Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe

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This healthy chicken and dumplings recipe is a game-changer! It’s comforting, filling, and made with healthy, real food ingredients! Psst… you can even make it dairy-free and gluten-free!

Chicken and dumplings is soothing comfort food. A good, warm bowl of the stuff can ease a world of stress and tension.

A green crock filled with this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe

Stove Top Chicken And Dumplings

You have two options with this recipe. Stovetop or slow cooker. If you opt for the stovetop, you’ll want a large stockpot. If you don’t have one, you’ll want to cut the recipe in half. This makes approximately 5½  quarts.

Chicken And Dumplings In The Crock Pot

If you prefer crockpot chicken and dumplings, I have you covered! Below are instructions for making this in a slow cooker. You will need a slow cooker that is a minimum of 5½  quarts in size.

Whole Grain Dumplings

Just a word of caution. If you are not used to whole grain dumplings, they may take a little getting used to. I find these absolutely delicious, but it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten processed grains. So my taste buds are already adjusted. I will say that lots of people have tried this recipe and thoroughly enjoyed it. But I thought I should mention it because some folks really take issue with the switch to whole grains in a recipe like this.

And one more note, please avoid the use of regular whole wheat flour. Your dumplings will suffer for it. You want to use either whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour. I promise it makes a big difference in the finished texture of this soup.

And lastly, never overmix the dumpling dough. You want to make sure the flour gets totally mixed in, but you don’t want to develop the gluten too much or your dumplings will become very tough and dense. Never over mix!

Gluten Free Dumplings

Here again, these might take a little getting used to. They are slightly chewier and more coarse in texture. But still tasty!

The dough will be pretty sticky when you mix it. It’s best to just stir it the best you can with a wooden spoon.

Also, it won’t leave a film over the chicken and dumplings because of the lack of gluten. So your stew won’t be a thick as it would with wheat dumplings.

If you want your broth thicker (more stew-like), make a slurry with a ¼ cup cold broth and 3 tbsp. arrowroot powder or cornstarch. Then pour that into the stew and stir for a few minutes until things thicken up a bit.

Lastly, keep your gluten-free dumplings on the smaller side. You want small, bite sized pieces. Bigger dumplings don’t cook as well as wheat-based dumplings will.

A side view of this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings in a green crock, ready to eat.

How To Thicken Chicken And Dumplings

Wheat Flour Dumplings

If you are using gluten-based flour, you’ll want to thicken your stew with some roux. Personally, I always take a shortcut and make a “slurry” with flour and water, and whisk it into the simmering stew. But if you want to make a proper roux, that’s honestly the best way to thicken this.

Gluten Free Dumplings

If you are making this gluten-free, a little extra arrowroot powder will do the trick. But make a slurry with water first. Never sprinkle any starch powder directly into your stew or you’ll end up with little balls of starch instead of a thickened stew.

About The Ingredients

Stew Ingredients

Oil – This can be any oil you prefer to cook with. However, the lighter in flavor, the better.

Onion – This can be red or yellow onions. This measurement is approximately 1 large onion.

Carrots – You can use baby carrots or regular carrots. It’s up to you.

Celery – Slice these thin unless you like the chunkier texture.

Low-sodium chicken broth – make sure there is no sugar added (usually in the form of dextrose), and if you have the option, choose low sodium.

Dried marjoram – Dried works better than fresh in this case. Some folks don’t care for marjoram, but the flavor blends in pretty well here. Hard to pick out from the overall flavor.

Garlic powder – You can also use garlic granules.

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – about 4 medium chicken breasts, cut into small chunks

Dumpling Ingredients

Whole wheat pastry flour – Or if you need gluten-free dumplings, use 2½ cups gluten-free oat flour.

Baking soda – Make sure it’s fresh or newer, or the dumplings won’t turn out well.

Salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use what you have on hand.

Oil – Again, use whatever oil you usually cook with.

Milk – Regular milk works well. But if you need this to be dairy-free, use unsweetened almond or cashew milk. Both flavors work pretty well here. Cashew milk will make things a tiny bit creamier than almond. But both are good.

How To Make Healthy Chicken And Dumplings

Stew Directions

Heating the oil in the skillet for this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe.

In a skillet, heat the oil.

Sautéing the vegetables for this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe.

Combine the oil, onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until the onions are translucent.

Slow Cooker Directions

Adding the broth to the slow cooker.

Pour the broth into your crockpot.

Adding the spices to the broth in the slow cookers.

Add the marjoram and garlic powder to the broth.

Adding sautéd veggies to the slow cooker.

Then add the vegetables.

Adding the chicken to the slow cooker for this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe.

And finally, add the chicken to the slow cooker.

Dumpling Directions

The finished dumpling dough, resting in its mixing bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to blend well. Pour in the oil and milk and mix with a wooden spoon. The dough should be very sticky.

Spooning the dumplings into the hot broth.

Turn the crockpot on high to get the broth hot. The broth MUST be hot before adding the dumplings. Depending on your slow cooker, this can take 30-60 minutes. Using two teaspoons, scoop up and round off your dumplings and scrap into your crockpot. (Just like making drop cookies)

I cooked this on high for about 3-1/2 hours total. But if you need to cook it longer because you are leaving for the day (or cooking overnight), turn the slow cooker on low, and cook until the dumplings and chicken are cooked through. (About 6 hours). It’s important to know how your slow cooker cooks here. Every slow cooker is slightly different.

If using wheat flour, the dumplings will look a little odd after they have been cooking at the top of the stew all day. They create a sort of “crust-like” layer. Just break them up with a wooden spoon and stir them into the stew to finish cooking. Stirring this in will help thicken your stew… Break one open to be sure it’s cooked all the way. At this point, your stew is done.

Stove Top Directions

  • Pour the broth into your stock pot.
  • Add the marjoram, garlic powder, vegetables and chicken to the stock pot.
  • Bring the pot to a slow boil. The broth MUST be at a slow boil before adding the dumplings.
  • Using two teaspoons, scoop up and round off your dumplings and scrape into your pot. (Just like making drop cookies)
  • Boil until the dumplings and chicken are cooked. (Break open a dumpling to see if it’s cooked all the way through)
  • Note that the dumplings can leave an odd-looking film over the top of your stew as it simmers. This is totally normal. Simply break it up towards the end of cooking and stir everything into the stew. This film is just the flour which will help to thicken your stew.

What To Serve With Chicken And Dumplings

My go-to favorite is always a green salad and a side of crusty garlic bread. But honestly, this is a really complete meal on its own. You don’t have to worry too much about adding extras because this is filling stuff. But in a pinch, a nice green salad is always a good choice.

Need Supplies?

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More Healthy Comfort Food

Chicken And Dumplings Recipe

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Recipe updated 3/10/21.

A green crock filled with this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe

Chicken And Dumplings Recipe

This classic dish gets a healthy upgrade. But shhhh!!!! It’s so good, nobody will notice!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 20 servings (5 quarts approximately)
Calories: 135kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry

CLICK TO WATCH THIS RECIPE IN ACTION!

Equipment

  • Slow cooker or stock pot

Ingredients

Stew Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • cups chopped onion (red or yellow onion)
  • 3 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups sliced celery
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth (no sugar added)
  • 1 tbsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks

Dumpling Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (2½ cups gluten free oat flour for a gluten free version)
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 cup milk (unsweetened almond milk works for a non-dairy version)

Instructions

STEW DIRECTIONS

  • In a skillet, heat the oil.
    Heating the oil in the skillet for this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe.
  • Combine the, onion, carrots and celery. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
    Sautéing the vegetables for this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe.

Dumpling Directions

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.
    Whisk to blend well. Pour in the oil and milk and mix with a wooden spoon.
    The finished dumpling dough, resting in its mixing bowl.

Slow Cooker Directions

  • Pour the broth into your crock pot.
    Adding the broth to the slow cooker.
  • Add the marjoram, garlic powder.
    Adding the spices to the broth in the slow cookers.
  • Add the vegetables next.
    Adding sautéd veggies to the slow cooker.
  • Finally, add the chicken to the slow cooker.
    Adding the chicken to the slow cooker for this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings Recipe.
  • Turn the crock pot on high to get the broth hot. The broth MUST be hot before adding the dumplings. Depending on your slow cooker, this can take 30-60 minutes.
    Using two teaspoons, scoop up and round off your dumplings and scrap into your crock pot. (Just like making drop cookies)
    I cooked this on high for about 3-1/2 hours total. But if you need to cook it longer because you are leaving for the day (or cooking overnight), turn the slow cooker on low, and cook until the dumplings and chicken are cooked through. (About 6 hours). It's important to know how your slow cooker cooks here. Every slow cooker is slightly different.
    Spooning the dumplings into the hot broth.
  • The dumplings will look a little odd after they have been cooking at the top of the stew all day. They create a sort of "crust-like" layer. Just break them up with a wooden spoon and stir them into the stew to finish cooking. Break one open to be sure it's cooked all the way. At this point, your stew is done. Cool slightly and serve.
    A close up of a bowl of the finished Chicken and Dumplings.

Stove Top Directions

  • Pour the broth into your stock pot.
    Add the marjoram, garlic powder, vegetables and chicken to the stock pot.
    Bring the pot to a slow boil. The broth MUST be at a slow boil before adding the dumplings.
    Using two teaspoons, scoop up and round off your dumplings and scrap into your pot. (Just like making drop cookies)
    Boil until the dumplings and chicken are cooked. (Break open a dumpling to see if it's cooked all the way through)
    Note that the dumplings can leave an odd looking film over the top of your stew as it simmers. This is totally normal. Simply break it up towards the end of cooking and stir everything into the stew. This film is just the flour which will help to thicken your stew.
    A side view of this Healthy Chicken And Dumplings in a green crock, ready to eat.

Notes

Please note that the data below is a ballpark figure. Exact nutrition data is not possible.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 298mg | Potassium: 327mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3289IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry® archives, originally posted 10/20/2010.

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362 Comments

  1. graciouspantry says:

    Awesome! Glad everyone enjoyed it!

  2. graciouspantry says:

    Depends. What do you mean by, “they didn’t form”? You did scoop them into little balls right?

  3. graciouspantry says:

    Hmmm…. I just cannot pinpoint what could be going wrong here. Did you change anything at all about the recipe? The flour used… anything?

  4. graciouspantry says:

    I don’t stir it at all until the dumplings are cooked. I stir gently just before serving to distribute the dumplings.

  5. graciouspantry says:

    Hmmm… Keep in mind that a slow cooker cooks at only one temperature. High and low are the difference in how long it takes the pot to get to that temperature. So really, you didn’t turn down the heat at all. They may be slightly burnt, but with all the liquid, I’m a little surprised. Taste them and see how they taste. Could be you need a new slow cooker too.

  6. Stephanie Olson says:

    Can I use Whole Wheat Flour? Ive been eying this for a few weeks now and just can not find pastry flour anywhere. Also is Oregano acceptable in place of Marjoram?

    1. graciouspantry says:

      As far as flavors go, I would sub the marjoram with basil. Oregano works too, but the flavor is far more sharp which may not lend itself to good flavor here. Just my opinion. Yes, you can use whole wheat flour, but you will end up with a far more dense dumpling.

  7. Hi, iam so excited to be trying this meal tomorrow night!! But I bought whole weat flour, should I use regular flour or will the wheat not being pastry come out okay??

    1. graciouspantry says:

      The dumplings will be a little more dense if you use the regular whole wheat flour.

  8. I just made the recipe and it is delicious. I did it stove top, and let it simmer for an hour or so. The dumplings looked weird at first, but they turned out great. Found the pastry flour at whole foods, btw. Thanks so much! Looking forward to trying some other recipes as my husband and I explore clean eating.

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  9. graciouspantry says:

    Yes, Whole Foods carries it.

  10. graciouspantry says:

    Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  11. graciouspantry says:

    My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed it!

  12. graciouspantry says:

    When the chicken is cooked through and the dumplings are not raw in the middle.

  13. Looks wonderful……

  14. I am currently making this in my crockpot and my whole house smells divine. I snuck a sample and now I can’t wait for dinner! Thank you for sharing this delectable meal!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      My pleasure! 🙂

  15. Jeannette says:

    Well, mine didn’t taste nearly as good as yours looked but it was pretty good. I had to make the dumplings out of gluten free flour and dairy free milk which wasn’t nearly as good from what I remember when I could use all purpose flour but they were okay just the same. Thank you for the recipe.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ya, those kinds of substitutions would really affect this recipe. But I’m glad it was at least edible. 🙂

  16. This is not a clean recipie, marjoram is not clean. It’s full of processed crap. Clean eating is not only about low-cal, it’s about natural unprocessed, unpronounceable ingredients.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alexa – Marjoram is an herb like basil or parsley. There is nothing about it that is processed. It’s just a dried herb like any other. Perhaps the bottle you found has something added, but the real stuff is just an herb.

  17. Hiya I’m in the UK and I can’t get Wholewheat pastry Flour, I just wondered If I could use normal Wheat Flour or will the dumpling turn out horrible

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kayleigh – I believe over there it’s called whole meal flour. But you definitely want the pastry variety. I believe you can order it from amazon.com. You could try it with regular white flour, but I’m not sure how it would turn out.

  18. I’m making this right now, but since I didn’t have pastry flour I’m using wholewheat flour. I will let you know how it turns out. I wish stores would sale the pastry flour around here. I have to say it smells yummy!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Shari – The dumplings will just be more dense and coarse, but they should taste the same. It’s just a texture thing.

  19. Bethany B says:

    Can we use other forms of flour if we are gluten intolerant?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Bethany – You would have to search for a gluten free dumpling recipe. I haven’t experimented with that at all.

  20. Sharon O'Shea says:

    Hi, Tiffany, I love trying your recipes, just one question on the chicken and dumplings: are you sure it is’supposed to be: 1 Tablespoon of baking soda? I think it’s way too much, but I’m not a very good judge of these things… Please check it again and let us know…. Thanks, Tiffany.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sharon – Yes, quite sure.

  21. Sharon O'Shea says:

    Ok,Tiffany, but I checked your original recipe and it calls for 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. I cooked this yesterday according to your instructions with 1 Tablespoon baking soda, and I must tell you honestly, the dumplings tasted awful…., I think that’s a mistake…

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sharon – Actually, the original recipe does call for a full tablespoon. But if you feel it’s too much, feel free to use less.

  22. Tiffany,

    Thank you so much for your website, and a special THANK YOU for this recipe!!! Oh my goodness. My husband and I started eating clean a couple of months ago, and I just have to tell you that these chicken and dumplings rank in the top 10 of the tastiest (that’s a word, right?) things I’ve ever eaten, clean or unclean. I just had the leftovers and I was in awe of 2 things: 1) How amazng this recipe is and 2) That I’d actually made it. I know #2 was possible becuase of #1. Thanks so very much for your recipes. They are so wonderful. I’m enjoying a Suprise Muffin right now, and it’s amazing, as well. Thanks for all that you do, and all the time that you spend to develop these reipes.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Merlanda – Thank you so much!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! That’s the main message I try to convey about healthy foods. They DO actually taste good!! 😀

  23. Hi

    Being an English cook, and not really understanding “cups”, could you tell me how many portions you get from your 5 quarts? It looks lush and really want to try it but am on a 5:2 diet and need portion control 🙂

    thanks
    Claire

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Claire – 5 quarts = 4.73176 liters. Enjoy!

  24. Jessica W says:

    I made this today! When my mom made dumplings, she used flour, egg and salt. I made a hybrid of this recipe and hers. Adding egg seems to help keep the dumplings from dissolving into nothingness.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jessica – Cool! I’ve never had an issue with the dumplings dissolving though. Did you actually have that issue?

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