Slow Cooker Chicken And Dumplings Recipe

There's no comfort food quite as ubiquitous as chicken and dumplings, and none with such a long and ambiguous history. Like many classic foods, it's easy to look at the list of now-cheap ingredients and assume the dish was born out of necessity. The truth is, this dish was more likely made for special occasions, being that chicken was valuable (according to Southern Kitchen, chickens were kept for eggs and rarely eaten). The dish has been around a long time, in various forms, largely in the south and often found in cookbooks for housewives. Some are chicken-less, some dumplings more noodle-like, and some are in a light broth while others a cream. It's a versatile dish that is open to interpretation, so long as you have the key elements: Chicken, and of course, dumplings.

This rendition, created by Michelle McGlinn, is a creamy, soup-like pulled chicken dish with doughy, biscuit-shaped dumplings. The dumplings aren't quite a biscuit nor a noodle, but somewhere in between, being both a little crispy and a little silky. It's the best of both worlds, and the best part is that it's made easily in the slow cooker; so even if the original dish was a luxury, this one can be made easily at home any day.

Everything you need for slow-cooker chicken and dumplings

To make the shredded chicken base, you'll need boneless, skinless chicken thighs, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, and chicken stock. You can swap the thighs for chicken breasts, but we prefer thighs here for how easily they shred apart. To make the soup creamy, you'll need a can of evaporated milk and some cornstarch dissolved in water. For the dumplings in this recipe, we're using canned biscuit dough, which you can find near the eggs in the refrigerated section of the grocery store (there will be cans of croissants, cinnamon rolls, and pizza dough nearby). Season it all with salt and pepper, then drop in spinach for some greens.

Cook the chicken until very tender

The first step happens to be the easiest: Just add the chicken, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, and stock into the slow cooker and turn it on, stirring things around a bit to make sure everything is submerged and distributed. Cover the slow cooker and let it do its thing — in about 4 hours, the chicken will pull apart easily with a fork. If you're in a rush, start checking the chicken around 3 hours. If you'd rather leave the chicken cook while you're at work, just cook it on low instead for 6 to 8 hours.

Par-bake the biscuits

Everyone has a different idea of how a dumpling should look and taste. Many classic recipes call for thin, silky noodle-like dumplings that dissolve in your mouth. Commonly, the dumplings are made like biscuits and boiled until crispy, like a crust. We split the difference here and made a slightly crusty, silky dough ball, made possible by par-baking. Because the slow cooker never comes to a boil, if you drop in the biscuit dough without baking first, the dough will stay raw and dissolve into the broth (if you'd prefer that, go for it). To combat this, cut the biscuits into quarters, smash them down a little bit, then bake them until they rise but aren't crusty and golden yet. They'll be solid and baked through, but still squishy and pale.

Add in evaporated milk

Shred the chicken in the pot or remove and shred on a cutting board, then submerge the shredded pieces in the broth. To make this a creamy soup (if you'd rather keep this brothy, just skip this step) pour in the evaporated milk and cornstarch. The low heat of the slow cooker will thicken the broth slightly into a creamy soup. Because evaporated milk is made by removing most of its water content, it won't separate in the slow cooker, resulting in effortlessly creamy soup. If you only have milk or cream on hand, pour them in at the end, instead. Once you've stirred the broth, add the par-baked dumplings and dunk them into soup. Cover the slow cooker again and let cook for another hour.

Add the spinach and seasoning then serve

Because spinach cooks quickly, toss it in at the very end, while the mixture is still warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then divide into bowls to serve. Because this version has chicken, veggies, and dumplings all in one bowl, you hardly need any sides; however, you can serve this soup with stewed greens, extra biscuits, or roasted vegetables for a full meal.

If saving leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer, ladle into an airtight container with the dumplings sitting on top. Try to keep the dumplings out of the broth as much as possible or they will become soggy and dissolve, which is not ideal, even for leftovers.

Slow Cooker Chicken And Dumplings Recipe
5 from 47 ratings
This slow cooker chicken and dumplings recipe is as comforting as it is easy to make.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chicken and dumplings in a bowl
Total time: 5 hours, 10 minutes
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, julienned
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon oregano
  • ½ tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 (16-ounce) can refrigerated biscuit dough
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  1. Place the chicken, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, oregano, rosemary, bay leaves, and chicken stock in a slow cooker. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then cover with lid and cook on high for 4 hours.
  2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 F. Separate the biscuits from each other and slice into quarters, pressing down slightly to flatten. Bake the quarters for 6-7 minutes, or until the biscuits are risen but still doughy. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred using two forks. Return shredded chicken to the slow cooker.
  4. Whisk the cornstarch into the water and pour slurry into the slow cooker. Add the evaporated milk and stir to combine.
  5. Add the par-baked biscuits and dunk into the liquid. Cook for another hour on high, until the liquid is thickened.
  6. With the slow cooker still on, stir in the spinach to wilt. Season to taste with salt and pepper and remove the bay leaves.
  7. Serve right away.
Calories per Serving 701
Total Fat 18.3 g
Saturated Fat 7.0 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 138.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 86.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Total Sugars 16.4 g
Sodium 1,569.8 mg
Protein 45.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe