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Taste Test: The Best Potpies

We taste-tested dozens of ready-made potpies from the grocery store freezer aisle and online to find our favorites.
pot pies

OVERALL FAVORITE
Stouffer's White Meat Chicken Pot Pie
This potpie -- by far the best of the 11 chicken pies we tried -- has been a top seller since Stouffer's debuted it in the late 1950s. The gravy is made with real cream, the crust is buttery and flaky and, as one tester pointed out, the large pieces of chicken "actually look and taste like chicken." ($3.50 for a 16-ounce pie, available at grocery stores)

BEST BEEF
Swanson Beef Pot Pie
To paraphrase Stephen Baldwin's famous movie line, chicken potpie is like pizza: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. Not so with beef potpie. This one stood out as the lone tasty beef pie we sampled: It has a beefy aroma, a sturdy crust, thick gravy and big chunks of meat. ($1 for a 7-ounce pie, available at grocery stores)

BEST SEAFOOD
Flanders Fish Market & Restaurant Lobster Pot Pie
"It's a one-way trip to Cape Cod," one panelist said. Actually, the pie hails from East Lyme, Connecticut. It's packed with huge pieces of lobster, and the misshapen herb-flecked crust is homespun, leading one judge to say, "It looks like my kid made the crust." The mail-order pie isn't cheap -- but then, real lobster never is. ($16 for a 12-ounce pie, flandersfish.com)

BEST VEGETARIAN
The Cleaver Co. Organic Mushroom Pot Pie
Creating a tasty meatless potpie is a tall order, but this New York-based catering company succeeds. The rich, earthy flavor comes from roasted shallots, farm-fresh vegetables and loads of shiitake and button mushrooms. One panelist fell for it before the first bite, saying it "smells delicious, like coq au vin." ($40 for four 16-ounce pies, cleaverco.com)

BEST BITE FOR YOUR BUCK
Marie Callender's Chicken Pot Pie
Quality isn't sacrificed in this affordable freezer-section classic -- the crust is deliciously biscuity, the filling is thick (not soupy) and there are tons of chicken and veggies. One panelist gushed, "It's Thanksgiving-dinner good." ($3.50 for a 16.5-ounce pie, available at grocery stores)

BEST FOR FEEDING THE WHOLE FAMILY
Twin Hens Chicken Pot Pie
This Princeton, New Jersey, pie is the size of a birthday cake and just as tasty. One tester suggested serving it at a dinner party: "You could convince folks you did this yourself." Packed with chunks of dark and white meat, the filling tastes like "thick cream of chicken soup." ($32 for a 40-ounce pie, twinhens.com)

Prices and other details were accurate when we published this article in November 2006.

 

 

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