How To Properly Freeze And Thaw Chicken Pot Pie

Homemade chicken pot pie
Homemade chicken pot pie - TDC Photography/Shutterstock

When the weather starts to turn colder, foodies start craving their favorite comfort foods, and there's a good chance chicken pot pie is on the menu. With its creamy filling and hearty chicken and vegetables, pot pie is a nourishing, protein-packed way to sneak some extra veggies into your diet (and past picky eaters) during the wintertime. But maybe you've made a huge batch all at once and your eyes were bigger than your stomach — or maybe you just prefer to stock up on some pre-made beauties for easy dinners in the future. Either way, your chicken pot pie filling is both substantial enough to stick to your ribs and keep you full, and sturdy enough to hold up for a tenure in the freezer.

The trick is to freeze the filling separately. Perhaps the crowning jewel of the humble pot pie is the flaky, buttery crust, and alas — there's really no good way to make that golden beauty hold up in the freezer. For make-ahead meals that'll satisfy, make a fresh crust every time. You can freeze raw homemade pie dough for future preparation, but once it's baked, it must be enjoyed or tossed.

To freeze your filling, make it as usual, then cool it in the fridge for 30 minutes or until chilled. Then, transfer the filling into a plastic freezer bag, leaving a few inches for expansion, and slam it in the freezer. It'll keep for up to a month before it starts to lose its quality.

Read more: 26 Best Toppings To Add To Your Chicken Sandwich

Pot Pie — The Sequel

Frozen prepared dishes in the freezer
Frozen prepared dishes in the freezer - Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

When you're ready to use your pot pie filling, transfer your bag from the freezer to the fridge to thaw. This can take a few hours, so if you know you're going to want pot pie for dinner, you can take it out in the morning before work or allow it to thaw overnight. Then, simply reheat your thawed filling in a saucepan on the stove, and assemble your pot pie with crust as you normally would. Alternatively, you can skip the pie crust altogether and use your reheated chicken pot pie filling to make this warming, low-prep Chicken Pot Pie Pasta.

If that still seems like too much effort, technically, you can assemble a chicken pot pie, bake it, and then stick the whole thing in the freezer. Just keep in mind that the quality won't be quite as good when you reheat it. Also, if you know you're going to freeze your pie, leave a good inch or two between the filling and the top crust; it'll expand in the freezer.

If you're going this route, skip the thawing step and just shove the whole frozen pie straight into the oven — thawing will make for a soggy, unusable pie. For best results, brush the still-frozen top crust with an egg wash and bake away. When a knife inserted into the center of the pie comes out hot, your reheated pot pie is ready to enjoy.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.