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Wow, I was SO disappointed with these Swanson Pot Pies. I remember eating these as a snack when I was a kid and thinking that they were the best thing in the world. I think they were also only 33 cents or less at the market.

So twenty years later I decided to give them a try again. They couldn’t be THAT bad right? Plus, even with inflation the price of one of these cheapie frozen pot pie ranges from 49 cents to about a buck. Good cheap eats right? Not even close.

Oh, full disclosure: in my salad days at an unamed dot com (where we used to fold 100 dollar greenbacks into paper airplanes, light them on fire and throw them off the balcony), I used to buy the expensive Marie Calendar Chicken Pot Pies and those were pretty durned good. You put them in the microwave for like 5 minutes and the crust is actually nicely browned and crisp and there’s like big chunks of chicken, carrots and potatoes.

The Swanson Turkey Pot Pie, when put into the microwave, nicely exploded into a Simpson-esque radioactive pie disaster. I followed the directions correctly, scoring the top of the pie carefully to vent the steam but that didn’t help at all. Well before the recommended cooking time, I heard sputtering and popping in the microwave. I looked inside and the contents had started to come out all over the plate. I had to keep going though, because the inside was still cold.

Man, this was pretty nasty looking… and you know at Cheap Eats we aren’t that particular. It tasted even worse. The crust was pale and unappetizing. (Later, I over-nuked another one by a few minutes for good measure to try and get it brown. No luck.) Let me tell you what the crust tastes like: it tastes like library paste. Don’t ask me how I know what library paste tastes like.

The inside of the pot pie was no better. The color was a shade of sickly yellow jaundice. There were small shreds of what I THINK was turkey odds and ends. Overcooked and lonely peas. Tiny carrot cubes. I think one or two potato pieces. The overly salty pie innards were like sloppy cornstarch glue. Hey, you get library paste AND glue… yum!

OK ,sorry Swanson. I had to tear you a new one even though I think your chicken broth is halfway decent. The semi-good news is that if you put these pies in the oven, the resulting crust is quite a bit better. It turns out almost the way I remember it as a kid. But the inside is still unsatisfying.

But I still don’t see why I made a big deal out of these pot pies when I was younger. Even at 79 cents, this pot pie completely failed me in every respect. I dunno. Maybe I just had low “pot-pie-karma” the day I made them.

Price: $0.79
Found At: Albertson’s
Cheap Eats Score: 1/10 (microwave), 3/10 (oven)

22 Responses to “Swanson Turkey Pot Pie”

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  1. Marvo Says:

    I think I’ve had a pot pie twice in my life, one was the Marie Calendar and the other was a Swanson. They’re all right, but not something I would buy on a regular basis. I’m sure pot pies that are made from scratch taste much better, but they also sound like a pain in the butt to make.

  2. jude Says:

    I was also disappointed a few years ago when trying to relive the glory of my childhood memories with a pot pie. The only thing that has survived my memory and test of time is GW Pizzas. mmmm… now 3 for a dollar, they are gooood with some fresh grated parmesan and cracked pepper.

  3. Orchid Says:

    Kids have less sophisticated palates than adults. It’s one of the reasons they don’t like strong or diverse tastes relative to adults. Parents often think kids are being picky but the truth is that strong flavors are overwhelming for them. It’s one of the reasons they love relatively bland foods like cold cut sandwiches and macaroni and cheese.

    They also value carbohydrate-rich food over vegetables or protein-based food. When you were a kid, you probably were happy just to have the pie crust and salty broth. Now that you’re older and have more diversified tastes, it isn’t nearly as satisfying.

  4. skibs Says:

    Banquet pot pies WERE very good when I was a kid, but I swear the meat chunks were plentiful and all equal sized cubes. And the sauce was thick and gravy-like. I remember them being 4/$1 so they were great, tasty cheap eats for a large family. Nowdays, its so not worth the 20+ grams of fat for a measly pot pie

  5. bingsy Says:

    Agreed and agreed: the Marie Calendar pot pies are really good, but they are inexcusable expensive. I miss the days of the $.25 pot pies. It got me through college, along with the $.50 mac and cheese and $.50 fish sticks.

  6. jim Says:

    i recently bought some pepperidge farm chicken pot pies. they were on sale at half price, although still more than a dollat apiece. sort of cheap eats. i cooked in a conventional oven and they came out very good. lots of chicken and gravy but a little short on vegetables. i remember having pot pies as a kid. they were good. i didn’t care about the brand or price. anyway these pepperidge farm pot pies at half price were good.

  7. Andie Says:

    Oh man I loved those things too when I was a kid! I used to call them “chicken Popeye’s” because that’s what I thought everyone said. LOL

  8. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    marvo – I’ve never had a homemade pot pie either…

    jude – what are GW pizzas? I saw these individually frozen tiny pizzas the other day for like a dollar each, but it was some store brand.

    orchid – i think you’re right about kids not having as sophisticated taste palates. As a kid I remember anything with sugar was good, anything bitter was bad… pretty much no inbetween

    skibs – yeah, I swear that there was more meat in ‘em.

    bingsy – i bought a case of mac ‘n’ cheese at CostCo. That was last year… i haven’t been able to stomach it which is why it’s just sitting there!

    jim – actually, i went to the market the other day, and it turns out the swanson is usually a buck. so if pepperidge farms is a buck, i’d definitely be willing to try them out.

    andie – LOL! Chicken Pop Eyes!

  9. Alex Says:

    I remember, a few years back, Swanson (I think it was them) made a pot pie that had a regular crust around the sides, but instead of a top crust, had mashed potatoes on top. They were very good and even a little lower in fat than regular pot pies, but, alas, the days of decent, inexpensive pot pies have long since past. I never eat pot pies simply out of health reasons. The Stouffers and Marie Calendar pot pies are good, but simply aren’t worth the seven million grams of fat involved.

  10. Ace Says:

    I remember those, Alex. Those were awesome, though a little bit more expensive. It bypassed the problem of the soggy pie crust…kind of like Shepard’s Pie.

  11. Brian Says:

    This product is amazing! Amazingly salty. Why the hick is a product like this even on the market? Why are Michelina’s so small? Why are these pot pies small? I could eat about 3 of them and I’m not even a big guy (less than 140 pounds). How can it be convenient if you have to rip open 3 packages? I’ve tried the Hungry Man and I was still hungry.

  12. yvonne Says:

    ah,school paste….i would stick my finger in the jar in kindergarden and taste…it was a minty flavor. the paste would dry and flake.anyone of a certain age will remember the taste and smell.

  13. shawn21 Says:

    The Swanson and Banquet pot pies are edible i guess… At 2AM Saturday when I’m too wasted to drive to any store and basically have nothing else to eat. Oh, and all the delivery joints have shut down.

    The Marie Callenders and Pepperidge Farm pies are good but at around 4 bucks apiece certainly not cheap eats.

    This is what I do with cheap pot pies: Preheat the oven to a slightly lower temp than the box calls for.

    I only use the suggested cooking time on the box as that – a suggestion. For my method it will be much less anyway.

    After say 80% of the cooking time has expired (usually cooked on a piece of foil or cookie sheet) I remove the pie long enough to preheat the broiler.

    Note: The point here is to NOT burn the crust and make it flakey while still cooking the inside through. If you use the temp and time on the box, you will usually end up with burnt outside crust and play dough middle crust.

    I then pop it under the broiler for a minute or two, and since I’m a geek I take the internal temp before eating. As with most cheap frozen foods – if you are willing to take a little time and show some know how, you might just end up with… (start cheapeats show music here) (:

  14. Cheap Eats Editor Says:

    Alex, Ace – oh yeah, shepherd’s pie would be great. I made that from scratch once, took a long time though.

    brian – yeah, i never understand how they expect an avg sized guy to eat just 1 of the normal sized frozen dinners. This is why carl’s / BK / Jack in the balpha are playing those “real men” type commercials maybe?

    yvonne – shhh… it’s a secret!

    shawn – hey that’s sounds like a good idea with the broiler, I’ll have to try that.

  15. SHELLEY Says:


  16. Cherish Says:

    Andie, when I was younger I hated Pot Pies. When I was visiting my dad and he said he had some Pot Pies in the freezer, I kept thinking he was saying he had leftover Popeys and I was SO excited. I was so dissapointed when a Pot Pie ened up on my plate, :-/

  17. sylvia Says:

    Why can’t youdo the pot pies in a toaster oven? The direc tions on 2 different brands say not to use a toaster oven. I,too, am disappointed in the quality of today’s pot pies.

  18. Doug Woods Says:

    In the turkey pie ifound a pice of bone the lable on the has exp mar2007 03166 p-138 2 0829

  19. Evelyn Says:

    Goodness. I love those things. The funky taste is a must. I lived on them as a child and just recently bought 2. Cheap… kind of. $1. Not as filling as before but Banquet had a sale. 10 for 10… so I ate one of those. Maybe Swanson sucks though.

  20. patti Says:

    I have tried several Swanson blagh, the chicken is rubbery than a ball the 2 or 3 pieces you get in the pie that is.

    Marie Calendars the regular chicken is very good, however I tried the honey chicken, and both my husband and myself gaged, enough so that we gave them to the dogs. I called Con Agra foods and the gave me two $7.00 coupons for my trouble hurraha

    Claim Jumper, the best of the best great chicken and a delicious flakey brown crust also a $3.99 price tag but worth it

  21. David not Dave Says:

    I just had two of those Swason potpies and I still like them. They are 42 cents here at Wal-Mart in San Angelo. I was temped to buy a Boston Meat Market brand, but I am too cheap to chance it.

  22. Bernie Phillips Says:


    I have a case of Turkey and Chicken Pot Pies in the freezer, purchased 30 days ago, with the Banquest Re-Call, Should I keep the Swanson Pies or not.

    Bernie Phillips



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