This Slow Cooker Chicken Stew with carrots and potatoes is such a flavorful meal, perfect for a cozy winter evening.
This easy chicken stew starts on the stovetop to build great flavors from the caramelization of the chicken, carrots and potatoes, as well as aromatics. The chicken is so tender and falls apart beautifully.
You’ll love this delicious and comforting slow cooker chicken stew! It will make you feel right at home.
The weather is getting chillier already, which means it’s time to pull out my crockpot and make comfort food all season long.
My all-time favorite stew is this Dutch oven beef stew, but lately I’ve been craving chicken stew. After a lot of recipe testing, I think I’ve got the best slow cooker chicken stew recipe I’ve ever made! This crockpot chicken stew with carrots and potatoes has been one of our go-to dinners this winter.
Why we love this slow cooker chicken stew recipe:
- It’s a full meal on its own, as it has tender carrots and potatoes.
- Packed with tons of flavor! We sear the chicken and vegetable base first, and let the slow cooker cook everything.
- The chicken is ultra tender and falls apart perfectly.
- It’s make-ahead friendly. In fact, it tastes even better the next day!
A Super Flavorful Chicken Stew
Recipe testing: I tried throwing all the ingredients into my crockpot and slow cooking it. I also tried browning the chicken first and adding the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker. Both of these methods were actually meh – it was kind of bland. However, when I browned the chicken, aromatics and veggies first (along with tomato paste and fresh herbs), the results were AMAZING!
Here are the secrets to a super flavorful slow cooker chicken stew:
- Start browning the chicken, aromatics, and veggies on the stovetop. This process produces brown bits that pack tons of flavor.
- If you have a slow cooker or multi-cooker that allows you to brown and sauté all in one out, definitely go ahead and do that.
- Don’t rush the browning process. Let the flavors and caramelization develop.
- Use bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed). Chicken thighs are more flavorful and moist than breasts. Also, the bones will add GREAT flavor to the stew while it’s slow cooking.
- Use fresh herbs, like thyme and rosemary.
- Finish cooking on HIGH for 4 hours to allow the flavors to further develop. The chicken will fall apart from the bone and be super tender!
I know, browning everything first is an added step, but it’s worth it. Trust me on this. I’ve tried skipping this step and let’s just say…I wish I hadn’t.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this slow cooker chicken stew, plus a few helpful notes. As always, the ingredient quantities can be found in the recipe card down below.
- Bone-in chicken thighs: Skin removed. The bones add lots of flavor to the stew. Thighs are also moist and tender.
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion and garlic: The aromatics to build the base flavors.
- Carrots: What’s a chicken stew without carrots?!
- Tomato paste: Adds depth of flavor.
- Potatoes: I use red potatoes, but yukon gold are fine too.
- Thyme and rosemary: Use fresh herbs for best results.
- Chicken broth
- Bay leaves: For extra flavor.
- All-purpose flour: To thicken the stew at the end.
- Frozen peas: Omit if you don’t want peas.
- Italian parsley: for flavor and garnish.
Here’s an overview of the step-by-step process to make this delicious slow cooker chicken stew. I use my trusted 6-quart Crockpot.
Step 1 | Brown the chicken
Heat olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown. The chicken won’t be fully cooked through. Transfer chicken to the slow cooker.
Step 2 | Sauté the aromatics and carrots
Don’t wipe the skillet clean – you want all those brown bits from the chicken. Heat more oil, and cook the onions, garlic, and carrots until fragrant and softened. As the onions sweat, scrape down the brown bits from the pan using a wooden spoon.
Tip: The moisture released as the onions cook should be enough to deglaze the brown bits left behind from the kitchen. But if it’s burning too quickly, you can add a splash of broth and deglaze.
Step 3 | Add the tomato paste and herbs
Add tomato paste and stir to coat. Add herbs and cook for another minute or so.
Step 4 | Deglaze
Add about chicken broth (or ad needed) and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the brown bits stuck to the pan. This step unlocks a lot of flavor that we built with the browning process.
Step 5 | Slow cook
Transfer the onion and carrot mixture to the slow cooker. Add potatoes, bay leaves, salt, and chicken broth. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours (3.5 hours into the cooking time, you’ll need to add the flour – see next step).
Step 6 | Add the flour and finish cooking
After 3.5 hours into the cooking time, dissolve flour with broth (at room temperature, not hot broth) to make a slurry. Stir it into the stew and combine. Cover and continue cooking for the remaining time.
Step 7 | Shred the chicken, add peas and parsley
Remove chicken from the slow cooker and roughly shred it. Discard bones. Return chicken, and add peas and parsley, if desired.
And there you have it…a delicious and comforting and healthy chicken stew!
How Long to Cook
Cook on HIGH for 4 hours. I’ve tried cooking the chicken stew for 6 to 8 hours on LOW, and the chicken pretty much fell apart too much.
Chicken is best when cooked for 4 hours on HIGH. If cooked for too long, it will fall apart a bit too much and become stringy.
Pairing and Serving Ideas
There are so many side dishes to pair with this delicious slow cooker chicken stew! I almost always pair it with my favorite buttermilk biscuits, honey butter rolls, garlic herb dinner rolls, fluffy mashed potatoes.
Another idea is to serve with a simple greens salad or some warm bread with butter from your favorite bakery!
If you’re looking for more comfort food recipes, here are a few of my favorite:
Yes! That would be ideal.
To make the stew super flavorful! You’re looking for the browning process to release brown bits and add depth of flavor. I’ve tried making this stew without browning first and the results were pretty bland.
You can, but the chicken may fall apart a bit too much for my taste, but totally up to you! You’re looking for tender pieces of chicken, which can be achieved with 4 hours on the HIGH setting.
Yes, you can! However, I’d recommend using bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed) for best results. The bones add lots of flavor to the stew, and chicken thighs are moist and tender naturally.
Tips for Success
- Brown and sauté everything first (either separately on the stovetop, or in your slow cooker/multi-cooker if it has a sauté function). It’s an extra step, but so worth it! Otherwise, the stew will be bland.
- Don’t rush the browning process. Let the the ingredients develop those golden brown bits that pack so much flavor.
- I’d recommend using bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed). The bones will infuse the stew with even more flavor, and chicken thighs in general are moist and tender.
Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
- 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs - skin removed and extra fat trimmed
- Kosher salt and pepper
- Ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 3 medium red potatoes, quartered
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 5 cups chicken broth, divided - plus more as needed
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup frozen peas
- ¼ cup finely chopped Italian parsley - plus more for garnish
- Season chicken with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper. In a large skillet, preferably cast iron, heat about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown. If needed, do it in batches. It will not be completely cooked through. Then, transfer the chicken to a large slow cooker. Tip: don’t overcrowd the pan, do it in batches if needed. Also, let chicken sear on each side undisturbed to get that golden brown color.
- To the same skillet (don’t wipe it clean), add another 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots, and saute until fragrant and golden brown, about 5-6 minutes. As the onions release moisture, scrape the brown bits from the pan using a wooden spoon – this will release a lot of flavor. Tip: Don’t rush the browning process – it’s essential to build great flavors. If there are any spots in the pan burning too quickly, add a splash of broth and scrape to deglaze.
- Stir in the tomato paste to coat the veggies, and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add in the thyme and rosemary.
- Add about ½ to ¾ cup of chicken broth and deglaze by scraping the sides and bottom of the pan to release the brown bits. Then, transfer the onions and carrots mixture to the slow cooker.
- To the slow cooker, add the potatoes, bay leaves, ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, and 4 cups of chicken broth, along with the seared chicken. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
- 3.5 hours into the cooking time, dilute flour with about ⅓ cup chicken broth (at room temperature, don’t use hot broth) to make a slurry. Add the slurry, along with the peas. Stir to combine. Cook for the remaining 30 minutes. It will thicken up as it cooks.
- Remove the chicken and roughly shred it with a fork, discarding the bones. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and stir to combine. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with Italian parsley. Enjoy!
- If your slow cooker or multi-cooker has a sauté or browning function, you can just use that instead and make everything in one pot.
- I’d recommend cooking on the HIGH setting for 4 hours. I’ve found that longer cooking times made the chicken fall apart too much. However, if you don’t mind that, feel free to cook on LOW for 6 hours.
- Why use bone-in chicken thighs (skin removed): The bones will infuse the stew with tons of flavor. Thighs are also moist and tender.
- Storing: Refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
- Make-ahead: You can make ahead and keep it warm for a few hours, or make it the day before and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave ove.
- Bone-in chicken thighs: Boneless chicken thighs or chicken breasts.
- Herbs: Instead of 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, use 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Instead of ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, use ¼ teaspoons dried rosemary. Adjust to taste if needed.
- Potatoes: Yukon gold is a great option. Use any kind of potatoes, except Russet potatoes because they disintegrate easily.