table setting for chicken congee with a large pot full of congee surrounded by all the condiments including gluten-free chinese doughnuts
What is Congee?

Congee is a classic Chinese savoury rice porridge served at breakfast or at dim sum. Its name comes from the Guangdong province in China, but it is also known as Jook, Juk, Bobar and Okayu across other Asian countries.

Is Congee healthy?

This ultimate Chinese comfort food is easy to digest and perfect for convalescents; expecting mothers who are suffering from morning sickness and even as a toddler/child’s meal (without the chilli). Ginger is the magic ingredient that is known to alleviate nausea, delivering a tingling flavour and a comforting aroma. Think of congee as an Asian version of Western chicken soup, which comforts us in the same way.

How is Congee eaten?

Using Jasmine rice or long-grain rice, it is reduced down into a silky-smooth, pudding-like consistency, usually in water or stock. Once the congee is ready, this is where the fun starts – the toppings!

My suggested toppings are typical condiments and my favourite. Congee toppings can be as simple or complex as you like.

Served on its own, congee can be very bland, which is why the toppings and additional seasonings are important. However, if you are unwell, stick to plain congee with some ginger and a dash of soy sauce, then upgrade to more toppings as you feel better.

What are Chinese doughnuts?

My favourite topping is the Chinese doughnut (Youtiao) which are light and chewy savoury fried dough sticks that are a staple breakfast snack across China and other parts of Asia. They can be eaten whole or sliced in congee. Very few households make them from scratch as they are readily available at shops and markets. Unfortunately, not many sell a gluten-free version. If you miss and like them as much as I do, or just want to try it for the first time, this recipe has been thoroughly tested with good results. Often, I make a big batch and freeze them sliced. They can be heated up straight from frozen in the oven, which makes things easier first thing in the morning!

Chicken congee in a small bowl garnished with gluten-free chinese doughnuts, spring onions and peanuts being held hovering above all the condiments to make congee
Slow cooker or stove-top method?
Slow cooker method

The good news is that this recipe explains how to make congee overnight in the slow cooker/crockpot which is perfect if you want a warm breakfast waiting for you first thing. The longer the congee cooks, the thicker it becomes as it continues to absorb water and releases its starch from the rice grains. You can’t overcook congee. It is relatively foolproof. Only the consistency needs to be adjusted with more liquid.

Feel organised by preparing all the listed condiments the night before.

Stove-top method

I know not everyone has a slow cooker, but congee can also be made over the stove-top in less than 2 hours. I have listed the steps for this method as well.

Whichever method you follow, if you make a big portion, simply refrigerate the congee for up to 3 days and reheat it on the stove or in the microwave just before serving, adding more liquid to thin out the congee.

So, if you fancy trying something different to start your day, I highly recommend this healthy, much-loved Chinese breakfast.


chicken congee with gluten-free chinese doughnuts topped over it in a small soup bowl laid out on a serving tray with a boiled egg and a pot of chinese tea
table setting for chicken congee with a large pot full of congee surrounded by all the condiments including gluten-free chinese doughnuts

Chicken Congee with Gluten-Free Chinese Doughnuts

by Sandra, Fun Without Gluten
Congee is a Chinese savoury rice porridge served at breakfast or at dim sum. This recipe provides all the information you need to make the chicken congee from scratch either using the slow cooker or stove-top, plus the classic gluten-free Chinese doughnuts and condiments.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Doughnut Resting Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 50 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4


Chicken Congee

  • 250 g Jasmine rice or long-grain white rice
  • 2 litres water
  • 4 chicken legs or thighs with bones
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 cm fresh ginger, peeled, sliced and slightly smashed
  • Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce, to season
  • ½ tsp white pepper

Gluten-Free Chinese Doughnuts

  • 200 g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp dried yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 160-180 ml warm water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • Tapioca flour, for rolling out the dough and sprinkling it
  • 750 ml vegetable or sunflower oil, for frying

Congee Condiments

  • 4 spring onions, white and some green parts, sliced
  • 5 cm fresh ginger, cut into thin strips
  • Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce, to season
  • a handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 200 g smoked tofu, cut into cubes
  • 9 homemade gluten-free Chinese doughnuts, sliced
  • 4 softly boiled eggs, made just before serving
  • sesame oil, to season


Chicken Congee (Slow Cooker Method) 5 to 10 hours

  • Remove the skin off all the chicken pieces except one. The skin adds more flavour to the congee
  • Place all the congee ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours (overnight) or HIGH for 5 hours.
    chicken pieces and rice in the slow cooker
  • The congee should appear creamy and slightly thick. Remove the chicken and ginger. Shred the chicken and return the meat without the bones and skin to the congee.
    chicken congee in a ladle hovering over the slow cooker full of congee
  • Stir the congee well and scrape the bottom of the slow cooker to check nothing is sticking.
  • If you prefer a thinner congee, add some hot water until your desired consistency is reached.

Chicken Congee (Stove-top Method) 1½ hours

  • Using the same ingredients and quantities as for the slow cooker method, add the water or stock, rice, salt and ginger into a large pot with a fitted lid.
  • Bring to the boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  • Cover and simmer on a low heat for roughly 1 ½ hours or until the congee is thick and creamy.
  • Stir occasionally to prevent the congee from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • The congee should appear creamy and slightly thick. Remove the chicken and ginger. Shred the chicken and return the meat without the bones and skin to the congee.

Gluten-Free Chinese Doughnuts (Total Resting Time 1 hour, 20 mins)

  • Combine the gluten-free plain flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, dry yeast, salt, egg and water in a large bowl.
  • Mix well until it becomes a sticky dough. Cover and rest it for 20 minutes.
    gluten-free chinese doughnut dough
  • Add the vegetable oil to your hands and rub them together. Immediately, start kneading the dough in the bowl until smooth.
  • Cover the dough with a tea towel and leave to rest for a further hour.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Add small amounts of extra gluten-free plain flour if the dough is too sticky.
  • Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1 cm, into a long rectangular shape.
  • Using a dough scrapper or knife, cut small strips measuring 2cm by 8cm.
    gluten-free chinese doughnut dough rolled and being cut into stripes using a pastry scraper
  • Sprinkle tapioca flour over the dough strips to prevent them from sticking.
  • Dip a chopstick in water and press it on the centre of the dough strip, parallel to the longest side.
    a chopstick to press the centre of each gluten-free chinese doughnut
  • Flip it over and place another dough strip on top, repeat by pressing the centre of the second dough strip
    flipped over gluten-free chinese doughnut strips being pressed again with a chopstick
  • Cover the assembled dough strip and continue with the remaining dough.
  • Heat the oil in a large pot to 200°C/400°F or until a small piece of dough fries golden in 30 seconds.
  • Just before frying the dough, lengthen each dough strip by holding both ends and stretch it slightly.
    stretched gluten-free chinese doughnut strips just before frying them
  • Gently lower and fry each dough strip one at a time into the hot oil and keep turning it every few seconds for the first 30 seconds.
    frying the gluten-free chinese doughnut in hot oil
  • Leave it to fry without moving the dough strip for a further 30 seconds.
  • Flip it over one last time and allow to fry a final 30 seconds.
  • Remove and drain on paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and set aside.
    fried gluten-free chinese doughnuts

Assembling Congee

  • Just before serving, add some Tamari or gluten-free soy sauce and white pepper to season the congee.
  • Ladle a serving of congee into a soup bowl and top with the suggested toppings.
    a soup bowl serving of an assembled chicken congee topped with sliced gluten-free chinese doughnuts and condiments


  • Chicken congee keeps for 3 days chilled
  • Gluten-Free Chinese doughnuts are best eaten the same day made.
  • Any excess doughnuts can be sliced and frozen well. They can be heated up straight from frozen in the oven
Keyword gluten-free breakfast, gluten-free chinese doughnuts, gluten-free congee
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