It’s a comfort food 9-1-1 situation, but we’re not ready to throw in the healthy eating towel and order delivery just yet. Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings to the rescue!
Chicken and dumplings is a rich, extra thick, and creamy chicken soup topped off with dumplings.
The dumplings cook directly on top of the soup, absorbing some of the soup’s flavor in the process. They provide a dimension of satisfying texture.
Think of soup dumplings like a next-level bowl of soup bread dunk.
Chicken and dumplings are deeply comforting and (typically) not considered a light meal.
Many recipes add processed shortcuts –– like adding canned “cream of” soup or making crockpot chicken and dumplings with Bisquick or Pillsbury –– leaving you with a dinner that doesn’t feel particularly wholesome.
A lover of a recipe makeover challenge, I decided to try my hand at making healthy crockpot chicken and dumplings from scratch.
I was determined to create a recipe that was straightforward enough to make on a weeknight, nutritious enough to be a part of a regular dinner rotation, AND that tasted special enough for a weekend feast.
This recipe ticks every box and then some!
For the chicken soup base, I turned to a trifecta of The Well Plated Cookbook (which has my forever favorite healthy Chicken Pot Pie Stew), Healthy Chicken Pot Pie, and Chicken and Biscuits for inspiration.
After a bit of tinkering, I landed on this healthy but super satisfying crockpot chicken and dumplings without cream of chicken soup, or anything artificial.
In addition to the stellar soup base, I made the dumplings from scratch. They take just one bowl and use only a couple of ingredients that you likely already have on hand.
If homemade dumplings feel like too much of a stretch for your schedule, you can certainly take a note from my Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie and turn this into an easy Pillsbury crockpot chicken and dumplings with biscuits.
I’ve included a few other shortcut ideas for you below too.
How to Make Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch
To make this creamy crockpot chicken and dumplings recipe without cream of chicken soup, we’ll be making a simple white sauce on the stove and stirring it directly into the slow cooker.
I use the same method in my 5-star Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup.
The sauce only takes a few minutes and is key to keeping the recipe on the lighter side. It makes the chicken and dumplings taste like you added heavy cream, but it is so much better for you.
Your loved ones will deem this crockpot chicken and dumplings a family treasured recipe in no time!
- Chicken Breast. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are ideal for this chicken and dumplings recipe. They’re lean and stay tender and juicy after cooking in the crockpot.
- Fresh Vegetables. Carrots, celery and onion are must-have classics and Yukon gold potatoes are deliciously buttery and creamy. All the vegetables pack an array of vitamins and minerals into this dish.
- Spices. Poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper are the perfect combination for this recipe. Poultry seasoning is packed with dried herbs and spices, making it an easy way to add flavor.
- Roux. A mixture of butter and all-purpose flour creates a richly-flavored roux that helps thicken the soup.
- Milk. 2% milk gives the soup richness while keeping it on the lighter side.
- Frozen Peas. An easy and delicious veggie addition.
- Dumplings. Simple ingredients and a few easy steps are all it takes to make these delightful homemade dumplings. To make them healthier, I used 2% milk and a mixture of all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour.
- Sauté the vegetables. Add the spices. Transfer everything to a slow cooker.
- Pour the broth into the slow cooker, then add the chicken breasts and salt.
- Cook on LOW for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the chicken.
- Prepare the dumpling batter.
- Make the sauce by whisking the butter and flour together over medium heat.
- Stir in the milk. Let the mixture thicken.
- Add the milk mixture and peas to the slow cooker.
- Dice the chicken, and add it to the slow cooker.
- Drop the dumpling dough by the spoonful on top of the soup. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Serve and ENJOY!
Put the dumplings in the slow cooker after you’ve stirred the cooked chicken back into the soup so that they cook on top.
The dumplings will need about 1 hour on high, though this time may be a little longer or shorter depending upon your slow cooker.
More Topping Options
While the easy homemade dumplings listed in this recipe are our favorite topper, they are by no means the only option! Here are a few quick shortcuts to top your slow cooker chicken and dumplings:
- Bisquick Version. Mix two cups of Bisquick together with 2/3 cup milk of your choice. Once a dough has formed, drop it by the spoonful on top of the soup when the recipe calls for the dumplings to be added. Finish cooking the recipe as directed.
- Refrigerated Canned Biscuit Version. Quater about 7 to 8 uncooked canned biscuits. When the recipe calls for the dumplings to be added, scatter the biscuit pieces over the top of the soup instead. Finish cooking as directed.
- Crescent Roll Version. To use crescent roll dough, follow the same instructions as the canned biscuit version, cutting your crescent roll dough into quarters.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm chicken and dumplings in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Plan Tips
Chop all the fresh vegetables up to 1 day in advance, and refrigerate them in separate airtight storage containers. Premeasure your dumpling ingredients so they come together even more quickly.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Slow Cooker. Perfect for making this chicken and dumplings recipe.
- Saute Pan. A kitchen essential.
- Instant Read Thermometer. The easiest way to ensure your meat is cooked through.
From-scratch love, straight from the slow cooker. This recipe is just the hug I’m craving tonight. I hope it leaves you and yours feeling loved and satisfied too.
Well Plated is launching self-produced, cooking show-style recipe videos! Each will be about 8 minutes and feature myself walking you through the recipe step by step. This has been a massive endeavor, and I am so excited to share our first video with you.
Our first video premiers this Wednesday, and YOU can be the first to see it. Here’s how to watch.
- YouTube. Subscribe to Well Plated’s channel HERE. You can join us for the video LIVE premier this Wednesday, 2/3 at 10:30 am CT (meaning I’ll be right there, watching it with you!) or watch it anytime after it is posted.
- Facebook. Another chance at watching it LIVE! Join us at 12:30 pm CT on 2/3. The premier will be on the Well Plated Facebook Page. Be sure to follow, or make a note to pop on over at 12:30 for a tasty lunch break.
- On WellPlated.com. Once the video is live, we’ll also be adding it to Wednesday’s recipe blog post.
Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings
FOR THE SOUP:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound carrots peeled and cut into a ¼ to ½-inch dice (about 6 medium carrots)
- 3 medium celery stalks cut into a ¼ to ½-inch dice
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato peeled and cut into a ¼ to ½-inch dice
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 14-ounce can low sodium chicken broth
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup frozen peas
- Chopped fresh parsley or thyme optional for serving
FOR THE DUMPLINGS (*see notes for a faster version):
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon 2% milk
- Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet with high sides over medium high. Add the carrots, celery, potato, and onion, and cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften and the onion is turning translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the poultry seasoning, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper, and cook 30 additional seconds. Transfer to the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Keep the skillet handy for later (no need to wash it yet).
- Pour the chicken broth into the slow cooker, then arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer on top. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with the remaining ¼ teaspoon kosher salt.
- Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and registers 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to cool. Turn off the slow cooker and cover it.
- Prepare the dumplings: In a mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt, and garlic powder. Pour in the milk. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir to combine. The batter will seem stiff and should be thick enough to scoop. Let rest for at least 5 minutes.
- In the same skillet you used to cook the vegetables, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, sprinkle the flour over the top. Whisk and cook until the flour is golden brown, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Pour in the milk a few splashes at a time, whisking continuously as you go to remove any lumps. Bring to a gentle boil, continuing to whisk to smooth out any residual lumps. Let cook and bubble, whisking all the while, until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
- Pour the milk mixture into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Stir in the peas.
- At this point, the chicken should be cool enough to handle. Dice it into bite-sized pieces, then stir it into the slow cooker.
- Turn the slow cooker to HIGH. With a medium-sized scoop or a spoon, scoop the dumpling dough by generous tablespoons and drop it on top of the soup, spreading the scoops evenly; the top of the soup will be mostly covered, but you'll see some peeking through.
- Cover the crockpot and cook on HIGH for 1 additional hour, or until the dumplings are cooked through. To check for doneness, remove a dumpling and cut it in half to make sure it's no longer raw inside (it will still be very moist). Sprinkle the fresh parsley or thyme over the top.
- To serve, use a big spoon to scoop down through the top of the dumplings and into the soup underneath, ensuring each serving has a portion of both the soup and dumplings. Enjoy hot, breaking the dumplings up into the soup so that you enjoy a bit of both in each bite.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm chicken and dumplings in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- *TO USE BISQUICK: Mix two cups of Bisquick together with 2/3 cup milk of your choice. Once a dough has formed, drop it by the spoonful on top of the soup when the recipe calls for the dumplings to be added. Finish cooking the recipe as directed.
- *TO USE CANNED BISCUITS: Quater about 7 to 8 uncooked canned biscuits. When the recipe calls for the dumplings to be added, scatter the biscuit pieces over the top of the soup instead. Finish cooking as directed.
- *TO USE CRESCENT ROLLS: To use crescent roll dough, follow the same instructions as the canned biscuit version, cutting your crescent roll dough into quarters.
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