Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

$5.87 recipe / $0.98 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.75 from 72 votes
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It’s time to stock my freezer with some portions of homemade chicken soup for the cold winter ahead. I’ve made a classic chicken noodle soup in the past, but I wanted to try a little something different this time.

The word “dumpling” has a million different culinary definitions. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but just about every culture has its own version of dumplings and they’re all different. The dumplings that I grew up with were fluffy biscuit-like lumps that floated on top of soup like little delicious clouds. I wanted some of those dumplings. This is not a recipe for the thick, noodle-like dumpling similar to what you’d get at Cracker Barrel.

I started with a basic chicken noodle soup recipe, but made it in the slow cooker instead of on the stove top and with less broth so that it would have more of a stew-like consistency. Instead of adding noodles at the end, I simply mixed up a batch of drop biscuits and dropped them by the spoonful on top of the “soup.” The heat from the soup steams the biscuits, turning them into fluffy, broth soaked dumplings. The part of the dumpling touching the soup does get soggy, but IMHO that’s half of the beauty. If you’re not into that sort of texture, you can simply substitute your favorite noodle and turn it into a slow cooker chicken noodle soup!

I got about six servings out of this – approx. 1 cup of the soup part and 1-2 massive dumplings. It was very filling!

Top view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings with a spoon on the side
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Slow Cooker Chicken & Dumplings

4.75 from 72 votes
Make a batch of these easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings to store in your freezer for the cold winter days ahead. 
Servings 6
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 4 hours 20 minutes
Total 4 hours 50 minutes



  • 2 cloves garlic ($0.16)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.57)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.80)
  • 1/2 lb. carrots (about 4) ($0.55)
  • 1 large chicken breast* (about 3/4 lb.) ($1.49)
  • 1 whole bay leaf ($0.15)
  • 1 tsp dried basil ($0.10)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme ($0.10)
  • freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
  • 4 cups water ($0.00)
  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste) ($0.05)


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour ($0.21)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder ($0.15)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley ($0.15)
  • 6 Tbsp cold butter ($0.90)
  • 3/4 tsp sugar ($0.01)
  • 2/3 cup milk ($0.41)


  • Mince the garlic, dice the onion, and slice the carrots and celery into small pieces. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, basil, thyme, chicken breast, water, and some freshly cracked pepper to a slow cooker. Stir to combine and then cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
  • After cooking for four hours on high or eight hours on low, remove the chicken from the broth and place it on a cutting board (if you cooked on low heat, turn it to high now). Use two forks to shred the chicken. Return the chicken to the pot and stir in 1 tsp of salt to the soup. Keep the slow cooker covered as much as possible during this process to retain heat and maintain the temperature.
  • Allow the soup to continue to cook on high while you mix the dumpling batter. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, parsley, and sugar. Mix well. Add butter in small chunks and cut it in or work it in with your hands until the mixture resembles damp sand. Add the milk and stir until a very soft paste-like mixture forms.
  • Remove the lid from the slow cooker and drop the dumpling batter into the soup by the heaping spoonful. Return the lid to the slow cooker and allow the dumplings to steam for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes they should have fluffed and expanded from the heat. Although they may look moist on the outside, they will be light and fluffy on the inside. Serve hot.

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*I buy my chicken breast when they’re on sale and save them in the freezer for later.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 439kcalCarbohydrates: 56.52gProtein: 21.13gFat: 15.03gSodium: 1057.4mgFiber: 3g
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Side view of a bowl of Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings with a spoon on the side

Step by Step Photos

Vegetables (onion, carrots, celery and garlic) on countertop

I like to add a lot of vegetables to my chicken & dumplings to round out the meal. I used half of a sleeve of celery, half of a one pound bag of carrots, a medium onion, and a couple cloves of garlic. Mince the garlic, dice the onion, and cut the celery and carrots into slices.

Chopped veggies in zip lock bag to save for later as "soup starter"

Most of the soups that I make start with this same mix of carrots, celery, and onion. So, instead of letting the second half of the celery and carrots go to waste, I just chop them up, put them in a freezer bag, and then save them for my next batch of soup. Next time I’ll only have to do a fraction of the chopping!

Ingredients in Slow Cooker

Add the garlic, onion, carrot, celery, chicken breast (it’s hiding under there), bay leaf, basil, thyme, and some freshly cracked pepper to the slow cooker.

Water added to ingredients in slow cooker

Add four cups of water and give it a good stir. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.

Top view of soup Finished Cooking in slow cooker

After which, it will look like this. From this point forward, you want to keep the lid on the slow cooker as much as possible to hold the heat in. The hotter the liquid, the lighter and fluffier the dumplings will be. If you cooked yours on low, turn the heat to high at this point.

Shredding chicken with two forks

Quickly remove the chicken breast and replace the lid on the slow cooker. Using two forks, shred the chicken breast. It will be extremely tender, so this should only take second.

Shredded Chicken and Salt added into slow cooker

Return the chicken breast to the slow cooker and add a teaspoon of salt. Again, try to keep the lid on as much as possible, so work quickly. Allow it to continue to cook on high (with the lid on) while you mix up the batter for the dumplings… (or you can add some noodles at the point and just let them cook until tender).

Dry ingredients in mixing bowl

Add the dry ingredients to the bowl: flour baking powder, salt, sugar, and dried parsley. Stir until they are well combined.

Butter added to dry ingredients in mixing bowl

Add small pieces of the cold butter to the dry ingredients. Work the butter in using a pastry cutter or your hands until it resembles damp sand.

Milk added to dry ingredients in mixing bowl

See how it kind of looks like clumpy, damp sand? Add the milk and then stir just until it forms a wet paste-like mixture.

Dough mixed together in mixing bowl

It should be very soft and easy to scoop with a spoon. If your dough is too stiff (not enough milk) the dumplings will be dense and not light and fluffy.

Clumps of dumpling batter dropped into slow cooker

Drop the batter onto the soup by the heaping spoonful. Hopefully the soup will be very close to, if not simmering at this point. The hotter the soup, the better the dumplings. Unfortunately I had kept the lid off a lot to take photos, so mine had cooled off significantly.

Puffed Dumplings cooked in slow cooker on top of soup

Keeping the lid on and the heat turned on to high, let the dumplings cook for 20 minutes. They’ll puff up like this as they cook.

Dumplings broken apart

I like to break the dumplings apart a bit because it also allows the bits of soaked dumpling to mix into the broth and make it a little creamy. Now it’s ready to serve!

Bowl of Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

Hearty, delicious, and 100% homemade! 

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    1. I haven’t tried that, so I can’t say for sure, but I would probably not do it because you really need the soup to be boiling strongly in order to cook the noodle-like dumplings well. If it’s not boiling enough they’ll just sort of get mushy. I’m afraid that even if the soup in the slow cooker is boiling, once you add the thick dumplings it will lower the temperature too much to keep boiling.

  1. This recipe is a hug on a plate on a cold winter night that even my wallet approved – and it does not approve of much.

    1. I probably wouldn’t do anything special, just microwave until hot. :)

  2. I made this once as a uni student, and now years on as a professional and having my own family, I still love and make this recipe.