Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 20 min.
This creamy chicken vol-au-vent recipe is an easy yet impressive puff pastry appetizer. Thanks to some simple shortcuts, you'll get all the praise for half the work!

Updated: May 13, 2024

Next time you throw an elegant lunch or dinner party, use this easy chicken vol-au-vent recipe. The flaky, buttery puff pastry shells are stuffed with a luxurious filling of chicken, bacon and leeks, making them a feast for both the taste buds and the eyes.

But just because they’re beautiful doesn’t mean they’re difficult or time-consuming; when you use frozen puff pastry and a rotisserie chicken, these classy appetizers are actually pretty effortless. Let everyone “ooh” and “ahh,” while you silently chuckle to yourself, knowing just how easy they are to prepare. Don’t worry; your vol-au-vent shortcut secrets are safe with us.

What is a vol-au-vent?

The name “vol-au-vent” (French for “flight in the wind”) describes the light, airy texture of the hollow puff pastry vessels in this dish. They are typically filled to the brim with a rich and creamy filling of chicken, seafood and/or assorted vegetables.

Dating back to sometime around the early 19th century in Paris, the first vol-au-vent is often credited to famed French chef Marie-Antoine Carême. Vol-au-vent closely resembles the slightly smaller, almost bite-sized bouchée à la reine.

Ingredients for Vol-au-Vent

  • Frozen puff pastry: Vol-au-vents are but one of many puff pastry recipes we love. Keep things simple and use frozen puff pastry, which you can find in the freezer aisle or online. If you’re feeling ambitious, try your hand at making puff pastry from scratch.
  • Egg: Beat a single egg with a bit of water to create a simple egg wash. This helps bond the two pieces of puff pastry together and gives the pastry shells an appealing shine. It’s an important step for both function and aesthetics.
  • Bacon: Smoky bacon adds a savory saltiness that pairs wonderfully with the other filling ingredients—especially when you use our Test Kitchen’s preferred bacon brands, which add the best flavor and texture.
  • Leeks: A mild-tasting allium, leeks infuse the sauce with flavor without overpowering the rich and creamy sauce. Make sure you clean leeks the easy way and save yourself extra work down the line.
  • Chicken: We love rotisserie chicken recipes. A store-bought rotisserie chicken is your one-way ticket to quick and easy vol-au-vents. You can use leftover grilled chicken breasts, too.
  • Cream cheese: When heated, cream cheese melts into a perfectly smooth, no-fuss sauce that coats the chicken, bacon and veggies.

Directions

Step 1: Cut out the puff pastry

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Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, unfold one of the puff pastry sheets. Then, using a 3-1/4-inch round cutter, cut out six circles and arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

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Next, unfold the second pastry sheet and cut out six more circles with the 3-1/4-inch round cutter (it’s one of a few must-have pastry tools you should own). Then, with a 2-1/2-inch round cutter, cut the centers out of the second set of six circles. Place the rings on top of the circles that are on the baking sheet and place the smaller center circles also on the baking sheet.

Editor’s Tip: Remember that puff pastry expands quite a bit when it bakes, so take care to leave adequate space between your pieces of puff pastry on the baking sheet.

Step 2: Bake the puff pastry

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In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water to make an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each piece of pastry, then chill them for 15 minutes. Bake until they’re dark golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove them promptly from the oven and cool them on a wire rack.

Editor’s Tip: A quick chill in the refrigerator before baking the pastry helps maximize their puff. When working with puff pastry (and classic butter pie pastry), you want the fat in the dough to be as cold as possible. As the pastry bakes, the cold butter in the dough releases steam, which is what creates those air pockets and flaky layers we all love.

Step 3: Cook the bacon

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Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until it’s crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Once cool, chop or crumble the bacon into small pieces.

Editor’s Tip: Your oven is already hot, so feel free to take advantage and bake the bacon instead. Just make sure to steal one tablespoon of fat from the baking tray for the next step, as it will help with sauteing the vegetables and flavoring the filling.

Step 4: Make the filling

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Discard all but one tablespoon of the bacon drippings. Add the leeks and pepper to the drippings. Cook and stir them over medium-high heat until they’re tender, five to seven minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the bacon, chicken, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until the mixture is blended, then remove it from the heat.

Step 5: Assemble and serve

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Once the pastries are cool enough to handle, hollow them out with a small knife to create a well. Fill them with the chicken mixture and sprinkle them with parsley and black pepper. Serve them with the small center pastries on the side.

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Recipe Variations

  • Try a different meat or seafood: Instead of chicken, consider other vol-au-vent fillings, like leftover turkey or roast duck. Roasted, grilled or poached salmon or flaky whitefish are other possible fillings, along with cooked shrimp, scallops, prawns, crab or lobster.
  • Vegetarian vol-au-vent: For a vegetarian vol-au-vent recipe, omit the bacon and chicken and increase the amount of leeks and bell peppers. Alternatively, you can use your favorite plant-based meat substitutes instead of chicken.
  • Veggies can vary: If you don’t enjoy leeks or bell peppers, feel free to use your favorite combination of vegetables. Mushrooms are a popular choice for vol-au-vents, but sun-dried tomatoes, roasted root vegetables or wilted greens would also work well in the recipe.
  • Fresh and flavorful herbs: Never underestimate the power of a few well-chosen herbs. Try adding a few teaspoons of fresh or dried basil, oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary or sage to give the filling even more depth.
  • Festive shapes: Vol-au-vents are perfect for holiday appetizers, so get creative with their shape. Try heart-shaped vol-au-vents for Valentine’s Day, star-shaped pastry shells for Christmas, or Pumpkin vol-au-vents for Halloween. The possibilities are almost endless.

How to Store Chicken Vol-au-Vent

Vol-au-vents are best enjoyed immediately once filled; the pastry shells get soggy if they sit for too long. Unfilled, however, the vol-au-vent shells and filling can be stored separately for up to three to four days. Store the vol-au-vent filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store the unfilled pastry shells at room temperature wrapped tightly in storage wrap.

How do you reheat chicken vol-au-vent?

To reheat vol-au-vents, gently warm the filling on the stovetop or in the microwave until it’s heated through. Then, warm the pastry shells in a 350° oven for six to eight minutes or until they’re heated through. Fill the shells and serve.

Can you freeze chicken vol-au-vent?

While baked or unbaked vol-au-vent pastry shells freeze beautifully, vol-au-vent fillings should not be frozen due to their dairy content. For this reason, we do not recommend freezing filled vol-au-vents. Baked vol-au-vent pastry shells can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Reheat them in the oven, but be aware that they may not crisp up quite as well as when they’re fresh.

Vol-au-Vent Tips

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Why did my puff pastry not rise?

If your puff pastry failed to rise, it is likely that it was too warm when placed into the oven. When working with puff pastry, try your best to keep it cold.

What can you serve with vol-au-vent?

Vol-au-vents pair nicely with other elegant appetizers, sides and entrees. Consider a fresh garden salad, mini quiches, spinach puffs, beef Wellington or a colorful charcuterie board.

Watch how to Make Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent

Creamy Chicken Vol-au-Vent

Prep Time 20 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 package (17.30 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6 bacon strips
  • 2 medium leeks (white parts only), sliced
  • 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Minced fresh parsley plus additional ground pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, unfold 1 puff pastry sheet. Using a 3-1/4-in. round cutter, cut out 6 circles. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Unfold the remaining pastry sheet. Cut 6 more circles out with the 3-1/4-in. round cutter; with a 2-1/2-in. cutter, cut centers out of the circles. Place the rings on top of the circles that are on the baking sheet. Place the center circles also on the baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk egg and water; brush over pastries. Chill 15 minutes. Bake until dark golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 tablespoon drippings. Add leeks and pepper to drippings; cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender, 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to low; stir in bacon, chicken, cream cheese, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until blended; remove from heat.
  4. When cool enough to handle, hollow out pastries with a small knife. Fill with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and pepper. Serve with small center pastries on the side.

Nutrition Facts

1 filled pastry: 669 calories, 45g fat (16g saturated fat), 108mg cholesterol, 670mg sodium, 47g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 6g fiber), 19g protein.

My friends and I have been getting together for "ladies lunches" for years. These vol-au-vents are the perfect no-fuss fancy food; they look complicated, but are actually simple and fun to make. Whenever I think of good friends and good company, I think of these savory pastries. —Shauna Havey, Roy, Utah