Let’s tuck in with hearty Chicken Stew! Earthy, creamy, and nourishing, it’s the best chicken stew for a wintry evening and will warm you to your soul.
While “soup” can cover a wide swath of recipes, from Crock Pot Chicken and Rice Soup to Broccoli Cauliflower Soup to Chicken Gnocchi Soup, when you use the word “stew” it means something very particular.
A good stew has some heft to it.
- It’s chunky (in a good way) with hefty bites of tender veggies and protein in each spoonful.
The broth is substantial.
- Whether it is creamy (like this Chicken Pot Pie Stew in my cookbook) or rich and saucy (like Instant Pot Beef Stew and Crockpot Beef Stew), the soup’s liquid base isn’t here to play a supporting role. It has something to say and brings each bite to life.
Last, stew has an undeniable comfort factor to it.
How to Make the Best Chicken Stew Recipe
Today’s healthy chicken stew earns its title properly.
- It is robust and creamy.
- I’ve PACKED in the vegetables and protein.
- It tastes like a warm hug on a cold night. The best comfort food!
This stew recipe is also meal-prep friendly.
You can make all or part of it entirely in advance (like White Chicken Chili, the leftovers taste even better) and portion and freeze it for a cold night to come.
This chicken stew is healthy because it is loaded with vegetables, the chicken provides lean protein, and it uses low fat milk in place of heavy cream.
You can serve it with a side of Oven Roasted Vegetables if you like, but it’s not strictly necessary.
Chicken stew is an all-in-one healthy meal on its own. (Though I certainly won’t object if you toss in some English Muffin Bread for good measure.)
- Chicken. The star of this healthy, hearty stew. Bite-sized pieces of chicken breasts (or thighs) are browned in the pot first, building essential flavor and adding lean protein. If you’d prefer to make this into a shredded chicken stew, check out some of the different cooking methods below.
Cut this recipe time even further by swapping in precooked chicken, made with one of these easy methods (or even store bought rotisserie chicken):
- Mirepoix. The classic blend of carrots, celery, and onion builds must-have chicken soup savoriness.
- Butter + Flour. The butter adds scrumptious flavor and teams up with the flour to thicken the stew.
- Chicken Stock. As Ina says “store bought is fine.“ I recommend unsalted stock (or chicken broth) so your soup doesn’t become too salty.
- Milk. Adds a touch of richness and creaminess to the stew.
- Potatoes. I used a mix of Yukon gold potatoes and sweet potatoes. They help make the stew more satisfying and add a creamy, chunky element.
- Red Bell Pepper. For sweetness, nutrition, and a pop of color. Bell peppers are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
- Herbs. Fresh thyme and bay leaf give the stew earthiness and fresh herb flavor. You could even top this with parsley.
- Parmesan. For crowd-pleasing savory, cheesy goodness.
- Lemon Juice. A final squirt of lemon juice wakes up the other flavors in the best way.
- Brown the chicken and remove it to a plate.
- Sauté the mirepoix in butter.
- Stir in the flour. Add the garlic.
- Pour in the stock and milk, stirring constantly. Add the potatoes, red pepper, herbs, and salt. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken back to the pot and simmer the chicken stew 15 minutes more. Stir in the lemon juice, Parmesan, and remaining thyme. Discard the bay leaf. Serve hot in your bowl of choice. Garnish with herbs. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate stew in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze stew in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, brown the chicken and chop the vegetables. Refrigerate each ingredient separately in airtight storage containers.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Dutch Oven. Perfect for making chicken stew.
- Ladle. My favorite tool to use for servings soups and stews.
- Peeler. Ideal for peeling vegetables and fruits.
Healthy, creamy chicken stew: a belly-warming hug from me to you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Because this recipe is so freezer friendly, if you are cooking chicken stew for two or one, I would make the whole batch, then portion and freeze the leftovers. That said, you can certainly cut this recipe in half with success.
If you want to make this recipe without milk, you could try swapping it for Guinness to make an Irish chicken stew or use more chicken stock. Note that your soup will not be as creamy. If you decide to try the Irish version, I recommend swapping the sweet potato for an additional white potato.
Prefer your chicken stew with a bit of kick? Crank up the heat by adding a pinch of cayenne pepper, or top your serving with a dash of hot sauce.
First, what is a slurry. Typically it consist of a liquid and cornstarch (or flour). I wouldn’t recommend using that in this stew, the flour does the job here!
- 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus additional to taste, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper plus additional to taste
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 medium carrots peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick diagonal slices (halve the slices if your carrots are very large)
- 4 medium celery stalks cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 cups unsalted chicken stock if using salted, reduce the amount of salt in the recipe
- 2 cups lowfat milk plus additional as needed (I used 1%)
- 1 medium Yukon gold or russet potato peeled and 1/2-inch diced
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and 1/2-inch diced
- 1 red bell pepper cored and ½-inch diced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme divided
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- In a large Dutch oven or similar thick, sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Saute until the chicken is lightly browned on all sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter, carrots, celery, and onion. Saute until the vegetables are beginning to soften, about 7 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the top. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. The flour should turn golden and no white bits should remain.
- Stir in the garlic. Let cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
- Slowly add 3 cups of the stock and milk, stirring constantly to deter lumps from forming.
- Add the potato, sweet potato, red pepper, 1 teaspoon thyme, bay leaf, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer.
- Let the soup simmer gently, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed so that the soup simmers but does not rapidly boil. Stir it periodically to prevent sticking.
- After 15 minutes have passed, stir in the browned chicken. Continue simmering until the vegetables are tender and the stew has slightly thickened, about 15 minutes more, stirring from time to time. If you’d like the soup thinner, add additional chicken stock as needed to reach your desired consistency.
- Just before serving, stir in the lemon juice, Parmesan, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve hot, with a sprinkle of Parmesan and black pepper.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate stew in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze stew in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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