I originally posted this Chicken Pot Pie in November of 2011, one of my very first posts and absolutely favorite recipes. Today, as I made it again in 2019, I updated with new photos. Back in 2011, I had been looking at Time’s Money Issue (we as a nation were still recovering from the Great Recession) and became sidetracked. Pretty soon, I was clicking on one link after another; you know how that goes, right?
I clicked on a “suggested” frugal Walmart coupon matching site; they had a recipe for “homemade” Chicken Pot Pie. It served 6 and was priced out at $11.57. $11.57? I thought maybe it was a Chicken Pot Pie fit for a Queen! But no, it was frozen veggies, premade pie crust, and more expensive than you’d think Rotisserie chicken, And there was cream cheese in it which is never cheap.
About Chicken Pot Pie:
Back then, I priced out this homemade Chicken Pot Pie for under five bucks; my 2019 pricing is below. I get if you’re a new cook or you’re pressed for time and you have to take shortcuts – I do it sometimes, too, and 12 bucks for the “Walmart” chicken pot pie is better than so many other quick options. If you really want to bring Chicken Pot Pie in at a budget (and have a really stellar pie) homemade is the way to go.
That being said, this IS really is our absolute fave Chicken Pot Pie, and yes it IS better than Grandma’s and it would be amazing at any price! It’s a huge dose of comfort! There’s a rich gravy with just a touch of dry Sherry in it (and don’t worry, you can pick up a cheapie bottle and Sherry keeps for years, being a fortified wine) and there are the usual suspects: chicken, of course, light or dark, your preference (dark is almost always less expensive), onions, celery, and carrots. And a few peas and they are frozen.
Does it take a bit more effort to make? You betcha, but not much depending on the topping you choose. And is it worth it? Well, the chicken is juicy, the vegetables just tender; it has the perfect amount of saucy gravy and a topping of your choice. You might want to give it a go and see what you think! I’m betting your family will feel like royalty when they eat this meal. And you’ll feel like a hero.
Making Chicken Pot Pie:
This Chicken Pot Pie can be baked in your standard 9 x 13-inch casserole or in smaller ramekins. It can be hard to find a ramekin that’s not too large or too small for a dinner-sized portion. The short Mason jars like the ones I made my Dulce de Leche Apple Crisp in make a great frugal sub for a ramekin and have their own rustic charm at the table.
The chicken pot pie is pretty easy to make. Don’t forget to save the broth the chicken is cooked in and measure it out to use in the gravy portion of the recipe. If using chicken or turkey that’s already cooked, just use the same measurement of canned or boxed broth.
The saucy gravy has to be good and thick because it will thin as the pie(s) cook and the veggies give off juices. If topping with biscuits or mashed potatoes, which means the casserole bakes for 25 minutes or so, make the recipe as is. If topping with a puff pastry or pie crust, which bake longer, add a 1/4 cup more broth to the gravy to compensate for the longer cooking time.
Just a few other hints:
- If you have leftover vegetables, they can be a great option to add to the pot pies if they aren’t overcooked.
- Do use marjoram if you can; it’s rather magical with poultry. Thyme has quite a different flavor but works well in this recipe if you don’t have marjoram.
- Don’t use cream or half and half; it may sound as if it will make a richer pot pie but it’s just not as good.
- Stick with Sherry; wine can make the vegetables mushy.
Chicken Pot Pie with Cheater’s Puff Pastry. Just look at all the layers!
Toppings for Chicken Pot Pie:
In the recipe, you’ll see several options for topping this casserole. You can choose which topping based on price, time available, and/or skill level. I love that! This gives you the chance to go easy, fancy, down-home, or knock your socks off depending on your mood, your budget, and who you’re serving.
- For any puffed pastry or pie crust topping, add 1/4 cup more broth, make sure the filling is cooled to lukewarm before using. Try to place on the pie so the pastry doesn’t touch or rest on the filling itself, if possible. Bake longer. Time can vary depending on oven but count on 50 minutes to an hour until topping is cooked through and golden brown.
- For any biscuit or mashed potato topping, do not cool the filling after it’s made. Drop your topping right on the warm filling and bake until biscuits are golden brown and done or mashed potatoes are picking up some color and the filling is hot and bubbling.
Here’s the rundown on the different toppings:
- Puff Pastry: Thaw overnight, quick and delish and spendy; buy on sale (often unadvertised) around holidays. Pick up and stash in your freezer. Roll out 1/2 inch larger on each side than the casserole. Brush the edges of the casserole where the puff pastry will sit with egg wash (1 extra-large egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk) and brush the top of the puff pastry before baking. Make several slashes in the top before baking.
- Cheater’s Puff Pastry: Pretty easy to make, but takes some time. Definitely a lot less expensive than frozen. Instructions are the same for preparing puff pastry (above} after it’s made and rolled out. I use this recipe, my Homemade Empanada Dough. See below for more information.
- Store-Bought Pie Crust: Less costly than puff pastry, pricier than homemade “cheater’s pastry or your own homemade pie crust but convenient.. Buy around holidays on sale and stash in your freezer. You’ll probably use both the rolls in the package and will need to meld them together by pinching, rolling, and trimming. Again, proceed just like puff pastry.
- Homemade Pie Crust: Takes some time but not as much effort as the Cheater’s Puff Pastry. Roll out and proceed just like puff pastry.
- Store-Bought Biscuits: Very easy, two to three dollars depending on type and brand. Use the smaller biscuits. Place on casseroles or ramekins while the filling is still hot. Brush tops with melted butter before baking.
- Homemade Biscuits (easy with a food processor, more difficult for layered biscuits.) Pretty inexpensive to make. Try this recipe, Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe to Top a Casserole; it can be rolled in one large sheet to fit in a casserole or cut into biscuits and be placed across the top of a large casserole or cut to the size of ramekins. This same recipe may be used for the drop biscuits, too. Brush tops with butter before baking.
- Homemade (or Bisquick) Drop Biscuits: Homemade is super easy with food processor. Grate butter to make quickly by hand, or use my biscuit recipe, above. Drop onto hot filling. Brush tops with butter before baking. Just follow the recipe on the side of the box if using a baking mix like Bisquick.
- Mashed Potatoes: You’ll want a lean mashed potato without a lot of butter so it’s not too soft and melty. I like to use this recipe for my Rustic Mashed Potatoes, which makes just enough. Peel if you wish. They run about $1.85 made with milk rather than buttermilk. Brush tops with butter before baking.
Of all the toppings, my Cheater’s Puff Pastry is my fave. I just use the same recipe I do for my Homemade Empanada Dough; it’s so easy to work with. I’ll roll it and fold it multiple times and the layers puff up like magic! The dough can be worked with immediately if it’s nice and chilly in your kitchen or tossed in the fridge if needed. I roll and reroll until I get bored with it (short attention span) usually folding it into thirds about six or seven times and rolling it back out.
Saving Money on Chicken Pot Pie:
Now here’s the deal with Rotisserie chicken. It’s quick and easy and won’t break the bank, and it can be stretched over several meals if you make soup with the carcass. It’s usually warm and juicy and delish and so much better than some of the other quick options. That being said, and I’m going to be blunt, it’s not a deal. At least not when compared to picking up a sales-priced chicken and cooking it yourself.
- Rotisserie chickens are 2 1/4 to 3 pounds and run from about $5.00 plus tax (here in Minnesota and in many states, there is no tax on groceries but there is on prepared food) up to $7.99. That works out to $2.39 to $2.85 a pound,
- You’re better off picking up small chickens when they’re on sale for around 69 to 89 cents a pound. They were running around that price in 2011 and still can be picked up in 2019 for around the same. Chuck them in your freezer to cook later.
- Electricity or gas to cook is going to up the price. By about three to 4 cents.
- Other options are sales-priced chicken breast or thighs and on a great sale, they’re still around the same as they were nearly a decade ago, too. Breasts at 99 cents a pound, thighs, 69 cents a pound.
Pricing for Chicken Pot Pie:
- So here are my sales priced pricing (picking up ingredients not on sale will be more) using my Cheater’s Puff Pastry: 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast $1.50 sale price, stock, 1/3 of a carton 66 cents sale price, oil 8 cents, onion 10 cents, carrots 20 cents, celery 20 cents, butter 25 cents sale price, flour, 5 cents sale price, milk 12 cents, Sherry 17 cents, peas, 25 cents sale price. Even today, in 2019 that’s $3.58! Crazy isn’t it, how shopping well and cooking from scratch can save so much money! Now time, that’s a different matter.
- Now I bought this to the table, by the way, for a little over four bucks, $4.05 in 2011 so I actually made it for less in 2019.
- If you make this with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, if you bought the turkey at a great price, this casserole will be even a little less.
Chicken Pot Pie like you WISH your Grandma made!
- Total Time: varies with topping
- Yield: 6 to 8 1x
- Category: Casseroles
- Cuisine: American
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked as below, or the same amount of leftover chicken. (Leftover turkey is great in this, too.)
- 2 cups chicken stock or broth (use an extra 1/4 cup if topping with puff pastry or pie crust)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 medium carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick on the diagonal
- 2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole, but 2% works)
- 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
- 2 to 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed (just take them out when you start the recipe)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Topping of your choice, and butter (two tablespoons, melted) or egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons milk) as appropriate. See main post.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F, adjust oven rack to low.
In a saucepan, simmer chicken with broth till just done, about 8 to 10 minutes. If time allows, cool the chicken in the broth and then shred, reserving both chicken and broth.
Heat oil to medium-high in a one and a half to two-quart saucepan and saute onions, carrots, and celery till just tender, about five minutes. They will cook more in the oven. Season with salt and pepper and add to chicken.
In the same pan that you used for the vegetables, melt butter and add flour, cooking one minute. Whisk in the reserved chicken broth, milk, marjoram, and any accumulated chicken juices. Bring to a simmer and reduce to low, simmering about one minute till sauce fully thickens, stirring constantly. Add sherry, taste, and adjust any seasonings, adding a little more salt & pepper s needed. Add chicken and vegetables to the saucepan, add peas and gently stir.
If using puff pastry or pie crust: To top your chicken pot pie, read the additional instructions in the post. Add 1/4 cup of extra broth to the filling; these topping options take longer to cook; the filling will be drier if the longer time is not compensated for with a bit more liquid. Cool filling to lukewarm. Place filling in a 13 x 9-inch pan. Brush side of casserole with egg wash mixture 1/2″ down from the top lip. Roll pastry so there will be 1/2″ overhang on all sides. Place topping over, trying to arrange it so the topping doesn’t sag and rest on the filling. Trim and crimp as desired. Brush with egg wash, make four or five slashes in pastry. Bake until topping is golden brown and filling bubbly, about 40 to 50 minutes.
If using biscuits or mashed potatoes: :
See the post for information on toppings. Place in a casserole or a 13 x 9-inch pan, cover with topping of choice while filling is still hot. Brush with butter and bake until topping is golden brown and filling bubbly, about 30 minutes for biscuit options or mashed potatoes.
Nutrition: (Without topping, which can vary) Per Serving: 261 Calories; 11g Fat (38.3% calories from fat); 24g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 68mg Cholesterol; 362mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 2 Fat.
Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Carrots, Casserole, Chicken, chicken pot pie, Heritage Recipe, leftover Chicken, leftover vegetables, Leftovers, Pam Anderson, Peas, Turkey Leftovers, White sauce