Gluten free chicken and dumplings is a savory blend of aromatic vegetables, chicken, a simple white sauce and just the right spices. Learn to make it in 4 unique ways for a simple, hearty meal any day of the week.
I put gluten free chicken and dumplings dinners into a very important category. No matter which way I make it, everyone in my family loves it because it hits all the right notes. It’s hearty, flavorful, and filling, and just smells like home.
There are, indeed, a few steps to getting it done. Chicken needs to be cooked and diced or shredded, vegetables cooked, and dumplings made. But most of those steps can be made or shortcut even days ahead of time.
You can make biscuit dough, cut it into rounds and store them in your freezer. The chicken can be made a couple days ahead, and refrigerated (or even replaced with a GF rotisserie chicken). The vegetables can even be cooked and refrigerated for a couple days.
Then all that’s left is to make the super simple roux-based soup, mix up the easy dumpling batter and bake. If I make the chicken and veg ahead of time, this is actually a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
Over the years, I’ve made so many varieties of this meal and kept them separated here on the blog. But I use these methods in a mix-and-match way in my own kitchen.
I thought you might like to see everything together in one place, with varying levels of ease and difficulty. Mix and match at will!
Classic Chicken and Dumplings Casserole (finished in the oven)
To make the most classic variety of chicken and dumplings, the dumplings are fluffy, airy rounds that are soft to the center. They’re simple to mix up and place on top of the aromatic filling that’s made on the stovetop.
The raw dumpling mixture is scooped on top of the cooked filling and then finished in the oven. The soup starts with a mirepoix, or a sauteed mixture of diced aromatic vegetables like carrots, celery, and onion cooked in some sort of fat.
The chicken in this recipe is cooked separately, but of course, it can be made ahead of time. I have also made this dish with gluten free rotisserie chicken and I thought it was delicious. My very spoiled children thought I was committing some sort of mortal sin.
Tater Tot Chicken and Dumplings Casserole
If you love the idea of making a chicken and dumplings casserole but are tight on time or just want a fun twist, replace the dumplings with tater tots.
Like in all of the varieties except the slow cooker recipe, we use olive oil to cook the vegetables to help them release and develop their flavor. You really could use any sort of fat you like, though.
Olive oil is a healthy fat, and I always have it on hand. But of course, if you wanted to be truly decadent, you could saute some pancetta or bacon and then cook the vegetables in the rendered fat. *swoon*
There’s no need to defrost the tater tots. Just arrange them on top in a single layer on top of the filling, and bake until the tots are crispy and golden, and the filling is bubbling.
Quick Stovetop Chicken and Dumplings
If you want to get a jump on chicken and dumplings, the quickest way is to make and freeze gluten free biscuits. If you have another favorite gluten free biscuit recipe from this site, like maybe my vegan gluten free biscuits, use that.
The other shortcut I recommend is making your own condensed cream of chicken soup. They even sell gluten free condensed soups now, too (Pacific brand is gluten free). If you have frozen biscuit rounds and GF condensed cream of chicken soup on hand, plus some chicken stock, you are so close to making chicken and dumplings.
You’ll still need to cook the chicken separately according to the recipe instructions below, but that takes mere minutes and can also be made ahead of time. Simply cook the chicken, shred or chop it, and refrigerate it for up to 2 days.
This version encourages make-ahead, of course, since you’ll need frozen biscuit dough. But you could also make it with the same dumplings from the casserole recipe.
The method is the same as using the biscuit dough, but you’ll need to make sure you’re using a large enough saucepan. Dumplings expand quite a bit when they cook in liquid.
Just cover the pan to retain enough heat in the pan, but lift the cover occasionally to stir the mixture gently. The same steps are necessary when using biscuit dough, but the biscuits won’t expand as much.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings
The final method is in the slow cooker, and it’s the easiest yet especially since you cook the chicken right along with the vegetables in the liquid.
You’ll have to switch up a few ingredients, but it’s all explained below. Like the quick variety above, you can also replace the biscuit dough with the same dumplings mixture as the classic casserole.
Ingredients and substitutions
The main additional allergens in these recipes are dairy in the form of milk, butter and cream, and eggs (in the dumplings). I haven’t tried making chicken and dumplings with any of these substitutions, but here are my best guesses for how to make it happen.
For an egg-free variety, instead of dumplings or the biscuit recipe I have linked below, use my vegan gluten free biscuits. They’re light and flaky and they’ll work great. In fact, that’s the best way to make the dumplings dairy-free as well. You could also try the tater tot variety for a dairy-free “dumpling.”
Making the soup portions dairy-free requires a bit more finesse. In place of butter to make the roux that mixes with flour for the casserole varieties, try using Earth Balance buttery sticks or Melt brand vegan butter.
You can buy dairy-free evaporated milk these days. I imagine it works quite well, although if it’s coconut milk-based, it may add some coconut flavor.
I haven’t made my homemade cream of chicken soup dairy-free, but that is only required for the slow cooker variety. A recipe like this has so many available modifications built right in, so there’s definitely a way!
Creamy Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings | 4 Easy Ways
For the Chicken
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon (14 g) extra virgin olive oil
For the Soup
3 tablespoons (42 g) extra virgin olive oil*
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter*
1/2 cup (70 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour blend (46 g superfine white rice flour + 16 g potato starch + 8 g tapioca starch/flour)*
4 cups (32 fluid ounces) chicken stock*
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) whole milk or half and half*
1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence (or substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary + 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme + 1/2 teaspoon dried basil + 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley)
For the dumplings
1 3/4 cups (245 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
1/4 cup (35 g) cornstarch
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 eggs (100 g, weighed out of shell) at room temperature, beaten
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) milk (any kind, just not nonfat), at room temperature
OR 1 recipe gluten free biscuits, chilled
OR 1 pound frozen gluten free tater tots (OreIda brand is gluten free)
*For the “Quick Chicken and Dumplings” method, in place of the butter, flour, stock and half and half, use 6 cups (48 fluid ounces) of chicken stock and 1 recipe (about 24 ounces) gluten free cream of chicken soup
**For the “Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings” method, eliminate the butter as an ingredient. Add 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) peeled and shredded russet potatoes to the vegetables. In place of the half and half, use 3 cups of milk and one 12-ounce can of evaporated milk.
For all methods other than the slow cooker, cook the chicken first. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper, and place the chicken breasts on top. Sprinkle the salt and pepper on both sides of the meat, and drizzle with the olive oil. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer (25 to 35 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the meat). Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the oven and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Set the chicken aside. The chicken can be made ahead of time and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
For the two casserole varieties, make the soup this way: In a medium-size, heavy-bottom saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the carrots, celery, onion, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are all fork-tender (about 10 minutes). Push the vegetables to the side of the saucepan and melt the butter in the center. Add the flour blend and whisk until well-combined. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture starts to simmer and smell fragrant (about 2 minutes). Slowly add the chicken stock, and then the milk, whisking constantly, until well-combined. Add the herbs, and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken (about 8 minutes). Add the cooked chicken, and mix to combine. Grease a 9-inch x 12-inch casserole dish and pour in the soup and chicken.
For the dumpling casserole, prepare the dumpling batter: In a medium-size bowl, place the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the eggs and milk, mixing to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick. Using a large spring-loaded ice cream scooper or two large spoons, scoop the dumpling batter in portions that are about 1/4-cup each and place them on top of the casserole filling, evenly spaced apart. Alternatively, place the 1 pound of frozen tater tots in a single, even layer on top of the casserole filling. Place the casserole dish in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the dumplings are cooked through and lightly golden brown on top (about 20 minutes) or the tater tots are browned and the filling is bubbling (about 15 minutes). Serve hot.
For the Quick Stovetop Chicken and Dumplings variety: In a large stockpot, place the oil, 6 cups chicken stock, carrots, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and herbs, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Uncover the pot, add the cream of chicken soup, stir to combine and return to a gentle boil. Add the chilled biscuit wedges to the boiling liquid and stir gently so the biscuits don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through. They will float to the bottom of the pot after a minute or so. Uncover the pot, add the cubed chicken and stir gently to combine. Serve hot.
For the Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings variety: Grease the liner of a 6-quart slow cooker with the olive oil. Add the chicken stock, milk, carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, salt, pepper and, and mix to combine. Add the raw chicken breasts, and stir to separate the breasts from one another. Into a measuring cup with at least a 2-cup capacity (or another similarly-sized container with a pour spout), pour the evaporated milk. Add the flour blend and whisk until the flour is fully dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Add the herbs de Provence, and whisk again to combine. Pour the evaporated milk mixture into the slow cooker liner, and mix to combine.
Cover the slow cooker, set it to low and cook for 5 to 6 hours, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through and the vegetables are very tender. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks while it’s still warm. Using an immersion blender, puree the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to “high” and add the frozen biscuit wedges to the soup. Mix gently to combine. Cover the slow cooker and allow to cook until the biscuits are cooked through (between 30 minutes and 1 hour on “high,” depending upon your slow cooker). Serve the soup immediately, and top each bowl with an equal amount of the shredded chicken.
Casserole dish adapted from Chef-in-Training. Original post published in 2015. Video and many photos new.