6 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

How to elevate the comfort food classic, with tips from a professional chef.

Healthy Homemade Chicken Pot Pie
Photo: bhofack2/Getty Images

Is there anything cozier than a hot, flaky chicken pot pie for dinner? Covered in golden pastry and filled with tender vegetables and chicken, pot pie is comfort food at its best. We're all for your family's classic recipe, but if you're looking to get creative with your pot pie game, keep reading for our advice.

We consulted Star Maye, chef and co-owner of Anzie Blue in Nashville, Tennessee, to learn her tips for elevating a classic chicken pot pie recipe. The pro's tips range from making your own crust, to straying away from the classic fillings.

01 of 06

Make Your Own Crust

Whether you're short on time or just can't be bothered, there's absolutely no shame in buying pre-made puff pastry or pie crust. Keeping some store-bought dough is a great kitchen hack; just thaw it out, and you're ready to go. But, if you're looking to take your pot pie to the next level, consider making your own crust! While it might sound daunting, it's not that difficult to learn how to make a delectable, buttery pie crust at home. Check out our pie crust recipe, complete with step-by-step instructions, to get started.

02 of 06

Lean on Lard

Maye's go-to pie crust ingredient? Lard. "As a Southerner, for me, it's lard!" she explained. The ingredient, which is rendered and clarified animal fat (typically pork), is historically a staple of Southern cuisine. When used in a pie crust, it yields a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Lard may have a vaguely porky flavor, but in the case of a savory pot pie, that can be a bonus rather than a drawback.

03 of 06

Fricassee It

In this clever recipe, chicken pot pie gets the fricassee treatment with a buttery, white wine-based sauce that's flecked with tarragon. This filling has a bright flavor profile that balances out the richness of the crust.

RELATED: 6 Easiest Ways to Cook Chicken Breasts—Including Grilled, Fried, and More

04 of 06

Stray From the Classics

Go ahead and play around with the vegetables in your chicken pot pie. One of Maye's favorite combinations is caramelized onions, mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes. She notes that root vegetables tend to work well in a pot pie, because they are hearty and are great at sopping up any creamy sauce.

You should also feel comfortable switching up the meat, or even skipping it. With a nice blend of vegetables, a vegetarian pot pie can be super satisfying. And all sorts of meat work well in a pot pie, from lamb to turkey to beef. According to Maye, short ribs are a classic pot pie filling in her house.

05 of 06

Make Some Empanadas

Hear us out on this one! Pot pie filling is by no means a traditional empanada filling, but it's an undeniably delicious one. With a store-bought pie crust and rotisserie chicken, it's a breeze to make and a fun variation on the classic pot pie.

RELATED: How to Choose the Best Store-Bought Rotisserie Chicken

06 of 06

Top It With Biscuits

Pie crust is the classic way to seal a pot pie, but Maye likes to use biscuit dough instead. Tall, fluffy biscuits not only make the meal a bit heartier, but also make a completely homemade version more attainable on a weeknight. You just need a bowl and a few minutes to throw together a biscuit dough, and you've got your crust ready to bake.

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