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. That night 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:
Keep in mind that this was 2011, and at that time I priced out this homemade Chicken Pot Pie for under five bucks; my 2019 pricing is below. I get if you’re just learning to cook or you’re pressed for time and you have to take shortcuts and I’ve been there, too. And even the 12 bucks for the Walmart pie is better than so many other options. Keep in mind, though, 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 a large pan, individual ramekins or, like I usually do, both. I’ll make four ramekins for the first night and freeze a smaller casserole for later. 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.
The chicken pot pie is pretty easy to make. Don’t forget to save the broth the chicken is cooked in to use in the gravy portion. If using chicken or turkey that’s already cooked, just use the same amount of 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 I’m topping with biscuits or mashed potatoes, which means the casseroles bake for 25 minutes or so, I make the recipe as is. If I top ith a puff pastry or pie crust, I 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. 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. For any puffed pastry or pie crust topping make sure the filling is cooled to luke-warm before using. Try to place on the pie so the pastry doesn’t touch or rest on the filling itself, if possible.
Toppings for Chicken Pot Pie:
In the recipe, you’ll see several options for topping this casserole. I’ve given some 2019 pricing, may vary by area, store, sales and season (coupons can make a difference, too) and you can choose 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.
- Puff Pastry: Thaw overnight, quick and delish and spendy; buy on sale often unadvertised during holiday sales so pick up and stash in your freezer. Runs about $3.50 to $5.00. For larger casseroles roll out to fit, for individual ramekins, cut to overlap the edges just a bit. Brush with 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 the puff pastry before baking. Make several slashes in the top before baking.
- Cheater’s Puff Pastry: Pretty easy to make, takes some time. Definitely a lot less than frozen, about 90 cents to make. Instructions are same for preparing as above and I use this recipe, my Homemade Empanada Dough. See below for more information.
- Store-Bought Pie Crust: about $2.50 for Pillsbury, $1.50 for store brand. Convenient, unroll and roll out a bit to fit over the casserole or ramekins by 1/2 an inch. Brush with the edges of the casserole where the pastry will sit with egg wash (1 extra-large egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk) lay the pastry over the casserole, trim and crimp and brush the pastry before baking. Make several slashes in the top before baking.
- Homemade Pie Crust: Takes some time but not as much effort as the Cheater’s Puff Pastry, about 90 cents. Roll out and prepare just like store-bought pie crust.
- Store-Bought Biscuits: Very easy, two to three dollars depending on type and brand. Place on casseroles or ramekins. Brush tops with butter before baking.
- Homemade Biscuits (easy with a food processor, more difficult for layered biscuits, about $1.15 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. May be used for the drop biscuits, too. Brush tops with butter before baking.
- Homemade Drop Biscuits: Super easy with food processor, grate butter to make quickly by hand, or use my biscuit recipe, above, about $1.15 to make. Brush tops with butter before baking.
- 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. 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-off later. Electricity or gas to cook is going to up the price. By about three to 4 cents. It’s not as convenient, I know. The 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.
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, 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.Print
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 (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 or egg wash as approrpriate. 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 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.
Add chicken and vegetables to the saucepan, add peas and gently stir. May be refrigerated for a day or two. Gently reheat to warm the filling before proceeding.
If using puff pastry or pie crust, add 1/4 cup of extra broth; those topping options take longer to cook; the filling will be drier if the longer time is not compeensated for wth a bit mroe liquid. Place in a casserole or a 13 x 9 inch pan, cover with topping of choice and bake until topping is golden brown and filling bubbly, about 30 minutes for biscuit options or mashed potatoes, 40 to 50 minutes for puff pastry. You may also bake in individual ramekins for 20 to 25 minutes for biscuit or mashed potato topping, 35 to 40 for puff pastry or pie crust.
See the post for information on toppings.
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