Transform leftover Thanksgiving turkey into a delicious gourmet meal by making a homemade turkey pot pie. The meat simmers in a luscious gravy and then bakes into individual portions with a flaky puff pastry crust.
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This turkey pot pie recipe is easier than you think, and you probably have all the ingredients from your Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a nice switch-up to turkey sandwiches. The first step is to make a hearty mixture of roasted turkey and vegetables, then simmer the bite-sized pieces into a creamy filling. I like to serve individual bowls so that each person gets plenty of crust to crack into.
Instead of taking hours to make a classic pie crust, I use frozen puff pastry dough for the flaky golden top. it takes less than 30 minutes to bake! This is truly comfort food; each spoonful tastes like a mini Thanksgiving feast. This recipe also stores well in the refrigerator or freezer, so you can make them ahead of time.
Pot pie filling
A good pot pie filling always starts with sauteing a strong aromatic base of chopped onions, carrots, celery, garlic, rosemary, and thyme in butter. Diced Russet potatoes, fresh or frozen peas, and sliced mushrooms add heartiness. Chunky pieces of chopped turkey add a boost of protein. The meat can also be shredded if you prefer. The filling is simply seasoned with salt and pepper to enhance the savory taste.
What makes this pot pie irresistible is the rich and creamy gravy. Start with a roux base (equal parts of butter and flour) as a thickening agent. Stir in the flour to the fat to create a paste. This adds body to the milk, chicken stock, or turkey broth. If you like it super creamy, use heavy cream instead of milk. The key is to ensure that the gravy comes to a boil for a few minutes so that the starches swell and eliminate the raw flour taste.
Portion sizes (recipe makes 8 cups of filling)
- Small: Eight 8-ounce (1 cup) servings in ramekins.
- Medium: Four 16-ounce (2 cups) servings in ramekins.
- Large: Two 32-ounce (4 cups) serving in medium-sized bowls.
- Family Size: Use a pie plate, a 9-inch cast iron pan, or a 9×9-inch casserole dish.
What is puff pastry?
Puff pastry is a non-yeasted flour-based dough made using a delicate technique to create hundreds of layers, each separated by thin sheets of butter. The method is similar to making croissants.
As the dough bakes at high temperatures, 400ºF (204ºC) is optimal, the butter bubbles and melts. This separates the dough sheets, producing a super crispy, golden crust.
Using puff pastry as a pie crust
For this recipe, I use Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry sheets. I find it easiest to cut into squares. For round crusts, use a biscuit cutter or turn your serving dish over and cut around it, leaving about a ½ to 3/4-inch overhang. Just like when making biscuits, cut straight down, so the layers don’t get smashed and seal together.
Another option is to cut and bake the puff pastry separately until the crust is golden, then place them on top of the filling like a lid. Adding a few vents on the top helps the steam escape so the filling does not overflow as it bubbles. In testing, I’ve seen that not having the crust completely submerged in the filling creates flakier and crisper layers.
Egg wash enhances the appearance
Egg wash is commonly added to pies and pastries to give a golden brown sheen, making the crust more attractive. I find that a mixture of one egg plus 1 tablespoon of milk provides the most beautiful color. The cooked milk solids and egg proteins also help to deepen the hue.
Roasted chicken is the go-to substitute if you don’t have turkey. Otherwise, you can make this vegetarian by omitting the meat and adding more mushrooms and potatoes. Other root vegetables would be sweet potatoes, fennel, or parsnips. Alternative filling options are corn (especially fresh off the cob), cauliflower, butternut squash, or green beans. You could even layer some leftover mashed potatoes on the bottom.
Can a pie crust be used?
Yes! Raw pie dough can be used to make a more traditional pot pie. Like my chicken pot pie recipe, you can make a double-crust pie from scratch or use store-bought dough to save time. Brush with egg wash and bake according to the manufacturer’s directions or recipe directions.
Bake the pies
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (204ºC), so it’s hot when the pies are added. Place them on a sheet pan to catch any filling in case it bubbles a little. Bake until the puff pastry puffs up into layers and is deep golden brown. In about 20 to 25 minutes, you’ll have a delicious turkey pot pie with leftovers that you’ll look forward to making every year!
The filling can be made from Thanksgiving leftovers and refrigerated for up to 2 days before baking. The crust can be defrosted the night before, cut, then placed on the top right before adding them to the oven.
Storing and freezing
These turkey pot pies can be covered and refrigerated for up to three days in advance. Frozen pies can be wrapped and should last up to 1 month in the freezer. Reheat in the oven at 325ºF (163ºC) until the crust is crispy and the filling is bubbly and reaches 155 to 165ºF (68 to 74ºC).
Properly defrosting puff pastry
Make sure not to exceed defrosting time of 40 minutes at room temperature. Otherwise, the butter will melt into the dough and not expand and separate properly. If not using immediately, cover and transfer to the refrigerator when defrosted. The dough can also be defrosted overnight in the fridge.
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Turkey Pot Pie
- 1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced red onions, ¼" dice
- ½ cup diced carrots, ¼" dice
- ½ cup diced celery, ¼" dice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- 1 ½ cup sliced brown mushrooms, ¼" thick slices
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, ¼" dice
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup flour
- 1 ½ cups unsalted chicken stock
- 1 cup whole milk, plus 1 tablespoon (15ml) for egg wash
- 3 cups turkey, cooked, ½" dice
- 1 cup peas, fresh, frozen (defrosted) or canned
- 1 large egg, whisked
- Preheat the Oven – Set the oven rack to the center position. Preheat to 400°F (204ºC).
- Defrost the Pastry – Remove the frozen pastry from its packaging and defrost it on a sheet tray until cool but pliable, no longer than 40 minutes. Refrigerate and cover with plastic wrap if defrosting beyond that time. Meanwhile, prepare the turkey pot pie filling.
- Saute the Vegetables – Set a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat, and then melt the butter in the pan. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Sauté until onions are tender and translucent, 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add potatoes, salt, and black pepper. Stir and cook for 6 to 7 minutes.
- Thicken the Filling – Sprinkle flour over the vegetables, stir and cook to reduce the raw flour taste, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour the chicken stock and milk, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth. Allow to simmer until slightly thickened, and potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the turkey and peas, and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and taste the filling, season with more salt and pepper as desired.
- Divide into Bowls – Evenly divide the filling among 2 large heatproof bowls that can hold about 3 cups (720ml), or desired size.Roll the puff pastry out into a 10-inch square. Cut into two 5-inch squares. There will be extra. Place one square pastry sheet over each bowl, allowing the edges to hang over the sides.
- Brush with Egg Wash – In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1 tablespoon of milk. Brush the top and sides of the puff pastry with egg wash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake – Make 4 small slits in the top, about ½-inch long. Place the bowls on a baking sheet. Bake until the puff pastry is puffed up on the edges and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Short Video: Watch this recipe come together.
- Smaller individual-sized portions: Defrost two pastry sheets. Use smaller bowls or ramekins. Up to 8 servings in 8-ounce sized ramekins. Cut the puff pastry so the corners hang over the edge, about 4-inch squares. Bake until golden brown on top, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Larger one-pan turkey pot pies: Use a pie dish, 9-inch cast iron pan, or 9×9-inch casserole dish. Cut the puff pastry so it’s large enough to fit in the pan or slightly overhanging the edges. Bake until golden brown, about 45 to 55 minutes. Loosely cover with foil if needed to prevent the pastry from getting too dark as it puffs up around the edges.
- Overnight Thawing: The puff pastry can be thawed in the refrigerator overnight. Just keep it covered or wrapped in plastic so it does not get dried out.
- Reheating: Reheat in the oven at 325ºF (163ºC) until the crust is crispy and the filling reaches 155 to 165ºF (68 to 74ºC). Refrigerated pies reheat in about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size. Frozen pies reheat in about 1 to 2 hours, depending on size.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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