This chicken pot pie recipe requires a little bit of time to prep in advance, but comes together quickly and makes a super hearty, comforting dinner. It's filled with chicken, potatoes, peas, and a super creamy, thick roux-based sauce that holds everything together. The pie crust is buttery with just a hint of sweetness and super easy to make in a food processor.
What I love about this recipe is it's about a 50/50 blend of mine and Jimmy's strengths in the kitchen. The original recipe is the one my mom made when I was growing up, but Jimmy has perfected* the recipe for the filling. And while the original recipe used two frozen deep-dish pie crusts, I've added a homemade crust that is easier to make than it is to coax an inverted frozen pie crust out of its aluminum tin without tearing. It tastes better, too.
* I love my mom, she's super smart and highly accomplished, but she does not love cooking. When the recipe she used worked, it worked well, but when it didn't work, you'd end up with a soggy bottom and a soup-like filling.
There are so many variations on chicken pot pie out there — some have no bottom crust and biscuits on top, others are baked in individual portions and topped with layers of flaky puff pastry that you eat with a spoon. To each their own, when it comes to chicken pot pies, I say! But this, oh this chicken pot pie is it for me.
This is the epitome of what I think of when I think of chicken pot pie. The filling is piled high into the golden brown buttery crust, a mountain of chicken, potatoes, and peas, held together by a creamy, savory... well, it's not quite a gravy, but it's not not a gravy either. It's topped with another sheet of buttery, tender golden brown pie crust, hiding all the goodness inside. Each slice comes out, not quite as perfect wedge — though it comes close — the filling spilling out from underneath that pastry umbrella onto a plate where it can be sopped up by the crunchy edge pieces of crust that shatter beneath your fork.
the perfect chicken pot pie filling
This chicken pot pie filling can be made with chicken breasts or thighs, and the chicken cooks first, leaving a gorgeous brown fond in the pan. While the chicken rests, you add the onions, carrots, and celery, to the pan without cleaning it out first. The moisture from the veggies loosens the brown bits in the bottom of the pan and adds so much lovely flavor to the filling.
Once you've got this delicious flavor base cooking, the flour, milk, and chicken stock are added to make a roux, which ensures you get a thick and creamy filling every time. No soup here! To finish, stir the frozen peas, parboiled sliced potatoes, herbs (tarragon) and spices (nutmeg), the chopped up chicken and season to taste. Voila! The perfect chicken pot pie filling.
homemade pâte à foncer pie crust
Don't let the fancy French culinary terminology scare you, pâte à foncer is a basic pie crust and super easy to make in a food processor. In pastry school we were taught that because pâte à foncer has sugar in it, making it a sweet pie crust, it should really only be used for desserts. But the chicken pot pie recipe I grew up eating was made using two frozen deep-dish pie crusts, which were slightly sweet. I loved that bit of sweetness contrasting with the savory chicken and potato filling. So we're sticking with it here.
Pâte à foncer is also one of the easier pie crusts to make in a food processor. You don't want big flakes of butter here, you want tiny crumbles rubbed into the flour. Doing that by hand is possible, but it takes time! The food processor makes it very easy and I've got lots of tips for you below so you can't go wrong.
a few quick recipe notes
- Use as little water as possible in the pie dough. Pie dough often seems dry before it has time to rest in the fridge. It's okay if it's a little crumbly. The flour will absorb any excess water when it rests. If you add too much water the pie dough will shrink when it bakes (the water turns to steam and evaporates). If you live somewhere humid you might need less water than the recipe calls for; If you live somewhere very dry you might need more.
- As with all pie doughs, you want to keep all of your ingredients very, very cold. Cut the butter into cubes and pop it back into the fridge until you're ready to use it. Measure the water and put it in the fridge until you're ready to use it. You can even refrigerate or freeze the flour, salt, and sugar mixture before use just to really get the temperature down.
- Avoid a soggy bottom: The ideal situation is to make the dough AND your filling the day before you plan to assemble and bake your pie. This makes sure the dough is fully hydrated and chilled and the cold filling won't start melting the butter in the dough while you're assembling the pie. If the filing is still warm when it goes into the bottom pie crust, you're more likely to end up with a soggy bottom. You can also use a pre-heated baking steel to help get a crispier bottom.
- If your filling is still warm: We don't all have the luxury of planning ahead a day. If your filling is still warm when it's time to assemble the pie, you might end up with a soggy bottom. To reduce the chances of this happening, you want your bottom pie crust as cold as possible. Roll it out, get it into the pie dish, and then give it as much time as possible in the fridge or freezer before putting the filling in.
- If your dough starts to feel sticky, pop it back in the fridge. The cold butter in the dough turning to steam in the oven is what gives pie dough its texture. If the butter starts melting, your crust will be very sad. If at any point your dough gets soft and sticky, pop it back in the fridge for a few minutes. You can also dust a little flour down if needed, but you don't want a lot of raw flour on the surface of your dough — it doesn't taste great!
- To cut perfect slits in your top crust for steam to escape, the pie dough needs to be cold. In the photos I have here my pie dough was a little bit warm when I cut the vents, which is why they're are a little shaggy around the edges.
- To reheat: 350ºF with aluminum foil on top for 15-20 minutes, then 5-10 minutes uncovered.
- You can use sliced canned white potatoes instead of parboiling potatoes from scratch. Honestly, I prefer using the canned ones because #nostalgia, but Jimmy really likes to parboil from scratch.
- If you don't want to make pie crust from scratch, use two deep-dish frozen pie crusts from the freezer section at the grocery store. You'll need to invert one to use as the top crust and gently peel it off its aluminum pan. This can be tricky — it's best to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before attempting this. You don't want the crust to crack!
- The best chicken stock for this is homemade — the collagen really helps thicken up the filling. That said, you can use store bought chicken stock or broth instead.
Do I need to dock the bottom pie crust?
Nope! Because you're putting a heavy, wet filling inside, the filling will keep the pie crust from bubbling up inside the pie. If you dock the pie crust you're just creating lots of little holes for the wet filling to get through. No one likes a soggy bottom!
Does the type of pie dish I use matter?
I've only tested this in a 9" ceramic Le Creuset pie dish (in the color Marsaille, buy it here). Depending on what material your pie dish is, you may need to adjust the cooking duration or temperature. I can't possible account for all the different materials here, so I would just recommend looking up your specific type of pie dish if you don't have a ceramic one.
What can I do with the excess pie dough?
Whatever you want! Pie dough is very resilient — as long as there's no egg wash on it, you can knead it back into a ball, pop it back in the fridge, and use it again. You could also use tiny cookie cutters to cut out decorations for the top of your chicken pot pie.
Can I freeze this for later?
I haven't tried this, so can't say for sure. The filling and dough can definitely be frozen separately. If you try freezing an assembled pie (pre- or post-cooking) please leave a comment and let me know how it went!
Can I use rotisserie chicken?
Normally I am alllllll about finding ways to use rotisserie chicken as an easy shortcut for recipes (see here) but in this recipe the chicken cooks first for a reason — you want it to create the brown fond on the bottom of the pan to add all that great flavor later. If you skip this step in favor of using rotisserie chicken, you'll lose that.
chicken pot pie
- 250 grams all-purpose flour (~2 cups)
- 40 grams sugar (3 heaping teaspoons)
- 14 grams diamond crystal kosher salt (a scant 1½ tablespoon)
- 7 grams corn starch (1 tablespoon, optional)
- 140 grams unsalted butter (10 tablespoon, very cold, cut into ½" cubes)
- 1 large egg (refrigerated)
- 85 grams cold water, added slowly (⅔ cup, you may need an additional 1-2 tablespoon)
Chicken pot pie filling
- 1 lb small white potatoes, peeled (or 1 can sliced potatoes, drained)
- 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs
- 3 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 stalks celery (diced, about ⅔ cup)
- 1 large onion (diced, about 1 cup)
- 1 large carrot (peeled and diced, about ⅔ cup)
- 3 tablespoon flour
- ½ cup cold milk (whole milk preferred)
- 1 cup chicken stock (you may need an additional ½ cup)
- ⅔ cup frozen peas
- ½ tablespoon fresh tarragon (minced, or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon)
- ¼ teaspoon whole nutmeg (freshly grated, or ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg)
- salt and pepper
- neutral oil (for the skillet)
- 1 large egg (for egg wash)
- Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the chilled butter and run the food processor in 10 second bursts until the mixture has the texture of cornmeal.
- Add the egg and run the machine in 10 second bursts until combined. Add the ice water 2 tablespoon at a time, letting the machine run for 10-15 seconds after each addition. When the dough forms a ball in the bowl of the food processor, you're done.
- Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ½" disk, wrap tightly and chill in the fridge until ready to use. It's okay if the dough is a bit crumbly, it will hydrate as it rests.
CHICKEN POT PIE FILLING
- Mise en place (aka prep work). Combine carrots, onions, and celery in a bowl. Mix, and set aside. In a large measuring cup, whisk together milk, chicken stock, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
- Parboil potatoes. Peel and slice potatoes into ¼" rounds. Place in a pot with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, 5-10 minutes. When a fork can easily pierce through a slice, drain and set aside. The potatoes will not be fully cooked yet, that's okay.
- Cook the chicken. Heat a large, high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon neutral oil. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.Once oil shimmers, place chicken in skillet and cook until browned, 3-4 minutes per side, then remove chicken from pan and set aside to rest on a cutting board. The chicken might not be fully cooked through yet, it will finish cooking later.
- Cook the filling. Return skillet to medium heat, no need to clean it out. Melt 3 tablespoon butter, then add carrot, onion, and celery mixture. Cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. The moisture from the onions will loosen the brown bits (fond) on the bottom of the pan, so scrape those up as you stir — they add lots of flavor.
- Thicken the filling. Add flour and stir constantly until lightly brown and no raw flour remains in the pan, about 2-3 minutes. If stuff starts sticking to the pan, add a small amount of oil (1-2 teaspoon) and continue stirring.Slowly add cold milk and stock mixture, stirring constantly until mixture reaches a low boil. Reduce heat and let simmer 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in additional stock if necessary to reach thick, gravy-like consistency.
- Add chicken and potatoes. While filling is simmering, chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add back to skillet and stir to combine. Then stir in peas, tarragon, nutmeg, and additional salt and pepper (if needed) to taste. Finish by gently folding in the sliced potatoes so they retain their shape. Remove from heat until ready to use.
ASSEMBLY & BAKING
- Preheat oven to 425°F with a rack in the bottom third or middle position.
- Make the bottom pie crust. On a lightly floured surface, roll one disc of pie dough about ⅛" thick. Gently transfer it into a pie dish, making sure to lift the edges and press the dough into the bottom corner of the pan with the back of your finger, so no air is trapped beneath the dough. If needed, use a pair of scissors to trim around the edges so there is only about 1" overhang.Place on a sheet pan in the in fridge for 10-15 minutes to firm up.
- Roll out the top crust. Roll the other disc of pie dough about ⅛" thick and wide enough to cover the top of your pie dish. Transfer to sheet pan and place in the fridge or freezer while you fill the pie.
- Fill the pie. Scoop the filling into the chilled bottom pie crust. Brush an an egg wash around the dough on the rim of the pie dish. Remove the top crust from the fridge and lay it overtop the pie, pressing firmly around the crust with your fingers to seal it to the bottom crust. If the filling is still warm, work quickly from this step onward so the heat from the filling doesn't melt the butter in the pie crust.
- Trim, crimp, and vent. Use a sharp paring knife or scissors to trim the excess pie dough around the rim of the pie dish. Then press the tines of a fork all the way around the edges to crimp and seal the two layers of crust together. Trim the edge again if needed. Cut 3-5 slits in the top of the pie crust out from the center to allow steam to escape.
- Bake. Brush the entire top of the pie with egg wash (one egg beaten well with a splash of water). Bake at 425°F for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing to give the filling time to set up.
- Ingredient swaps: You can use schmaltz instead of butter, seasoned salt instead of salt.
- If you have a baking steel, place it in the oven while preheating and slide your pie dish right on top for baking. This helps ensure a crisp bottom.
- To reheat: 350ºF with aluminum foil on top for 15-20 minutes, then 5-10 minutes uncovered.