These curried chicken pies are a family favourite that I've been making for as long as I can remember, and they never fail in the flavour department! They are made from crispy and flaky homemade pastry, wrapped around tender pieces of tasty curry-flavoured chicken and vegetables before they are baked in the oven until golden!
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Easy curried chicken pies
I've got to say that these chicken pies are one of my favourite things to bake. Not only do they have an amazing flavour, but they are so easy to make too.
The filling is made with chicken breasts which are cut into small chunks - the smaller the better actually, so that the filling fits easily into the pies. The pieces of chicken are combined with a mixture of carrots and onions which have been sauteed with curry spices before being baked in a delicious homemade pastry crust.
These pies can be eaten either hot or cold which makes them perfect for an al fresco summer lunch in the garden or for packing into a picnic basket or lunchbox. They also make a delicious easy supper when served alongside steamed vegetables or a fresh green salad.
The pastry is soft and buttery, with a flaky texture that goes so well with the chicken. If you don't want to make your own pastry, you can use store-bought shortcrust or even puff pastry, but I would thoroughly recommend you try my pastry recipe. It only takes a few minutes to mix together and it is totally worth the few minutes of effort.
You will need half an hour for the pastry to rest once you have mixed it. The filling will also need half an hour to cool down before you can use it in the pies (otherwise it will melt the pastry). So do remember to factor this extra time into your schedule if you decide to make these pies. The filling itself only takes half an hour to fry up, so you can make the filling while the pastry is resting.
I normally make a double-batch and freeze them so I've always got a quick and easy meal in the freezer!
Here's how to make these curried chicken pies:
What you will need
A large bowl for making the pastry. I like this earthenware bowl because you can get your hands in easily, and it is large enough to allow you to mix a double batch of pastry.
You will also need a rolling pin for rolling out the pastry. Of course, if you've bought the pastry from the supermarket you won't need the rolling pin! I absolutely love my marble rolling pin - I must have had it for over 30 years now and it's still as good as the day I bought it!
To cut out the pastry for the pies I used a 5-inch diameter dish and just cut around it with the back of a knife.
For baking the pies you will need one or two baking trays and some baking parchment. Baking parchment stops the pies from sticking to the baking tray, and also acts to catch any gravy that may spill out of the pies during baking. If you don't have baking parchment you can simply brush the baking tray lightly with oil.
For the filling, you will need a large frying pan, preferably with a lid so that you can allow the vegetables to steam until they are softened.
This recipe makes 10 chicken pies. In the unlikely event that you have any filling left over, you can turn it into yummy toasted sandwiches or even spoon it over rice.
**You can find the complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making these curried chicken pies on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
You can either buy 2 rolls of shortcrust or puff pastry and use that to make the chicken pies, or I would really recommend you make your own pastry.
Flour - plain all-purpose flour. Don't use self-raising flour, and you won't need to add any baking powder either.
Butter - cut into cubes to make it easy to rub into the pastry.
Salt - I like to add half a teaspoon of salt, but you can leave it out if you prefer.
Egg yolks - the egg yolks add richness to the dough. In addition to the egg yolks you will need a small beaten egg to brush onto the pies before baking them.
Water - I normally use 4 tablespoons of water with this pastry, but the actual amount of water depends on the strength and absorbency of the flour you use. Start with 3 tablespoons and gradually add extra until the dough comes together.
Curried chicken filling
Chicken breasts - these should be cut into small pieces (approximately half-inch in size). They need to be cut so small to make it easier to stuff the chicken filling into the pastry. If you prefer boneless chicken thighs you can use these instead. For even smaller chicken pieces you could cut up the chicken in a food processor, but take care not to mince it too finely.
Onions and carrots - finely diced - about the size of a pea.
Frozen peas - the sweetness goes well with the curry flavouring.
Chicken stock - substitute with vegetable stock if you prefer. Don't use beef stock - the flavour will be too strong.
Salt - as always, to your own taste.
Flour - for thickening the sauce.
Oil - this is neutral-flavoured sunflower (or vegetable) oil and is used for both browning the chicken and softening the onions and carrots.
Chilli paste - this adds heat to the curry. Use as much or as little as your taste dictates.
Spices - I used the following spices:
- Garam masala
- Ground cumin
- Ground coriander
If you don't have these spices you can substitute them with your favourite brand of curry powder or curry paste. If you do this I would recommend that you omit the chilli paste as the curry powder will already contain cayenne pepper or ground chillies.
What to do
If you have bought your pastry you can skip these next steps.
Place the flour, salt and cubed butter into a large mixing bowl.
Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the egg yolks and most of the water. Mix with a spatula or a flat-bladed knife until the mixture comes together in a shaggy ball. Only add the remaining water if the mixture seems too dry.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press it together into a soft disc. Do not knead or handle the dough too much.
Transfer the dough into a plastic bag or wrap it in plastic film and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.
Curried chicken filling
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the pieces of chicken on moderately high heat until the chicken changes colour from pink to white. Don't worry if the chicken is not completely cooked through - it will continue to cook in the oven inside the pie. Set the chicken aside.
Fry the diced onions and carrots in another tablespoon of oil until they are softened.
Tip - turn the heat down to low, cover the pan with a lid and leave the vegetables to steam for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally so they don't burn.
Stir the salt and the spices into the carrots and onions. Add the chicken and stir well to coat the chicken with the spice mixture. Add the flour and mix well to remove any lumps.
Pour in the stock and stir over moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the stock has thickened. A spatula drawn through the mixture should leave a distinct trail.
Mix in the peas.
Cover the chicken curry with a lid and set it aside for half an hour to allow it to cool.
Assemble the chicken curry pies
Roll out the dough into one-eighth of an inch thickness and cut out 5-inch diameter circles. I used an upturned cereal bowl and the back of a knife to cut the circles.
Arrange a large spoonful of cooled chicken curry on half of the circular dough. Use a pastry brush to dampen the edges of the pastry with water. This will ensure the pastry sticks together.
Stretch the dough over the filling to form a half-circle and crimp the dampened edges of the pastry with a fork to seal. Prick a few holes on top of the pie to allow the steam to escape.
Arrange the pies on a baking sheet that has been lined with baking parchment and brush them with beaten egg.
Bake the pies in a preheated oven (200C / 400F) for 20 - 23 minutes or until golden brown and the pastry is cooked underneath.
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Curried chicken pies FAQ
I would suggest you roll out the pastry as follows:
1. Roll out half of the pastry to about one-eighth of an inch in thickness and using a 5-inch diameter bowl as a guide, cut out 3 circles. Put the pastry trimmings to one side.
2. Repeat with the second half of the pastry - so you have 6 circles.
3. Now combine the trimmings and press them gently into a ball. Roll out as above and cut out another 3 circles - 9 circles in total.
4. Roll out any remaining pastry into a roughly circular shape and use any remaining chicken to fill it. This last pie will be quite misshapen and may be larger than the other 9 pies.
It could be that you are either trying to add too much filling to the pie or your chicken pieces were too large. The raw chicken should have been cut to a maximum of half-an-inch, and this will shrink even further when it is fried.
When adding the filling you should leave at least half an inch of uncovered pastry and only put the filling on half of the circle. The remaining half of the pastry should be gently stretched to cover the filling. Use a fork to seal the pastry, starting in the centre of the half-moon and working round towards each edge. If any pieces of chicken fall out, gently poke them back with your fingers.
Take your time, if this is the first time you have attempted to make a pie you may find this step a little difficult, but it does become easier with practice.
Yes, they freeze beautifully. Allow them to cool and then wrap them in a layer of tinfoil and either wrap them in plastic wrap or place the tinfoil packet into a plastic bag. Freeze them for up to 3 months. Allow them to defrost and either eat them cold (yummy) or place them on a tray in a hot oven for a few minutes until they are heated through. I would steer clear of reheating them in the microwave as the pastry would lose its crispness.
These chicken pies can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
The answer to this one is 'it depends'!
First of all, I would omit the chilli paste from the recipe altogether.
Then, I would use 2 tablespoons of curry powder. If you like a very spicy curry I would use a 'hot' curry powder, and for a milder taste I would use 'medium' strength or even 'mild'. It all depends on your taste.
All curry powders are made with the same mix of spices. The difference between hot, medium and mild is in the amount of chilli/cayenne pepper that is added to the mix.
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If you enjoyed this curried chicken pie recipe you may also like to take a look at these other recipe for hand pies:
- Chicken and mushroom bakes with puff pastry - chicken and mushrooms in a creamy sauce baked in a crispy puff pastry.
- Puff pastry steak bakes - tender chunks of steak cooked with onions and mushrooms and encased in flaky puff pastry.
- Blackberry and apple pie - not quite a hand pie, this pie has to be cut into slices, but so tasty. Apples and blackberries baked in a crispy homemade pastry.
- Creamy mushroom tarts with puff pastry - mushrooms and onions in a garlic sauce, encased in puff pastry.
- Sausage and egg picnic slice - the perfect pie for a picnic - tasty sausage meat wrapped around hard-boiled eggs and encased in a crispy pastry.
Curried chicken pies
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- 2 cups / 280 grams plain flour
- 4½ ounces / 125 grams butter cubed
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- 2 large egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons water
Curried chicken filling
- 1¼ pounds / 600g grams skinless chicken breast fillets cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- ½ cup frozen peas
- 1 cup chicken stock or use a stock cube dissolved in boiling water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 - 2 tablespoons sunflower (or vegetable) oil
- ½ teaspoon chilli paste or to taste
- 1 tablespoon plain flour for thickening
- 1 small egg for egg washing the pies
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Place flour, salt, and cubed butter into a large mixing bowl2 cups / 280 grams plain flour, 4½ ounces / 125 grams butter, ½ teaspoon salt
- Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Add the egg yolks and most of the water. Mix with a spatula or a flat-bladed knife until the mixture comes together in a shaggy ball. Only add the remaining water if the mixture seems too dry.2 large egg yolks, 4 tablespoons water
- Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press it together into a soft disc. Do not knead or handle the dough too much.
- Transfer the dough into a plastic bag or wrap it in plastic film and place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the pieces of chicken on moderately high heat until the chicken changes colour from pink to white. Don't worry if the chicken is not completely cooked through - it will continue to cook in the oven inside the pie. Set the chicken aside.1¼ pounds / 600g grams skinless chicken breast fillets, 1 - 2 tablespoons sunflower (or vegetable) oil
- Fry the diced onions and carrots in another tablespoon of oil until they are softened. Tip - turn the heat down to low, cover the pan with a lid and leave the vegetables to steam for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally so they don't burn.1 large onion, 1 large carrot
- Stir the salt and the spices into the carrots and onions. Add the chicken and stir well to coat the chicken with the spice mixture.½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon chilli paste, 2 teaspoons garam masala, 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Add the flour and mix well to remove any lumps.1 tablespoon plain flour
- Pour in the stock and stir over moderate heat for 3 to 4 minutes until the stock has thickened. A spatula drawn through the mixture should leave a distinct trail.1 cup chicken stock
- Mix in the peas.½ cup frozen peas
- Cover the chicken curry with a lid and set it aside for half an hour to allow it to cool.
Assemble and bake
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F
- Roll out the dough into one-eighth of an inch thickness and cut out 5-inch diameter circles. I used an upturned cereal bowl and the back of a knife to cut the circles.
- Arrange a large spoonful of cooled chicken curry on half of the circular dough. Use a pastry brush to dampen the edges of the pastry with water. This will ensure the pastry sticks together.
- Stretch the dough over the filling to form a half-circle and crimp the dampened edges of the pastry with a fork to seal. Prick a few holes on top of the pie to allow the steam to escape.
- Arrange the pies on a baking sheet that has been lined with baking parchment and brush them with beaten egg.1 small egg
- Bake the pies in a preheated oven for 20 - 23 minutes or until golden brown and the pastry is cooked underneath.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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