This Employee Video Shows How KFC Pot Pies Are Really Made

Kentucky Fried Chicken may have been known for its buckets of fried chicken ever since opening its first franchise location in 1952. But since it began selling pot pies in 1995 (via the Los Angeles Times), they have arguably become just as much of a staple on the menu. Originally introduced as a limited edition item in a select part of the country, KFC's pot pies didn't sound destined to take off all that significantly (via Fast Food Menu Prices). However, the fast food chain decided to officially add them to its regular menu. In 2012, HuffPost reported that pot pies were made available in all the KFC locations across the U.S. Since then, they have become one of KFC's most popular items.

Fast Food Menu Prices reports that marketing the pot pie as nostalgic comfort food played a major role in its long-term success. By continuing to use retro themes, imagery, and music in their commercials, KFC managed to turn an old-fashioned favorite into a trendy throwback (via YouTube). If you count yourself among the pot pies' fans, you may have wondered what makes them so good and, perhaps more importantly, what goes into making them at all. A video by a KFC employee apparently revealed how they're made. 

KFC's pot pies are technically made according to tradition

While KFC's Fresh vs. Classic commercial (via YouTube) boasts that "KFC's pot pie is as fresh as it is classic," footage by one KFC employee suggests otherwise. A since-deleted TikTok video posted by @modaciouss that's now viewable on YouTube shows a batch of the restaurant's signature pot pies being made, beginning with a tub of white powder that forms gravy when combined with water. The employee then whisks in a bag of veggies and tops the mixture off with cooked chicken from two separate Ziploc bags. @modaciouss doesn't speak in the video, but one self-identified former manager commenting on a Reddit AMA said, "Pot pies are made with chicken left over after close. The chicken is deboned and shredded by hand. The chicken is separated into bags."

It might sound less than appealing to use leftover chicken in a freshly baked pot pie, but this method happens to be how traditional pot pie is made. Eater reveals that chicken pot pies have contained leftover meat for centuries. So while KFC's pot pie may not be entirely fresh in the classic sense of the word, the recipe sounds pretty close to authentic.

KFC's pot pies are made on an as-needed basis

The fact that KFC's pot pies are made with leftover chicken doesn't mean that they sit in the back of the refrigerator for eons until someone decides to order one.  Citing prior experience as a KFC manager, Reddit user panetrain said that while the leftover chicken might be shredded, bagged, and stored after closing time, the pot pies themselves are actually prepared "as needed" over the course of the day. So although the KFC employee in the viral TikTok video appears to be preparing quite a few pot pies at once, it might not reflect how freshly baked the pot pies actually are when served to customers.

As panetrain explained, "We take a pie tin, scoop a mix of sauce/vegetables add chicken and put a flat frozen top on it." This, of course, isn't nearly as fresh as making it at home from scratch, but at least you know the KFC pot pies aren't just being reheated after long stints in the freezer. And let's not forget that this is fast food we're talking about, so if you want pot pie in the time it takes to wait in line at the drive-thru, this is probably as good as it's going to get.

KFC is committed to reducing food waste

An obvious and perhaps underrated benefit of KFC pot pies is that they reduce food waste, something the company seems to care a fair deal about. In a 2020 press release on its website, KFC affirmed its commitment to keeping perfectly edible chicken from being needlessly tossed out. KFC Italia has even spent years encouraging customers to take home their uneaten chicken for later. Parent company Yum! Brands revealed that unused chicken is also donated to hunger relief organizations throughout the U.S. That effort is an extension of Harvest, KFC's food donation program, which began combating food insecurity in 1999.

KFC donates a serious amount of chicken — over 83 million pounds since Harvest started. In March, QSR reported that the chain would donate a million pieces of chicken to Meals on Wheels to help the elderly. Of course, quality control concerns mean some chicken can't be donated or turned into pot pie filling. As a KFC manager explained in a Reddit AMA, "We have holding times on everything, so if it's not sold within a specified time it's thrown."

Though not all the food can be saved, KFC seemingly pulls out all the stops to do so. Making pot pies with leftover chicken, therefore, isn't just the restaurant being cheap or trying to get away with stretching its product for as long as possible. So even if you're not a fan of the upcycling involved in KFC's pot pie recipe, there's no denying that it aids in a worthy cause.