All you need are a few store-bought ingredients and make-ahead tips.

By Jorie Nicole McDonald
September 17, 2020
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A few key things make our Southern worlds go ’round . . . college football, Mama’s advice, and homemade chicken pot pie—not necessarily in that order.  Our recipe for Old-Fashioned Chicken Pot Pie has been a fan-favorite since 1992, when Peggy Smith, a Southern Living test kitchen professional, originally developed it. Peggy knew the importance of quality ingredients, which can make or break a meal. And while we always opt for homemade cooking over the store-bought version, life sometimes gets in the way. The 2.5-hour timestamp on our original pot pie recipe can be a bit daunting for someone with a busy schedule. But that’s no reason to miss out on this gloriously decadent dish; we have a solution.

Southern Living test kitchen pro and host of Hey Y’all, Ivy Odom, has a few easy tips and tricks to cut the recipe time by more than half without losing any of the delicious flavor we know and love. Start by purchasing a rotisserie chicken from the deli at your grocery store instead of cooking a raw whole chicken at home. While you’re shopping, pick up some chicken stock, too. For the best flavor, use unsalted stock and season it yourself with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. This simple step eliminates more than an hour of the total recipe time. Just be sure to remove the skin of the chicken before shredding it. Ivy suggests skipping the hard-cooked eggs in the original recipe. This will save you a few minutes and will do very little to change the overall taste of your chicken pot pie.

If you find yourself without the 9x13 baking dish the recipe calls for, make it in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Need to get ahead for a weeknight meal? Make the pot pie filling up to 2 days in advance and then bake it with the crust. You can also freeze the filling and pop it out to thaw whenever you’re ready to bake. This sets you up for a stress-free meal when the time comes. And with the hour-plus kitchen time you’ll save, we guarantee you’ll make it again and again.