A simple, hearty and nourishing Chicken Stew is ready for the table in about 1 hour! Loaded with bacon, tender meat, vegetables, potatoes and herbs, the creamy chicken stew is a flavorful, easy dinner that the whole family will love. Pair it with corn muffins or soft and fluffy crescent rolls for the ultimate cold-weather comfort food!
Easy Chicken Stew Recipe
This one pot chicken stew recipe is about as easy as it gets! You'll love the added bacon for some amped up smoky, savory flavor in the old-fashioned dish, while still reaping the benefits of all of the healthy veggies. Add some tender, juicy chunks of chicken and satisfying potatoes and you've got a hearty meal that will fuel you through all of your winter adventures!
Chicken Soup versus Chicken Stew
So what's the difference between a soup and a stew? In general, the primary distinction is the amount of liquid in your pot. A soup has much more broth than a stew, so the ingredients are either completely liquified and pureed, or completely submerged in the broth. By contrast, a chunky stew tends to be much heartier than a soup, with less broth and a slightly thicker consistency.
The method and ingredients for preparing this old-fashioned chicken vegetable stew are very similar to a classic beef stew: the meat is browned, flour thickens the broth, and plenty of vegetables and potatoes add healthy, filling sustenance to the pot. A splash of cream at the end is a rich, creamy touch that takes it over the top and makes this the best homemade chicken stew you'll ever taste!
How to Make Chicken Stew
I use diced, boneless, skinless chicken thighs here because the affordable thighs stay nice and juicy as the stew simmers. If you prefer, you can substitute with an equal amount of boneless, skinless chicken breasts or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken. This basic recipe is very flexible, so use your favorite ingredients and make it your own. One thing is certain, though -- that crispy, smoky bacon adds so much great flavor to the dish. Don't skip it!
- Carrots, celery and onion
- Bay leaf, thyme, poultry seasoning, paprika
- Chicken broth
- Green beans (I used frozen cut green beans)
- Heavy cream or half-and-half
- Fresh parsley
Step 1: Cook Bacon
Sauté the bacon in butter until it's crispy. Leave the drippings in the pan, since they'll add so much flavor to the chicken and veggies.
Step 2: Brown Chicken
Sear the diced chicken until it's browned, then remove to a plate.
Step 3: Sauté Vegetables
Soften the carrots, celery and onion; add the garlic; then stir in the flour and seasonings. Cook for about 2 minutes.
Step 4: Simmer
Add the broth, potatoes, the browned chicken and the bacon to the pot. Boil, cover, then reduce the heat to low and let the stew simmer until the potatoes are tender (about 15-20 minutes).
Step 5: Add Green Beans and Cream
Stir in the green beans and cream, then cook over low heat for about 5-10 more minutes -- or until the green beans are crisp-tender. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, and serve!
How to Thicken Homemade Chicken Stew
The flour thickens the broth nicely, so you probably won't need to add anything more to thicken the stew. That said, if you prefer an even thicker broth, you can use a cornstarch slurry or additional flour mixed with broth to thicken the stew as it simmers.
To make a slurry, mix 1 ½ tablespoons of cornstarch or flour with 2-3 tablespoons of additional heavy cream or broth. Add the slurry to the soup at the same time that you add the cream. Let it simmer on low and stir regularly until the soup thickens.
What to Serve with Creamy Chicken Stew
Thanks to the protein, starch and veggies in this dish, you have an easy one pot meal that doesn't require any additional sides. If you'd like to round out your meal, here are a few options that go well with chicken stew:
- A simple green salad dressed with Buttermilk Dressing or a Wedge Salad
- Southern Buttermilk Biscuits
- A crusty loaf of homemade No-Knead Bread
- Dinner rolls or crescent rolls
- 3-Ingredient Beer Bread
- Cornbread or Corn Muffins
- Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins or The Best Pumpkin Bread
This is a great make-ahead dinner! Leftover stew will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the chicken stew in an airtight container for up to 3 months. It holds up very well in the freezer, but just be aware that the texture of the potatoes might change after they have been frozen. They tend to be a bit mushy when thawed.
- Chicken Breast Stew: I prefer chicken thighs in this recipe because the dark meat stays more moist when simmered. If you like, you can substitute with an equal amount of boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
- Rotisserie Chicken Stew: Instead of the raw chicken thighs, use the chopped or shredded meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken. Since you don't need to brown or cook the rotisserie chicken, add the shredded meat to the pot towards the end of the cooking time (when you add the cream and green beans). This way it won't get too dry while the stew simmers.
- The cream adds a nice, rich texture and flavor to the finished dish. If you prefer, you can omit the cream or just use extra broth.
- I used red potatoes, which you don't need to peel. Substitute with white potatoes, gold potatoes, or peeled russet potatoes.
- Use frozen peas or corn instead of green beans.
Tips for the Best Chicken Stew Recipe
- Keep an eye on the stew and add the green beans and cream as soon as the potatoes are tender. You don't want to cook the potatoes for too long, or they'll get mushy.
- I like to add the frozen, cut green beans at the end of the cooking time so that they stay crisp-tender. You don't even have to thaw them first! If you prefer, you can add them earlier and they'll get really soft -- it's just a matter of personal taste.
- Add flavor to the stew with the bacon, garlic, bay leaf, poultry seasoning, thyme and paprika. The fresh parsley is also a nice, bright touch at the end. If you like, you can include any additional herbs and seasonings. For instance, try fresh sage, fresh rosemary or chives, dill, oregano or basil, too.
- Allow the cream to come to room temperature before adding it to the stew. The room-temperature cream is less likely to break or curdle when you add it to the hot pot.
More Chicken Soup and Stew Recipes to Try
- Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Bog (a Southern chicken and rice stew)
- Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
- Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo
- Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken Pot Pie Soup
- Chicken Tortellini Soup
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 8 thighs) (or sub with chicken breasts)
- 3 carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 ½ lbs. red potatoes (about 4 large), diced into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups green beans (I use frozen cut green beans) (or sub with frozen peas or corn)
- ½ cup heavy cream or half-and-half, at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- In a large oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, sauté bacon in butter over medium heat until crisp and browned (about 3-5 minutes). Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Pat chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high; sear chicken in the butter/bacon fat until browned on all sides (about 5 minutes) – it does not need to be cooked through at this point. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Add carrots, celery and onion to the drippings in the pot. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in flour, bay leaf, thyme, poultry seasoning and paprika. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes.
- Add 4 cups of broth, potatoes, browned chicken and bacon to the pot. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer (covered) for about 15-20 minutes (or until the potatoes are tender). Stir in the green beans and cream. Simmer, uncovered, for about 5-10 minutes (or until heated through).
- Remove from heat and stir in parsley.