Chicken pot pie is a classic comfort food dish. The creamy sauce, succulent chicken, and buttery pastry are a combination that's truly hard to resist. If it works, why try and change it, right? Because you can take one of your favorite recipes to the next level and enjoy it in a totally different way — that's why. By changing, adding, or manipulating ingredients you can create a pie that tastes even better than the original version you may know and love.
Where else would you find mouthwatering ideas to make this traditional fare taste fire than in the culinary depths of TikTok? Nobody on the platform is trying to turn chicken pot pie into an unrecognizable concept. However, improving the taste, creating a more complex flavor, or adding another ingredient to enhance the dish is worth exploring. Check out some easy ways to upgrade your chicken pot pie, according to TikTok foodies (and cooks from some other places online).
Use Puff Pastry
Elevate an easy chicken pot pie by switching out a traditional shortcrust pastry and using puff pastry instead. What's great about this upgrade is that you don't need to make the pastry yourself. Just grab a block from the freezer section and thaw it out so that it's pliable enough to roll out or stretch over the creamy pie ingredients. The flaky, buttery taste is so scrumptious when it dips into the sauce and cook it just right and it'll be crispy on top with a velvety layer underneath. Brush with an egg wash so that you get a gorgeous golden brown bake on it. You can also make a quick 30-minute chicken pot pie by baking rectangles of puff pastry separately. Make the filling on the stovetop, spoon into a bowl, and add a pastry piece on top.
Puff pastry is the secret to making individual copycat KFC chicken pot pies with potatoes, rotisserie chicken, and cream of chicken soup in the filling. Add a puff pastry lid to each pie tin, crimp the edges, and let the oven puff up the top. If you want to upgrade the puff pastry element even more, TikTokers suggest lining a greased dish with a sheet of dough. Add the chicken filling and cover with another puff pastry sheet so that you get a fully encased pie with softer pastry underneath.
When you roast a chicken or a Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing is the perfect side. It's no surprise, as the herby flavors of this dish pair well with the succulent meat. One of the ways to upgrade your chicken pot pie, as suggested on TikTok, is to add stuffing. And instead of serving it on the side, you add it to the cream filling. This enhances the flavor, for sure, and it also gives this popular dish a seasonal touch for the holidays.
Mix the stuffing with cream cheese, chicken, and stock, and to make it more Christmassy put cranberry sauce and sliced Brussels sprouts into the mix as well. You can make stuffing quickly using a packet mix, but if you do want to make your own then you could try a simple 20-minute stovetop stuffing recipe. If you want a meatier taste that goes beyond chicken, then you might experiment by adding homemade sausage stuffing. Either way, a puff pastry lid is the perfect way to top this pie.
Make It With Better Than Bouillon
Aside from the pastry and the chicken, the flavorful sauce is what makes or breaks a chicken pot pie. Many recipes involve adding chicken broth, which, if you're pressed for time, often entails crumbling in a bouillon cube. Why not use flavor-enhancing Better Than Bouillon paste from a jar instead? Made with seasoned roasted chicken, this soup base gives the filling more complex notes. Mix it with boiling water first before adding to sautéed vegetables and flour. Add heavy whipping cream and milk and let the rich flavors infuse the creamy sauce before throwing in the cooked chicken.
Because it's quite salty and made not only from meat but also veg and seasonings, be careful not to add too much. You don't want the flavor to take over the taste of the chicken or the pastry. It's always easier to add more than to try to remedy a sauce that's over-seasoned or too flavorful. Once you've opened a jar, keep it refrigerated and use it to enjoy many more chicken pot pies to come.
Make The Filling Fricassee-Style With White Wine
A fricassee is a creamy meaty French stew, and making the filling fricassee-style is one of the best ways to upgrade chicken pot pie. Cook the pie filling with white wine and tarragon and you're onto a chicken dinner winner. By adding wine you instantly give the white sauce a gourmet lift, while herbs enhance the taste of the meat. After sautéing the vegetables in an ovenproof skillet and adding flour, throw in white wine and stock. A few mushrooms go nicely with the creamy wine sauce, too. When you add the wine, use your spatula to deglaze the pan so that any stuck-on veggie bits that are full of flavor aren't wasted.
Once the sauce has simmered and the wine and stock reduced a little, add heavy cream and chicken. Arrange your pastry on top, and bake in the oven. You can also make chicken fricassee on the stovetop without cooking in the oven at all. You might prefer this method if you're adding a pre-baked puff pastry square at the end to complete your pot pie.
Create A Truffle Umami Boost
Wolfgang Puck's celebrated chicken pot pie has long been a highlight of the Governors Ball Oscars after-party menu. It's already a limelight-stealing dish, but with shavings of black truffle on top of the crust, it's a showstopper. In 2023, the pie was served at the table, with the truffle melting into the filling as the pastry was cut.
You can also make a pie with thin slices of black truffle on top of the filling, underneath the crust. When you dig into the pie you immediately find a piece of this tasty treasure. Another option is to mix truffle oil and chopped truffle into the sauce in addition to the black truffle shavings under the pastry. Making individual pot pies feels more luxurious than serving the dish family-style. If you don't want to invest in a fresh truffle, then add a few drops of white truffle oil to the filling before sealing the pie and baking.
Top With Phyllo Pastry
You can pretty much transform any pie with phyllo pastry, and chicken pot pie is no exception. The delicate layers of crispy, buttery wafer-thin pastry add an immediate gourmet upgrade. Even the sensation of breaking through the fragile golden sheets with your fork and into the creamy chicken inside is divine, never mind the taste. What's so fantastic about this pastry is that, like puff pastry, you don't have to faff around making it either. It's always in the freezer section and you just need to thaw it out before you use it.
Once you've made your chicken filling exactly as you like it, and placed it in an ovenproof dish, add the phyllo pastry. Instead of rolling or stretching out the dough as you would with shortcrust or puff pastry, break up the phyllo sheets. That way you'll get a lovely textured finish to the chicken pot pie with crunchy pastry bits sticking up. Rather than an egg wash, add olive oil before popping in the oven. You can also follow TikTok's lead and combine a traditional pie crust underneath the filling with a phyllo pastry top. Scrunch the sheets up loosely to cover the filling. Brush melted butter on the top so that it turns golden brown in the oven.
Roast The Veggies
Veggies are sometimes added to chicken pot pie sauce directly or they're often sautéed before the creamy ingredients and stock are added. Either way, they bring color and taste to the filling, but they're hardly what you might call a star attraction in terms of flavor. If you want to give your pie a boost, then try roasting the vegetables first before adding them to the sauce. This brings out their flavors to make them hit much more powerfully. With the pastry, chicken, and sauce offering so much taste-wise, it seems a shame not to support them with some magnificent roast veg in the mix as well. You may enjoy roasted vegetables served with a roast chicken on a festive occasion, and by adding them to a chicken pie you'll get that same holiday taste.
If you prep the veg ahead of time then you can still make your pot pie pretty quickly and easily. And since root vegetables are great for cooking in this way, because roasting brings out their caramelized sweetness, you definitely want to include carrots. You can also mix up the usual vegetables with one roasted garlic. Instead of chopping and sautéing, soften a bulb in the oven and add the sweet, soft cloves to the chicken pot pie sauce.
Change Up The Vegetables
You'll often find carrots and peas in a chicken pot pie, but there's a lot of scope for upgrading the taste by adding in other types of veggies. You might want to throw in potatoes or sweet potatoes. Root vegetables, which you can also roast, taste fine. Butternut squash brings a subtle sweetness and warmth to chicken pot pie, for example. These vegetables are robust enough to not get lost in the sauce and provide a hearty accompaniment to the chicken. For a festive taste try adding in a few parsnips. Think about the vegetables you serve with a roast chicken for a special holiday meal. Would they translate well into a chicken pot pie? Probably.
Mushrooms also lend a lovely flavor and you can choose a variety such as morel for a nutty, deep taste. With the right combination of other ingredients, Swiss chard will add vibrancy. Leeks rather than just onions can give the creamy sauce a lovely sweetness. Even if you use frozen vegetables for a shortcut there are different combinations you can add to the mix. Reese Witherspoon's chicken pot pie recipe, which she highlights in her book, "Whiskey in a Teacup", is definitely a little different. Instead of adding diced potatoes, she puts shredded hash browns into the saucy filling.
Use Chicken Confit
One of the most luxurious ways to upgrade your chicken pot pie is by elevating the meat. Sure, a store-bought rotisserie chicken tastes better than homemade quite often and is convenient. And of course, you can sear fresh chicken and add this to the mix so that it bubbles away and the juices run into the sauce. To step up to a gourmet level though, use chicken confit instead. Confit involves slow-cooking meat while it is submerged in oil, giving it a super-succulent, melt-in-your-mouth, velvety texture that's simply divine. You can also use this method to cook potatoes and garlic.
If you don't want to make it yourself, TikTokers suggest using ready-made chicken confit. To add a high-end quality to your chicken pot pie filling, you could also fry your veggies and make the sauce using truffle butter. If you want to make your own confit, add some richness by using duck fat. Goose fat is also commonly used, and olive oil is a good option as well. If you don't have a slow cooker, you can pop the chicken in the oven on a low heat setting or keep an eye on it on the stovetop. If you plan to make chicken pot pies in the future, then refrigerate the confited meat and make sure it's not sticking out of the oil — it'll keep for a few weeks.
There's no issue in making a pot pie with just chicken. However, if you want to upgrade a chicken pot pie, then you might find adding another meaty ingredient takes this dish to a whole other level. You can turn a humble pie into a fancy restaurant-style meal by adding duck. It gives the filling a richer taste and contributes a gamey quality. Start by roasting whole birds on a rack, adding the cooked meat to the rest of the ingredients later.
To make the duck taste silkier and juicier you might want to make a slow cooker duck confit. It'll take you six hours to cook in a crockpot with garlic, fresh thyme, and olive oil. You could even complement the duck with more herby flavors by adding rosemary to the pie crust. You could go all out and ditch the chicken altogether and go for a roasted duck pot pie. To amplify the filling, add a French spiced twist with quatre épices, which is a four-spice mix made up of cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and white pepper. Boost the depth of flavor by making a stock with the duck bones and cooking the sauce without any cream.
However they may vary, most chicken pot pie recipes include frying chopped onion right at the start. Before you move on from the sautéing onion stage, consider making this the moment when your chicken pot pie upgrade is activated. Bring out the sweetness of your alliums by caramelizing the onions.
Salt them first and slowly cook them in a skillet with the lid on so that they steam a little. To burn off any juices and get the caramelization process really going, remove the lid so that they don't get too wet. You want them to be soft as can be and browned, so be patient. You can create a culinary theme by adding the ingredients and flavors of French onion soup to totally transform the taste, like sherry and Gruyère. Or, once you've caramelized onions, you can add in celery, carrots, and green onions, plus corn and peas for a medley of colorful veg.
Put Alcohol Into The Sauce
Alcohol is a wonderful ingredient that brings flavors together and enhances them. You might want to check out our tips on cooking with alcohol to get the low down on how best to use wine and spirits in the kitchen. It's certainly a welcome addition to a chicken pot pie. While frying veggies in a Dutch oven, pour in some Cognac. The instant aroma that fills the room is fabulous and you can use the liquid to get off any brown bits stuck to the bottom. After deglazing the pan, add flour, chicken stock, and milk, and let the liquor infuse the ingredients and create a more complex taste. Whatever ingredients you're adding to a chicken pot pie, it's during the sautéing stage that you usually add any alcohol, whether that's sherry or another choice.
White wine is always going to taste amazing in a creamy chicken pot pie. You can also use alcohol to make the crust, doubling down on the smoky notes of bourbon, for example. Add the spirit to flour to make a dough to create pastry cases and lids.
Make It Cheesy
If you're a cheese lover, you're not going to question why adding this dairy goodness to a chicken pot pie makes it taste so good. However, before adding cheese to the pie sauce, consider making a shortcrust pastry with grated cheddar so that you've got a creamy sauce with a cheese-flavored crust. For a Mediterranean-style chicken pot pie, finely grate salty Parmesan cheese into the sauce. To complement the flavor, and run with the theme, add olives and chorizo.
Goat cheese melts into the filling if you crumble it on top before adding a pie lid. Other good melting cheeses such as fontina and brie create a creamier, more luxurious-tasting dish. If you want to keep the pastry as is, then add grated cheese to veggies, cooked chicken, and other sauce ingredients and top with a soft biscuit-mix crust. Or, try sprinkling grated cheese over the top of canned biscuit dough after laying each piece on top of your creamy chicken casserole. You can also try using dinner roll dough as a crust in a muffin tray for individual open-faced pot pies without any lids. Fill with a mixture of frozen veggies, grated cheese, and cream of chicken soup.
Give It A Smoky Flavor
One of the most flavorful ways to upgrade your chicken pot pie is to add some smokiness. Mix your favorite barbecue rub into the sauce, and instead of putting a pastry lid on top, use canned biscuit dough and grated cheese. Bake on a smoker instead of in the oven. The doughy biscuit pieces and melty cheese complement the smoky depth of the sauce. Another way to give your pot pie an essence of smoke is to start with fresh, uncooked chicken breast, and before adding the meat to an herby broth to cook, use smoked paprika to season it. As the chicken poaches in the broth, you'll get a subtle smoky essence.
Cooked smoked chicken is going to give a pot pie an elevated taste, too. Make the pie with your homemade smoked chicken and then cook it in a smoker to add an extra smoky blast. You could serve this chicken pot pie with smoked potatoes to complete the meal.
Read the original article on Mashed.