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. Any thoughts on how to make clean, gluten free dumplings?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Belinda – Sorry, no. I haven’t figured that one out yet. A quick google search should help though. Or visit Elana’s Pantry. She’s great for gluten free cooking.

  2. Is chicken and dumplings suppose to taste sweet? I’ve never had this dish before so I’m not sure how it’s suppose to taste. Mine turned out quite sweet.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Diana – No, it shouldn’t be sweet. Did you make any alterations at all?

  3. Stupid question- where do I find marjoram? Is it in a jar or something? What is it?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Samantha – It’s an herb like basil or parsley. You’ll find it in any spice aisle.

  4. Hi
    Sorry but i’m not really understanding “cups”, could you tell me how many cup portions of 145 kcal you get from your 4.5 litres. I’m rubbish at conversions..

    Thanks
    Claire

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Claire – 1 cup is 240 ml.

  5. The dumplings did not work with coconut flour 😉 BUT it did make a rather nice, thick, wintery soup =)

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Angela – Ha! that’s how my best recipes get made. Mistakes! 🙂 Glad it worked out.

  6. Just made these with a few substitutions and it tastes great! I used homemade turkey broth, white whole wheat flour (1.5 c), bread flour (.5c) and poultry seasoning instead of marjoram (didn’t have any) It is so good! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Marcelle – My pleasure! Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  7. In a word- Amazing! So easy, our new go-to dish 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Rachel – Fantastic!! 🙂

  8. The 2nd time I made it, I used frozen “stew veggies”. Made the job even easier. I added frozen peas for the last 10 minutes of cooking.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Rachel – Interesting! Just be careful because the frozen foods really do drop the cooking temp as does removing the lid.

  9. I guess I should have clarified that I cook the recipe on the stove top in a dutch oven pot. Hahaha. Sorry about that.The peas would need to cook longer than 10 min in the slow cooker. 😉

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Rachel – I don’t know anything about cooking in a dutch oven, but yes. The peas would need longer than 10 min in a slow cooker. 🙂

  10. Stephanie says:

    I am so excited! This is in the crockpot right now! Looking forward to having it for dinner! Chicken and Dumplings has been one of my favorite meals since I was a kid. I haven’t had it in a while and now I get to try a clean version! Hoping it is delicious so I can make it a regular for my family.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Stephanie – Let me know how you like it!

  11. Stephanie says:

    It was ok. I need to get use to eating whole wheat dumplings. My husband and kids didn’t care to much for it. They said it was bland. I need to find a way to add more flavor so they will like it. Any suggestions? I am not much of a baker/cook.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Stephanie – Are you sure you measured everything correctly? Mine always has tons of flavor. Did you make any changes at all? I will say that if you are used to white flour products, it does take some time to get used to whole wheat products. You could add garlic and onion powder, celery seed or salt, some thyme, stuff like that. Sorry you didn’t care for it!

  12. Stephanie says:

    I measured everything correctly. We need to get use to eating healthy. We are use to eating processed junk. I am not giving up. I will try it again and try adding other seasonings. Maybe some green beans too. Thank you! Tomorrow I am going to make the Rotisserie chicken!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Stephanie – Ah. That makes sense. It will take at least a couple of months for your taste buds to adjust. Until then, things won’t taste as good. But the good news is, if you hang in there, your food will start tasting better than ever before. Eventually, you won’t be able to stand the idea of the junk food you are used to. Hang in there! It’s so worth it.

  13. I love this recipe! And your website! I’ts so simple and soo delicious. Ive made it twice already and my husband and his friends also loved! He has no idea how healthy it is! Im wqtching my calories, so im curious whether the nutrition data includes the dumplings and approx. How many? Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Alicia – The data does include the dumplings, but it would be impossible for me to say how many simply because the number you make will change almost every time you make it. It all depends on their size. I would say keep count of how many you make, and then divide that by the number of servings. That should get you pretty close.

  14. Very good recipe! Much better/healthier than my traditional recipe! The only change I made was with the dumplings. I didn’t care for the consistency I got when I cooked them in with the “stew” they were too mushy, I like my dumplings a little more dense and “solid”. So I used 3 eggs, 1 tsp water, and the rest whole wheat flour(until it becomes sticky). Then I dropped them in boiling water until they started to float. They become more solid of a dumpling, but after that you can place in with the stew and they keep their original “denseness.”

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lindsay – Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  15. Hi! I made this tonight & it was delicious!!!! I made it on the stove top in a dutch oven. I wasn’t paying attention (doing too much at one time) & put 2 Tbs of garlic powder in it. But we love garlic down here in New Orleans, & it was really good. Thanks for a great recipe!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jennifer – My pleasure! So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  16. How long will it take the dumplings to finish cooking on the stove top? Very excited to try this recipe.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jessica – Not too long. You can cut into them to see if they are doughy or not in the center. Give it at least 20 minutes or so. Maybe even 30. The important thing is that the chicken is cooked. After that, start checking the dumplings by cutting into them at 10 minute intervals.

  17. Thank you! They turned out fantastic!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jessica – Wonderful! 🙂

  18. Hello! I love this recipe but I certainly don’t get 5 quarts out of it (20 cups) – is that calc correct? I typically get at max 10-12 cups.

    Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nikki – All I know is that that is what I get when I make it. I make it in my 5 quart slow cooker and it’s always full.

  19. Carol-Ann says:

    HI, The only thing I have in my pantry is Unsalted Chicken Stock, will that work? Should I isle the same amount. I know that it’s got a little stronger flavor than chicken broth.

    Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Carol-Ann – It should be fine. 🙂

  20. Amy Hardman says:

    All I can say Tiffany, is WOW!!! This was scrumptious 🙂

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Amy – Fantastic! I’m so happy you enjoyed it! 😀

  21. This is the second recipe I’ve tried from here today-again, with adjustments made due to a lack of certain ingredients. It turned out great. Obviously, it’s a far cry from using White Lily flour, insane amounts of butter and cream, and Crisco-but, it’s really a great dish! So very glad I found this site! Thank you.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Crystal – I’m so happy you enjoyed it! 🙂

  22. I used whole wheat flour (not pastry flour) and it’s really gritty tasting. 🙁 I filled my bowl because I was so hungry and got full so fast. First few bites I wasn’t too sure I liked it, but knowing this is better than the original, I kept eating and my taste buds adjusted. I will make again but will be sure to use the pastry flour instead.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Melissa – Yes, the regular flour is far more coarse and dense. I think you’ll like it a lot more with the pastry flour.

  23. I have made several of your recipes and they have become part of our regular rotation, but this is my absolute favorite. I have started making bone broth by the gallons, and this is the perfect recipe to make with it. So very good!! Keep up the good work!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      KWallace – Thank you so very much! I’m so happy you like it! 😀

  24. So I made this today in my crockpot but my dumplings turned brown. I cooked it on high for 3 hours. Has this happened to anyone else? Maybe my crockpot is hotter then most…..

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jessica – That’s normal. They create sort of a “brown crust” across the top. Just stir them in. They will be fine. 🙂 And yes, it is possible that your slow cooker cooks hotter than others. But that’s only the case if you find you need to cook every recipe for a shorter amount of time. It would not be specific to one recipe.

  25. Thank you so much for posting something without canned condensed soup! I can’t wait to try out this recipe, it sounds delicious!

    As for crockpot dumplings, I find that getting your stew boiling and adding them the last 20-30 minutes or until they’re done and not overdone 🙂

    Thanks again for the recipe.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Stacia – My pleasure! And thanks for the tip! 🙂

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