Best Slow Cooker Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumplings Recipe in a Slow Cooker

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Updated on May 20, 2024

Dairy-free Chicken and Dumplings: a classic comfort food with a modern twist! This dish combines tender pieces of chicken, wholesome vegetables, and fluffy dumplings, all simmered together in a rich, dairy-free broth. And the best part? It’s made effortlessly in a slow cooker, making it the perfect set-it-and-forget-it meal for busy days. 

Join us as we explore the best slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings recipe, made without any dairy! We’ll also equip you with pro tips to achieve that creamy texture and provide some creative ways to serve this delicious, juicy dish. 

What is Chicken and Dumplings: Classic Comfort Food

A bowl of Chicken and Dumplings is a comforting, nostalgic, and undeniably delicious dish. At its core, Chicken and Dumplings is a deceptively simple recipe. It features succulent chicken pieces simmered in a flavourful broth, often alongside a medley of vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions. 

This base becomes the canvas for the star of the show: the dumplings. These delightful morsels are typically made from a biscuit-like dough, similar to pie dough but lighter and fluffier. Traditionally, dumplings are dropped by spoonfuls into the simmering broth, where they cook through and soak up all the delicious flavours. The result is a hearty and satisfying stew, perfect for a cosy night in.

Why Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumplings

For those with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies, enjoying traditional Chicken and Dumplings can often feel like a distant dream. By substituting dairy-free alternatives for ingredients like milk or cream, you can create a version of Chicken and Dumplings that’s just as creamy and satisfying as the original without any discomfort.

Why Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is key, and what better way to achieve a delicious, home-cooked meal with minimal effort than with a slow cooker? Making Chicken and Dumplings in a slow cooker allows the flavours of the chicken, vegetables, and aromatic herbs to meld together over time, resulting in a dish that’s rich, flavourful, and incredibly tender. Plus, the hands-off nature of slow cooker cooking means you can set it and forget it, freeing up valuable time to tackle other tasks while dinner practically prepares itself.

Slow Cooker Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumplings Recipe 

Best Slow Cooker Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Get ready to tantalise your taste buds and warm your soul with our slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings recipe that takes all the goodness of the original and replaces dairy with clever alternatives. This comforting dish promises to deliver all the rich flavours and tender textures you crave without any dairy. 


For the Chicken and Broth

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 large diced onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 800ml low-sodium chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Dairy-Free Dumplings

  • 150g self-raising flour (gluten-free flour can be used for a gluten-free option)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 80g cold vegan butter, cubed
  • 120ml unsweetened dairy-free milk (almond milk or oat milk work well)


  1. For added flavour, heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper, then brown them on all sides. This step isn’t essential, but it adds a nice depth of flavour to the finished dish.
  2. Add the browned chicken (or unbrowned if skipping step 1) to the slow cooker. Next, toss in the diced onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Pour in the chicken stock and season generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Give everything a stir, then cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the chicken is falling off the bone.
  4. While the chicken simmers, it’s time to make the dumplings! In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut the cold vegan butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  5. Slowly add the dairy-free milk, a little at a time, using a fork to gently combine the dough. Be careful not to overmix—you want the dough to be slightly shaggy.
  6. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove the bay leaf and shred the chicken with two forks directly in the slow cooker. 
  7. Gently drop spoonfuls of the dumpling dough onto the simmering broth, making sure they don’t touch.
  8. Increase the slow cooker heat to high and cook for an additional 20-25 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through and fluffy. You can check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into a dumpling—it should come out clean.
  9. Serve your delicious dairy-free Chicken and Dumplings directly from the slow cooker, spooning the chicken, broth, and fluffy dumplings into bowls. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives for an extra pop of colour, and enjoy this warm and comforting dish!

Tips for Achieving Perfect Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumplings

Best Slow Cooker Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

The magic of slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings lies in the perfect balance between a flavourful broth, tender chicken, and light, fluffy dumplings. Here are some pro tips to ensure your dairy-free Chicken and Dumplings turn out perfect every time. 

  1. The key to fluffy dumplings lies in handling the dough with a gentle touch. Avoid overmixing—once the dry ingredients are moistened and resemble coarse crumbs, stop! Overworking the dough activates the gluten, resulting in tough dumplings. Use a light touch when combining the dough, and avoid kneading.
  2. For extra fluffy dumplings, ensure all your ingredients for the dough (flour, butter, and milk) are cold. Cold butter creates little pockets of fat in the dough, which translate into steam pockets during cooking, leading to those delightful, light and airy dumplings.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture evenly over the surface of the simmering broth to ensure even cooking. Avoid overcrowding the slow cooker to allow the dumplings space to expand as they cook.
  4. Broth consistency is a matter of personal preference. If you prefer a thicker broth, you can create a simple cornstarch slurry. Mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with a tablespoon of cold water until smooth, then stir it into the simmering broth after adding the dumplings. Cook for an additional few minutes until the broth thickens to your desired consistency. If the broth seems too thick after the dumplings cook, simply stir in a little more hot water or chicken stock until it reaches your preferred consistency.
  5. Resist the temptation to lift the lid of the slow cooker during cooking, as this can cause heat loss and disrupt the cooking process. Trust the slow cooker to work its magic.

Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Best Slow Cooker Dairy-Free Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Once your dairy-free Chicken and Dumplings are perfectly cooked, it’s time to think about how to serve this comforting dish to make it even more enjoyable. Here are some serving suggestions that will help you create a well-rounded and visually appealing meal, making your slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings the star of the dinner table.  

  • Green Garnish: A simple sprinkle of chopped parsley, chives, or dill adds a vibrant pop of colour and freshness to your dairy-free Chicken and Dumplings.
  • Lemon Zest: A sprinkle of lemon zest can brighten the dairy-free Chicken and Dumplings and add a refreshing contrast to the savoury flavours.
  • Hot Sauce: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, provide a bottle of hot sauce on the side for an extra kick.
  • Rice or Pasta: Serve your slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings alongside fluffy rice or buttery pasta, which provide a neutral base that allows the flavours of the main dish to shine.
  • Green Salad: A light, crisp green salad with a tangy vinaigrette can balance the hearty flavours of the Chicken and Dumplings.
  • Steamed Vegetables: For added nutrition and colour, serve your slow-cooker Chicken and Dumplings with a side of steamed vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or asparagus.
  • Crusty Bread: Offer slices of warm, crusty dairy-free bread to soak up the delicious broth. This is a satisfying way to finish off the meal and prevent any food waste.
  • Herbal Tea: Serve your dairy-free Chicken and Dumplings with a pot of herbal tea like chamomile or peppermint for a soothing finish.
  • Individual Bowls: Ladle the slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings into individual bowls, ensuring each portion has plenty of chicken, vegetables, and dumplings. 

Final Notes & Further Inspiration

This slow cooker dairy-free Chicken and Dumplings recipe proves that creamy, flavourful, and satisfying meals are achievable without a single drop of milk. By opting for dairy-free ingredients, you cater to dietary preferences without sacrificing the creamy texture and rich flavour that make this dish a favourite. The convenience of the slow cooker not only simplifies the cooking process but also enhances the depth of flavours, making every bite a delight.

Looking for more creamy, dairy-free inspiration? Explore our website for even more delicious recipes! We offer a delicious dairy-free cream of chicken soup recipe that promises all the creamy richness and comforting taste you crave without the need for dairy products, or if you’re a fan of beef, check out our juicy dairy-free beef stroganoff recipe, which delivers rich, velvety goodness without compromising on dietary needs.

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