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Healthy Chicken Pot Pie (Dairy Free Option)

This healthy chicken pot pie recipe is packed with chicken and veggies in a creamy lightened up dairy free sauce made with chicken broth and coconut milk.  Made in one pan, its easy comfort food that you can feel good about serving to your family and pretty enough to serve to guests!

We are full swing into comfort food season around here. The cooler weather just makes you want to wrap yourself in a blanket and snuggle into the couch with a plate of some warm hearty dish like this one. Or that’s what it does to me anyways

Why We LOVE This Recipe

  • quick and easy enough for a weeknight dinner (probably not the first time you make it, but after a few tries, you can make this quick!)
  • its made in one pan so less dishes to clean!
  • its a great dinner option for guests because its pretty, easy and delicious!
  • can be made with an easy rustic crust or you can fancy up your crust if you like
  • its loaded with veggies and can be customized to suit even picky eaters in your family
  • healthy comfort food is always a win in our books
a piece of chicken pot pie on a plate

How to make Chicken Pot Pie Healthy

We are always looking for ways to make our favorite comfort food recipes healthier.  So we can eat more of them!  These are the changes we have made to a classic pot pie recipe to make it just a little bit better for you:

  • we went with a single crust on top rather than the classic double crust (which also makes it way easier)
  • we loaded it with veggies
  • the sauce is made with coconut cream and chicken broth which makes it lighter and dairy free but still really creamy

Simple changes that make a big difference!

looking into a chicken pot pie with a slice missing

Perfect Pot Pie Crust

First lets talk about the crust.  Our crust is a pretty basic pastry crust that’s super easy to pull together.  We’ve added a few little extras to add to the flavor but here are the basic ingredients:

  • flour – we use all purpose, but you can do half whole wheat too if you like
  • butter – make sure this is very cold
  • salt – flavor!
  • egg (optional) – just helps to make the crust more tender
  • vinegar – again, flavor and it helps make the crust flakey
  • water – to pull everything together.

Then there are the flavor extras I was just talking about.  All of these are optional depending on what you have or what you want yours to taste like:

  • fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano – we used these in ours
  • cheese – any kind of hard cheese works well.  I especially like cheddar or gruyere
  • seasoning like a cajun or something with spice would give this pastry crust a little kick of flavor

Pot Pie Crust Options

You can also choose to top  your chicken pot pie with something else entirely if you like.  Here are a few other options:

  • puff pastry
  • biscuits
  • dumplings
  • store bought pie crust
  • you could also use a whole wheat flour or a gluten free flour in the crust if you chose

Can I Use Store Brought Crust?

Yup, you sure can.  We suggest giving your own crust a shot, but if you are super short on time or your just not ready to take that step yet, just buy your pastry or puff pastry to cover this.

process shots of a chicken pot pie crust

How to Make the Crust:

Don’t be intimidated by making a pastry crust.  It’s so quick and easy to pull it together.   This is one part of the meal that you can and should make ahead of time.

As a heads up, it will need 30 mins to an hour to rest in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the recipe.   You can make this pastry dough up to a few days ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge till your ready to use it.

You can use a mixer for this or just use a pastry cutter and do it by hand.  It’s easy either way so I often just prefer to use a pastry cutter.  But its up to you.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. In a small bowl, add an egg and break it up with a fork.  Add the vinegar and the cold water.  Set it in the fridge or freezer for a moment.  It needs to be kept cold.  You can also add a couple ice cubes to keep it cold, but reduce the water amount slightly.
  2. In a bigger bowl or your mixer, add the flour, salt, baking powder and chopped fresh herbs.
  3. Cut the cold butter into small chunks which makes it easier to break apart and incorporate into the flour.
  4. Then add the butter to the flour mixture.  If using a pastry cutter, break up the butter and keep cutting and mixing until the butter and flour resemble small peas.  If using a mixer, pulse in your mixer till it resembles small peas.
  5. Next make a well and add the liquid.  Using a fork or your fingers, mix the liquid with the flour and butter gently slowly and mix till just combined.  If using a mixer, just pulse quickly until the dough comes together.  It its fine if it looks like a shaggy dough.  As it rests, the moisture will distribute itself.
  6. Pour out on to a surface and mold into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour. 1 hour is better.

Dairy Free Crust

While this crust is not dairy free (because butter just tastes better!) you can make the crust dairy free by swapping the butter for shortening or even lard. It will work the same way.

process shots showing a chicken pot pie being made

How to Make the Dairy Free Filling:

If you want to make and bake this recipe in the same pan, you will need a stove proof and oven proof pan.  A cast iron skillet or a ceramic braiser works great!

Another option is to cook the filling on the stove and then transfer into an oven proof casserole dish or pie dish and bake in that.  Its up to you, but we love making and baking in the same pan.  Here’s how its done:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a cast iron skillet or ceramic braiser or other stove and oven proof pan, add the oil and heat to med-high.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, and chili flakes then stir for a few mins till the onions get translucent.  Add the garlic and stir again.
  3. Add the raw chicken pieces, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them and cook for a few mins.  They won’t take long to cook.
  4. Add the chicken broth and coconut milk/cream.  Stir to combine.  Scoop out a few tablespoons of the liquid into a small bowl.  Add the cornstarch or arrowroot powder and whisk with a fork until you have a smooth mixture.  This is called a slurry.  Add your slurry back into the pan and cook till the liquid comes to a simmer and starts to thicken.
  5. Remove from the heat and add the peas and broccoli.  Don’t add your broccoli before otherwise it will just get really soggy while it bakes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.  You can adjust your spice here too if need be.  Add a little more chili flakes if you want a little kick.

TIP: if your sauce seems too thin, make another slurry with another tablespoon of cornstartch and add it back into the pot. You can do this until you are happy with the consistency.

Filling Ingredients

There are endless options for filling your chicken pot pie.  The more veggies the better, in my opinion.  We are trying to make a healthy chicken pot pie right?  Here, I’ll mention what we used in our recipe and then give some options that you might want to try.  Here is what we used:

  • onions and garlic
  • carrots
  • celery
  • broccoli
  • peas
  • chicken
  • chicken broth
  • full fat canned coconut milk
  • cornstarch to thicken (you can also use arrowroot powder)

Pro tip: You can use either full fat coconut milk/cream that comes in a can for this recipe or you can use coconut milk too, but the canned stuff will make your chicken pot pie quite a bit creamier.

Additional Filling Options

  • mushrooms
  • spinach
  • peppers
  • potatoes
  • kale
  • beans
  • curry spice
  • cajun spice

I so wish I could have added mushrooms to this chicken pot pie that I made, but my husband can’t eat them so I sacrifice my own happiness and leave them out.

I often make a side of sauteed mushrooms for myself and add them to my dinner after we dish up, but its kinda hard to do that here.   I miss the mushrooms!

Tip for Making This Recipe Easier

I always make a bunch of my perfect baked chicken breast at once, usually on the weekend, and keep it in the fridge for the week.  Then when I make salads for my lunch or dinner for my family I just have to chop it up and throw it in.

Its very handy and allows  you to make dishes like this (and many others) much quicker as one step is already done for you.

Put the Crust and the Filling Together:

  1. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge, flour a clean surface, and roll it out into the shape of your pan. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just roughly the same size with a bit extra to drape over.
  2. Fold one side of the dough into the middle and then fold the other side on top.  This makes it easy to pick up and transfer.
  3. Cover the chicken pot pie filling with the pastry dough and let the pastry cover the whole dish and come over the sides of the dish.   Cut a few vents in the crust.
  4. Beat an egg in a small bowl and brush the top of the pastry with the egg with a pastry brush.  This will give you a beautiful browned crust.  Place on a baking try to catch any drips and put it in the oven for 25 to 30 mins or till the crust is golden brown.
  5. Let the chicken pot pie rest for at least 15 mins or else  you will have chicken soup under your crust!
top down view of a chicken pot pie with a piece taken out

How to Prevent the Pie from Browning too Quickly.

  • if the edges of your pastry are browning a lot quicker than the top, just cover it loosely with foil.  This will prevent it from burning.
  • put a cookie sheet underneath the dish you bake your pie in.  There’s a good chance the filling is going to bubble out and spill over the sides.  If you don’t want the filling all over the bottom of your oven then put something underneath it to catch any drippings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is chicken pot pie fattening?

It depends what you put in it!  Typically, pot pie is made with heavy cream, loads of butter or condensed soups which increase the calories per serving. This recipe has some fat in it with the butter in the crust and coconut milk has some fat, but it has a lot less fat than a classic pot pie recipes has.

Can I make the pie crust ahead of time?

Absolutely. It will store well in the fridge for 3 days, but you can also freeze it and store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Can I make the chicken pot pie ahead of time?

Yes, store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Make sure to cover completely or the crust will dry out. Don’t add the egg wash until you are ready to bake.

How to store chicken pot pie

Cover the leftovers with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days. To reheat, for best results, add the pot pie to a oven at 300 degrees until warm. You can also use a microwave, but the pastry could get soggy.

Can you freeze this recipe?

Yup,  you can.  You can freeze it before you bake it or after, but I think before would be best.  Just make sure its fully cooled before you freeze it.

If you freeze before cooking, leave the egg wash off or your pie crust could get soggy. When you are ready to eat it, you can bake from frozen, but just add an additional 20-30 mins to the cook time.


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Other Healthy Comfort Food Recipes you Might Like:

If you’ve tried this dairy free, healthy chicken pot pie recipe with dairy free filling then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let us know how it turned out in the comments below.  We love hearing from you!

We love to see your creations!  Tag @Cookswithcocktails if you post a picture of this recipe on INSTAGRAM

Healthy Chicken Pot Pie – Lightened up and Dairy Free

This healthy chicken pot pie recipe is packed with lean chicken and veggies in a creamy lightened up dairy free sauce made with chicken broth and coconut milk. 
4.25 from 16 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Canadian
Keyword: chicken dinner, chicken pot pie, pot pie recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
pastry resting time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 415kcal
Author: Julie & Debbie

Ingredients

FOR THE FILLING

  • 2 tbsp coconut or avocado oil
  • 1 large onion , chopped
  • 3 large carrots , peeled and chopped
  • 3-4 stalks celery , diced
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme , chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3 – 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 large chicken breast cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch or 1/4 -1/2 cup flour
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth low-sodium
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cups broccoli cut into small florets
  • salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE PASTRY

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 baking powder
  • 1/2 cup grass fed butter , cold and diced (or vegetable shortening)
  • 1 egg , beaten
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 egg (reserved for the egg wash)

Instructions

MAKE THE PASTRY

  • In a small bowl, add an egg and break it up with a fork.  Add the vinegar and the cold water.  Set it in the fridge or freezer for a moment.  It needs to be kept cold.  You can also add a couple ice cubes to keep it cold, but reduce the water amount slightly.  
  • In a bigger bowl or your mixer, add the flour, salt, baking powder and chopped fresh herbs.  Cut the cold butter into small chunks which makes it easier to break apart and incorporate into the flour.
  • Then add the butter to the flour mixture. If using a pastry cutter, break up the butter and keep cutting and mixing until the butter and flour resemble small peas. If using a mixer, pulse in your mixer till it resembles small peas.
  • Make a well and add the liquid. Using a fork or your fingers, mix the liquid with the flour and butter gently slowly and mix till just combined. If using a mixer, just pulse quickly until the dough comes together. It its fine if it looks like a shaggy dough. As it rests, the moisture will distribute itself.
  • Pour out on to a surface and mold into a ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour. 1 hour is better.

MAKE THE FILLING

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
    In a large cast iron skillet or ceramic braiser or other stove and oven proof pan, add the oil and heat to med-high.  Add the onions, carrots, celery, thyme, and chili flakes then stir for a few mins till the onions get translucent.  Add the garlic and stir again. 
  • Add the raw chicken pieces, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on them and cook for a few mins.  They won’t take long to cook.  
  • Add the chicken broth and coconut milk/cream. Stir to combine. Scoop out a few tablespoons of the liquid into a small bowl. Add the cornstarch or arrowroot powder and whisk with a fork until you have a smooth mixture. This is called a slurry. Add your slurry back into the pan and cook till the liquid comes to a simmer and starts to thicken.
  • Remove from the heat and add the peas and broccoli. Don’t add your broccoli before otherwise it will just get really soggy while it bakes.  Add salt and pepper to taste. You can adjust your spice here too if need be. Add a little more chili flakes if you want a little kick.

MAKE THE POT PIE

  • Remove the pastry dough from the fridge, flour a clean surface, and roll it out into the shape of your pan. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just roughly the same size with a bit extra to drape over.
  • Fold one side of the dough into the middle and then fold the other side on top. This makes it easy to pick up and transfer.  Cover the chicken pot pie filling with the pastry dough and let the pastry cover the whole dish and come over the sides of the dish. Cut a few vents in the crust.
  • Beat an egg in a small bowl and brush the top of the pastry with the egg. This will give you a beautiful browned crust. Place on a baking try to catch any drips and put it in the oven for 25 mins or till the crust is golden brown.
  • Let the chicken pot pie rest for at least 15 mins or else you will have chicken soup under your crust! 

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 415kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 24g | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g

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12 Comments

  1. Hey there, so a few things… Thank you for using coconut milk. I was looking specifically for a recipe that uses it. I too had the same exact acne problem with dairy. In fact, just about all dairy! However, organic cheeses I can handle much better, in moderation.

    Also, love the kitty!

    1. Thanks Kim 🙂 Glad you liked the pot pie! I cant give up cheese either lol, its my weakness. I seem to tolerate it pretty well, so lucky for me!

  2. What size pie plate did you use? I have a shallow 9-inch pie plate I’m hoping to use it for, but maybe that’s too large/small.

  3. I made this tonight and was pleasantly surprised. Crusts always make me nervous and it was so gooey when I put the crust in the fridge last night. It was quite hard when I took it out today and rolled well on a floured cutting board. I used white whole wheat flour for the crust and whole wheat when I rolled it out. The crust was flakey on the edges and a little like bread on over the filling. Very yummy indeed! I used arrowroot for the thickener in the filling and felt like the more I cooked it the more liquidy it got. I thought it would thicken on cooling, but not much. This is a winning recipe I will make again!

  4. daym ladeezz ya’ll shure can cook up a meen chiken pot pie!! OI loved the way that your had us put the egg on top, as if there wasn’t enough porotein in that bad boy already, chiken chiceicnen discounted by 09 % and by the way it was totolloty vegan chiken, grass, free reengage, raced without anti piotics! Sure hit the spot after a day on the job, wife mad it for me real nice, with the crusty so smoothly and sultry like mmm hmm live this pie! Needin ta prep this far the kin folk next week at the family reunion, you guessed it its in Duram this year!

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