I Tried Every Frozen Pot Pie That Marie Callender’s Makes — And the Winner Tastes Better than Homemade

published Feb 19, 2024
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Marie Callender's Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie
Credit: Ivy Manning

As a professional recipe developer and cookbook author, I have zero problems spending all day in the kitchen cooking multistep recipes from scratch. But just like any professional, I don’t always enjoy spending time in my kitchen/office when I’m off the clock. You don’t find dentists at home doing root canals, no matter how much they love their work. 

When I’m craving comfort, the last thing I want to do is get out the rolling pin and plan on finally eating after three hours of work. When I need comfort food, I want it right now not hours from now. 

For this reason, I do sometimes reach for a freezer find. My standards are very high, so when I find something that is as almost as good as I could make it, I am pretty excited.

I’ve been a fan of Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies for 30 or so years. They’re microwaveable, and the crusts are remarkably good with a crisp golden quality that’s pretty amazing for a pie that hasn’t seen an oven. Then there are the big chunks of chicken breast that are meaty and tender — mandatory details for a great pot pie recipe

Over the years, I’ve tried every new pot pie as they hit shelves and while they’re all good, I have arrived at a firm favorite: Marie Callender’s Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie. It’s a pie that tastes so much like something I’d make, I’m truly smitten. 

Credit: Ivy Manning

The Best Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie: Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie

The Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie has the same delicious golden crust and same big chunks of white meat chicken as the other chicken and turkey pies, but with additions that make it slightly more upscale and sophisticated. The first thing I noticed was the addition of sliced portobello mushrooms, which add an earthy flavor and chew that pairs beautifully with the creamy sauce. 

Speaking of the sauce, I noted something beyond cream in the sauce. Upon reading the ingredients label, I was surprised to see white wine in the ingredients list. White wine in a pot pie? Yup, it’s actually a pro move. Years ago, in French culinary school, I learned that the acidity of wine balances the flavors in a veloute (roux and broth-based sauce) like this one. Color me impressed. The flavor is subtle, but it gives the sauce depth.

Credit: Ivy Manning

In the past I’ve not loved one thing about most of the MC pot pies: the presence of peas. It’s even made me write to the brand, asking for a pea-ectomy of at least one of the pies in the line. An exercise in futility? Well, maybe my letters didn’t go unnoticed after all. This pot pie has plenty of green — but in the form of tender green beans. 

The original version of this pie included broccoli, but I’m here for the green bean swap. They have a nice chew and fresh flavor that are greatly appreciated over here in the anti-pea camp. The other veg in the filling — tiny cubes of carrots — has been upgraded too. This pie has slivered carrots, which give the filling a more rustic, homemade feel; it’s a nice touch.

Will I still make homemade chicken pot pie? Eh, maybe once in a while, but I’ll definitely be taking some pointers from the creators of Marie Callender’s Creamy Mushroom Pot Pie. More likely, I’ll just reach for this pie when one of my cravings strikes. 

Buy: Marie Callender’s Creamy Mushroom Chicken Pot Pie, $3.79 for 15 ounces

Do you have a favorite frozen pot pie? Tell us in the comments below.