There are many varieties of savory British pies, and this easy chicken and leek pie is one of the classics! The cozy filling of shredded chicken and tender leeks bakes until bubbly under the shelter of a golden brown disk of buttery puff pastry.
Savory pies come in all shapes and forms with all kinds of creative and diverse fillings. Some are handheld while others are deep dish, some individual sized and others family sized. Their flavor profiles and origins can span the world, but so many of our favorites find their roots in British cuisine.
This easy chicken and leek pie is a British classic featuring white or dark meat chicken (pick your favorite or combine them), leeks, a hint of thyme, a bit of mustard, chicken broth or stock, and some cream to round it out. Store-bought puff pastry provides a crispy and flaky lid.
It's surprisingly simple to make and extremely flavorful considering the relatively short ingredient list. This easy recipe is reminiscent of one of my favorite meals I enjoyed in Derry, Northern Ireland, and I'm thrilled to share it with you all!
- Chicken: Some recipes for chicken and leek pie boil an entire chicken to then use the chicken meat and resulting broth in the pie, but I wanted to provide a faster and easier way. For this recipe you roast the boneless chicken parts and then shred the meat. Then use either store-bought or homemade chicken stock or broth. I prefer white meat so I opt for breasts or tenders. If your chicken breasts are very large you can cut them in half so they cook faster. You can also make this with chicken thighs. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly so your chicken has an internal temperature of 165°F/75°C using an instant read thermometer. Alternatively use 3 cups of shredded leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken meat.
- Cream: Cream adds, well, creaminess to the chicken and leek filling. You may use whatever type of cream you have on hand whether it's heavy or light cream, or even half-and-half. You may also adjust the amount of cream to suit your personal tastes.
- Puff Pastry: Although many packages of puff pastry come with 2 sheets, you'll only need 1 sheet for this recipe. Use the second sheet to make a half recipe of Saucijzenbroodjes (Dutch Sausage Rolls), Cheese Borek (Armenian Cheese Turnovers), Cremeschnitte (Austrian Cream Slices), or Spinach and Artichoke Puff Pastry Swirls, or make a Mango Tarte Tatin. My preferred brand is Trader Joe's, but really any all-butter puff pastry would be great in this chicken and leek puff pastry pie!
- Leeks: Leeks are alliums, which makes them members of the onion, shallot, garlic, and chive family. The edible portion of the leek is the thick white and light green stalk. First trim and discard the root, and then remove the dark green leaves. Either add them to homemade stock (the albumin in leeks will help clarify your stock by coagulating the impurities so you can easily skim them off the surface), or discard them. Next, halve the leeks lengthwise. Carefully run them under cool water to rinse off any dirt that may be trapped between the layers (but don't completely separate the layers as it's easier to slice intact). Lightly dry them, and then slice the halved leeks into half-moons.
How to make it
Arrange chicken pieces on a rimmed baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, and roast until cooked through. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Shred the chicken and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add sliced leeks and thyme, and cook until tender. Then, stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Whisk in chicken broth, cream, and mustard, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Cook until thickened and then stir in the shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper, and then set aside to cool to room temperature before assembling.
Transfer filling to a greased 1 ½ to 1 ¾ quart baking dish (such as 10 ½-by-7-inches rectangular or 8-to-8 ½ inches square).
Brush the edges of the dish with water, and lay the puff pastry over the baking dish. Gently press the edges to seal to the baking dish. Fold over any excess dough to create a tall border, then use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges.
Lightly brush beaten egg over the top, then use a sharp knife to cut 3 slits for ventilation.
Transfer the chicken and leek pie to a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the puff pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Note that the edges will brown quickly but the center will take longer to catch up.
If the edges brown too quickly, tent them with some foil and keep baking until the remaining pastry has browned. It should be golden brown all over, and you may even see a bit of filling bubble up through the vents (though not necessarily).
To serve this simple savory pie, I recommend using a very sharp knife or a serrated knife to cut/divide the puff pastry topping into 4 quarters. Then gently loosen the puff pastry from where it is stuck to the edges of the baking dish.
Carefully lift off the puff pastry quarter and set it aside, then spoon a quarter of the chicken and leek filling and transfer to a serving plate. Finally top that serving with the reserved puff pastry quarter. Repeat with the remaining servings.
This chicken and leek pie bakes for about 50 to 60 minutes which may seem like a long time, but since the raw puff pastry is laid on top of a wet filling it does take a little while for it to fully bake through and puff up. Just be patient. The results are worth it!
Although you could absolutely use a homemade dough/crust for topping this savory pie, I have opted to create a chicken and leek puff pastry pie to replicate the delectable version I enjoyed at Browns in Town in Derry, Northern Ireland. There are benefits to both, but the simplicity of puff pastry is a great bonus when making this easy pie.
Other recipes you may like
- Chicken and Mushroom Pies
- Beef and Mushroom Pies
- Easy Fish Pie
- Individual Cottage Pies
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Soupy Rice with Free-Range Chicken (Arroz Caldoso de Pollo de Corral)
- Crispy Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives, Lemon, and Fennel
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Easy Chicken and Leek Pie
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, tenders, or thighs
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large leeks, white and pale green parts only halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth or stock
- ¼ cup heavy cream, light cream, or half-and half
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain or Dijon mustard
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed if frozen (about 12 ½-by-10 ½-inches or slightly smaller)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Arrange chicken pieces on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 15 to 25 minutes (SEE NOTE BELOW), or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F/75°C when checked with an instant read thermometer. Cool the chicken enough to handle, then shred and set aside.
- In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, thyme, and a big pinch of salt and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Gradually stir in the chicken broth, cream, and mustard until smooth, and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Cook until thick, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then stir in the shredded chicken. Set aside to cool to room temperature before assembling, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer filling to a greased 1 ½ to 1 ¾ quart baking dish (such as 10 ½-by-7-inches rectangular or 8-to-8 ½ inches square). Unroll or unfold your thawed puff pastry sheet. If it’s not already the right size or dimensions, on a lightly floured work surface roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle or square just larger than your baking dish. Brush the edge of the dish with water. Lay the pastry over the baking dish and gently press the edges to seal to the baking dish. Fold over any excess dough to create a tall border. Use the tines of a fork to crimp the edges.
- Lightly brush beaten egg over the top of the pastry, then use a sharp knife to cut 3 slits as vents. Transfer the pie to a rimmed baking sheet (in case of drips) and bake at 400°F/200°C until the puff pastry is dark golden brown all over and the filling is bubbly, about 50 to 60 minutes. If the edges brown too quickly for your liking, you may carefully tent some aluminum foil over them partway through baking.
- Note on chicken cook time: Cooking time will vary depending on the size of the chicken pieces (i.e. large breasts versus small tenders). Dark meat will take longer to cook than white meat, and if you opt for bone-in chicken it will take even longer. Use an instant read thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked through rather than relying on the suggested cook time range, which is provided to give you a general idea. This is not a lot of chicken and if you have a toaster oven you can easily cook the chicken in there quite conveniently. It’s what I usually do.
- You can use 3 cups of shredded leftover rotisserie, roasted or poached chicken in this recipe instead of cooking the chicken from scratch.
- To serve this simple savory pie, I recommend using a very sharp knife or a serrated knife to cut/divide the puff pastry topping into 4 quarters. Then gently loosen the puff pastry from where it is stuck to the edges of the baking dish. Carefully lift off the puff pastry quarter and set it aside, then spoon a quarter of the chicken and leek filling and transfer to a serving plate. Finally top that serving with the reserved puff pastry quarter. Repeat with the remaining servings.
- Although you could absolutely use a homemade dough/crust for topping this savory pie, I have opted to create a chicken and leek puff pastry pie to replicate the delectable version I enjoyed at Browns in Town in Derry, Northern Ireland. There are benefits to both, but the simplicity of puff pastry is a great bonus when making this easy pie.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*