This recipe for Chicken and Dumplings is made from scratch in 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 bring up all kinds of good memories from childhood.
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, a classic vintage southern recipe, and I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING …
“Wonderful, like watching my Mama make them!“
🛒 Essential Ingredients
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- Whole Chicken – Use a chicken that weighs about 3.5 to 4 pounds (if you can find one! they’re huge these days). If you don’t want to use a whole chicken, you can substitute a mix of light and dark pieces to make up the weight.
- Celery, onion, and carrot – These are the aromatic vegetables that give a richness to the homemade stock.
- All-purpose flour – The flour is, of course, for making the dumplings.
You likely have the remaining ingredients on hand in your kitchen.
🍚 How to Store Leftovers
As with most leftovers, you’d need to store your leftover chicken and dumplings in a container with a tight-fitting top and store them in the refrigerator. They’ll keep for up to three days. Rewarm them over very low heat and add some water or chicken broth to get them back to the correct consistency.
To freeze, let them cool completely and then store them in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve them again, let them thaw completely in the refrigerator (it may take two days because they’re fairly dense). Rewarm over low heat on the stovetop. You’ll need to add some broth or water because the dumplings will have absorbed all of the moisture.
❗ 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.
❓ Questions about making Chicken and Rolled Dumplings from Scratch
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!
If you want a real shortcut for making dumplings, try pizza dough. Divide the dough for one pizza crust into two pieces. Roll it very thin and cut into strips for dumplings. The taste will be somewhat different (pizza dough has yeast and olive oil in it) but still good.
I’ve seen a lot of people’s recipes using canned biscuits for the dumplings. They cut the individual biscuits into four pieces each and drop them into the broth. I’m sure that’s a delicious alternative, but it will produce puffy, pillowy dumplings rather than the traditional Southern rolled style.
More Questions? I’m happy to help!
If you have more questions about the recipe, or if you’ve made it and would like to leave a comment, scroll down to leave your thoughts, questions, and/or rating!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Chicken and Dumplings
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)
- ¼ cup flat leaf parsley finely chopped (or 2 tbsp dried)
- 2 tsp salt
- 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.
- 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 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 healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.
🥄 How to Make Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch – Step by Step Photos and Instructions
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
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.
- Remove the chicken from its packaging. Remove the giblets, if included.
- 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, for 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. When ready to finish the recipe, continue as follows:
- 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.
- Just skim the fat off the top with a spoon and put it in a little container until you need it.
- Put the de-fatted broth, chicken meat, salt, and parsley in a large pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. While the broth comes to a boil, mix up the dumplings.
👉 PRO TIP: I used dried parsley 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.
Make the Dumplings
- 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 is 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.