Slow Cooker Chicken Stew is one of those hearty meals that can be put together in under 30 minutes, and then set it and forget it!
I don't usually do a whole lot of slow cooking because... well, I'm not a good planner and slow cooking is SLOW and I'm more of a fast paced girl.
However, when life is going to be busy, it sure is convenient to take a few minutes to get everything in the pot and hit a button, and then go on about your day and come back to a hearty pot of stew.
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That's exactly how this recipe came to be. It wasn't on my list of recipes. In fact, the day I made it, I had a ton of other recipes that I was testing that weren't suitable (candy and such) for dinner. So, I had to grab things out of the fridge and throw together something.
I ended up with this delicious Slow Cooker Chicken Stew, and it was so good that I put it to the top of the list of recipes to test and got it out as fast as I could!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, I have several bags frozen and it thaws and reheats nicely. The picture above was taken after the soup had been frozen. The only thing that sometimes happens when freezing potatoes is they can become a little grainy. Make sure the stew is cold before freezing to prevent ice crystals.
Yes, just reduce all the ingredients by half and slow cook for 3-4 hours.
Can I Pressure Cook the Chicken Stew Instead of Slow Cooking it?
Yes, but you would want to approach it differently. Instead of adding in the flour in the beginning, you would need to add it at the end so your liquid doesn't thicken and potentially give you the water notice.
When pressure cooking, you need a thin liquid to create the steam to go under pressure. In this recipe, I think you would have enough thin liquid even with the flour to go under pressure, but you might get the water notice during the PC time.
When you pressure cook with liquids that thicken during the cooking time, they can burn to the bottom and also trigger the water notice.
You can read more about thin liquids and pressure cooking information in this article: Pressure Cooking 101
The other issue is there isn't any evaporation during pressure cooking, except the little bit that happens while building pressure and releasing the pressure. That means that your stew might be too thin when it's done.
This is easily fixed by decreasing the chicken stock to 3 cups instead of 4. Or, you can always thicken the stew more at the end. I had to do that in the video demonstration of this recipe.
I have not tested this recipe using the PC function of the Ninja Foodi, but here are my suggestions:
Sauté the chicken, finely diced vegetables and seasonings (except the bay leaves) in 2 Tablespoons of butter or oil for about 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Add more oil or butter if needed.
Add in 3 cups of chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen anything that may have stuck during the sautéing process. Add in the bay leaves, potatoes, mushrooms, celery, and carrots and cut up yukon gold potatoes. Grate the russet potato and add to the pot.
Stir well. Put the pressure lid on, turn the valve to seal, and pressure cook on high for 3-5 minutes. Because it's a pretty full pot, it's going to take quite a while to come to pressure and, because I haven't tested the recipe this way, I'm not sure exactly how much time to tell you to PC for. Since time to pressure is cook time, I would suggest PC'ing for 5 minutes if the time to pressure is less than 15 minutes. If it takes longer than 15 minutes, decrease the time to 2 minutes.
The issue here is overcooking the vegetables and I would always lean towards undercooking rather than overcooking because you can always use the sear/sauté at the end to cook them longer. If they are overcooked and mushy, there isn't any fixing that.
Some vegetables cook very fast and you might not want to add them in until after the PC time. I would add the peppers, onions and any other quick cooking vegetables until after the PC time so you can control how they cook.
After the PC time is up, allow the pot to natural release for 3-5 minutes, just to give it time to settle down before venting the steam.
Turn on the sear/sauté on high and add in the remaining vegetables. Melt 4 Tablespoons of butter and add ¼ cup of flour, mix it together until it forms a paste. Then add in some of the broth from the stew until you have a smooth mixture and pour it into the Chicken Stew.
Stir and heat until it begins to thicken. Add in the cream and stir. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are cooked the way you like them. If the stew is too thick, add more chicken stock.
Stir in the parsley if using, and enjoy!
Can I use Different Vegetables?
Yep! That's the beauty of a stew like this, you clean out the fridge and use what you have on-hand.
I do have to say that the combination of vegetables I used gave an incredible flavor to the Chicken Stew, especially the orange and yellow peppers.
Using red peppers would do the same thing, but using green peppers would alter the flavor some.
Keep that in mind when choosing which vegetables to use. Strong-flavored veggies, like Brussels sprouts will definitely change the flavor of the chicken stew. I'm not saying it would be bad, but definitely different.
Some vegetables that I think would be great in this stew are: string beans, spinach added at the very end, corn, small broccoli and/or cauliflower florets, peas ( I LOVE peas), a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.
What Cut of Chicken Works Best?
I don't think it really matters in this recipe. Use what you like and have on-hand. You can even used already-cooked chicken, but I would add it at the end of the slow cook or pressure cook time.
If you wanted to throw in a whole chicken, that would be fine, but it can be kind of a pain to get the meat off of the bone. If using a whole chicken, I would definitely decrease the chicken stock to the bare minimum (maybe ½ cup) because the chicken itself will give you all the stock you need.
You will also need to make sure the chicken is completely cooked. I think it would be in 4 hours of slow cooking time, but since I haven't tested the recipe that way and chickens come in various sizes, make sure that the chicken has reached an internal temperature of at least 165℉/74℃.
I've used both boneless skinless chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe and both were good. In fact, in my video demo of the recipe, I used a combination of both and the only difference was my stew was a little thinner at the end.
This is most likely because the thighs gave off more juices than the breast. So, if you want to use all chicken thighs, cut the chicken stock back to 3 cups. If using chicken with the skin on, reduce the chicken stock to 2½ cups. You can always add more stock at the end if it is too thick. Or you can thicken it more at the end, like I did in the video.
You can also use turkey instead for a delicious Turkey Stew.
Can I make Chicken Stew on the Stove?
Absolutely! You can make it on the stove or in the Ninja Foodi/Instant Pot using the sear/sauté function as well.
You would follow the same instructions, but instead of slow cooking, use a low to medium heat to simmer the stew until it's done.
You would want to stir it occasionally and watch for evaporation of the liquid. You may need to add more chicken stock because there is definitely more evaporation with stovetop cooking than there is with slow cooking. You can simmer it covered or uncovered, but I would probably cover it.
You can even make the Chicken Stew in a Dutch Oven. I recently received the most beautiful dutch oven from Pampered Chef and I can't wait to use it!
If using a dutch oven, I would start the chicken stew on the stove, just like in the instructions where I use the sear/sauté function.
Then instead of slow cook, place the dutch oven (covered) in the preheated oven at 325℉/160℃ for 1½-2 hours. OR, you could simply simmer on the stove until it's done.
Can I Make this a Slow Cooker Vegetarian Stew?
Absolutely! Before I give my suggestions, please note that I am not vegetarian and I apologize in advance if I give any suggestions that do not follow the vegetarian diet. I think this one is pretty straight forward though.
Omit the chicken and the chicken stock. Use vegetable stock instead.
Since the chicken does give some flavor to the stew, check your seasonings and adjust as needed.
I would also add more of the vegetables and maybe even some tofu (toward the end) for added texture and protein.
Can I make Keto Chicken Stew?
Yep! The only thing you need to change is the flour and the potatoes and depending on how strict you are with Keto, the carrots.
Simply omit the potatoes (and carrots) and you can thicken the stew with a few different options.
Some people use psyllium husk to thicken foods when following keto, but it isn't something I've tried, so I'm not sure how it would work. Maybe it's the nurse in me that backs away from it! I simply can't get metamucil out of my mind.
I've been using xanthan gum lately and it works really well, BUT there are some things to know before using it.
A little goes a long way! For this recipe, I would start with no more than 1 Tablespoon.
The other important thing to note is adding it directly to the liquid can cause a lot of clumping. It's not like cornstarch and doesn't need heat to activate the thickening properties, so it can become clumpy fast.
I usually mix it with dry ingredients, but that won't work in this recipe, so I suggest mixing it with melted butter or some other oil/fat before adding to the chicken stew.
There are other options for thickening the stew and this article goes over some of them. I have not tried these methods, but they look sound.
How to Thicken the Chicken Stew
I've made this recipe 3 times and only once did I need to thicken it at the end. I also had someone else make it and they did not have to thicken the stew, but just in case your stew isn't as thick as you like it, here are the instructions for thickening it.
Combine 2 Tbsp of flour with ½-¾ cups of the hot liquid from the stew. Mix really well to remove any clumps of flour and pour into the stew. Use the sear/sauté on high to heat the stew and it will thicken as it heats. If you have stubborn clumps of flour, you can use a fine sieve strainer to strain the flour/liquid mixture before adding back into the stew.
You can also use a cornstarch slurry and I would start off with 1 Tbsp of cornstarch mixed in a 2-3 Tbsp of water and add to the stew. Bring the stew up to a low boil to thicken after adding the cornstarch slurry.
How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
I used the Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper to develop this recipe, so my directions will be specifically for this appliance.
No worries if you don't have the Ninja Foodi, this Slow Cooker Chicken Stew recipe will work in any slow cooker, but there might be a few adjustments.
Not all slow cookers cook the same. Some are true slow cookers, like the Ninja Foodi and others cook a little faster. In this recipe, I don't think it's going to matter that much, but if you are using a slow cooker that you know cooks faster, check your stew in 3 hours instead of 4.
The other difference will be the beginning part of this recipe where we use the sear/sauté to brown the chicken and finely diced veggies. If your slow cooker doesn't sauté, you can do this on the stove and then transfer the chicken and veggies over to the slow cooker.
Let's get everything prepped and ready to go first!
You will need 2 pounds of chicken, which can be all boneless skinless chicken breasts, all boneless skinless chicken thighs or a combination of the two. Or, see above if using already cooked chicken or a different cut.
Trim off any unwanted parts and cube the chicken into about 1" cubes. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper and set aside.
I used 2 medium-sized Vidalia onions in this recipe, but you can use any kind of onion you have. You can also decrease or even omit the onion if you don't like them. Just keep in mind that onions do add flavor to the stew.
Cut ½ of an onion into about ¼-½" dice and place in a bowl. Cut the remaining 1½ onions into larger chunks about 1-2" big and place in a different bowl.
Here is a video showing how I cut the onion into larger chunks that will provide the right texture in the stew. Onion slices will work, but I really like the chunks.
I used 3 medium sized carrots. 1 carrot was peeled and diced in ¼-½" dice and placed in the bowl with the finely diced onion. The other two carrots were peeled and cut into chunk size pieces. I cut them too thick in my recipe video and they were not done enough after the slow cooker time, so I suggest cutting the carrots into about ¾"-1" slices. Add them to the bowl with the larger chunks of onion.
I used 3 stalks of celery, plus some of the inner leafy stalks. 1 stalk was cut into ¼-½" dice and placed in the bowl with the finely diced onion and carrot. The other 2 talks were cut into 1-1½" pieces and placed in the bowl with the larger vegetables.
The reason for cutting the vegetables into different sizes is we are building flavor with the smaller vegetables and texture and heartiness with the larger ones.
Slice the mushrooms and cut the peppers into about 1-1½" pieces and add to the bowl with the bigger potatoes.
That's all the prep you want to do right now. The potatoes are best cut right before adding them to the stew.
Turn the Ninja Foodi on high sear/saute and add 4 Tablespoons of butter. When the butter is melted, add in the seasoned chicken cubes and spread them out into a single layer the best you can.
Dump the smaller cut vegetables on top, but don't stir yet. Let the chicken brown for 2-3 minutes, then stir and cook another 2 minutes. Add the flour and stir to combine with the butter and the vegetables. You will want to cook, while stirring constantly for 2 more minutes. This cooks off the flour taste. Make sure not to walk away during this time because you don't want the flour to burn to the bottom.
Add in the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen anything that may be stuck on. Add in the bay leaves and 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme leaves, ½-1 teaspoon of black pepper and stir.
Add the larger cut vegetables and the yukon gold cut into chunks.
I used about 8-9 ounces of yukon gold potatoes and 8 ounces of Russet potatoes in this recipe. The yukon gold holds their shape better and the Russet is shredded to give creaminess and thickness to the stew. You can use all Russets if you prefer, but the chunks of potatoes will be softer.
You don't need to peel the potatoes, but you can if you prefer. Cut the Yukon gold potatoes into about 1-1½" chunks and add to the stew.
Grate in the Russet potato and stir to combine. The grated russet helps add creaminess and body to the stew.
Put the pressure lid and turn the valve to VENT. When slow cooking, you either want to use the pressure lid vented or another lid that is vented. If you look at most slow cooker lids, you will see a little hole in them that allows the steams to escape.
Slow cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. Keep in mind that various models of slow cookers will cook at different rates, so your stew could be done in 3 hours or it could take 4 or longer.
I used the Ninja Foodi and 4 hours on high was perfect in my test batches. In the third batch I made, I cut the carrots too big and they were still a little hard. If you run into that, don't worry... simply, use the sear/sauté function on medium and simmer the soup for a few minutes until the vegetables are as soft as you like.
You can certainly serve the stew right now, but I like to add a few special touches.
Add in 1 cup of heavy cream and stir.
Stir in parsley and chopped inner leaves of the celery if desired.
Serve & Enjoy!
Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
- Slow Cooker
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 pounds chicken breast or thighs or a combination
- 3 carrots divided in recipe
- 3 stalks celery plus the inner leaves for garnish
- 2 onions divided in recipe
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 ounces baby portabella mushrooms
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 orange pepper
- 2 tsp fine grind sea salt divided in recipe
- 1½ tsp black pepper divided in recipe
- 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 ounces Yukon Gold about 3 small potatoes
- 8 ounces Russet potato 1 medium potato
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized pieces and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of fine grind sea salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Set aside.
- Finely dice (about ¼-½") 1 celery stalk, 1 carrot, and ½ of an onion.
- Slice the mushrooms, cut the remaining 1½ onions into 2" chunks, slice the carrots into ¾" pieces, cut the celery into 1" pieces, and cut the peppers into 1-2" chunks.
- Add the butter to the inner pot and turn on sear/sauté on high. When the butter has melted, add in the chicken and spread into 1 layer on the bottom of the pot. Add in the finely diced vegetables, but don't stir. Allow the chicken to cook for about 2-3 minutes to brown and then stir in the finely diced vegetables. Add the flour and stir to combine. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Deglaze the pot with the chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pot to remove anything that may be stuck on the bottom. Add the remaining seasonings and bay leaves and stir.
- Add the larger cut vegetables to the pot and stir. Cut the Yukon gold potatoes into about 1-1½" chunks and add to the stew. Grate the russet potato and add to the pot. You don't have to peel it, but you can if you want to.
- Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to vent. Select the slow cooker function on HIGH for 4 hours.
- When the time is up, check the vegetables to make sure they are cooked to your liking. If you want them softer, use sear/sauté on medium and simmer until they are how you like them. Add in the cream, cut up inner leaves of celery and parsley if using. Stir.
- See recipe notes½ for instructions on how to thicken the stew if it isn't as thick as you want.
- Serve & Enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.