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.

What You’ll Need

Stew Ingredients

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

2½ cups chopped onion – This can be red or yellow onions. This measurement is approximately 1 large onion.

3 cups sliced carrots – You can use baby carrots or regular carrots. It’s up to you.

2 cups sliced celery – Slice these thin unless you like the chunkier texture.

6 cups 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.

1 tbsp. 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.

1 tbsp. garlic powder – You can also use garlic granules.

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts – about 4 medium chicken breasts, cut into small chunks

Dumpling Ingredients

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

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

½ tsp. salt – I used pink Himalayan salt, but use what you have on hand.

3 tbsp. oil – Again, use whatever oil you usually cook with.

1 cup 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, 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 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.

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.

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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. I made the dumplings according to the recipe & they didn’t turn out. When I checked the original recipe it calls for Baking Powder, not Baking Soda as you have in your recipe.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kim – I know. I changed the recipe to use baking soda. What exactly happened to them? Did you change anything else about the recipe?

  2. thank you!!!! – I am now allergic to the baking yeast and the contents of baking powder. I miss dumplings. I can’t wait to try this.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nanc – My pleasure! But these do have baking SODA. Hopefully that’s okay…

  3. i did not like this recipe at all. Maybe I just found out that I hate Marjoram but it just tastes bad to me. I think maybe if I hadn’t used that seasoning I could have liked it but won’t be making this again. 🙁

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sara – I’m sorry you didn’t care for it.

  4. I’m from the uk and our dumplings are traditionally made with suet (animal fat). Definitely not clean! I made these with self raising whole meal flour so did not need any baking powder/soda. They worked out fine. I added them for the last two hours and used three chicken breasts instead of four and added some mushrooms. Absolutely delicious. I ate one portion and have three in the freezer. Found your website through Charlie at thekitchenshed. I’m so enjoying my clean eating and feel healthier than I have for years. I’ve also been able to reduce my meds for type 2 diabetes (metformin)

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Teresa – Welcome! I love Charlie. She’s fabulous! And I’m so happy you enjoyed the chicken and dumplings. They are a favorite here for sure. 😀

  5. If your dumplings didn’t turn out, you might want to check your baking soda and see if it is old and perhaps add a touch more salt. The leavening process needs both. That can make all the difference in the world sometimes.
    My great-grandma used to make this on the stove top and the dumplings had to be thick, and go in when it was very hot. They could not be too big either or the center would not quite cook and get soggy in the center. She also added peas and chopped parsley with ground poultry spice. I have done it on the stovetop and found that you really do need a big pot to give the dumpling room to move and boil, or you should use a second pot with just the liquid for the dumpling part. In a crock pot, I wouldn’t add the dumplings until the last hour and make sure you have plenty of room!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Liz – Great suggestions! Thanks!

  6. Do you think spelt flour would work in place of the whole wheat?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sarah – You could try it, but I think the dumplings would come out far more dense than most people would like. Worth a shot though!

  7. The dumplings; do you stir them all in the stew or leave some on the top?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Roxanne – Any way you wish as long as they cook completely. I always stir mine in at the end though.

  8. This came out way too watery. I thought six cups of broth sounded a bit too much, but decided to try it. Tried to thicken with corn starch, and that helped a little. I really didn’t care for the biscuits either.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Sue – I’m sorry you didn’t care for it. If it was watery, I’m guessing something went wrong because it should have been nice and thick.

  9. My apologies if this has already been asked. Could you provide nutritional information for this wonderful recipe? Please include serving size. Thanks so much

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Terri – Sorry, I no longer provide that information. But MyFitnessPal.com has a great calculator that allows you to copy/paste the url into the calculator and it will import the entire recipe for you. Hope that helps.

  10. Jennifer V says:

    Do you know the Nutritional Info for this recipe ?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jennifer V – Sorry, I no longer provide that info. But MyFitnessPal.com makes it really quick and easy to figure out. Hope that helps.

  11. Ashleigh Thomson says:

    Hi what flour would you reccomend to making the dumplings wheat free?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ashleigh – Your best bet is to google “paleo dumplings”. I have never made them gluten free as traditional dumplings need the gluten to stick together. But I’m sure there are recipes out there that can help with that. Paleo is clean and gluten free, so a good place to start.

  12. Hi I know that in the recipe it says to let the soup boil until the dumplings and chicken are cooked through on the stove top. Do you recommend letting it cook longer on a lower temperature for flavor reasons or do you find that slow cooking it on the stove is not as beneficial? Thanks!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Meghan – I haven’t found it to have any benefits one way or the other. The instructions simply reflect the way I do it at home. If something else works better for you, you should do that. But I haven’t found that to be the case. Hope you enjoy it! 😀

  13. Love your recipes and can’t wait to try this! Do you use dried marjoram?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Nora – Yes. Unless I specify fresh herbs, I usually only use dried. Enjoy!

  14. It says in stovetop to boil until chicken and dumplings are cooked. About how long does that take?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kerri – It varies. Somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes. Roughly.

  15. Looks absolutely delicious! Is there a way to make the dumplings gluten free, perhaps by substituting for a different type of flour? If so, which do you recommend?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      ILYA – I’m not sure as I don’t really know anything about gluten free cooking. But I’m sure you could find something good if you google “gluten free dumplings”. Just keep in mind that the gluten helps make the soup thick. I’m not sure how it would turn out with something different as I’ve never tried.

  16. I’m so excited to try this recipe!! I just turned my crockpot from high to low and added my dumplings. I hope it thickens up, it seems pretty liquidity right now. Any advice on what to do if it’s too liquidity.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lyndsay – If you followed the recipe, particularly for the dumplings, it should be fine. The gluten from the wheat in the dumplings will thicken it up. That being said, if you want it thicker, cornstarch, tapioca flour or arrowroot powder are always good thickening agents. Let me know how it turns out!

  17. I am new to clean eating as I just started a week ago and your recipe looked delicious. I made the soup part then, as I made the dumplings, I made a very big mistake… I used extra virgin olive oil. Despite the soup part being amazing the dumplings were just gross. Upset and feeling defeated by my mistake I walked into the living room where my husband and told him to get ready we were going to get pizza. After debating what pizza we wanted I felt the guilt of giving in to temptation and was determined to push through it. I scooped my extra virgin olive oil flavored dumplings out and remade them. I’m so glad I did, they were perfect. Thank you for this recipe!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kelly – Fantastic!! I’m so happy it all worked out! 😀

  18. Can I use rice flour instead of wheat flour? Alergies run amuck in my family.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Lisa – Not for dumplings. You would have to google a different recipe for that. With rice flour, they would fall apart.

  19. I already have canned biscuits in the fridge. Can I use those?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Any – I’m not sure, I’ve never used canned biscuits.

  20. What if I replace the flout with coconut flour? Do you know what the measurements would be?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Michelle – They are two VERY different animals. You wouldn’t be able to use enough coconut flour without drying the recipe out completely. It’s a VERY thirsty flour. However, you can try a different dumpling recipe. I’m just not sure how it would affect the rest of the stew as I’ve never tried it. Here’s one I found: https://www.copymethat.com/r/ugb8fd1/coconut-flour-dumplings/

      1. Michelle Devereux says:

        Thanks for your response, Also how long did it take for the broth to get hot in the crock pot before you added the dumplins?

        1. The Gracious Pantry says:

          Michelle – Depends on your slow cooker. But that’s actually more of a concern on the stove top than it is in a slow cooker. Of course, with a different dumpling, it’s hard to say what it will do. But you could try putting them in at the beginning. If not, you would just have to feel the broth every hour or so until it reaches a good, warm temp.

          1. Michelle Devereux says:

            So its been cooking for 4 hours now. I just checked the dumplings and they are really chewey and gritty in the middle like raw. I thought they would have been cooked by now. My chicken is drying out as well. Im not sure what to do.

            1. The Gracious Pantry says:

              Michelle – That’s odd. I would simply remove the chicken and keep it in the fridge until the dumplings are cooked. Then put it back in to warm it up.

  21. I cooked this up in my crockpot tonight and it was so delicious!!!! Chicken & Dumplings is one of my favorite comfort foods, but I am so happy that I can now eat it without feeling guilty about consuming all of the heavy cream! I halved the recipe, and it was the prefect amount for me and my husband. We each had two medium bowls, and one small tupperware left over! The only thing I did different was added a little extra garlic powder, and in the end I added 1 tsp sea salt. (And only cooked it for an hour and 45 min since I halved the recipe.) Thank you for this delicious Recipe!!!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Hannah – Fantastic!!! I’m so happy you both enjoyed it! It’s one of my all time favorites. 🙂

  22. I cannot have wheat could I use potato flour to make the dumplings?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Rhonda – I’ve never tried. It may be a better idea to look up a potato flour dumpling recipe and go from there.

  23. Judy Seawel says:

    Could the dumpling dough be rolled out & dropped into the broth noodle style. That’s how my grandmother made them long ago. Just wondered if that process would be possible. Thank you for sharing.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Judy – I don’t see why not. If it’s too dry you could add a tiny bit of water, but it should work.

  24. I looked through many comments. I didn’t see, but was wondering what was considered a serving? A cup? or…

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Holly – 1 cup

  25. I never post comments but I have to let you know because this was delicious. I’m from Australia so I wasn’t familiar with this recipe and wasn’t what I was expecting but in a good way!
    Cooked it in my slow cooker and turned out perfectly! Thank you!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Laura – That’s wonderful!! It’s an American “classic”. So happy you enjoyed it! 🙂

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