  • Brush a third phyllo sheet with melted butter, remove the pastilla from the mold, and place it upside down over the third sheet. Fold the sheet, ensuring it goes around the pastilla and sealing it with the egg yolk.
  • PS: Because phyllo dough dries fast, keep the dough covered as you work and brush the sheets as soon as you add them to the sheet. Continue with the remaining dough until you run out of filling.

Cooking and Decorating the Pastilla

  • Brush your mini pastillas with some butter and egg yolk and cook them in the middle rack of the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Flip the pies halfway to ensure an even cooking. Mine took 8 minutes on each side.
  • Allow the Pastillas to cool for 5 minutes before flipping them onto a cooling rack. Be careful because they are hot! Allow an additional 5-10 minutes before decorating.
  • The almond filling side should always be at the top, and the egg filling at the bottom. Decorate your Pastillas with powdered sugar and ground cinnamon, making designs to your liking. Alternatively, brush your pies with honey and top them with sliced almonds and rose petals. Bessaha!


*Blanching and Frying Almonds

Using fried blanched almonds is vital. To blanch raw almonds, put them in a boiled water bowl and cover them for 10 minutes. Next, remove the cover and peel them. They should peel easily; otherwise, allow an extra 5 minutes inside the hot water bowl. Finally, dry the almonds using a cloth or paper towel. The almonds should be completely dry before frying them; otherwise, they will pop. Fry your almonds on medium heat until they’re golden brown; careful not to burn them. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature before grinding them.

** Mortar and Pestle Alternative

If mortar and pestle are unavailable, you may follow these steps to crush the mastic gum crystals:
1- Place one tablespoon of powdered sugar mixed with a couple of mastic gum crystals on top of a piece of parchment paper.
2- Fold the parchment paper in two to cover the sugar and gum mixture completely.
3- Crush the crystals with the bottom of a glass cup until wholly crushed.

Other Notes:

Store your leftover pastilla in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in a preheated 350 F oven for 7-10 minutes or until warm.
You may also prepare and store an unbaked pastilla in the freezer for up to three months. To cook a frozen Pastilla, bake your pie in a preheated 350 F oven for 30-40 minutes or until cooked, flipping it halfway to ensure an even cooking. Your pastillas should be golden brown when done cooking.
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Turn these cuties into a main dish by making the Classic Authentic Moroccan Chicken Pastilla!
Moroccan Chicken Pastilla
The traditional Moroccan chicken pastilla is one of the most refined, extravagant dishes of Moroccan cuisine and Arab-Andalusian heritage! Made with fine crispy layers, Pastilla features aromatic shredded chicken, a delicious egg filling, and a cinnamon-flavored almond mixture that send this authentic dish over the top!
Check out this recipe
Moroccan Chicken Pastilla

Did you make these mini pastillas? Tag @petitapron on Instagram and show me how they turned out for you!

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