Toaster Oven Frozen Pot Pie Challenge

3 plates with cooked pot pies

Years ago we showed you how to use a convection toaster oven. Since then, we’ve all been having fun baking up the best cookies, roasting vegetables, and devouring batches of crispy fries.

One of the most popular requests in the comments on that post is for frozen pot pie tips. Since Tim and I don’t eat meat we haven’t had much to offer on the topic.

Well, that was until I ran across Amy’s Vegetable Pot Pies at our grocery store. They’re frozen, vegetarian and even include toaster oven cooking instructions* on the box!

(*If you’re curious why some frozen foods advise you not to cook them in a toaster oven check out these Frozen Meal Cooking Tips.)

Excitedly, I tossed a bunch in the shopping cart and headed for the checkout.

Frozen Pot Pie Challenge

Individual pot pie in a mini pie plate inside a small toaster oven.

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Armed with 2 toaster ovens and a mini metal pie pan, Tim and I set out to find the best way to cook frozen pot pies in a toaster oven.

In total, we cooked 5:

  • 1 in the microwave (for comparison)
  • 1 in our traditional toaster oven
  • 3 using convection in our countertop oven

We were looking for the method that produced a flaky crispy crust, a saucy filling that flowed smoothly and (for you Great British Bake Off fans) no soggy bottom!

First Photo: A frozen pot pie in a mini pie pan. Second Photo: A hand holding a thermometer into a cooked pot pie.

Some cooking methods worked better than others and one was just flat-out gross. Today we’re sharing the good. The messy. And the occasionally inedible results.

Don’t worry, we used our favorite instant-read thermometer to verify all of the pot pies had reached a safe internal temperature before taste-testing them.

Here’s a handy temperature guide in case you need it for your own pot pie adventures.

Okay, let’s get this challenge started!

Hand brushing melted butter on a pot pie with a mini silicone brush.

The box directions for toaster oven cooking were as follows:

  • Remove the plastic wrapping and paper bowl.
  • Transfer pot pie to an oven-safe dish.
  • Follow the conventional oven directions of 350°F for 50 to 55 minutes.

We also used their directions for glazing the pie by brushing each pie with melted butter or milk and honey after 20 minutes of cooking. FYI: The butter worked best.

On the first day, we tried 3 different cooking methods.

Fork holding a piece of pot pie over a blue plate.

Method: Conventional Toaster Oven

The Results: The top crust was nice and crispy. The bottom crust was dry, not soggy but not very crispy either. The edges where we’d been a little heavy-handed with the butter glaze were super crunchy (in a good way), while the filling was juicy and the vegetables tasted great. The sauce flowed well and covered all of the ingredients.

Hand holding forkful of food over blue plate.

Method: Convection Toaster Oven

The Results: The top crust was flaky and nicely browned. Both of us liked the crunchy edges. The biggest surprise was the bottom, it was dry and crisped. The creamy sauce was smooth and not too thick while the tofu and vegetables were warm and cooked through but not dry, tough, or mushy.

Scooped forkful of a pot pie over a tan plate.

Method: Microwaved

  • Bakeware: Paper bowl included in the package.
  • Total Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Quick Note: I accidentally grabbed a broccoli and cheese pot pie so the sauce looks a little different than the others.

The Results: Terrible. The crust was gummy and chewy while also dry in some parts. The vegetables were very mushy. Some of the sauce spilled out onto the pan, what was left inside the pie was thick.

Microwave vs. Toaster Ovens
3 photos of pot pies on plates with the words "microwave" "traditional to" and "convection"

I think the pictures say it all.

Conventional Toaster Oven vs. ConvectionTwo blue plates with individual pot pies with the text "conventional" and "convection"

Both pot pie fillings tasted identical. The only noticeable difference was in the crust.

The pie cooked with convection had:

  • more browning
  • a lighter, flakier, crisper top and bottom crust
  • drier bottom crust

With more pot pies in the freezer, we decided to try a few other ideas using the convection setting.

The secret to cooking with convection is to let the warm air circulate around the food. So we thought the frozen pies might cook even better if we didn’t use the pan and cooked it on a rack instead.

Pot pie leaking sauce on a black rack in a silver pan

Method: Convection On Rack

  • Temperature: 325°F
  • Total Cook Time: Doesn’t matter – it’s not a good method.

The Results: The crust was looking great but about 2/3 of the way through the cooking time our pie sprung a leak. When I flipped it over, you could see the bottom crust had defrosted and softened during baking. Without the support of a pan, it just fell apart.

Since that was a bust, I wanted to see what would happen if all you had to cook the pot pie with was a small baking sheet.

Frozen vegetarian pot pie on a small baking sheet.

Method: Convection on Baking Sheet

  • Temperature: 325°F
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes

The Results: Because the pie was directly on the pan it cooked faster than any of the other pies (well, except the gross microwave one). After the rack collapse, I was a little worried the pie might leak or fall apart but it stayed intact just fine. The top crust and filling looked and tasted like the one cooked in the pie pan. The only noticeable difference was the bottom which was nicely browned.

First Photo: Pot pie with fork on a blue plate. Second Photo: Browned bottom of pot pie on plate.

This ended up being our favorite pot pie out of the 5. I’m not sure this would work for every kind of frozen personal pot pie but I’d definitely try it again.

5 Takeaways

  1. Frozen pot pies do not belong in the microwave, ever.
  2. The convection cooked pies tasted the best but I’d happily eat one baked in a regular (non-convection) toaster oven too.
  3. You should reduce the temperature by 25 degrees if you’re cooking frozen food with convection.
  4. Instant-read thermometers are awesome and help you avoid accidentally giving yourself food poisoning.
  5. Check on your pot pie early, all of the pies we baked were ready at least 5 minutes (sometimes up to 15 minutes) earlier than the shortest baking time listed on the package.

2 Comments

    1. I think you’ll really like how the crust turns out. btw I was on the Amy’s website looking something up and saw they’re coming out with a Homestyle Pot Pie too!

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