This lightly spiced pea-and-potato Samosa Pot Pie with a crispy, flaky puff pastry top is about to be your new favorite hearty vegetarian dinner. It uses store-bought pie crust and frozen puff pastry for easy assembly, and freezes well too!
As a white person who grew up in America, when I think of samosas, I think of the appetizers you get at Indian restaurants.
The ones I'm used to are triangle shaped and deep fried, usually filled with potatoes, onions, and peas, and fragrant Indian spices like garam masala (a spice blend), cumin, and coriander. So that's what we're using as inspiration for the filling for this samosa pot pie.
Samosas are usually served with a trio of dipping sauces, but I actually recommend serving this with a side of my super easy lime yogurt sauce (skip the cilantro if you don't like it).
About This Samosa Pot Pie
The credit for this samosa pot pie recipe really belongs to my husband, Jimmy, and Chef John of Food Wishes.
You see, in 2019 I asked Jimmy to come up with a pie-themed menu for my birthday. I wanted everything to be pie. He made my favorite chicken pot pie, and he made a shepherd's pie too. (Weirdly, we had no sweet pies. Just savory!)
But then, because I wanted to make sure my vegetarian friends had something to eat too, Jimmy came up with this recipe for a samosa pot pie using Chef John's "Samosadilla" filling as a base. We had made Chef John's recipe for samosadillas (a portmanteau of samosa and quesadilla) recently and our only complaint had been wanting a better ratio of filling to bread. A pie was the obvious solution.
And y'all... the samosa pot pie was so good. It quickly became part of our regular rotation of weeknight dinners. It's particularly good for those weeks when we'll have minimal time to cook and want something that makes great leftovers.
The crispy shortcrust bottom and buttery, flaky puff pastry top simulate the crisp, deep-fried pastry of traditional samosas so well. And unlike appetizer-sized samosas or samosadillas, there is plenty of that warm and cozy pea and potato filling in every bite.
If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I love pot pies. They’re a perfect dinner on those days where wearing pants feels like a “choice.”
Pot pies reheat well and make great leftovers, two things I look for in a good recipe. They're savory and cozy with delicious meat and potato fillings tucked inside a flaky, golden brown pie crust. They're the closest thing to a Thanksgiving meal you can eat when you’re still months away from November.
If there's a second thing you should know about me it's that I love samosas. Spiced vegetables and/or meat wrapped in a triangular cone of dough and deep-fried? Hell yes.
Like pot pies, samosas are also full of potatoes and covered in a flaky crust.
So when Rebecca asked me to create a vegetarian pie for her birthday, I knew I wanted to make something that, like a traditional pot pie, was calorie-rich and savory, because vegetarians always get shafted when it comes to delicious food.
Combining a samosa and a pot pie felt like fate to me. They just make sense together. And I know you'll feel the same way when you give this a try.
Here are the ingredients you'll need to make this samosa pie! Nothing too fancy or hard to find, though I've linked places to buy some of the spices online if you need to. See the recipe card at the end for ingredient quantities.
- Frozen Deep Dish Pie Crust - Whatever your favorite brand of frozen deep dish pie crusts are. These frozen pie crusts are more of a shortcrust situation; they won't get super flaky or airy and will stay nice and sturdy.
- Frozen Puff Pastry - Puff pastry has layers of butter or shortening inside it which allows it to puff up into light, delicate flaky layers when it bakes. (You can use the frozen store bought kind or make your own rough puff pastry using the recipe from my tuna melt hand pies).
- Yukon Gold Potatoes - Yukon gold potatoes have smooth, thin skin and are sturdy enough to hold their shape in a pot pie. They're soft and tender, great at absorbing flavor, but won't turn into mush as you mix the filling together.
- Butter - I prefer unsalted butter so I can season with salt to taste, but if you like using salted butter that's just fine too. Taste the filling before you add salt — when you use salted butter it's easy to accidentally over-salt later!
- Onions - A white or yellow onion, finely minced. If you don't like mincing onion, pre-minced onion is just fine.
- Garlic - Large garlic cloves! If you've got a garlic bulb with smaller cloves, go ahead and throw in one or two extra cloves. I like to use a Microplane zester to get the most flavor out of my garlic cloves, but you can mince or use a garlic press, whatever method you like.
- Serrano Pepper - Serrano peppers look like jalapeños but are up to 5 times hotter. They're fairly small, and if you remove the seeds and ribs from the inside, they're fairly mild (and I say that as someone who doesn't love spicy food). This is generally not a spicy dish! However, if you prefer a more mild heat, use a jalapeño or a small poblano pepper instead.
- Fresh Ginger - The easiest way to peel ginger is by using the edge of a spoon to scrape the skin off. Garlic root has a lot of fibers in it which can make it hard to mince with a knife; a zester is the easiest way to turn it into a minced paste.
- Cilantro - If you don't like cilantro, you can leave this out.
- Frozen Peas - You could also use fresh peas, but let's be real, most of us won't. And frozen peas are great!
- Lemon Juice - Adds a nice bright acidity to the filling and brings out some of the delicious sour notes from the herbs and spices. (Do not try to use lime juice instead, you will regret it. I learned this the hard way. It's way too bitter!).
- Garam Masala - A spice blend originating from Northern India. The exact combination of spices will vary by brand, but it usually includes things like cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, mace, or black pepper. It's becoming more common to find in grocery stores, but I often order it online from Spicewalla or World Spice Merchants.
- Ground Coriander - Though your garam masala will likely have some ground coriander in it already, we're going to add just a little bit more — it brings a bright, earthy, citrusy flavor to the dish. Make sure you get ground coriander (or coriander powder) and not coriander seeds — they are both sold in the spice aisle!
- Turmeric - Turmeric has a distinct bright orange/yellow color, but the actual flavor is a little harder to describe. It's a little earthy, a little bitter, and if you didn't include it you would definitely notice it was missing, even if you couldn't quite put your finger on why.
- Cayenne - Red pepper powder will also work here! This adds a very mild bit of warm spice without making the pie spicy. Again, if you don't want even the hint of heat, you can leave this out.
- Egg - For the egg wash! This will give you that shiny crust and will help the puff pastry top stick to the pie crust bottom.
Samosa Pot Pie Instructions
There are three stages to making this samosa pot pie.
- First you need to parboil the potatoes to soften them.
- Second, you need to make the filling, which involves cooking up a fragrant, aromatic spiced onion mixture which you'll mix with those tender potatoes.
- Third and finally you need to assemble the samosa pot pie to bake it!
While you can do all these steps on one night (and I usually do), you can also make the filling up to 3 days ahead of time. That way when you're ready to make your samosa pot pie dinner, the filling is cool and all you need to do is assemble and bake it.
The filling also freezes very well, so if you only make one pie, you can freeze the remaining filling for an easy-to-assemble samosa pot pie in the future!
Start the potatoes in cold water, bring it to a boil, then simmer until you can pierce them easily with a fork. (Tip: A salt keeper helps keep salt within easy reach!)
Saute the onions in butter over low heat, just until they're soft and start to become translucent. Be patient here, this can take 8-10 minutes!
Keep the heat low so that the butter doesn't begin to brown. Brown butter has a sweet nutty flavor, and that's not really what we're going for here. We're just looking to soften the onions, sweat out some of their juices, and bring out their flavor.
Pro-Tip: If you start cooking the onions when the water for the potatoes starts to boil, the timing will align perfectly for the potatoes to be ready to drain at the same time as you finish cooking the onion mixture.
Add the spices, ginger, garlic, and serrano pepper to the onions and cook until everything is soft and yellow-golden brown in color. Keep the heat low!
Mix the potatoes with the onion mixture, along with the frozen peas, a squeeze of lemon juice, and minced cilantro.
There's no need to defrost the frozen peas before adding them to the filling. The heat from the potatoes and onion mixture will defrost them as you mix.
Plus, the whole thing is about to go in the oven anyway. The peas will have plenty of opportunities to defrost!
Samosa Pot Pie Assembly & Baking
When it comes to assembling and baking your samosa pot pie there is one important thing to keep in mind. Pie crust and puff pastry need to be as cold as possible before they go into the oven.
- If your filling is still warm, or even hot, keep the pie crust in the fridge or freezer right up until your'e ready to assemble. Work quickly and get it in the oven ASAP.
- The puff pastry needs to be defrosted in the fridge overnight and taken out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes prior to assembly so you can unfold it without it cracking.
- If the oven isn't at the right temperature yet when the pie is assembled, stick it in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to bake it.
Once you have the whole pie assembled, if the pie crust and puff pastry feel warm, stick the whole thing in the fridge or freezer for 10-15 minutes before baking.
For best results, refrigerate the filling so that it's cold when you assemble the pie. If you assemble it all at once with warm filling, you'll still get a great tasting samosa pot pie, but if you really want a spectacularly flaky puff pastry topper, assembling your pie while everything is cold will work best.
Transfer half the filling to the bottom pie crust and even out the top. Brush the exposed crust with egg wash. This will help the puff pastry stick to the bottom crust.
Note: In these photos I've used a sheet of homemade puff pastry because I had it kicking around in my freezer. When you use the store bought frozen puff pastry, it usually comes folded in thirds. Unfold it carefully and run a rolling pin over it a few times to help join those creases together.
If you have time, pop the unfolded sheet of puff pastry back in the fridge on a sheet pan so it has time to chill before you put it on top of the pie.
Why does puff pastry need to stay cold? The flaky layers in puff pastry come from the butter (or shortening) in the pastry turning to steam in the hot oven. The colder the butter, the quicker it turns to steam, the more dramatic the layers will be. If the puff pastry gets too warm, the butter will melt, giving you a flat, soggy crust.
Put the sheet of puff pastry on top of the pie, trim the edges with scissors (or a sharp paring knife) and use a fork to crimp the puff pastry onto the bottom crust.
Cut a few holes for steam to escape and brush the whole top with egg wash — this will give you a beautifully shiny crust!
Get creative with your vent holes! You can use a small cookie cutter to cut a few star, heart, or leaf shapes out of the puff pastry or even cut slits in the shape of a star. As the pie cooks, the steam inside needs a place to escape; if you don't cut any vent holes it will tear through the crust wherever it wants.
Try not to get any egg was inside the vent holes or on the outer edge of the pie crust. Egg wash acts like glue and if you get it on the outer rim where the two crusts are joined together, you'll glue all the flaky layers together. We don't want that!
Bake the pie at 425F for 40-45 minutes. The filling is already fully cooked, so you're really just looking to make sure the pie crust and puff pastry are cooked through and golden brown.
When the puff pastry topper is golden brown in the center and a deeply burnished almost dark brown around the edges, it's done!
You can slice and serve the samosa pot pie immediately, but you'll get more stable slices and cleaner cuts if you let it sit for 15-20 minutes first.
To make this a vegan samosa pot pie, make sure you're using vegan pie crusts and vegan puff pastry.
I use Pepperidge Farm's frozen puff pastry sheets and they are vegan by default — no need to splurge on a fancy vegan alternative!
Instead of the egg wash you can use olive oil, or, if you're feeling ambitious, aquafaba. Aquafaba is the liquid you get in chickpea cans — it can be a fantastic egg replacement!
Storage & Freezing
A fully baked samosa pot pie will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cover the top with aluminum foil in the fridge; reheat it with the foil loosely on top in a 350F oven for 15-20 minutes.
The samosa pot pie filling freezes very well, too. It'll be good for up to 3 months, after which it won't go "bad" but you may notice the flavor and texture aren't quite as good as if you'd used them within 3 months.
So if you only want to make one pie, save the other half of the filling in the freezer. Pie crusts and puff pastry usually come in sets of two, so you'll have everything you need to make another samosa pot pie on hand when you need it!
Yes! Just make sure that the meat is fully cooked before you add it to the filling, as it won't necessarily have time to cook in the oven. This is a great way to use up leftover tandoori chicken or butter chicken, or even just plain old shredded rotisserie chicken!
Nope! Docking pie dough prevents pie crust from bubbling up only when you blind bake the crust without any filling. Since we're baking this samosa pot pie with a heavy potato filling, the filling will weigh down the crust during baking. No need to worry about bubbling!
Samosa Pot Pie with Puff Pastry Top
- 2 frozen deep-dish pie shells
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastryht (defrost in the fridge overnight)
- 2 lbs yukon gold potatoes (peeled and ¼" diced)
- 2 tablespoons butter (if vegan, use olive oil)
- 1 large yellow onion (small diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small serrano chile (ribs and seeds removed, minced)
- 1½ teaspoon fresh ginger (minced)
- 1 teaspoon diamond crystal kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoon garam masla
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne (or red pepper powder)
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (minced)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- juice from ½ a lemon
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Mix together salt, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cayenne in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place peeled, diced potatoes in a pot of generously salted cold water. The potatoes should be completely submerged with at least 1" of water above them. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes until the potatoes are fork-tender. When the potatoes are done, drain them and set them aside in a large mixing bowl.
- Heat a large, high-sided skillet over medium-low heat. Let the skillet heat up for a couple minutes, then melt the butter. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes. Turn the heat down if the onions start to take on darker color. A little color is fine, but the darker they get the sweeter they become.
- When the onions are translucent, stir in the spice mixture and add the minced garlic, ginger, and Serrano pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes until very aromatic.
- Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the cilantro, peas, and lemon juice and stir until the mixture is evenly combined. Some of the potatoes will break apart, but that's a good thing. Taste the mixture and add more salt or pepper if needed.
- Take your defrosted puff pastry out of the fridge about 15-20 minutes before you plan to use it.
- Divide the potato mixture evenly between the two pie shells, filling them right up to the top. Flatten the mixture in each pie shell so there's not a big heap in the center.
- On a lightly floured surface carefully unfold the first puff pastry sheet. It should still be lightly chilled, but not frozen. Use a rolling pin to stretch the sheet out an additional inch, trying to pinch the creases back together as best you can.
- Whisk the egg together with 1 teaspoon water to make an egg wash. Brush to paint the egg wash around the border of the filled bottom pie shells.
- Take one of the sheets of puff pastry and drape it over one of the filled bottom pie shells. Use scissors or a knife to trim off any excess pastry, using the edge of the pie tin as a guide. Press the tines of a fork around the edge to seal the puff pastry and pie shell together. Use a small knife in an up-and-down motion to cut 3-5 long slits in the top of the pie to let steam escape.
- Place the pies on a cookie sheet and bake in a 425°F degree preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. When the puff pastry has puffed up and achieved a dark golden brown color, your pie is done. If the top of the pie seems like it's browning too much, drape a sheet of aluminum foil over it in the oven.
- Remove pies from the oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with lime yogurt sauce on the side.
- If you're missing one of the spices just increase the garam masala by that amount to compensate.
- To easily peel ginger, use the edge of a spoon.
- If the puff pastry is still frozen when you go to unfold it, it might crack or break. Let it sit 10-15 minutes in a warm-ish spot before you try unfolding it again.
- Vegan egg wash alternative: Olive oil, or use aquafaba.
- You can freeze the filling or freeze the fully-baked pies. If freezing a fully baked pie, wrap it in saran wrap first and then place it inside a large ziplock bag to prevent freezer burn. To reheat, tent with aluminum foil and place in the oven at 350F degrees for 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving.
- If you want to add meat or poultry to your pie, make sure it's fully cooked before you add it. Shredded rotisserie chicken works well here.