Look forward to leftovers with this leftover Thanksgiving turkey pot pie recipe! This turkey pot pie is easy to assemble, a breeze to customize, freezer-friendly, and a hit with the family.
Leftover turkey is one of the best parts of the holidays! The Godfather makes an amazing smoked turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas – plus once or twice more during the year – just so we can enjoy leftovers. This easy pot pie recipe is one of our favorites because it’s high on the comfort food scale. It’s a perfect dish to prep, freeze, and bake on a chilly night.
How to make leftover turkey pot pie filling
I like to put a lot of fresh vegetables in the pie with the turkey. They add a nice flavor and then you don’t have any bites without a good bit of texture in the filling. Since carrots, celery, and onion are the base trifecta for most classic Thanksgiving recipes, that’s what I usually use in this recipe.
If you’d like to add other vegetables or even small diced potatoes, please do! Just keep in mind the final texture of the vegetable after baking. If you intend to freeze the pot pie, skip the potato. Potatoes can get a funny texture after freezing and thawing.
The filling is made in a skillet and then poured into your pie crust before baking. This recipe doesn’t use cornstarch, it’s a flour-based roux, and needs a little heat to thicken. Additionally, making the filling in a skillet allows you to adjust the seasoning to taste.
The spices I use in the pot pie vary. Sometimes I’ll add a little rosemary, other times extra garlic, thyme, and even tarragon have all made it into the mix. I provide a basic suggestion in the recipe, but in the notes, I’ll share a few variations we’ve made a couple of times each.
Pie crust options
I used to be team always homemade pie crust. What girl doesn’t swoon over a good all-butter crust? But, real talk, on more than one occasion, I just haven’t made an extra set of pie crusts for this recipe.
So while you could absolutely use your favorite homemade pie crust recipe, using a refrigerated or frozen pre-made crust is a time saver!
If you are using a homemade pie crust recipe, make sure it isn’t one specifically designed for sweet pies. Most pie crust recipes are all-purpose and can be used for a sweet or savory filling. But I have come across some recipes that are specifically designed for sweet desserts.
How long do I bake turkey pot pie?
If you are baking the pie freshly assembled, you’ll bake it for about 45 minutes. 10 minutes at a higher temperature to help maximize crust flakiness, then another 30 or so minutes to let the crust cook through.
Your filling is already cooked, so the baking time is strictly for the crust.
The baking times provided in the recipe are for a freshly prepared pie. If you are baking the pie from frozen, you will need to add about 5 minutes to the higher heat baking time, and another 30 minutes to the lower heat baking time to thaw the pie.
How do I freeze a turkey pot pie?
Sometimes, you need a break from turkey, so using leftovers in recipes that freeze well is fabulous! This recipe does just that, so hooray!
There are two ways to freeze a pot pie – baked and unbaked. I’ll provide the pros and cons of each…
The preparation for freezing a pot pie is the same at first for baked or unbaked. Prepare the filling according to the recipe instructions, then fill and assemble the pie.
If you are freezing the pie without baking: Wrap the assembled pie in a layer of aluminum foil and set the assembled pie on a flat surface in your freezer for 2-3 hours until frozen solid. Then wrap in a layer of plastic wrap and an additional layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. I label and add baking instructions to the outer level of foil. This layer and the plastic wrap will be removed from the pie before baking.
When I’m limited on cooking time or my oven is otherwise engaged, I do this. Just be sure to use a pie pan that can go from the freezer to the oven without cracking.
The downside to freezing the pie unbaked is that you have to plan ahead a little more the day you plan to eat the pie. If you’re baking straight from the freezer, you’ll have about an extra 45 minutes of cooking time. Otherwise, you need to remember to remove the pot pie from the freezer in the morning so it can thaw in the refrigerator before baking that evening.
If you are baking the pie before freezing: Let the pie cool completely after baking. Then, wrap it in foil, plastic wrap, and a second layer of foil. Place the completely cooled and wrapped pie in the freezer and use it within two months.
The “serving day” prep for a pre-baked pie is much easier. All you have to do is let the wrapped, frozen pie thaw overnight in the refrigerator, reheat, and serve!
How to reheat leftover pot pie?
Individual slices can be reheated in the microwave. You will lose the crisp crust texture, but you get to eat that much sooner.
For a texture closer to fresh-baked, heat the entire pie, or a portion, in the oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes until warmed through. If you have a toaster oven, that works like a charm. We use ours daily. Not for pot pie, obviously, but just about everything else.
Can I make individual pot pies?
Yes, you can! This recipe will make about a dozen individual pot pies. Make them using a cupcake tin. Just make sure that you have a little extra pie crust on hand since the crust to filling ratio is higher than for a 9-inch pie.
This is a great idea if you want to pack pot pies in lunchboxes or just have something individually portioned for easy reheating from the freezer.
A final recipe note…
Before you start working, I’d just like to make one request. Please don’t be like me and think, “I know all pot pies tend to spill over but this one definitely won’t.”
It will definitely set off your smoke alarm (again) and require you to give your oven a thorough cleaning. Put the pie on a cookie sheet with raised edges. Line it with foil, and there’s no need to worry about an errant drip or two.
What to serve with turkey pot pie?
Pot pie is a dish that serves as a meal on its own, so the best option is to keep sides simple. Some great options include:
I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe for Thanksgiving leftovers, darlings!
- 1 double-crust pie recipe, or 1 box of 2 rolled pie crusts
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced (see notes)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about a tablespoon)
- 4 cups turkey, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (see notes)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- 1/4 c flour
- 2 1/2 cups turkey, chicken, or vegetable broth
- 1 egg beaten with a teaspoon of water to brush the pie crust
- Preheat your oven to 425° F.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the butter to the vegetable skillet to melt. Stir in the flour and cook for an additional minute or two.
- Slowly pour in the broth, stirring constantly to keep the mixture smooth and prevent lumps from forming.
- Stir in the diced turkey and add your seasonings. Adjust as needed.
- Allow the pot pie filling to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until it thickens. Remove from the heat, transfer to a heat-proof container, and set aside to cool.
- Roll out the bottom crust and arrange in a 9-inch pie dish.
- Spoon your filling into the pie. Cover the pie with the top layer of crust. Press the edges together with a fork, or finish as desired. Cut ventilation slits in the crust.
- If using the egg wash, whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the entire top crust.
- Place the pie on your pre-heated foil-lined baking sheet with raised edges and bake for 10 minutes at 425. Then, without opening the oven door, reduce the heat to 375 and bake the pie for an additional 30 minutes until the crust is golden brown and baked through. Check the pie about halfway through the baking time. If the edges are browning too quickly, use a pie protector or a tent of aluminum foil to prevent the edges from over-browning.
- Allow the pie to rest 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.
- If you don't have any fresh vegetables on hand, use 2 cups of frozen mixed vegetables. I've done this several times.
- I like to add a little extra seasoning to the pie filling. Thyme, tarragon, and rosemary are my usual go-to spices for this, but not all at the same time. Use what you like, omit what you don't. There's flexibility here.
- Preheat your foil-lined baking sheet with your oven. Placing the pie on a hot cookie sheet will help the bottom crust cook more evenly.
- If you are freezing the pie without baking: Wrap the assembled pie in a layer of aluminum foil and set the assembled pie on a flat surface in your freezer for 2-3 hours until frozen solid. Then wrap in a layer of plastic wrap and an additional layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. I label and add baking instructions to the outer level of foil. This layer and the plastic wrap will be removed from the pie before baking.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 578Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 169mgSodium: 544mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 39g
These nutrition values are estimates. Exact values will vary depending on the ingredients, brands, and quantities used.