Chicken and dumplings in the slow cooker make one of the most comforting Southern foods extremely easy to achieve…and they’re so delicious!
There are few comfort foods in the South that can quite speak to my soul like a bowl of chicken and dumplings. At every potluck, you’ll find pots and bowls of thick, creamy chicken and dumplings without fail. They’re served as vegetables in Southern meat & threes. They’re a perfect hot meal for a cool Fall evening. They’re as Southern as you can get, at least when they’re made like this.
See, I’ve seen a lot of recipes for chicken and dumplings that don’t look remotely like anything that I have ever been served by a true Southern cook. Big, bready balls of dough floating in thin broth with some chicken and vegetables? I’m sure they taste good…but that’s not chicken and dumplings. Try again.
Alton Brown calls the big, round dumplings “swimmers”. The flat, rolled variety that I recognize as proper for chicken and dumplings? He calls those “slickers”. You have to roll the dough as flat as you can get it and cut it into little squares. And the funny thing is that as many bowls of chicken and dumplings as I’ve eaten in my life, when I first set out to learn how to make them the way I’d always eaten them, no one could really tell me how. No one really used a recipe…everyone just kind of mixed things up in a bowl.
After some chicken & dumplings disasters, I eventually settled on using my biscuit dough recipe, which is just second nature to me these days, and rolling it as thinly as I can. The first time I made chicken and dumplings in the slow cooker, I though that the results were going to be a disaster for sure. For the first thirty minutes or so, I was sure that it was just going to be a big pot of mush. Turns out that yes, the dumplings do fall apart a little bit….but the result is a thickened broth that is more like what I grew up with than I could have imagined. Warning, though….if you refrigerate these after you make them, they will inevitably congeal. They’ll still taste just as good when you warm them up, but you will be grossed out. Just so you know.
How do you like your chicken and dumplings? No matter how, try my chicken and dumplings in the slow cooker!
Yield: 6 servings
30 minPrep Time:
5 hrCook Time:
5 hr, 30 Total Time:
- 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs, skin removed-can use boneless or bone-in
- 1 medium onion, halved
- 1 medium carrot, scrubbed and cut in half
- 1 celery stalk, scrubbed and cut in half
- 6 cups water plus 2 chicken bouillon cubes OR 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- ¾ cup buttermilk, cream, half-and-half, or milk
- salt and pepper
- Chopped parsley (optional)
- Place the chicken, onion, carrot, celery, and chicken stock or water and bouillon cubes into a 6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Remove the chicken and the vegetables from the liqud (do NOT drain the liquid). Shred the chicken, discarding the bones if you are using bone-in chicken, and add back to the slow cooker.
- Stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and work in using a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Use a fork to stir in the buttermilk or other liquid a little at a time until the mixture holds together but is not sticky (you may not need all of the liquid).
- Roll the dough out to 1/16 to ? inch thickness. Cut into strips about 1 ½ inches wide and 2 inches long. Drop the dumplings into the slow cooker and stir once. Cook on high for 1 hour. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve sprinkled with parsley if desired.
If you prefer to cook your chicken and dumplings on low, the total cook time will be 9 hours.