Got leftovers? Turkey pot pie with puff pastry crust is classic comfort food. It's an easy fit for leftover turkey. And feels different enough from Thanksgiving dinner to make you fall in love all over again.
Why we love this recipe
Pot pie is cozy to the max. Our recipe doesn't mess with perfection, but it does include all the best-in-class elements of this dish:
- A silky filling that's creamy but not too dense
- Tons of fresh veggies, including mushrooms and potatoes
- Just the right amount of turkey
- The easiest yet best of all possible crusts: a puff pastry lattice
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make a great turkey pot pie with puff pastry. This photo cracks me up because it looks like SO many things, but really they're all very basic. You probably have a lot of them in your fridge already.
- You can use any mix of cooked white and/or dark meat from your turkey, and cut it into small dice or shred it. If you ended up with any dark meat that wasn't quite as cooked as you like, this is a great use for it since it will bake for 25 minutes in a bubbly sauce. Happily, if you ended up with any white meat that was a little more cooked than you like, this is also a great use for it since it will bake in a silky, creamy sauce.
- Gold or waxy potatoes hold their shape well, but starchier ones (like Russet or Idaho) are fine too.
- I use cremini mushrooms for their great flavor and lower moisture content. You can use white button mushrooms instead, but be sure to cook them until the moisture releases and evaporates before adding the flour to the recipe.
- Pearl onions are optional (and bit divisive), but I think they're classic in this recipe. Buy them frozen if you can to save on prep. Frozen peas are the right choice here too.
- I like fresh thyme and sage in this recipe and usually have some left over after Thanksgiving anyway. If you don't, you can substitute 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and sage for the 1 tablespoon fresh.
- I'm a little obsessed with shallots, but you can substitute a yellow onion or a large leek if you like.
- Low-sodium chicken broth from a box works just fine here, or use homemade turkey stock.
- Dufour is my favorite brand of puff pastry by far, but it's more expensive and sometimes less available than supermarket brands. You can use whatever brand you like.
How to make turkey pot pie with puff pastry
Here's what you need to do to make this recipe. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the details in the recipe card below. Making a lattice for the crust is optional but fun (and easier than you may think).
How to make the filling
There are a few steps to making the filling into the best version of itself, but none of them are hard. The critical thing is to use a big enough pan. This recipe makes about 15 cups of filling. I use my 3.5-quart braiser, and the filling just barely fits (in a good way). This kind of pan can go from stovetop to oven, which is ideal.
If you don't have something like this, you can cook the filling in a big pot on the stovetop and then bake it either in a large baking dish or in individual ramekins. A 9x13x2-inch pan will have trouble accommodating the last cup or two of filling. If you have a deeper 9x13 like this one, that should do it.
- Melt the butter and sauté the shallot, carrot, celery, and mushrooms until softened. Then add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute. Make sure the flour coats the vegetables fairly evenly.
- Pour in the broth and cream along with the salt, pepper, and herbs. Give it all a good stir and then add the potatoes. Bring it up to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Lower the heat and simmer for five minutes or so until thickened.
- Add the peas, pearl onions, and cooked turkey. Your pot pie is ready to top and bake.
How to make a puff pastry lattice crust
You've got two options here: (1) You can make the lattice first on a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet, freeze it while you make the filling, and then transfer it to the top of the filled baking pan right before baking. (2) Or you can assemble the lattice right on the pan. It's important that puff pastry stays relatively cold so it will puff properly, so if you're not sure you can work quickly, make it ahead of time for the best results.
Take the pastry out of the freezer a maximum of 40 minutes before you want to use it. Remove it from the outer packaging and begin working as soon as it's no longer frozen. If your timing changes, just pop it in the fridge before it gets too warm.
- When you're ready to begin, lightly flour your work surface and carefully unfold the puff pastry. Lightly flour the top too. Roll out the pastry to the dimensions of your baking pan. See the FAQ section below for more details. Use a very sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the pastry into approximate 1-inch-wide strips.
- Begin by placing the vertical strips. Space them out evenly across the pan or parchment-lined baking sheet (hewing to the dimensions of the ultimate baking dish either way).
- Here's how to weave in the horizontal strips. Before placing the first one, lift up and fold back every other vertical strip, then lay down the first horizontal strip. It will be on top of the vertical strips that you left in place. After placing the horizontal strip, replace the vertical strips that you folded back. Those will be on top of the first horizontal strip.
- Before placing the second horizontal strip, lift up and fold back the vertical strips that you did not move the first time. Place the second strip and replace the vertical ones. Continue this process, alternating which vertical strips you move, until the surface of the pan is covered with lattice. As you can see in the video, after a while it can be easier to lift the vertical strips one at a time rather than folding them back in batches. Puff pastry likes to stay cold, so use whatever method allows you to work fairly quickly.
Expert tips and FAQs
The answer depends on two factors: the size and shape of your baking pan and how many puff pastry sheets you have. My preferred brand of puff pastry comes with a single sheet. Many popular brands come with two.
If you have one sheet, roll it out to a square that measures the same as the longer side of your baking pan (or the full diameter if it's circular).
If you have two sheets, you can roll them each out into a rectangle with the same dimensions of your baking pan and cut one into strips the long way and one into strips the short way.
You sure can! You can choose the size, but I think about two cups of filling makes a good portion. Something like the largest size of these ramekins would be perfect. Just scale down your lattice crusts accordingly. This way no one has to fight over the topping.
Nope, you don't You can roll out the puff pastry to the size of your baking dish and simply place it on top. Or pre-cut it into squares and place them side by side to indicate portions.
Yes, you can make both the filling and the puff pastry lattice in advance. If making days in advance, keep each element tightly sealed, with the filling in the fridge and the crust in the freezer. Place the crust on the baking dish right before baking.
Leftover puff pastry is what it is: Not as good as fresh, not so crispy, but still weirdly delicious. Store leftovers tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week, and reheat in the microwave or oven before serving.
100% yes. For chicken pot pie, you don't need to change anything at all except to swap in cooked chicken for the cooked turkey. For a vegetarian pie, use a good vegetable broth and swap in two 15.5-ounce cans of white beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained, instead of the turkey. If you don't want to use beans, you could double the quantity of mushrooms instead and call it a day.
More favorite recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers
- If you've got turkey and trimmings but no gravy, make our super-popular vegetarian gravy to smother it all with happiness
- If you've got a turkey carcass, make really great stock
- Turkey and white bean chili (sub turkey for the chicken)
- Turkey rice soup
- Turkey and avocado sandwiches
- Colcannon cheddar skillet cakes for leftover mashed potatoes
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Turkey Pot Pie with Puff Pastry
Turkey pot pie with puff pastry crust is an ideal reimagination of Thanksgiving leftovers. Make this recipe family style or bake it in individual ramekins.
- 8 tablespoons (112 grams) butter
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- 3 medium carrots, diced small
- 2 large celery ribs, diced small
- 8 ounces (227 grams) cremini mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup (60 grams) flour
- 4 cups (946 ml) low-sodium chicken broth or turkey stock
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (133 ml) heavy cream, divided
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 1 pound (454 grams) potatoes, peeled and diced small
- 10 ounces frozen peas, defrosted
- 8 ounces frozen pearl onions, defrosted
- 1 pound leftover turkey meat, diced or shredded
- 1 box frozen puff pastry (14 to 17.3 ounces)
- 1 egg
Make the filling
- Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center.
- Melt butter in a 3.5-quart braiser over medium-high heat. (See note 9 below.)
- Add shallot, carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring from time to time, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Ensure that flour coats all vegetables somewhat evenly.
- Pour in stock, the half cup of cream, salt, pepper, thyme, and sage and stir very well. Add potatoes. Allow liquid to come to a boil, stirring frequently. Then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes, stirrinng from time to time.
- Stir in peas, onions, and cooked turkey. Remove from heat. If you've cooked the filling in an oven-safe braiser, it's ready to top with the crust. Otherwise, transfer the filling to your baking dish now. If you like, you can let the filling cool for a while to make the pastry easier to work with — but you don't have to.
Prepare the crust
You can assemble the crust on a parchment-lined baking sheet first and keep it in the freezer while you make the filling, or you can assemble it directly on the baking dish if you're good at working quickly.
- Lightly flour a work surface and carefully unfold the puff pastry. Lightly flour the top too. Roll out the pastry to the dimensions of your baking pan.
- Use a very sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut the pastry into approximate 1-inch-wide strips.
- Begin by placing the vertical strips. Space them out evenly across the pan or parchment-lined baking sheet to the width of your baking pan.
- Here’s how to weave in the horizontal strips. Before placing the first one, lift up and fold back every other vertical strip, then lay down the first horizontal strip. It will be on top of the vertical strips that you left in place. After placing the horizontal strip, replace the vertical strips that you folded back. Those will be on top of the first horizontal strip.
- Before placing the second horizontal strip, lift up and fold back the vertical strips that you did not move the first time. Place the second strip and replace the vertical ones.
- Continue this process, alternating which vertical strips you move, until the surface of the pan is covered with lattice. If you've prepared the lattice in advance, carefully transfer it from the baking sheet to your filled baking dish.
- In a small bowl, beat together the egg and the remaining tablespoon of cream. Quickly but carefully brush the egg wash onto the puff pastry. This will help it become brown and shiny when it bakes.
Bake the pot pie
- Place the baking dish onto a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips.
- Bake for 25 minutes, until pastry is puffed and deep golden and filling is bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes or so before serving.
- I like to use a good cultured, salted butter for the best flavor.
- Dicing the carrots, celery, and potatoes nice and small ensures everything will be both well-cooked and well-distributed. Aim for ¼-inch cubes, which is quite petite — but definitely don't stress over it.
- Cremini mushrooms (sometimes called baby bella) have great flavor and a low moisture content. You can use white button mushrooms instead, but be sure to cook them until the water releases and evaporates before adding the flour.
- You could substitute light cream of half and half for the heavy cream if you like. I prefer it with heavy cream.
- You can substitute 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme and sage if you don't have 1 tablespoon fresh.
- Yellow potatoes (like Yukon Gold) or other waxy potatoes hold their shape well when cooked, but you can use any type you like. Just cut them small.
- If you can't find frozen pearl onions, you can either leave them out or prep them from fresh. If fresh, boil whole onions in their peels for three minutes, then drain. When cool enough to handle, use a sharp knife to trim off each end and peel off the outer layer (or squeeze out the inner layers from the outside — I find this works only sometimes).
- You can use any combination of cooked white and/or dark meat. Dice or shred it — it's up to you. Amazingly, this is a great place to use both slightly undercooked dark meat and slightly overcooked white meat, since baking in a creamy sauce cures all ills.
- If you don't have a large pan like a 3.5-quart braiser that can go from stovetop to oven, you can make the filling in a large pot and then transfer it to a large baking dish or individual ramekins to top and bake. A deep-dish 9x13-inch baking pan (not the standard 2-inch depth) will work, or 8 2-cup ramekins.
- The dimensions to which you'll roll out your puff pastry depends on two factors: (1) The size and shape of your baking pan and (2) How many puff pastry sheets you have. My preferred brand of puff pastry comes with a single sheet. Many popular brands come with two. If you have one sheet, roll it out to a square that measures the same as the longer side of your baking pan (or the full diameter if it’s circular). If you have two sheets, you can roll them each out into a rectangle with the same dimensions of your baking pan and cut one into strips the long way and one into strips the short way.
- If you would rather not bother with a pastry lattice, that's fine. You can roll out the puff pastry to the dimensions of your baking pan and place it on top whole. Or you can cut it into squares to indicate portions and place them next to each other.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 199Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 853mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 3gSugar: 6gProtein: 21g
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