Recipes » Main Dish Recipes » Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings

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5 from 4 votes
Old-fashioned southern style chicken and dumplings. Great for a crowd and economical, too!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Chicken and Dumplings in a blue bowl.

Chicken and Dumplings – the traditional southern way with rolled dumplings. Almost as good for a cold as chicken soup!

This is one of BeeBop’s all-time favorite dishes and one of mine, too. Chicken and Dumplings brings up all kinds of good memories from childhood.

Chicken and Dumplings - the traditional southern way with rolled dumplings. Almost as good for a cold as chicken soup! https://www.lanascooking.com/chicken-and-dumplings/

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t remember their mama making chicken and dumplings. Just mention it and people get this wistful, longing look like they’re going back in time in their minds.

I only make this about twice a year and I really don’t know why. It’s so easy to do. Even easier if you do the chicken one day, refrigerate it, and then finish it up the next day.

Back in the day, this was an inexpensive meal that could feed a large family, especially if you had your own chickens. It’s still inexpensive and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it.

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How to Make Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is really nothing more than a flavorful chicken broth in which floury dumplings are dropped to cook. If you can make chicken broth and mix together flour and a few ingredients, you can make this recipe.

At first glance, it may look a little complicated, but honestly it isn’t. It’s easy as pie. Even easier if you make the broth one day and finish it off the next.

Make the Chicken Broth

Whole chicken and aromatics simmering in a pot.

The first step is to make a flavorful chicken broth with a whole chicken and a few aromatic vegetables. Start by trimming and cutting the celery ribs in half. Peel the onion and leave it whole. Peel the carrot and cut it in half.

Place the chicken, celery, onion, carrot, and peppercorns in a large pot and add water to barely cover the chicken. Bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook, covered, about 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken from the broth and set it aside to cool briefly. Store the chicken in the refrigerator until it’s needed later in the recipe.

Remove and discard the celery, onion, carrot, and peppercorns from the broth. Store the broth in a container in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. The recipe may be made up to this point and held for several days before proceeding.

Chicken after removing and discarding skin and bones

When you’re ready to finish the recipe and cook up those delicious dumplings, remove all the skin and bones from the chicken and discard them. Cut or tear the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Chicken broth with a layer of fat on top in a plastic container

So, this is what the chicken broth looks like after it’s been in the refrigerator and the fat has risen to the top. That fat is pure gold and will give your dumplings the best flavor! Just skim the fat off the top with a spoon and put it in a little container until you need it.

Adding parsley, salt, and shredded chicken into the chicken broth

Put the de-fatted broth, chicken meat, salt, and parsley in a large pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.

I used dried parsley this time because that’s what I had on hand. My preference is to use fresh flat-leaf parsley and I would use at least a quarter of a cup of finely minced flat-leaf parsley in this. I know the parsley is not traditional in southern chicken and dumplings, but I like the little bit of color it gives to an otherwise very pale dish. It also adds a little something extra to the flavor.

While the broth comes to a boil, mix up the dumplings.

Make the Dumplings

Photo collage showing all the ingredients for the dumplings being added to a mixing bowl.

In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and 3 tablespoons of chicken fat. If you don’t have enough chicken fat to make three tablespoons, add solid shortening (i.e., Crisco) to make up the total amount of fat. Work the fat into the flour using a pastry cutter or just a fork. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

Gradually add milk, mixing everything together with a wooden spoon or a fork, until the dough reaches a good consistency for rolling. It should be just slightly less firm than a pie crust. If the dough seems too wet add a little flour. If too thick, add a little more milk.

Roll and Cut the Dumplings

Now, this where our ideas about chicken and dumplings might diverge somewhat. In the part of the south where I grew up, the dumplings were always, ALWAYS, rolled out and cut into strips. They even sell the rolled dumpling strips in the freezer section of the grocery stores in the south, though they’re not very good.

I know in other areas it’s typical that they are dropped by little spoonfuls into the boiling broth. Would believe that I never even knew there was such a thing as dropped dumplings until I was grown? Really. I’ve had both and I prefer the rolled type.

Photo collage showing the dumplings being rolled out and cut into strips.

So, on a well-floured surface, working with half of the dough at a time, roll the dumplings out just like you would for a pie crust. Cut them into long strips or squares, whichever you prefer. I use a pizza cutter to make quick work of the cutting but a sharp knife works just as well.

Adding dumplings into hot chicken broth.

Drop the dumplings individually into the gently boiling chicken stock. Continue until all the dough is used. Don’t worry about any excess flour clinging to the dumplings. You want a bit of that. It’s what thickens the finished recipe.

Cover the pot and cook for approximately 20 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through. Stir several times while cooking to keep the dumplings separated, but be careful not to break the dumplings when you stir.

Pro Tips

Take a couple of tips from someone who’s been making chicken and dumplings for a really long time. 1) Taste the broth before you start dropping in the dumplings. If it’s not quite as flavorful as you’d like, add one or two chicken stock cubes (I prefer Knorr brand). It may also need salt. This is the time to add a little more if needed. 2) I almost always add two or three tablespoons of butter to the broth. I know, I know, this is already a highly caloric recipe but what the heck. The butter makes a big difference in the taste and, well, YOLO.

FAQs

What can I serve with Chicken and Dumplings?

I usually serve these with some fresh green beans on the side. Green peas would also be good. And why not have a peach cobbler for dessert?

How do I store the leftovers?

Like with most all leftovers, you’d need to put your chicken and dumplings in a container with a good fitting top and store them in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for up to three days.

Any suggestions for how to shortcut the recipe?

There are lots of ways to shortcut this recipe! You can always use a rotisserie chicken for the meat, purchased canned stock for the broth, and frozen dumplings. The end result will be almost as good. You can also try my Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings for a nearly hands-off recipe!

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Chicken and Dumplings in a blue bowl.

Chicken and Dumplings

Old-fashioned southern style chicken and dumplings. Great for a crowd and economical, too!
5 from 4 votes
Print It Rate It
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Southern, Vintage
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 254kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

For the homemade chicken broth:

  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot peeled and halved
  • 1 whole chicken (about 3.5 pounds)
  • 10 peppercorns
  • Water (enough to barely cover chicken)

For the dumplings:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tbsp chicken fat (add solid shortening to make 3 tbsp total fat if needed)
  • 1/2 cup milk (plus more if needed)

For Cooking:

  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley finely chopped (or 2 tbsp dried)
  • 2 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Trim and cut the celery ribs in half. Peel the onion and leave whole.
  • Remove the chicken from its packaging. Remove the giblets, if included.
  • Place the chicken, celery, onion carrot, nd peppercorns in a large pot. Add water to barely cover the chicken.
  • Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, about 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  • Remove chicken from the broth and allow to cool briefly. Store in refrigerator until needed.
  • Remove the celery, onion, carrot, and peppercorns from the broth. Store the broth in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  • The recipe may be made up to this point and held for several days before proceeding. When ready to finish the chicken and dumplings, continue as follows:
  • Remove all skin and bones from the chicken. Discard the skin and bones and set the meat aside.
  • Skim the solidified fat from the broth and set it aside to use in the dumplings.
  • Place the broth, reserved chicken and parsley in a very large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Taste for salt and add more if needed. While the broth is heating, make the dumplings.

Make the dumplings:

  • In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, baking powder and chicken fat (if there isn't enough fat from the chicken, add solid shortening to make a total of 3 tablespoons of fat). Use a pastry cutter or fork to mix the fat roughly into the flour.
  • Gradually add milk until the dough reaches a good consistency for rolling. The dough should be slightly less firm than a pie crust. If the dough seems too wet add a little flour. If too thick, add a little more milk.
  • On a well-floured surface, working with half of the dough at a time, roll the dumplings out as you would a pie crust. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into long strips or squares as you prefer.
  • Drop dumplings individually into gently boiling chicken stock. Continue until all the dough is used.
  • Cook approximately 20 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through. Stir several times while cooking to keep dumplings separated, but be careful not to break the dumplings when you stir.

Notes

  • Cook’s Tips: Taste the broth before you start dropping in the dumplings. If it’s not quite as flavorful as you’d like, add one or two chicken stock cubes (I prefer Knorr brand). It may also need salt. This is the time to add a little more if needed. I almost always add two or three tablespoons of butter to the broth. I know, I know, this is already a highly caloric recipe but what the heck. 
  • I usually serve these with some fresh green beans on the side. Green peas would also be good. And why not have a peach cobbler for dessert?
  • Like with most all leftovers, you’d need to put your chicken and dumplings in a container with a good fitting top and store them in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for up to three days.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 688mg | Potassium: 192mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1060IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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51 Comments

    1. You know, I never really measured it. However, it makes a lot. I can serve six people and have leftovers.

  1. Just a suggestion, my mother always hung her rolled dumplings in the air to dry out a little. Actually she hung them over the rim of her huge flour container. Also, I have found that flour tortillas, cut into strips, are a great substitute.

    1. I’ve heard that about the flour tortillas, Shirley, but I’ve never tried it. Might do that when I’m pushed for time!

  2. I have ALWAYS preferred and made the flat dumplings. And you’re right about the commercially prepared flat dumplings being ‘just not right’. If I’m served the puffy dumplings, it seems like I’m just biting into a spoonful of air. My grandmother made the best flat dumplings out of the whole family. I truly miss her and her always made-from-scratch everything.

  3. Hate to say but it is true my mother has never been able to make a dumpling that is good. She has tried many different trick that people have told her but nothing is worth eating. My late aunt was the dumpling maker they were so good! When I think of my aunt I always see and taste her chicken & dumpling and her fried apple pies. She would cut up her apples and dry them outside on window screens like her mother did. When I came home to visit she would always make me a batch of apple pies not to share with anyone. Memories :-)

  4. LANA..I am now a senior citizen , and no longer have to cook. However,in staying with each of my daughter’s 3-6 mos. at a time,I enjoy cooking for them at times. And chicken ‘n dumplings remind us of a favorite aunt who was famous for them. No one could ever match hers. Recently I visited her & she made them for me. I now know her secret..she makes regular biscuit dough and refrigerates it overnight,and rolls it out cold. Swears this makes a difference ! But I can’t find a recipe that says do this…bot my daughter has started doing it this way. But you recipe is very close….I feel like I’ve found a new friend, and will use you site often!

    1. Now that’s a new one on me! I’ve heard of all kinds of different ways to make dumplings, but never cold biscuit dough. I just might have to try that!

  5. Lana, thank you for your recipe of Chicken and Dumplings! Wonderful, like watching my Mama make them! I grew up with the rolled dumplings too, didn’t know about the dropped ones til after reading about them on a Bisquick box. Still prefer the rolled ones. Thank you for all your effort and the great stories and pictures. My Mama also baked a very tasty Pineapple Pie, not too many recipes to be found for that, would like to read yours if you have one. Again, thank you and God Bless.

    1. Thanks for your sweet comment, Linda. It always makes me happy to know that I’ve brought back a fond memory for someone through one of my recipes.

      The pineapple pie sounds really good. I don’t have a recipe, but I’ll be looking for one.

  6. My family made a ham version of this. Ham broth made with the end of a smoked ham and a large whole onion and generous amount of black pepper. Remove the ham from the broth and discard the onion. Make and cut the dumplings and let them sit while you peel and quarter potatoes. Bring the broth to a boil and add the potatoes. When the broth comes back to a boil drop in the dumplings and stir gently occasionally until the potatoes are tender. Serve with the ham and Cole slaw. My only problem is the recipe I have usesCrisco and has no measurements so how much much do you think the chicken fat amounts to? My family called the dish ham pot pie or hounds ears.

    1. Wow, that’s a new one to me Joyce. I’ve never heard of a ham version of dumplings. It really sounds delicious! About the chicken fat – I would guess it’s around 1/3 cup. But that’s just a guess.

    2. My mother bought a bicentennial recipe book at a county fair that has the best recipe for dogs ears to be used in a chicken pot pie recipe. It’s one of my family’s favorite comfort foods.

  7. Did anyone ever find out if you can use refridgerated pizza dough to make the dumplings? I have a lot on hand

  8. Bisquick makes very good, easy drop dumplings. Thank you for your great recipe! I have done them all, canned biscuits and flour tortillas included. I like to add poultry seasoning and carrots as well. My son scarfs all of them down. Regards from Texas!

  9. I have never tried this type of dumpling and I’m really curious. My dumplings are the fluffy type that sit on top of the stew to cook. This is something different. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Hi Lana,

    My mom was a wonderful cook, but for chicken and dumplings, no one in our neck of the woods surpassed my Aunt Nell, who passed many, many years ago – long before I could beg her for her recipe. After reviewing many recipes since, yours is as close as I’ve come to the spirit of what she did. With one big exception — Nell was a spoon as opposed to roll kinda cook. My question: Do you suppose your dough would work either way, or is spooned dough a different enough animal that I need to keep looking for that portion of Nell’s recipe? Many thanks!!

    1. Hi Clint – this dough would probably be too stiff for dropped dumplings. The spooned dumplings are the most common type and are a lighter, fluffier dough. Just Google for “dropped dumplings” and you’ll find thousands of recipes for those.

      1. Lana, thanks so much for your feedback – and your website! I have to say, I got to you this morning via a link from another site for one specific recipe. The chicken n dumplins was a 2nd click for me. From there, I took my time perusing the whole shebang! What a great site!! Thank you!! (You’ve even convinced me to break out the old pressure cooker again!)