Whose Pot Pie Recipe Is Better: Molly Yeh Vs. Alton Brown

Chicken pot pie is quite possibly one of the top comfort foods for when the weather turns cold. But there are plenty of varieties; are you a fan of the classics, or do you prefer a spiced up version? In this "Chef on Chef" battle, we pit Molly Yeh's Spiced Chicken Pot Pie vs. Alton Brown's Curry Chicken Pot Pie.

There are plenty of easy chicken pot pie recipes out there, and they usually stick to a basic structure of chicken-veggie filling under a dough topping. But inspired celebrity chefs will often give it their own spin by tweaking certain aspects of the formula. Both recipes highlight the usual ingredients you'd expect to find, and maintain an easy enough preparation (no one will ask you to make your own dough, for example). But while Alton Brown deals with the common, convenience-forward way of making a classic pot pie, Molly Yeh takes a different route, offering internationally-inspired twists that feel like a wholly reinvented chicken pot pie.

We assembled a team of blind taste testers, let them sample both recipes, and asked them to grade them based on appearance, difficulty level, and taste. See the results below, find out our final verdict, and maybe even try them for yourself!

Judging Criteria 1: Appearance

Alton Brown's curry chicken pot pie is made in a single casserole dish topped with little dough discs, which our taste testers felt gave the dish "more of a kid-friendly" or "weeknight dinner" feel. They also appreciated that the dough had a "nice caramelization" on top.

On the other hand, Molly Yeh's spiced chicken pot pie is made in individual casserole dishes, for which we used ramekins. This made the dish a bit more elegant and impressive. The dough covered each ramekin fully, and guests had to crack open the puff pastry topping to get to the filling. They agreed these pot pies were "more pleasant to open up," likening that moment of discovery to cracking into a crème brûlée."

Yeh's pies are also topped with sesame seeds, which our tasters felt "added another layer of interest" but didn't have as much taste. "It's more for show," they concluded.

Judging Criteria 2: Difficulty Level

From the perspective of preparation, Alton Brown's family-style chicken pot pie was much easier. It relied on a frozen vegetable mix and used ready-made chicken, which can come from a can or leftover rotisserie chicken (we went with the latter).

While cutting the dough into discs required additional work, the presentation of the overall recipe in a single large casserole dish required a lot less fussing around. Overall, this recipe required about 20 to 30 minutes of prep — a stark departure from Yeh's recipe, which needed close to an hour of active work.

In Yeh's recipe, we had to mix our own spice blend, cook the chicken, shred it, cook the vegetables, and then portion the filling and dough in individual ramekins. The shorter overall cooking time of the small, portioned pot pie did not make up for the vast difference in time and effort level the dish required.

Judging Criteria 3: Taste

Our team of taste testers consisted of five adults and two children. Both youngsters preferred the taste of Alton Brown's curry pot pie. The dish was described as "sweeter," and "much more classic and closer to the idea of a chicken pot pie." However, one adult commented it was bland.

The adults all preferred Molly Yeh's spiced pot pie, describing it as "more saucy" and "much more flavorful" with its incorporation of the Yemeni spice blend hawaij and fresh dill. The individually baked crust was deemed crispier and flakier. "This has the right combination of creamy, salty, [and] crispy from the dough, and the umami of the chicken," said one taste tester.

Overall, however, Yeh's recipe was seen as a departure from the traditional definition of a chicken pot pie. "I wouldn't call it chicken pot pie," one of our tasters went as far as saying. Not a bad thing, but perhaps not what was advertised in the title of the dish, either.

The Verdict: Which Chicken Pot Pie Reigned Supreme?

Overall, our guests preferred Molly Yeh's chicken pot pie recipe. It was a fancier, dressed up and grown up version of this hometown classic — a dish you'd make when looking to impress your company.

However, we would say that if cooking for a family with young children, especially on a weeknight dinner basis, we would strongly encourage you to give Alton Brown's recipe a try. It is well seasoned, simple to make, and an overall crowd pleaser.