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Lighter Chicken Potpie

A handful of tweaks turn this comfort food into a smarter choice: white-meat chicken (not dark), extra veggies, low-fat milk in the filling, and a lighter crust. Brushing the phyllo with just a small amount of oil instead of butter makes it just as tasty.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Lighter Chicken Potpie

Photography: José Manuel Picayo Rivera

Source: Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast, 2010


  • 2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (12 to 14 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat (1%) milk
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 phyllo sheets (each 12 by 17 inches), thawed


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly; discard skin and bones. Shred meat, and set aside.

  2. While chicken is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add carrots, onion, and thyme; season with salt and pepper, and cook until carrots are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer and thickens.

  3. Remove from heat; stir in peas, lemon juice, and chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Pour filling into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.

  4. Stack phyllo on a work surface. Using a paring knife, cut out an 11-inch circle from the stack; discard trimmings. Stack 2 circles on work surface, and brush gently with 1 teaspoon oil; repeat with remaining circles and oil. Place phyllo stack over filling, and press down about 1/2 inch from the edge so phyllo fits inside rim of pie plate. Bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Let potpie cool 15 minutes before serving.

Reviews (50)

  • Cindy Beck Weller 17 Aug, 2015

    It would be helpful to have calories listed for items classified as "skinny" for those of us mindful and counting.

  • ezadorah 2 Mar, 2015

    The ingredents listed in the recipe and the video are different!

  • customersupport 2 Mar, 2015

    Oops. Good catch. The video should be linked to this recipe: Sorry for the confusion!

  • carolebruce 13 Jan, 2014

    Made it for supper tonight - EXCELLENT!!! And easy!! Going to make single servings of this on the weekend! Perfect for winter weather!

  • srprael 25 Oct, 2013

    Great pot pie, with peas halved, diced potatoes and seasonings added! But. . .phyllo is loaded with butter; doesn't this defeat the purpose of this being a light recipe?!?

  • catherinepotvin1 2 Apr, 2013

    This recipe is interesting because of the low fat bechamel sauce, made with olive oil instead of butter. I personally think that 10 oz. (300 g) of peas is way to much... I reduced this by half and added small potato cubes. I added more flavor with 1 garlic clove and the juice from the chicken... Bon appé[filtered word]!

  • toripoet 23 Aug, 2012

    This was pretty good, but a little bland. I used skim milk and a mix of veggies (peas, a little corn, and green beans) and one sheet less phyllo. I used nonstick spray on the phyllo and cut down on the oil to save calories, and added more salt, pepper, & thyme to the roux. The portion sizes are quite generous and filling, and my portions came out to about 330 calories per serving. I'd make this again, but perhaps try more herbs or hot sauce in the roux.

  • abby22 29 Sep, 2011

    This recipe is really good. I have tweaked it by seasoning the chicken with oregano and parsley and grilling the chicken breasts. Then I don't put as many peas in as the recipe calls for. When I cooked it for a church dinner everyone loved it and the dish was gone before I could even get some to eat.

  • kiky22 25 Dec, 2010

    I added small potatoes and celery and used fat free milk. I added Italian blend Mrs Dash and lemon rind. The elders at church who are addamant about what Pot Pie should be ASKED for the recipe!

  • IvyandOats 28 Jun, 2010

    My first attempt at making a pot pie- and it worked out really well! I did tweek the recipe a bit, with tasty results; I used 3 lean, white chicken breasts that I rubbed with garlic pepper, roasted garlic (about 4 cloves) and I added 3 tablespoons of chicken stock powder to the flour (some reviewers said the original recipe was too bland). Used fresh carrots, but had to use canned peas (big mistake, fresh or frozen would have been better). Hearty meal!

  • smarrja 10 Feb, 2010

    This recipe is good. I like the leanest portions of chicken so I used chicken breast cutlets that I added Italian spices to. Came out yummy. Brushed the phyllo with a bit of melted butter before baking. Yummy!

  • heather416905 6 Jan, 2010

    Has anyone tried this recipe using salmon?

  • cedervale 5 Jan, 2010

    Thanks for the nutritional information, it helps so much.

  • dotti17 22 Mar, 2009

    I only use about half the peas. Also, to make it even easier, I use a rectangular baking dish the same size as the phyllo sheets so I don't have to trim it. Here is the nutritional information from Everyday Food Magazine Issue #46: per serving: 507 calories; 16.9 g fat (3.8 g sat fat); 39.4 g protein; 48.5 g carb; 6.3 g fiber.

  • kbaxter 29 Jan, 2009

    This was fantastic. I used half of a lturkey breast that I had leftover instead of chicken, and it was great. I also substituted frozen peas and carrots for the fresh carrots. I got a box with about 20 sheets of fillo dough for $4.00 at the supermarket in the forzen desserts case.

  • shelleyj 27 Dec, 2008

    instead of discarding phyllo trimmings, cut up and spray with butter flavored cooking spray and sprinkle on cinnamon and a little sugar...bake till golden brown and you have a yummy desert....
    phyllo is not to bad in you get a good amount of sheets in the box....

  • karaparadiso 20 Oct, 2008

    Really good! Instead of peas, I used frozen corn and green beans that I already had stored in the freezer. The phyllo sheets weren't hard to manage (it was my first time using them) and the entire dish was very tasty and filling yet not heavy at all.

  • shygal55 15 Oct, 2008

    I'm worried about the phyllo sheets - how much they are at the supermarket.
    I hope they're not too expensive. :-|

  • shygal55 15 Oct, 2008

    I'm worried about the phyllo sheets - how much they are at the supermarket.
    I hope they're not too expensive. :-|

  • shygal55 15 Oct, 2008

    I'm worried about the phyllo sheets - how much they are at the supermarket.
    I hope they're not too expensive. :-|

  • Lyddysue 15 Oct, 2008

    With any recipe--especially one that claims to "lighten up"--there needs to be the nutritional print-out. I won't try this until I can see the calorie count, fat, fiber, etc.

  • AlixNYC 28 Jul, 2008

    This is one of my favorite recipes from Martha, and although I agree the exact recipe is a bit bland, you have to taste and season accordingly with ANY recipe. I suggest adding some chicken boullion cubes or chicken stock, then reduce. I also leave out the thyme because it adds a dimensional flavor not liked by my family. You have to experiment with this one but it's a crowd pleaser and so simple to make. I just love it!

  • wwalz 16 Jul, 2008

    I agree that the taste was rather bland and the recipe called for far too many frozen peas!!! Next time I would definitely tweak the recipe with additional spices or add a cheese which would definitely defeat the healthy approach-- but add some flavor!!!

  • Bridgette878 5 Jun, 2008

    I don't like to complain about recipes, but this was really bland. I even took some suggestions from below and still not much flavor. I was disappointed.

  • oshasgirl 28 Apr, 2008

    This was okay,not great. It was a little bland. Next time I will try to add more seasoning. All in all not bad.

  • CarolineS 26 Apr, 2008

    I love this recipe! I actually use a frozen vegetable mix (Trader Joe's has a very fresh tasting one) instead of cutting up all the vegetables (I use 2 smaller bags). For the flour, I use King Arthur's white whole wheat flour (and my husband has no idea!) Then instead of a pie dish, I use a 9 x 13 casserole dish (which the 2 smaller bags of vegetables fill up) and put puff pastry (instead of phyllo dough) on top! We really like it!

  • Guusje 15 Apr, 2008

    Wow, I will be making this more often. I made it with ground trukey and added mushrooms. It was a big hit in our house!!!

  • hartigan 10 Apr, 2008

    Great and easy dish. Even my husband who didn't think he liked pot pie enjoyed it. I love having a lighter version of a comfort food classic!

  • lisahurwitch 7 Apr, 2008

    Easy and delicious! I've made this a few times and have added corn and reduced the mily to only 2 cups. Let it sit for the 15 minutes as suggested and it will thicken up nicely!

  • amystaks 2 Apr, 2008

    I loved the phyllo crust. My only complaint would be the lack of texture in the filling. Next time I'll either add some diced potatoes or mushrooms. The addition of fresh lemon juice gave this dish a really nice flavor.

  • patv 4 Mar, 2008

    This was so easy to make and delicious! Instead of onions I used shallots and when I added the peas, lemon juice and chicken I added sauteed mushrooms. Instead of phyllo I covered it with a puff pastry. Yum, Yum.

  • ShannonCarollo 26 Feb, 2008

    I was disappointed in the lack of flavor. It looked pretty and was simple to make. I wouldn't make it again.

  • ginika 25 Feb, 2008

    I loved this recipe and was even better for leftovers. Will definitely make again and maybe vary the recipe a bit and add celery.

  • dhw1115 18 Feb, 2008

    Loved the recipe! I even used nonfat milk which didn't seem to take away from the flavor.
    I like the idea of adding extra layers of phyllo--to make it a little more substantial.
    Great for a week night meal!

  • aspiringcook 2 Feb, 2008

    cooked this for dinner . Tasted great and it's healthy too...thanks

  • dhilly 29 Jan, 2008

    Have made this several times and we love it. I add a couple of stalks of celery but otherwise follow the recipe.

  • azarvand 24 Jan, 2008

    i've made this a couple of times, but I made a regular double pie crust- which of course doesn't make it "lighter", but it's oh so yummy! Great easy recipe.

  • jacksmom214 9 Jan, 2008

    I made this last night and everyone liked it. I used leftover turkey from Christmas that I froze which cut down on the considerably. I did not add salt as I rarely do while cooking, and I didn't add lemon as I didn't think it would need it. Will definitely make this again.

  • mmsrjs 9 Jan, 2008


  • stajh1 3 Jan, 2008

    did not like it at all. The best part was the phyllo dough. Found the chicken plain unless you pile on the sodium.

  • nkw 30 Dec, 2007

    Well, we thought this was an excellent and light recipe. If one is watching sodium intake, don't add salt! Moreover, the only fat in the recipe is in the 1% milk and the chicken, which has been skinned; I wouldn't worry about it. We added mushrooms and a few red pepper flakes, along with 12 layers of whole wheat phyllo dough (to beef it up a little) and now it is one of our standard meals. Very light and yet quite robust. The thyme is key and the onions just soak up the flavors.

  • jmisner 17 Dec, 2007

    A lighter recipe is great, but it doesn't help someone watching fat content or sodium content if there's no nutritional information.

  • carrievision 13 Dec, 2007

    This was a good and easy recipe. The filling is delicious, but the crust disappointing because it's very light and crispy, and there's very little of it in comparison to the filling. Obviously that's to save the calories, but I think that the crust is a major reason to eat pot pie :)

  • ajsevall 29 Nov, 2007

    This is a great lighter version of the recipe - we cut the amount of peas in half because we don't like the taste as much and we added some sliced mushrooms. Tasty stuff!

  • ninadelsol 11 Nov, 2007

    This sounds so good and WAY lighter than my mom's heavy cream and lots of butter recipe!

  • MWetzel 8 Nov, 2007

    Good stuff. I used mixed veggies including broccoli cause I really like veggies. I also doubled it and we had meals for the entire weekend. Good for football season! GO CHARGERS!

  • Nphin 7 Nov, 2007

    Sounds great but where can I find the actual nutritional information
    calories ,fat, sodium

  • katybug84 6 Nov, 2007

    Made it last night and my husband loved it! It was my first time making a potpie, and I could tell as it was all coming together how good it would be. Will definitely be making this again.

  • spoor 6 Nov, 2007

    I generally distrust reduced fat recipes, but this one really works--very satisfying and the lemon juice brightens up the flavor quite a bit.

  • Yorkie7 3 Nov, 2007

    Very good recipe, easy and delicious!! Love the phyllo. Made it twice already. Even made the recipe into 2 servings each and froze one for later.

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