Savory Chicken Pocket Pies

Makes 10 Pocket Pies
One of the kids came home from school one day asking for Hot Pockets, saying he’d eaten them at a friend’s house. A supermarket freezer item, Hot Pockets come two in a box, and one boy could easily gobble up two boxes in one sitting. They are processed, laden with preservatives, and expensive, and I loathe them. Still, their utility is undeniable. So I decided to re-create a similarly attractive homemade version—something the kids could quickly heat up by themselves and snack on. The idea was to replicate the convenience, but use the best ingredients according to the boys’ specifications. I came up with a spinach version and a chicken one. For younger children, bake the pockets first, then cool and freeze (Step 5) so they can simply be heated up in the microwave. For older boys, freeze the pockets unbaked (Step 4); the boys can bake the pockets themselves, straight out of the freezer into the oven.


  • 1 3-pound chicken (to get 1 heaping cup of shredded meat; you can freeze remainder for other recipes)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery (1 large stalk)
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrot (1 carrot)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (from the reduced poaching liquid)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cream Cheese Pastry Dough
  • 1 large egg, for egg wash


  1. Place the chicken in a pot and add water to barely cover. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 50 minutes. Skim and discard any foam as it rises on the surface. Remove the chicken to cool continue to boil the broth to reduce and concentrate to about 1 quart. Remove the meat from the chicken and shred.
  2. To make the filling, melt the butter in a medium-sized hot skillet and add the onion, celery, and carrot. Saute over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the salt and flour and cook for 1 minute more. Add the chicken broth and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 heaping cup shredded chicken and the Parmesan cheese. Cool in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter or line a baking sheet.
  4. To form the pocket pies, work with half of a disk of dough at a time, rolling it out on a floured surface. Using an overturned bowl (about 5 inches across), cut out circles about 3 at a time from each piece of dough. After cutting out all your circles, gather all dough scraps, reroll, and cut out a final time. Place 1/4 cup filling on one side of a dough circle. Wet the edges of the dough with the water. Fold the dough over to form a half circle. Pinch the edge of the dough together. Crimp the edge with a fork. Repeat the process until all the filling is used. The pocket pies can be frozen at this point.
  5. Place the pocket pies on the prepared baking sheet and chill for a few minutes. Prick each pie on top twice with a fork. When ready to bake, beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the egg wash over each pocket pie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. The pies can be cooled and frozen to reheat in the microwave.
cook's note
Chicken Shortcut: You can also use leftover shredded chicken (see page 78) and store-bought broth. Then you can start at Step 2.

Freezing and Baking Pocket Pies: Place freshly prepared pies in a single layer on a baking sheet and put in the freezer. Once they are frozen solid, they can be stacked together in a resealable bag or wrapped in plastic for easy storage. To bake from frozen, place on a baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and bake according to the recipe but for a few minutes longer.
Need help with the ingredients? Check our pantry list: