Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Stew

By Polly Conner
January 7, 2021

Chicken and Dumplings in the slow cooker? Yes! It can be done!

This classic comfort food will fill your home with delicious smells and is a total crowd pleaser. To make Chicken and Dumplings even more versatile for you, we’ve included instructions not only for the crock pot but also for how to make it a freezer meal AND how to make it in the Instant Pot!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings in a white bowl
Image credit: Helene Dujardin/From Freezer to Cooker (Rodale)

This easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling recipe comes from our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker ,and was good enough to make national television. Seriously! Here is a segment of us cooking Chicken & Dumplings on Hallmark Home & Family!

Polly Conner and Rachel Tiemeyer on Hallmark Channel

In fact, all of the photos in this post were pulled from this very cooking segment on Hallmark.

Hopefully the process photos will give you a visual of how easily our Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumpling Stew comes together.

How to Make Chicken and Dumplings in the Slow Cooker

SAUTÉ YOUR VEGGIES

While we would love to not have to pre-cook vegetables for this slow cooker meal, we found that they don’t get cooked enough in the 3-4 hours it takes for the chicken to get done in the slow cooker. Plus, sautéing vegetables adds lots of flavor!

Sautéd vegetables for chicken and dumplings

SEASON THE CHICKEN THIGHS

Once those veggies start to get tender and you’ve added your garlic and seasonings, transfer them to the slow cooker and season your chicken.

We use chicken thighs for the recipe because they stay incredibly tender and juice when cooking in the slow cooker. Just make sure you cook the chicken the correct amount of time!

Chicken thighs on a baking sheet being seasoned

COOK IN THE SLOW COOKER

Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Trust us, this is really only how long you cook it or else it will turn out dry! Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves (make sure to return the lid to the cooker quickly).

MAKE THE DUMPLINGS

Set the slow cooker to High. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).

Making dumplings in a glass bowl

ADD YOUR DUMPLINGS TO THE SLOW COOKER

Working quickly and using a soup spoon or tablespoon, uncover the slow cooker, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.)

Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Get the lid back on the cooker as soon as possible.

Cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.

Scooping out dumplings into the slow cooker

DICE YOUR CHICKEN AND ADD IT BACK IN

Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.

When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Moving chicken into slow cooker

Can I Make Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot?

One of the beauties of this recipe is that it can be made in both the slow cooker AND the Instant Pot.

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the stew: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Place the butter in the pot. When the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Press “Cancel.” (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the pot and stir to combine.
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” and bring the stew to a boil. Using a soup spoon or tablespoon, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Cover the Instant Pot loosely with the lid, leaving a crack. Cook for about 12 minutes, until the dumplings double in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

INSTANT POT FREEZER MEAL INSTRUCTIONS

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (do not stack the chicken thighs in the bag/container; instead, place them side by side). Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Set aside the dry dumpling mix. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen stew to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow step 3, but cook at high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes. Follow steps 4 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

Want More Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot?

We’ve got you covered. Hop over to this post highlighting 20+ Best of the Best Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot. It includes freezer meal instructions for EVERY recipe plus tons of pro tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years.

Can You Freeze Chicken and Dumplings?

You’ve come to the right place if you’re looking for fabulous freezer meals. THIS IS WHAT WE DO!

Many would not consider Chicken and Dumplings to be a great freezer meal. Wrong! We have devised a way that Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings can be frozen and thawed and still taste like a fresh, delicious meal.

Holding a freezer meal of chicken and dumplings

FREEZER MEAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE SLOW COOKER VERSION

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Transfer the chicken-vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and follow steps 3 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

What should I serve with this dish?

We love that Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings are a one-pot wonder. You’ve got vegetables, protein, and bread/starch all in one delicious bowl! But, if you’d like to add in something on side, here are a few ideas to round out this comfort meal…

Autumn Chopped Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Crock Pot Cinnamon Apples

Have questions? Feedback? Leave a comment and let us know!

Print

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: american

Description

Chicken and Dumplings are probably the ultimate comfort food.  This one-pot-wonder is filled with tender vegetables, juicy shredded chicken, and soft dumplings in a rich creamy-brothy gravy.


Ingredients

Stew

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 4 carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick (about 1 ½ cups)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup frozen peas

Dumplings

  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (You can sub white whole wheat flour, but we do not recommend subbing whole wheat flour.)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons dried parsley
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter
  • ¾ cup milk (your choice)

Instructions

Make It Now

  1. For the stew: In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Transfer the vegetables to the slow cooker. Lightly season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the slow cooker. Add the broth and bay leaves and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves (make sure to return the lid to the cooker quickly). Set the slow cooker to High.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt the butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Working quickly and using a soup spoon or tablespoon, uncover the slow cooker, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Get the lid back on the cooker as soon as possible. Cook on High for 30 to 40 minutes or until the dumplings have doubled in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

Freeze for Later:

Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

Prepare From Frozen:

Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Thaw. Transfer the chicken-vegetable mixture to the slow cooker and follow steps 3 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

 

INSTANT POT INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the stew: Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Place the butter in the pot. When the butter has melted, add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, stirring, until they just begin to soften, 4 to 5 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper and stirring in the poultry seasoning and garlic during the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Watch to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Press “Cancel.” (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken, broth, and bay leaves to the pot and stir to combine.
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, then quick release the pressure. (The chicken is done when it registers 165°F internally.) Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  4. For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley. In a small microwave-safe bowl, microwave the butter and milk together until warm, about 1 minute, then whisk to melt butter and combine. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined (do not overmix).
  5. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté” and bring the stew to a boil. Using a soup spoon or tablespoon, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dumpling batter, and drop into the stew. (Wet your hands to prevent sticking and use them to help slide the batter off the spoon and into the stew.) Try to spread the dumplings out so they cover the whole surface and aren’t on top of one another. Cover the Instant Pot loosely with the lid, leaving a crack. Cook for about 12 minutes, until the dumplings double in size and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, shred or chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside.
  7. When the dumplings are done, gently stir the chicken and peas into the stew. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

FREEZE FOR LATER: Follow step 1. Let the veggies cool. Season both sides of the chicken lightly with salt and pepper and place the chicken in a gallon-size freezer bag or round container (do not stack the chicken thighs in the bag/container; instead, place them side by side). Add the broth, bay leaves, and cooled veggies. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen). Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and parsley in a quart-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze alongside the stew.

PREPARE FROM FROZEN: Note: You will need to have butter, milk, and frozen peas on hand to complete this meal. Set aside the dry dumpling mix. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen stew to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow step 3, but cook at high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes. Follow steps 4 through 7, using the bag of dry mix to make the dumplings in step 4.

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7 replies
  1. Candace says:

    Wow! I have seen this on the blog for a while but never considered it. I finally made it tonight and it was seriously SO good. Mad at myself did not making it sooner. This is going to be a staple in fall and winter (and maybe spring and summer too 😉)!

    Reply