How do you thicken a pot pie filling?

Pot pies are a staple of comfort food, beloved for their flaky crusts and hearty fillings. However, achieving the perfect consistency for your pot pie filling can be a challenge. A filling that’s too runny can lead to a soggy crust, while one that’s too thick might not provide the creamy texture that makes pot pies so delicious. In this article, we’ll explore various methods to thicken your pot pie filling, ensuring your next dish is as perfect as it can be.

thicken pot pie filling

Understanding Pot Pie Fillings

The key to a great pot pie lies in its filling. Typically, a mixture of chicken, vegetables, and a savory gravy, the filling should be thick enough to hold its shape when cut, but not so thick that it becomes gelatinous. The most common issues leading to a runny filling include:

  • Overfilling the pie, which prevents the filling from thickening properly.
  • Not using the right thickening agent or technique.
  • Incorrect oven temperature, which can affect how the filling sets.

For a basic pot pie filling, you’ll need:

  • Chicken: 2 cups, cooked and diced
  • Mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn): 1 cup
  • Chicken broth: 1 cup
  • Heavy cream or milk: 1/2 cup
  • Thickening agents (flour/cornstarch): 2-4 tablespoons

For more insights on creating the perfect crust for your pot pie, consider reading about what the crust on a pot pie is made of, which complements the filling perfectly.

Traditional Thickening Methods

There are several tried-and-true methods for thickening pot pie fillings:

  • Using Flour: A roux made from butter and flour is a classic thickener.
  • Cornstarch Slurry: Mixing cornstarch with cold water before adding it to your filling can thicken it without altering the flavor.
  • Roux with Fat and Flour: A mixture of equal parts fat (like butter or oil) and flour cooked together until golden, then mixed into the filling.

Alternative Thickening Agents

If you’re looking for alternatives to the traditional flour or cornstarch, consider these options:

  • Mashed Potatoes: A few tablespoons of mashed potatoes can thicken your filling and add a subtle flavor.
  • Egg Yolks: Whisk an egg yolk and slowly incorporate it into the filling for a rich, creamy texture.
  • Arrowroot and Tapioca Flour: For a gluten-free option, arrowroot or tapioca flour can be used in the same way as cornstarch.

Understanding the base of your pot pie gravy is crucial. Learn more about what pot pie gravy is made of to better grasp how these thickeners integrate into your recipe.

How to Thicken Without Common Ingredients

Sometimes, you might find yourself without traditional thickening agents. Here are some alternatives:

  • Without Flour: Use cornstarch, arrowroot, or tapioca flour to achieve a similar thickening effect.
  • Without Cornstarch: A flour-based roux or potato starch can work well.
  • Without Cream Soups: Heavy cream, half-and-half, or a homemade roux can provide the needed thickness.


  • Why is my pot pie filling runny? This could be due to overfilling, insufficient thickening, or incorrect oven temperature.
  • Can I thicken pot pie filling without flour or cornstarch? Yes, alternatives like mashed potatoes, egg yolks, or gluten-free flours can be effective.
  • How can I ensure my pot pie filling thickens properly? Use the right proportion of thickening agent and allow the filling to simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.


Thickening your pot pie filling is crucial for achieving the perfect balance of flavor and texture. Whether you prefer traditional methods like a flour roux or are looking for alternative thickening agents, there are plenty of options to ensure your pot pie is delicious and satisfying. Remember, the key to a great pot pie filling is patience and precision, allowing the filling to thicken at the right temperature and with the right ingredients.

By exploring different thickening techniques and ingredients, you can master the art of the perfect pot pie filling, making your next dish a comforting and flavorful delight. For further reading, discover the differences between a meat pie and a pot pie, which can provide additional context and ideas for your culinary creations at what’s the difference between a meat pie and a pot pie.

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