Do you get weather notifications on your phone? I’m not sure whether I love them or hate them.

Because when you live in a state like Maine, where we get a lot of weather, there can be a lot of notifications – especially during the winter.

Anyway, the other day my phone buzzed to warn me about a storm that was gonna hit the next day.

And the first thought that came to my mind was: “Good! I have an excuse to stay home and fire up the slow cooker and make something delicious.”

I decided to try something I’ve never made before, at least in a “healthy” way … chicken and dumplings.

Because to me, it’s kind of the perfect snow-day food: It’s hearty, warm, comforting, and it makes the house smell amazing when it’s cooking.

Healthy Slow-Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Slow Cooker Healthy Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings was a Sunday staple during winters when I was growing up.

Most of my memories with this dish involve coming into a nice warm house at dusk, after goofing around outside in the snow. When I was a kid, maybe we’d been (shhhh, don’t tell anyone) making snow forts and snow tunnels, or playing king (or queen) of the hill. Or, when I was a grown-up kid, it was after tromping through the woods with the dogs.

Either way, when I burst back into the house, I was cold, happy, tired – and hungry. The smell of the chicken stew cooking was  … well …  “homey.” And then cutting the ladle through the dumplings on top, to dish it out into a bowl … well, that’s comfort food right there.

Gluten-Free or Not …

My first impulse was to make this a gluten-free dish, but I decided not to because … well, because I didn’t want to. How about that? But next time I make it – and I definitely will, because it’s super easy to throw together – I’m definitely going to go the gluten-free route with the dumplings to see how they turn out. 

All that you have to do to make this gluten-free is to sub out a gluten-free flour (like Bob’s Red Mill) for the whole wheat white flour I used this time. I liked the whole wheat white flour OK, but I think the gluten-free flour might make a fluffier dumpling.

Now, you can certainly add more or less of the veggie ingredients if you want – chopped green beans would be delicious. Or you could add in some cubed potatoes. I used what was on-hand.

Because this recipe uses whole foods and not a can of some weird variety of creamed soup, you might want to stir in a thickening agent near the end of the cook time, just before you add the dumplings to the slow cooker.

If you want to thicken it up, take a quarter-cup of broth out of the slow cooker and mix in a couple tablespoons of cornstarch, agar-agar, or whatever you normally use to thicken recipes. Then, stir the mixture back into the stew before dropping the dumpling batter on top. 

No worries: the dumplings might look a little “gloopy” before/during/after cooking, because most of the cooking happens underneath. They’ll still taste great!

Clean Eating Chicken and Dumplings

Give this a try and let me know what you think! It stores well for 3 days in the fridge, making it perfect for leftovers (my favorite).

Slow-Cooker Healthy Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 8
This easy slow-cooker recipe turns traditional chicken and dumplings into a healthy and delicious "clean-eating" meal. It's modifiable to make both gluten- and dairy-free.
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Cook Time
6 hr
Cook Time
6 hr
344 calories
29 g
82 g
11 g
31 g
6 g
337 g
217 g
5 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 344
Calories from Fat 101
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 6g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 82mg
Sodium 217mg
Total Carbohydrates 29g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 5g
Protein 31g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the Chicken Stew
  1. 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  2. 1.25 lb boneless chicken breast
  3. 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 onion, chopped
  6. 3 celery stalks, chopped
  7. 1 tsp marjoram
  8. 1 tsp thyme
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. 2 tbsp cornstarch or agar-agar (optional, for thickener)
For the Dumplings
  1. 1.25 cups whole wheat white flour
  2. 1.5 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp onion powder
  4. 1/4 cup butter, cubed, room temperature
  5. 2/3 cup milk (I used plain coconut milk, but any unsweetened milk should work)
  6. 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
  1. Put all of the stew ingredients except the cornstarch into the slow cooker. Depending on your cooker, it should take between 4 and 6 hours on high or 6 and 8 hours on low. Mine cooked really quickly!
  2. Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred them using two forks. Then, remove a quarter-cup or so of broth from the slow cooker. Set aside and return meat to the slow cooker.
  3. Next, stir optional thickener (cornstarch, agar-agar, or whatever you prefer) into the broth until smooth, and then stir the mixture back into stew. Cover crockpot and turn to high.
To prepare Dumplings
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  2. Cut in the butter using two forks, a pastry cutter, or your hands until it begins to form a coarse, grainy mixture.
  3. Add the milk and cheese, and – being careful not to overwork – combine until the lumps are gone.
  4. Working quickly so the heat doesn't escape, remove the cover from the slow cooker and drop the dumpling batter by teaspoons on top of the stew mixture.
  5. Cover and let cook another 30 to 60 minutes, until dumplings are done. They will still seem "gloopy" on top, but that's OK!
  6. Serve and enjoy!
  1. You can make this gluten-free by using gluten-free flour, like Bob's Red Mill.
  2. For the milk, you can use your choice: dairy, almond, coconut, or whatever – just make sure it's unsweetened.
  3. Likewise, if you avoid dairy, you can use coconut oil instead of the butter and omit the cheese.
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