Is Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie dairy free?

Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie is a popular frozen meal option. Many people wonder if these pies contain dairy ingredients. The short answer is no, Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies do not contain dairy and are dairy free. However, some varieties may contain traces of milk due to being produced in facilities that also process milk products. Those with severe dairy allergies or intolerances should exercise caution.

Does Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie Contain Milk, Cheese, or Other Dairy Ingredients?

After carefully reviewing the ingredients lists of various Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie products, it’s clear these pies do not contain milk, cheese, butter, yogurt or any other obvious dairy ingredients. The main ingredients are chicken, peas, carrots, celery, potato, onion, wheat flour, vegetable shortening and chicken broth. Some varieties may also contain corn. All major dairy components are absent.

Could There Still Be Hidden Dairy?

While labeled dairy free, some Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies include the disclaimer “May contain milk” or “Made in a facility that also processes milk products.” This indicates trace amounts of dairy could be present due to shared equipment and production lines. The levels are likely to be extremely low, but this may still be a concern for those with severe milk allergies or lactose intolerance. Note this disclaimer is not present on all varieties.

Examining the Ingredients Lists of Popular Varieties

To provide more detail, let’s look at the ingredients lists for some top selling Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies:

Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie Classic

Ingredients: Chicken, peas, carrots, celery, chicken broth, modified food starch, potato, onion, vegetable shortening (palm oil, soybean oil), wheat flour, salt, flavor, spice, sugar, garlic, yellow corn flour, dehydrated parsley, soy lecithin, extractives of turmeric & paprika

Contains: Wheat, soy

Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie Homestyle

Ingredients: Chicken, carrots, peas, chicken broth, modified corn starch, celery, onion, potato, vegetable shortening (palm oil, soybean oil), wheat flour, chicken fat, contains less than 2% of whey protein concentrate, flavor (yeast extract, butter [cream]), salt, flavor (chicken, celery, onion powder), spice, sugar, garlic

Contains: Wheat, milk, soy

Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie with Gravy & Vegetables

Ingredients: Chicken, peas, carrots, chicken gravy (water, wheat flour, chicken fat, salt, spices, flavorings, extractives of celery seed), celery, modified food starch (corn, potato), chicken broth, onions, vegetable shortening (palm oil, soybean oil), wheat flour, contains less than 2% of salt, lemon juice concentrate, spice, sugar, flavor (chicken, celery, onion), garlic

Contains: Wheat, soy

Understanding the Major Allergens

To determine if a product contains dairy, it’s important to look for these major milk-derived allergens:


Milk is the obvious one. Any product containing milk or milk derivatives like skim milk, whole milk, etc. clearly contains dairy.


Whey is a protein isolated from milk during cheese production. Some whey concentrates or isolates are added to foods for extra protein.


Casein is the main milk protein found in cheese and yogurt. It can be added as a thickener or protein source.


Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk. It’s often added as a sweetener.


Butter and clarified butter (ghee) are made by churning cream from milk and contain milk proteins and lactose.


Cheese of any kind is made from milk and contains casein, whey and/or lactose.

Cream/Half & Half

Cream is the high-fat layer skimmed from milk. Half & half is a mix of cream and milk. Both clearly contain dairy.


Yogurt is made by fermenting milk with live cultures. Most yogurts contain milk proteins.

Other Dairy Derivatives

Rennet, pectin, lactase, and other enzymes derived from milk should also be avoided. Anything with a dairy source contains some milk compounds.

Why Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pie is Considered Dairy Free

After reviewing the common dairy ingredients above, it’s evident why Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie can claim to be dairy free. The main ingredients lists for the popular varieties contain no milk, milk proteins, butter, cream or any derivatives.

The only potential exception is some varieties contain “whey protein concentrate” far down the ingredients list. The whey levels appear very low at less than 2% of the total recipe. For most people without severe allergies or intolerances, these trace amounts of whey should not cause issues. However, for strict diets, some minor dairy cross-contact is possible.

It is always smart to carefully read all ingredients and warning labels when avoiding allergens. But overall, Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie can be enjoyed by most dairy-free eaters.

Dairy-Free Eating Tips

Here are some helpful pointers for eating dairy-free:

– Read all labels carefully looking for the major milk allergens
– Watch out for “Contains: Milk” warnings
– Call or email companies to inquire about dairy ingredients
– Look for plant-based milk substitutes like almond milk and coconut milk
– Choose vegan butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream and creamer alternatives
– Ask about dairy-free options when dining out
– Inform friends and family about your dietary needs
– Check that nutrition supplements don’t contain milk derivatives
– Always carry emergency allergy medication like EpiPens

Finding Other Dairy-Free Frozen Meals

If you enjoy the convenience of frozen entrées and want more dairy-free options beyond Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie, there are many available. Here are some top picks:

Brand Meal
Amy’s Kitchen Gluten Free Rice Mac & Cheeze
Sweet Earth Enlightened Chicken Pot Pie
Lean Cuisine Gluten-Free Chicken Pot Pie
Kashi Black Bean Mango Frozen Entrée
Saffron Road Korean Style Beef Frozen Meal

Many other frozen meal brands like Evol, Conagra, Cedarlane, Taste Republic, and Real Good Foods also offer dairy-free options. Be sure to always check labels since ingredients can change over time. With some diligent label reading, building a tasty dairy-free frozen meal repertoire is easy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about Marie Callender’s chicken pot pie and dairy:

Is Marie Callender’s gravy mix dairy free?

No, most Marie Callender’s gravy mixes contain milk, butter, and/or other dairy ingredients. Always check labels. Some veggie or chicken gravy varieties may be dairy-free.

Does Marie Callender’s use dairy in other menu items?

Yes, many Marie Callender’s dishes including entrees, sides, desserts, and baked goods contain milk, cheese, butter, cream and other dairy products. Dairy-free eaters need to carefully select the menu items that are safe.

Is Marie Callender’s allergy friendly?

While not completely allergy-free, Marie Callender’s does offer many dishes without dairy, wheat/gluten, nuts, and other common allergens. Allergy sufferers should inform their server so recommendations can be made.

Where are Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies manufactured?

The pies are made at various manufacturing facilities in the United States. Some are produced on lines that also process milk for those varieties that “may contain dairy”.

Does cooking dairy make it safe for dairy sensitivity?

No, cooking dairy does not remove the proteins that trigger allergy or intolerance issues. Even when heated or baked, dairy remains unsafe for those avoiding it.

What are milk derivatives?

Milk derivatives are food additives made from processing milk components like whey, casein, and lactose. They can be found in many processed products.

The Bottom Line

So can you enjoy Marie Callender’s famous chicken pot pie if you don’t eat dairy? The answer is yes, in most cases! By avoiding the dishes with “may contain milk” warnings and checking ingredient statements carefully, those with dairy restrictions can feel good eating this freezer aisle staple. With so many great dairy-free meal options on the market today, living without dairy is easier than ever.

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