Healthy Chicken Pot Pie
When Ben and I were first married, his mom gifted me his two favorite recipes: the family heirloom chocolate chip cookies and her chicken pot pie. After a series of failed attempts, I abandoned the cookies. (I maintain she left out an ingredient to thwart me—despite following the recipe exactly, mine never turned out like hers.) My pot pie efforts, however, have been a raging success. Say hello to Healthy Chicken Pot Pie, a triumph of comfort food!
My mother-in-law is one of the sweetest, most caring women on earth. She is either morally incapable of the kind of guile required to hide a critical component of one of her son’s favorite recipes to ensure his favor OR she is a mastermind of culinary sabotage. I will never know.
I openly admit defeat in the mom versus wife chocolate chip cookie arena (do you like how I just made that a competition?)—at least until my cookbook comes out, which has the best Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe EVER!!! But until it does, Ben can continue to love his mom’s cookies more. I’m okay with that, especially since they are hard and crispy, and who wants that anyway?
Not that I’m defensive about it in the least, of course.
Especially now that I have HEALTHY CHICKEN POT PIE.
This Healthy Chicken Pot Pie recipe goes far beyond a silly, lovingly intentioned mother-versus-daughter-in-law “who cooked it best” debate.
It represents what I strive to achieve with so many of my recipes: a lighter, better-for-you version of a favorite comfort food that is every bit as delicious and satisfying as the original.
I am often asked what recipes on my site are the most popular, which healthy recipes I make for dinner when I don’t know what to cook, and which recipes are Ben’s favorites. The answer to all of these is today’s recipe for Healthy Chicken Pot Pie.
Ben loves this healthy pot pie because it tastes like his childhood favorite, made more grown up. I love it because it is shockingly easy and healthy. I’ve also made this recipe for many friends and new moms, because it’s an excellent freezer meal.
In fact, when I cook it for myself, I usually go ahead and double the recipe, freeze one, then look forward to the day I’ll find a healthy chicken pot pie frozen and primed for baking for dinner!
The Very Best Healthy Chicken Pot Pie
I know I’m occasionally prone to exaggeration (what? moi?), but I feel my superlative claim of this healthy pot pie’s “best ever status” has merit. This Healthy Chicken Pot Pie made its original recipe debut at a friend’s house, when I brought it over for an impromptu dinner party. Ben didn’t say much while we were eating it, but when we pulled back into our driveway, he put the car in park, looked deep into my eyes, and said the words every woman wants to hear.
“That was the best chicken pot pie I’ve ever had.”
I wish I could pass you a bite of this chicken pot pie right through the screen. It’s rich, creamy, super satisfying, and (wait for it)…completely dairy free and clocks in at about 380 calories for an entire FOURTH of the pie dish.
Yes, that is correct. You get to eat an entire fourth of this Healthy Chicken Pot Pie for fewer calories than are in the average Subway sandwich. When is the last time you got to eat a quarter of a pot pie and feel fantastic about it afterwards?
Secrets to Perfect Healthy Chicken Pot Pie
My tips and tricks to creating a healthy chicken pot pie filling that is creamy and decadent without the use of butter or heavy cream comes from a few key ingredients.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk. It’s only 30 calories per cup but is super creamy, so it makes an ideal base for cream sauces and fillings like that in chicken pot pie. If you need the pie to be dairy free (and thus have been looking for a milk substitute for chicken pot pie), almond milk is an ideal choice.
- Lots o’ Veggies. Carrots, celery, peas, and pearl onions are classic pot pie vegetables. For the peas and onions, use frozen (no need to be a hero and put yourself through the prep of peeling dozens of tiny onions). If you want to speed up the recipe even more, you can swap the carrots and other vegetables for a bag of mixed frozen veggies, though I still recommend keeping the fresh celery. Despite the fact that it’s irritating to purchase an entire bundle of celery when you only need a few stalks, celery has a way of making pot pie taste like, well, pot pie.
- Mushrooms. Due to a general lack of mushroom enthusiasm that one encounters when one posts recipes online, I realize mushrooms are a controversial ingredient, but THEY ARE SO GOOD IN HEALTHY CHICKEN POT PIE. They give the filling a rich, savory depth. Now when I eat pot pie, if it doesn’t contain mushrooms, I miss them.
- Shredded Chicken. Hi healthy protein! You can speed the recipe up by using shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken, or check out my quick and easy method for how to cook shredded chicken.
- Fresh Thyme. Absolutely worth it for this recipe. You can swap dried, but it simply will not be as wonderful, and wonderful is what I am hungry for when I crave chicken pot pie.
- Cut the Crust. While I can’t envision a healthy chicken pot pie no crust scenario, I found that not only is sticking with the top one alone a significant calorie savings, but I preferred the pot pie this way!
Every bite if this Healthy Chicken Pot Pie has plenty of crust to feel comforting, and unlike the bottom crusts of every other chicken pot pie I’ve tried, it stayed gloriously golden and flaky.
Even when blind baked before the filling goes in, I’ve found that by the time the pie is ready, the bottom crust has turned soggy at best. At worst, its doughy taste can overpower the more nuanced chicken and vegetables. Sticking to one crust eliminates both problems entirely, and it saves you a little wiggle room in your jeans.
Bake This Recipe as Individual Healthy Chicken Pot Pies
- Grab a few larger ramekins (whatever size you’d like), ensuring they are oven safe.
- Roll out your pie dough into a single sheet. Flip a ramekin over and use it as a stencil to cut the pie dough into rounds large enough to cover, leaving about 1/2 inch of overhang on all sides. You will likely need more than one pie crust, as there will be more scraps.
- Spoon the filling into individual ramekins.
- Add the pie dough rounds on top, using the egg wash to seal as directed. Brush additional egg wash on top, then vent.
- Bake as directed, checking a few minutes early to make sure your crusts do not overcook.
I hope this Healthy Chicken Pot Pie brings you as much comfort and satisfaction as it did us and the many friends and readers who have tried it. Enjoy every flaky, creamy bite!
(And Danielle, if you are reading this, I don’t actually think you sabotaged the chocolate chip cookie recipe…at least most of the time.)
Recommended Tools to Make Healthy Chicken Pot Pie
- Ceramic pie dish
- 5-quart dutch oven (This one is outstanding and a lifetime piece; it’s the one you can see me using in the recipe video below. This is another excellent, more economical option.)
- Non-slip cutting board
Healthy Chicken Pot Pie
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 ounces cremini baby bella mushrooms
- 1 cup diced carrots — about 3 medium
- 1/2 cup diced celery — about 1 large stalk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups cooked and shredded boneless, skinless chicken breasts* — about 8 ounces or 2 small breasts
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 prepared pie crust — dairy free if needed (I used my favorite whole wheat pie crust)
- 1 egg — lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water to create an egg wash
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie dish with baking spray. Set aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven or similar deep, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan. Once hot, add the mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes, until mushrooms are beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Add the carrots, celery, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook until the mushrooms have browned more deeply and the carrots begin to soften, about 3 additional minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the top of the vegetables and cook 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the almondmilk, adding a few splashes at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a low boil, scraping any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Continue to let bubble until thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, onions, and thyme. Spoon the chicken mixture into the prepared pie dish.
Roll the pie dough into a circle large enough to cover your dish. Brush the edges of the pie dish with the egg wash, then lay the dough over the top so that it overhangs the sides. Trim the overhang to a 1/2 inch larger than edge of the dish. Gently press the dough onto the sides of the dish so that it sticks, then brush all over with the remaining egg wash. With a sharp knife, cut 3 slits in the top.
Bake until hot and bubbly on the inside and the crust is deeply golden, about 25 minutes. Let rest a few minutes. Serve hot.
- *To cook the chicken in the Instant Pot instead, see this post for Instant Pot Chicken.
- The filling can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months (let thaw overnight in the refrigerator). Add the crust just before baking.
- This recipe tastes best the day it is made because the crust is the most crisp, but you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or oven.
- To make the recipe vegetarian, substitute an additional 2 cups of chopped vegetables for the chicken. The pot pie will still be delicious and hearty.
- To make gluten free, use your favorite gluten free pie crust.
- To bake as individual pot pies, see suggested directions in blog post above.
- The calorie count was updated on 3/5/19 from 335 calories to 380 calories to reflect new nutritional data. That said, it is meant to be an estimate and provided as a courtesy, so if you'd like more precise measurements, I recommend calculating it on your own using your online calorie calculator of choice.
Nutrition InformationAmount per serving (1 (of 4)) — Calories: 380, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 593mg, Carbohydrates: 41g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Protein: 8g
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