- Chicken pot pie is a classic, but it can be hard to make from scratch.
- We decided to try some grocery store, frozen pot pies.
- Boston Market ended up being our favourite, but all of them were solid contenders.
Chicken pot pie is a quintessential comfort food. Made up of rich gravy, crunchy veggies, and lots of chicken inside of a flaky crust, it’s the perfect thing to warm you up in the colder months, but it can also be time-consuming to make from scratch, which is why there are so many options on the frozen pot pie market.
As a part of INSIDER’s ongoing taste test series, we chose four frozen chicken pot pies to find out which one came closest to the homemade favourite. Previously, we’ve tried boxed mac and cheese and microwave popcorn.
The four pot pies we chose were:
Boston Market Chicken Pot Pie
Stouffer’s Chicken Pot Pie
Banquet Chicken Pot Pie
Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie
They were all purchased at the same grocery store in Brooklyn, New York. I enlisted my boyfriend to help, who has never had a pot pie before in his life. We decided to test them based on chicken quality, gravy quality, crust quality, and how close to homemade they tasted. Because so many listed the microwave as the default cooking method, we decided to microwave them all, just to be fair.
Boston Market’s chicken pot pie was by far the largest
Boston Market’s chicken pot pie was the only one portioned out to be two servings, though it wasn’t marketed that way. It hulked in comparison to the others and took a whopping 11 minutes to cook in the microwave. It was also the most expensive at $US4.19.
It needed to be cooked inside the box, but once it got going, the whole kitchen started to smell like homemade pot pie. It came out piping hot and cooked perfectly after letting it sit for five minutes, per the cooking instructions.
We were initially hesitant about cooking it in the microwave, and it didn’t come out looking the most glamorous, but once we tasted it, all those fears went away. The crust was flaky and crispy and the chicken tasted high quality. The gravy was thick and the veggies were fresh. It definitely tasted like it could have been homemade.
Stouffer’s chicken pot pie featured a crisper panel at the top of its tray
We had high hopes for this next pie as it featured a metallic crisper panel at the top of its box. It was a good size and the second most expensive at $US3.99.
Despite having the crisper panel, it was still cold in the middle after we pulled it out following the six-and-a-half minute cooking and two-minute standing time directions. Once it was popped in for another two minutes, it was ready to go and it was worth the wait.
It came out looking the best by far and the crust was also by far the best; you could literally taste the butter they tucked into the dough.
The chicken was great, but it did feature fewer veggies than some of the other pies, in our opinion. The gravy was a bit runnier than the Boston Market gravy and we also did not find it super flavorful, although it was pretty welcome with the richness of the crust.
The Banquet pot pie was the cheapest and had the shortest cooking time
Banquet’s pot pie came in the smallest box and had an equally small price at just $US1.19; definitely the best value. It needed to be cooked for about five minutes and to sit for three, and unlike the others, was cooked on a plate with a slit cut on top.
It was also cold in the middle when it came out, so for the sake of uniformity, we popped it in for two more minutes. By then, the gravy was flowing and it was time to try it.
We had a hard time finding the chicken in the pie and when we did, noticed it tasted a bit different than the others. That’s because it was made with dark meat chicken, unlike the others that all noted on their boxes they were made with white meat. So if you like dark meat, this is the pie for you.
The crust was good and the gravy was also on the thin side. This one also seemed to have fewer veggies in it.
Marie Callender’s pot pie was microwaved with a special tray
To make the Marie Callender’s pie, you had to peel off the top and put the pot pie in the middle while you microwaved it. It was a good size and a great price at $US2.99. It needed to be cooked for six-and-a-half minutes and sit for five and by the time that was through, it came out perfectly cooked.
As my boyfriend noted, there’s a lot this pie is doing right. It was a solid mix all around with a flakey crust, very crispy veggies, and an easy cooking process.
It does taste high quality and almost homemade, though we found the gravy to be a bit lacking and thin. The chicken was solid, but not our favourite.
Overall we had to give it to Boston Market, though Marie Callender’s is a solid option, too
When it came down to it, Boston Market took the win. It was big enough to be shared, though one of us could have surely finished it ourselves. If we didn’t know better, this one could have fooled us for homemade and the balance of the gravy, chicken, and crust couldn’t be beat.
Marie Callender’s was a very close contender as well and would be a great option for a single person or someone short on time.
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