Frozen Chicken Pot Pies Ranked From Worst To Best

When a bowl of soup isn't enough to get you through a chilly night, there's no better meal than a savory chicken pot pie. They're not difficult to make — a 30-minute chicken pot pie isn't unheard of, and there are no fancy ingredients involved — but they do take some planning ahead, and that's not often how comfort food works. When the craving strikes, we want it now. Enter the frozen chicken pot pie.

Frozen chicken pot pies are more often sold as individual servings rather than the big beauties that may grace the family table, and that's telling of the real reason we're reaching for them more often than just those chilly nights. They're just so convenient! And that's true in every season. A rich, homemade chicken pot pie does sound better in fall or winter, but a frozen chicken pot pie is appealing as an afternoon snack in summer or an easy dinner in spring, too. When it comes to shopping for them, it may once have been as simple as opening your grocer's freezer, but today you may find more than a dozen options from competing brands to added flavor varieties. To bring you a proper rating, we tested a dozen popular varieties after baking them in the oven. All can be microwaved, but we wanted to sample each at its best, and that means properly baked. From serious misses to an undeniable standout, here are 12 popular frozen chicken pot pies ranked from worst to best.

12. Marie Callender's chicken pot pie with cauliflower crust

The frozen dinner aisle hasn't historically been a goldmine for those on gluten-free diets. Chicken pot pies have been particularly verboten, fully surrounded as they are in a gluten-filled pie crust and covered in gravy often thickened with wheat flour. Those spying Marie Callender's chicken pot pie with cauliflower crust may be excited by the idea of a gluten-free pot pie from a major frozen food brand, but they should proceed with caution. This is not actually a gluten-free product, and it doesn't claim to be, either. It just looks like it would be. Flip the box, and you'll see there's still wheat flour in the ingredients, likely within the gravy, and a small statement on the front also advertises there's still wheat in the crust.

Already, we don't understand why Marie Callender's would take the step of offering a cauliflower crust without producing a totally gluten-free product, but that's hardly the only reason we're not fans of this pie. Straight from the oven, this one was a mess, having separated from its edges on one side with gravy oozing out onto the top of the pie. But it's the taste that left us truly unimpressed. The contents were fine, but the crust was dense and without the flavor either of a traditional pie crust or even cauliflower. It tasted more of stale bread than anything else, and that flavor permeated most bites.

11. Banquet chicken and broccoli pot pie

A seemingly snazzier budget offering from Banquet, the chicken and broccoli pot pie sounds like an interesting way to switch up pot pie night, but you might want to think twice before tossing this one in your basket at the grocery store. While the addition of broccoli sounds delicious, and even healthier, you won't find much broccoli within a single pie, and the pieces you do find are relatively flavorless. There's certainly no additional broccoli flavor swimming about in the gravy, and Banquet actually eliminates peas and potato in order to sub in the broccoli, so you're left with fewer veggies and less flavor overall.

It's also worth noting that the budget options do ring up for less than half the price of the more upscale pot pies in supermarket freezers, but you should pay attention to what you're getting for that bargain before you make your choice. In Banquet pot pies, for example, the meat comes from chicken roll and mechanically separated meat, which is re-formed chicken shaped from a slurry. As with any other product in any market, you get what you pay for with frozen chicken pot pies, so if ingredient quality and nutrition matter in the moment, read the boxes carefully. The real reason Banquet frozen foods are so cheap is because they're not always the foods you thought you thought you were eating.

10. Banquet chicken pot pie

The Banquet chicken pot pie is exactly the pot pie you picture when you think about scoring a quick bite from the freezer aisle. It's cheaper than most, it's smaller than most, and you're not going to encounter any bells or whistles with this choice. It gets the job done, and it does so in less time than the larger pies (as you'd expect), requiring just about 30 minutes in the oven.

Banquet suggests you cut a slit on upper crust before baking so it doesn't explode, but there isn't much risk of that. The rippled rim of this pot pie is rarely intact by the time you get it home, with pieces of it almost certainly left behind in the box, so most Banquet pot pies already have areas for steam to escape. In other ones, this isn't one you should be presenting to anyone you're trying to impress. It's a quick meal for time-crunched days (you can microwave it, like any other, for serious time savings), and that's about it. One benefit it did have over its competition in the budget category: We found the chicken chunks larger in the Banquet pies than in the low-price competitors.

9. Marie Callender's cheesy chicken & bacon pot pie

It's not often that the photo on the front of a food product undersells its most advertised ingredient, but Marie Callender's cheesy chicken & bacon pot pie is an exception. Yes, there's broccoli inside, and yes, there's bacon inside, but oh boy is there cheese inside. And not just the pleasant dribble or orange delight you see on the box. There's so much cheese inside this pie that it oozes out at every opportunity. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on your current craving.

If you're desperate for a brick of melted cheese and want to make yourself feel better by pretending you're eating some meat and vegetables with it, pop this in the oven. If you're actually hoping to taste some chicken or veggies, this is not the pot pie for you. The chicken and veggies are in there. Somewhere. But all you're going to taste is the cheddar, and you're not going to see much of anything else either unless you're really on the lookout. It's difficult for the crust to stand up to all this hot cheese (don't try to remove this one from the paper baking bowl before serving). Again, this is a cheese lover's delight, but we're not sure why you'd spring for this box if that's all you were looking for. There's not much of a legitimate chicken pot pie about this product.

8. Swanson chicken pot pie

Swanson is another budget brand in the frozen food space, and we rate it slightly higher than Banquet, at least for frozen chicken pot pies. Many markets will only carry one or the other, but if you have both at hand, we recommend reaching for Swanson for one specific reason alone: the chicken. Even if there appears to be more chicken in a Banquet pie than a Swanson pie, Swanson's pies are slightly better.

Truth be told, there are very few differences between Banquet and Swanson chicken pot pies, and that's likely because they're both owned by Conagra Brands and share similar production, packaging, and distribution. Sure, Banquet is boxed in red and Swanson in blue, but take a look at the cooking instructions and you'll find they're the same graphic printed on both boxes. They look the same and cook the same, but there is a tiny difference that makes a big impact to us, and that's that Swanson uses ground chicken rather than mechanically separated chicken. That means it comes less from bone and tissue and more from meat and muscle. This slight difference in ingredients may also account for why Swanson's otherwise identical chicken pot pie also packs lower counts of sodium, cholesterol, and carbohydrates than Banquet, though it's higher in fat.

7. Marie Callender's chick'n pot pie

Hopefully, you noticed the quirky spelling of chick'n in this product's name. If you're a vegetarian, we're sure you did because you're used to seeing the names of meats manipulated every which way to indicate that they're not really meat. And such is the case with this, the only truly vegetarian chicken pot pie on our list. Marie Callender's chick'n pot pie uses Gardein plant-based meat in place of genuine chicken, and fills the rest of the pie with the traditional carrots and peas, adding celery and onion pieces, too.

A word of caution for the casual vegetarians and meat reductionists. If you're not accustomed to meat substitutes, you aren't likely to love chick'n at first bite. Unlike seemingly every other random meat on the planet, chick'n does not taste like chicken, and the texture is substantially different from any bite of real chicken you've ever had. You are likely to be somewhat put off by this meat alternative if this pot pie is your first introduction to it. Conversely, there's not much of it within the pie, so you could easily avoid it. But then, why would you buy this individual portion? For vegetarians, however, we applaud this inclusion in Marie Callender's frozen pot pie lineup, and do think it deserves some points for making a very non-vegetarian dish accessible to a wider audience.

6. Marie Callender's broccoli cheddar & potato pot pie

If you have a hankering for something like a chicken pot pie, but you're vegetarian, Marie Callender's broccoli cheddar & potato pot pie may work for you. Without the chicken or a meat-based gravy, this is a true vegetarian dish, but it's far from vegan as it's loaded with creamy cheddar cheese. We must admit, though, with no meat and no traditional gravy, it's not quite as pot pie-esque as it seems.

Cheese is advertised, and cheese you will get. In fact, that's almost all you'll get. Technically, the traditional carrot and potato cubes still make their way into this pot pie, but you'll be hard-pressed to pick up their flavors. The broccoli is more noticeable than the other vegetables, but cheddar is the dominant flavor of any bite of this pie, to put it mildly. For melted orange cheese lovers, this is a rave review. For fans of broccoli and cheddar soup, this is a potential hit, though thicker and with smaller pieces of broccoli. For pot pie lovers, though, this is generally going to register as a miss, and the hunt for a great vegetarian version of chicken pot pie continues.

5. Marie Callender's creamy mushroom chicken pot pie

Marie Callender's has a pretty solid stronghold on the frozen pot pie market, so you're likely to find more innovations from this brand than others at your local supermarket. Among the pot pies on our list that are still firmly in the chicken category, this creamy mushroom chicken pot pie offers the most creative adaptation of the classic chicken pot pie without leaving behind any important elements. You really have to love mushrooms to love this pie, though, and mushrooms aren't universal favorites, so we've placed it toward the middle of our ranking since its primary flavor profile is likely to be somewhat divisive.

Like any good chicken pot pie, this gravy is truly creamy, creamier than most frozen pot pie gravies, in fact. And, while you'll still find carrot chunks in this one, it swaps peas in favor of green beans, which complement the mushrooms better by ditching the subtle sweetness of the pea for the earthiness of the bean. Solid mushrooms are enhanced by mushroom powder in the gravy, all adding up to a chicken pot pie that may help you feel like more of an adult while enjoying this instead of a classic pot pie, even if you did just grab this from the freezer and are eating it in bed.

4. Marie Callender's turkey pot pie

Nutritionally speaking, there aren't a ton or reasons to opt for turkey over chicken. The meat of both birds offers similar nutrients, but turkey meat can be a bit leaner than chicken in both white meat and dark. Turkey meat can be lower in calories, fat, and sodium, too, so it could be worth consideration now and then. Plus, it's nice to change things up if you find yourself in a chicken pot pie rut (and we're assuming you're fairly into these frozen finds if you're reading this list).

Marie Callender's turkey pot pie is one of the smaller frozen pies from this premium pot pie brand, but it comes with the addition of celery chunks to complement the usual carrots, peas, and potatoes. This gives it somewhat more of a Thanksgiving feel when combined with the turkey and from-scratch gravy (a nice touch that all Marie Callender's frozen pot pies offer). The turkey chunks in this pie are from breast meat, and we found them to be larger and more full of flavor than we expected, helping this one climb the ranks even though it's not strictly a chicken pot pie. Give it a try anyway — you'll be glad you did.

3. Bowl & Basket chicken pot pie bites

Depending where you live, you may not be able to find these chicken pot pie bites because they are from the store brand of northeast grocery chain Shop Rite. But successful store brands are not all that different from each other, so chances are good you'll be able to come across something similar if you pop into a large supermarket near you. And because these are so different from traditional pot pie presentation, they're worth keeping an eye out for.

Rather than a single pie, chicken pot pie bites offer all the flavors of a chicken pot pie on a small puff pastry. While some appetizers of this size aren't often that good (especially ones from the freezer aisle), these are surprisingly pleasing. They truly offer the full flavor spectrum of chicken, veggies, and gravy, and the puff pastry adds a flaky crust that you just won't get from traditional frozen pot pies. At least if you cook them in the oven. Even better, they're easy to make — inside the box, they're arranged in an oven-safe plastic tray that goes right onto a baking sheet without requiring any individual handling. While they're definitely not stuffed with additional breading, popping an entire bite in your mouth does give the sensation of Thanksgiving stuffing on a pastry, and it's hard to get much more soul-warming than that. These are also great for a party.

2. Marie Callender's chicken corn chowder pot pie

Why this pot pie does not have bacon in its name is a serious missed opportunity because it's a great addition to the pie and definitely the prominent flavor of every bite. Apparently the bacon is meant to be a surprise. We think adding a corn chowder profile to a chicken pot pie is already a genius move, but the addition of bacon crumbles takes this one over the top, if pork is part of your diet. Admittedly, you won't see quite as many bacon pieces in the pie as you do on the photo on the front of the box, but you'll definitely taste them, with an almost smoky pork quality permeating the gravy.

If you're worried about digging into this pie to find a soupy, soggy mess inside, fear not. The contents of Marie Callender's chicken corn chowder pot pie still resemble more of a traditional pot pie gravy than a runnier chowder consistency, and that's great news for the durability of the crust, too. In fact, we found this one to be packed with more solids (chicken, corn, potatoes, and bacon) than most of the other pies, making it one of the least liquid pies in the freezer. No one's looking for more gravy and less substance in a pot pie, so this is yet another win.

1. Boston Market chicken pot pie

As far as the classic chicken pot pie goes, the Boston Market chicken pot pie is the best you'll find in supermarket freezers. With big chunks of all-white meat chicken and the corn, carrots, and peas you're probably looking for, Boston Market includes celery and onions, too. That's almost every vegetable you'll find from all of the other classic chicken pot pies on this list combined, with the exception of potato cubes.

The gravy of this one is creamier than most, and that is likely due to the welcome addition of half and half to the chicken stock. Even if you somehow failed to detect all of these little upgrades, it's impossible not to notice this pot pie's superior crust. And not just because it's prettier than all the others — it's the only one that comes with a fun design around the rim, so it does score there, too. This pie crust is noticeably more flavorful. Despite being frozen, this crust manages to deliver an element of freshness and is simultaneously more savory and slightly sweeter than other brands' crusts, which nearly all come across as flavorless when compared to Boston Market's. At over an hour in the oven, this one takes longer to bake than all the others, but it's well worth the wait.