Chicken Pot Pie With Buttermilk Biscuit Topping Recipe

Fluffy drop biscuits are the simplest and fastest way to make a chicken pot pie.

Close up of a corner of a chicken pot pie with biscuit topping.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Lightly poached chicken intensifies the meatiness of the stock, while remaining juicier and more tender after baking than leftover roast chicken.
  • Cold-poaching bone-in chicken in stock, along with vegetables and aromatics, creates an even more concentrated base.
  • Gelatin adds body to the filling without the excessive richness of cream.
  • A blond roux thickens and flavors the filling.
  • Pimentos provide a splash of color and a hint of smoky sweetness.
  • Worcestershire sauce adds savory depth.
  • Tangy buttermilk drop biscuits offer contrasting texture and flavor.

I call savory meals that need a fantastic dough “secret pastries”. And the chicken pot pie is one of the most famous. Whether you fall into Team Pie or Team Biscuit, I’ve got you. This recipe for individual double-crusted chicken pot pies includes all of the detailed tips on making the filling. I use the same filling here, but top it with drop buttermilk biscuits instead.

Making Drop Biscuits

Drop biscuits are by far the faster and easier option for chicken pot pie, coming together in five minutes flat. They add an undeniable heartiness to the dish, and their fluffiness contrasts brilliantly with the creamy filling below. When they're made with tangy buttermilk, that touch of acidity cuts through the richness of the filling as well. Plus, biscuits can be dolloped over a hot filling, so the whole thing bakes in less time, too.

My drop biscuit method is dead simple: Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together with a bit of sugar. (The sugar doesn't make the biscuits sweet—it helps with browning and provides a subtle counterpoint to the salty filling.) Next, toss in some chunky cubes of butter, smash each one flat, and continue rubbing to create a coarse meal. Stir in some buttermilk, and you're done.

In this recipe, the pH, viscosity, protein composition, and complex flavor of cultured buttermilk play a vital role. With substitutes, like milk mixed with lemon juice or vinegar, the biscuits will spread more, brown less, and lose their fluffy charm. (For more information, check out these side-by-side comparisons of buttermilk substitutes in drop biscuits.) What's more, the sharp taste of acetic or citric acid from the vinegar or lemon juice will give the biscuits a harsh flavor.

Using a spoon or small scoop, dollop the biscuit dough over the filling in tablespoon-size portions. (It doesn't matter if the filling is piled into a two-quart casserole or split among several ramekins; you can divide it up however you prefer and portion the biscuit topping accordingly.)

Biscuit-topped chicken pot pie, ready to be baked.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

Transfer the dish(es) to a rimmed half sheet pan and bake at 400°F (200°C) until the filling is bubbling-hot and the biscuits are golden brown—about 45 minutes if the filling was warm when you started, and about 15 minutes longer than that if it was prepared and refrigerated in advance.

Just baked biscuit-topped chicken pot pie, baked to golden-brown perfection.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

If you value the roof of your mouth, let the pot pie rest at least 20 minutes before serving. The filling will be scalding when it comes out of the oven, so don't burn your tongue, and give that sucker a chance to cool. I promise it will still be piping-hot when you dig in.

Spooning up a steaming hot bite of just baked biscuit-topped chicken pot pie.

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik

September 2017

Recipe Facts



Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Active: About 60 mins
Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
Serves: 6 servings

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For the Chicken:

  • 2 quarts (1.9L) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 4 1/2 pounds (2kg) assorted bone-in, skin-on chicken legs, thighs, and breasts

  • 1 large onion, diced (about 8 ounces; 2 cups; 225g)

  • 2 large carrots, diced (about 8 ounces; 1 1/3 cups; 225g)

  • 2 large celery ribs, diced (about 5 ounces; 3/4 cup; 140g)

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 sprigs thyme

  • 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley

  • 1 sprig rosemary

  • 1 bay leaf

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 ounce gelatin (4 1/2 teaspoons; 15g)

  • 1/4 cup (55ml) reserved chicken stock, cooled

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter (8 tablespoons; 115g)

  • 4 ounces all-purpose flour (1 cup minus 1 tablespoon; 115g)

  • 1 medium onion, diced (about 7 ounces; 1 2/3 cups; 200g)

  • 1 large carrot, diced (4 ounces; 3/4 cup; 115g)

  • 1 large celery rib, diced (4 ounces; 3/4 cup; 115g)

  • 1/2 cup (115ml) dry white wine

  • 1 quart (900ml) reserved chicken stock

  • 5 ounces frozen peas (1 heaping cup; 140g)

  • 3 ounces drained and diced pimento peppers (1/2 cup; 85g), or more to taste (see notes)

  • 1 3/4 teaspoons (7g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight

  • 1/4 ounce fresh thyme leaves (about 1 teaspoon; 7g)

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7ml) Worcestershire sauce

  • 28 ounces poached chicken, from above (4 cups, shredded; 795g), or more to taste

For the Biscuit Topping:

  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal (about 2 cups, spooned; 250g)

  • 1 ounce sugar (about 2 tablespoons; 30g)

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight

  • 8 ounces cold unsalted butter (16 tablespoons; 230g), cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 8 ounces cultured lowfat buttermilk or kefir (about 1 cup; 225g), straight from the fridge


  1. For the Chicken: Combine chicken stock, chicken parts, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and bay leaf in a 5-quart stainless steel pot or saucier. Cover and place over medium-high heat until stock registers about 150°F (66°C) on a digital thermometer.

  2. Adjust heat to maintain that temperature, plus or minus 10°F (5-6°C), and cook until thickest part of chicken registers 135°F (57°C), about 1 hour. Remove chicken with tongs, set aside on a rimmed platter, and cover loosely. Strain stock through a mesh sieve into a large bowl, discard solids, and set stock aside to cool.

    A collage: combining chicken, aromatic vegetables and poaching liquid, bringing to a boil and straining the liquid to a large bowl.
  3. For the Filling: Combine gelatin and 1/4 cup (55ml) cooled stock in a small bowl and whisk until no lumps remain; set aside. In a 5-quart saucier, melt butter over medium-low heat, then whisk in flour. Stir with a heat-resistant spatula until roux is fragrant and a nutty blond color, about 5 minutes (it's okay to adjust the heat if this seems to be happening too slowly). Stir in diced onion, carrots, and celery and continue cooking and stirring until vegetables are slightly softened, about 7 minutes more.

    Making a light blond roux with flour and butter to thicken the pot pie filling.
    A collage: adding aromatic vegetables to roux for pie filling, adding stock and simmering.
  4. Add white wine and 1 quart reserved stock, stirring constantly until smooth; remaining stock from poaching can be reserved for another use. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once it begins to bubble, remove from heat. Stir in frozen peas, diced pimentos, and prepared gelatin, followed by salt, thyme, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until gelatin has fully melted into sauce and adjust seasonings to taste.

    A collage: adding salt, pepper, thyme leaves and Worcestershire sauce in chicken pot pie filling.
  5. Shred or dice reserved chicken, discarding skin and bones, then stir into filling. If it better suits your schedule, the filling can be covered and refrigerated up to 3 days, or frozen in an airtight container for 3 months. Otherwise, divide filling between 6 individual oven-safe dishes, or add to a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish (approximately 7 by 11 inches). Place on a foil- or parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.

    A collage: adding frozen peas, pigmentos, gelatin and shredded chicken into the filling for chicken pot pie.
  6. For Biscuit Topping: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and toss to break up the pieces, then smash each one flat between your fingertips. Continue smashing and rubbing until butter is broken up into small pieces, like cereal flakes. Stir in buttermilk with a flexible spatula, then drop the thick dough in 1-tablespoon portions over prepared filling.

    A collage: combining butter and flour to make biscuit topping for pot pie.
    Scooping biscuit topping on top of chicken pot pie filling.
  7. Bake until biscuits are golden brown and filling is bubbling-hot, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on whether filling has been chilled. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the filling to thicken and reach a safe temperature to enjoy. Covered in foil, leftovers can be refrigerated up to 3 days and reheated to serve.

Special Equipment

5-quart stainless steel pot, digital thermometer, whisk, fine-mesh strainer, flexible spatula, half sheet pans, 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish or six 2-cup baking dishes or other large, oven-safe dishes


If you can't find them alongside jars of pickles and olives at the store, look for pimento peppers at the supermarket salad bar.

Make Ahead and Storage

Filling can be covered and refrigerated up to 3 days, or frozen in an airtight container for 3 months. Covered in foil, leftovers can be refrigerated up to 3 days and reheated to serve.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1014 Calories
54g Fat
71g Carbs
56g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 1014
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 54g 69%
Saturated Fat 31g 154%
Cholesterol 241mg 80%
Sodium 1562mg 68%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 14g
Protein 56g
Vitamin C 21mg 104%
Calcium 270mg 21%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 900mg 19%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)