Homemade Chicken and Dumplings recipe is creamy, hearty, flavorful and comforting with the BEST tender, fluffy dumplings and easier to make than you think!
This old-fashioned Chicken and Dumplings recipe is a meal-in-one the whole family will love without any condensed soup! It’s blanketed with fluffy, biscuit-style dumplings that are delightfully tender and not gummy but still hold their shape and don’t disintegrate when cooked all due to my secret ingredient. The dumplings are made from scratch in minutes without any kneading, rolling or cutting! This creamy stew is also bursting with juicy chicken, hearty carrots and celery, and aromatic onions, garlic and herbs for a symphony of rich and savory flavor in every slurp. This easy Chicken and Dumplings recipe is also extremely versatile and pantry friendly – swap the chicken for ground beef or sausage, swap veggies or add more favorites, make it creamy, brothy or stew-like (all variations included).
EASY HOMEMADE CHICKEN DUMPLINGS
If you are looking for the best Chicken and Dumplings recipe ever, this it! It’s the ultimate comfort food that’s a cross between a creamy soup and stew and 100% pantry friendly during this lockdown.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS BEST CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS RECIPE:
- DELICIOUS & CREAMY. This easy Chicken and Dumplings recipe is a warm, savory symphony of juicy chicken, tender veggies and layers of complex aromatic flavor swaddled in creamy broth all topped with fluffy, herb studded dumplings. Furthermore, the soup is seasoned to perfection with hand-picked Italian seasonings then creamified with both a roux and cornstarch so its mega flavorful and creamy – winning!
- FLAVORFUL & TENDER DUMPLINGS. Not only is the creamy stew intoxicatingly flavorful but the dumplings contain two uncharacteristic ingredients that elevate them to a new level (read dumplings section for the secrets!). The dumplings are infused with both butter and herbs and also drink up the savory broth as they cook – drool. Best of all, they cook up soft, fluffy, plump and tender instead of gummy.
- EASY HOMEMADE DROP DUMPLINGS. The dumplings are made from scratch with minimal work – winning! Just stir the buttermilk, melted butter and egg together to create hardened butter clumps (which result in tender biscuits instead of having to cut in the butter), then stir into the dry ingredients. To finish, drop by the spoonful into the simmering soup- that’s it! No rolling or cutting like rolling dumplings.
- PANTRY FRIENDLY INGREDIENTS. The ingredients for this homemade Chicken and Dumplings recipe are simple, inexpensive and you probably have almost all of them on hand. This recipe can also be made with any chicken you have on hand from chicken thighs to chicken breasts to rotisserie chicken.
- NO CREAM SOUP. This Chicken and Dumplings recipe doesn’t use any mystery “cream of” canned soups but still emerges rich, creamy and flavorful.
- EASY & EFFECTIVE SHORTCUTS. This homemade Chicken and Dumplings recipe utilizes a few easy shortcuts to make it easy enough to make on a weeknight, without skimping on flavor. Chicken and Dumplings from scratch starts by simmering a whole chicken. To minimize prep and cook time, this recipe utilizes quick-cooking, flavorful chicken thighs. It also uses store-bough chicken broth in place of homemade chicken broth spiked with chicken bouillon and seasonings to create complex layers of flavor.
- MEAL-IN-ONE. This easy Chicken and Dumplings recipe is loaded with protein, veggies and bread-like dumplings for a complete meal-in-one all made in one pot! Serve alone or with no-fuss sides like a simple green salad and fruit.
LOOKING FOR MORE CREAMY SOUP RECIPES?
- Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Slow Cooker Potato Soup
- New England Clam Chowder
- Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Broccoli Cheese Soup
- Crock Pot Creamy White Chicken Chili
- Mexican Chicken Corn Chowder
- Zuppa Toscana
What are chicken and dumplings?
Chicken and Dumplings is one of my favorite comfort meals! It’s a popular soup in the Southern and Midwest United States consisting of shredded chicken, onions and celery swimming in either a rich stew broth or creamy broth topped with a blanket of biscuit-style dumplings.
The dumplings are made with a simple dough consisting of milk, buttermilk, flour, etc. that is mixed together, then dropped by the tablespoon into the simmering soup to steam and cook. The dumplings can be formed into balls or rolled flat and cut into strips to create “noodles.”
The consistency of homemade Chicken and Dumplings comes down to personal taste. It varies from thin and brothy to rich and stew-like to rich and creamy to a very thick casserole-like consistency, eaten with a fork instead of a spoon. But no matter how you like it, Chicken and Dumplings is guaranteed to warm you from the inside out.
Where did Chicken and dumplings come from?
Dumplings, or “a portion of dough that is usually steamed or boiled” has been around since ancient Rome and is even referenced in the oldest of cook books by Apicius! The text reads, “To 1 acetabulum of stock add 7 of water, a little green celery, a little spoonful of ground pepper, and boil this with the sausage meat of dumplings.” -Cookery and Dining in Imperial Rome, Apicius, edited and translated by Joserphy Dommers Vehling [Dover:New York] 1977(p. 65-66)
There are many versions of Chicken and Dumplings all over Europe and other parts of the world but Chicken and Dumplings as we know it, is thought to have originated in the Southern United States during the late 1600s. Chicken and Dumplings was an inexpensive way to extend dishes and fill empty stomachs with kitchen staples. The dish was further popularized when it was published in 1879. Since then, Chicken and Dumplings have become a mainstay of American cuisine and a beloved Southern staple.
WHAT KINDS OF DUMPLINGS ARE USED FOR CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS?
There are three types of dumplings you can use in this Chicken and Dumplings recipe: drop dumplings, (my favorite), biscuit dumplings, rolled dumplings/noodle dumplings. I’ve chosen drop dumplings in this recipe because they’re the lightest and fluffiest, but at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. I’ve included how to make each kind of dumplings below the “Tips and Tricks” section so you can choose your own adventure!
POPULAR KINDS OF DUMPLINGS:
- Drop dumplings: puff up gorgeously to create bread-like dumplings and satisfying textural melt-in-your mouth variation. They are also super easy to make – don’t be intimidated! To make, the dry ingredients are mixed in a bowl; the melted butter and buttermilk are mixed separately then everything is stirred together – no kneading/food processor/mixer required! The dough is then scooped out and dropped into the simmering soup to cook.
- Rolled dumplings or noodle-style dumplings: is a variation of old-fashioned Chicken and Dumplings in which wide, flat noodles rolled from biscuit dough are used in place of the balls of biscuits. These are the dumpling you get in Cracker Barrel’s Chicken and Dumplings. They are soft, flat, dense and hold together nicely. To make, the dough is rolled out to about 1/8-inch thickness and cut into 1 1/2 -inch squares or diamonds or 1×2” strips then dropped into the simmering soup to cook. You can also make shortcut rolled dumplings using Pillsbury biscuit dough.
- Biscuit dumplings: are made with canned biscuits such as Pillsbury and are cut into quarters then dropped into the simmering soup to cook. Although very easy, biscuit dumplings can disappear and dissolve into the soup and don’t produce the fluffiest dumplings.
HOW TO MAKE BEST DUMPLINGS FOR CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
In my opinion, drop dumplings are the clear winner to use in homemade Chicken and Dumplings because:
- Texture. They are buttery soft, light and fluffy with a hint of cornmeal for additional texture and flavor. They are 10X better than the store-bought biscuits which can become doughy.
- Easy. They are WAY LESS WORK than rolled dumplings because you simply scoop up the dough and drop it into the soup instead of rolling out the dough, slicing and dropping it piece by piece into the soup.
- Flavor! Making dumplings from scratch are another bonus because you can add seasonings. These homemade dumplings are studded with dried parsley, dried chives, sugar, salt and pepper. The cornmeal also adds a satisfying hint of cornbread flavor.
INGREDIENTS FOR DUMPLINGS
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour, but I’m sure gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour would also work. I do not recommend cake flour or self-rising flour or you will need to change the baking powder/baking soda, etc.
- Cornmeal: is my powerhouse secret ingredient! It not only adds delightful nutty corn flavor and superior texture but prevents the dumplings from becoming gummy. Use fine cornmeal as opposed to coarsely ground – take care it says cornmeal and not corn flour.
- Buttermilk: makes cornbread, cakes, muffins, and breads extra tender as the lactic acid reacts with the baking soda to leaven the goods and yield a tender crumb.
- Butter: adds butter goodness. Use unsalted butter so we can control the salt in the recipe.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: are an acidic leavening agent and a base leavening agent. They work together to create fluffy, soft dumplings. Take care both your baking powder and baking soda are fresh, (throw out after 6-12 months) so they work!
- Sugar: promotes soft and tender dumplings by absorbing some of the liquid and slowing down the formation of gluten strands. It also promotes caramelization for more golden dumplings.
- Egg: are not traditionally used in dumplings or biscuits, but just one egg makes them astonishingly better. According to this side by side comparison of biscuits made with an egg and biscuits made without an eggs by Food 52, the biscuits made with an egg were richer in flavor, doughier/moister, decidedly taller, more tender (due to the fat in the yolk), and more golden (due to the additional protein which contributes to the Maillard reaction).
- Seasonings: dried parsley, dried chives, salt and pepper add flavor to the dumplings.
Do I have to add egg?
No! While I love the addition of egg for the aforementioned reasons, it is not essential. If you omit the egg, increase the buttermilk to 1 cup and the butter to 8 tablespoons.
Do I have to add cornmeal?
If you don’t have cornmeal on hand, you can substitute with 1/2 cup all purpose flour.
How to make DIY BUTTERMILK
If you do not have any on hand – don’t worry, I rarely do! You can make DIY buttermilk or sour milk for this recipe by adding 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring glass. Add enough milk (not nonfat) to equal 3/4 cups. Give it a stir and let sit 5-10 minutes in order to activate and slightly curdle.
WHAT CHICKEN FOR THE BEST CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS?
I highly recommend chicken thighs (boneless or bone-in) for the Best Chicken and Dumplings recipe. I didn’t always use chicken thighs for my soup recipes, but once I started, there was NO going back. Chicken thighs are dark meat which means they are inherently juicier, richer tasting and produce far more tender chicken than chicken breasts. They are also harder to overcook and stay tender for days with a more palate pleasing texture, even when reheated for leftovers.
In addition, chicken thighs are browned first which adds an important depth of flavor to the overall soup as all those golden, flavorful bits become part of the broth.
CAN I USE CHICKEN BREASTS?
Absolutely! You can still use chicken breasts but because they are leaner than chicken thighs, they will not be as juicy or as flavorful. If using chicken breasts, I suggest bone-in chicken breasts but boneless will also work. They will also need to be simmered longer than the thighs, closer to 20-25 minutes depending on their size.
CAN I USE ROTISSERIE CHICKEN?
Yes! Rotisserie chicken is my second choice to use in easy Chicken and Dumplings after thighs. Rotisserie chicken comes lightly seasoned for an added depth of flavor and is a mix of both light and dark meat. It also comes perfectly tender and ready to slurp up.
To use rotisserie chicken, shred the chicken, discarding the bones and add about 3 cups shredded chicken to the soup when you would add the shredded chicken thighs.
CAN I USE LEFTOVER CHICKEN?
Absolutely! Add about 3 cups shredded or chopped leftover chicken to the soup when you would add the shredded chicken thighs.
HOMEMADE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
In addition the dumplings and chicken, this homemade Chicken and Dumplings recipe is made with simple, pantry friendly ingredients. The key to the complex flavor comes from building the layers of flavor by first browning the chicken, then sautéing the veggies and aromatic onions and garlic before adding the broth. In addition to chicken, you will need:
- Olive oil and Butter. I like using a combination of extra-virgin olive oil and butter for both complex flavor and a higher smoking point (the oil helps the butter no burn). You may use all oil, but I don’t suggest all butter.
- Chicken Broth. Take care your chicken broth is low sodium otherwise your soup will be too salty. Using low sodium broth also allows us to use chicken bouillon which amps up the flavor.
- Chicken bouillon. You can use bouillon powder, bouillon cubes or better than bouillon – all in the same measurements. Add bouillon to the soup without dissolving in liquid first. If using cubes, you will need 1 cube which you crush up and then add directly to the broth.
- Half and Half. I often don’t keep half and half on hand, but keep heavy cream on hand. If you’re like me, you can substitute the half and half with half cream and half milk. You may also substitute the half and half with evaporated milk. You may omit if you don’t want a creamy soup.
- Onion. Use one diced yellow onion.
- Garlic. 4-6 garlic cloves depending on your garlic love.
- Carrots. Chop the carrots on the thicker side because they are going to simmer for over 30 minutes. Please don’t use baby carrots as they aren’t nearly as flavorful.
- Celery. Also needs to be chopped on the thicker side, about ½-inch.
- Flour: Helps thicken the soup by creating a roux. You may substitute with gluten free all-purpose flour.
- Cornstarch: Also helps thicken the soup by mixing with half and half; this allows us to use lower calorie half and half or evaporated milk as opposed to heavy cream.
- Seasonings: dried parsley, dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, a bay leaf, salt and pepper season our soup to perfection.
CAN I USE FRESH HERBS?
I prefer dried herbs in this Homemade Chicken and Dumplings because they get added to the soup at the beginning which infuses the broth with flavor. Fresh herbs should be added towards the end of cooking which is difficult because the dumplings are placed on top.
CAN I USE VEGETABLE BROTH INSTEAD?
I do not recommend vegetable broth because it does not have the chicken flavor which is crucial in this easy Chicken and Dumplings recipe. That doesn’t mean you can’t use vegetable broth, but it does mean the soup will not taste rich and flavorful.
CAN I USE FROZEN VEGETABLES?
Absolutely! Frozen vegetables are a great shortcut. Add the vegetables to the soup the same time you add the shredded chicken – no need to thaw.
CAN I MAKE THE SOUP GLUTEN FREE?
Yes! If you want to make gluten free Chicken and Dumplings from scratch, then use gluten-free baking flour such as Bob Red Mills 1 to 1 baking flour – the rest of the ingredients are gluten free.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
STEP 1: SEAR CHICKEN:
- Pat chicken dry with paper towels; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drying the chicken allows the seasonings to stick. Allowing the chicken time to rest while you prep the veggies helps the seasonings penetrate the chicken.
- Sear chicken in a large Dutch oven/ soup pot until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate but leave drippings.
- Searing the chicken results in the Maillard reaction, in which amino acids and reducing sugars produce browning, and as we know, color= flavor! The delicious brown bits left in the bottom of the pan will be season the entire soup as they permeate the broth.
STEP 2: SAUTÉ VEGETABLES:
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; sauté for 4 minutes scaping up the golden bits on the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds; sprinkle in flour then cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes (it will be thick); don’t let flour stick to the bottom of the pot or it will burn later.
- The vegetables will not be completely tender at this point but will soften as they simmer with the soup.
- Cooking the flour gets rid of the raw flour smell and taste.
STEP 3: SIMMER SOUP:
- Stir in chicken broth, chicken bouillon, all seasonings, 1/2 teaspoon salt, bay leaf and chicken broth. Add chicken back to the pot.
- Cover the soup to bring to a simmer, then displace the lid so it’s partially covering the pot, with about a one-inch opening. Simmer the soup for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is tender enough to shred, stirring occasionally and replacing the lid. Meanwhile make dumpling dough.
STEP 4: how to MAKE DUMPLINGS
- Whisk buttermilk and egg together and place in the refrigerator while you simmer the soup.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, dried parsley, dried chives, salt and pepper.
- Remove buttermilk/egg mixture and add melted butter; stir until the butter forms small clumps.
- Stir buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula just until combined and the batter mixture slightly begins to pull away from the edges of the bowl; set aside.
STEP 5: ADD CHICKEN, HALF AND HALF & DUMPLINGS
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred into bite-size pieces once cool enough to handle.
- Whisk cornstarch with half and half until smooth then stir back into the pot. Bring the soup to a simmer.
- Using a greased tablespoon or #50 cookie scoop, drop dollops of dough into the soup, spacing them out a little.
STEP 6: SIMMER SOUP
- Cover pot and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.
How to Check Dumplings for Doneness
This Chicken and Dumpling recipe is pretty straightforward with the exception of knowing exactly when the dumplings are done. You don’t want to overcook the dumplings or they won’t be as tender – no one wants dry dumplings! You also don’t want to undercook the dumplings – if the center looks a little raw, let the dumplings steam for an additional 2 minutes. The dumplings are done when:
- They’re puffed up. The dumplings should about quadruple in size so they puff up and are touching each other.
- A toothpick comes out clean. Insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of a dumpling, if it comes out clean or with a few dry crumbs, the dumplings are done. If the toothpick has wet crumbs, then cover and cook an additional 2 minutes and try again.
- Cut a dumpling in half. The easiest, tell-tell way to see if the dumplings are done is to remove a dumpling to a cutting board and cut it in half.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BEST CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS RECIPE
Chicken and Dumplings is surprisingly easy to make but there are a few helpful tips and tricks for the BEST Chicken and Dumplings:
TIPS FOR DUMPLINGS
- Use Cornmeal. Cornmeal not only adds a delightful nutty corn flavor but promotes superior texture and prevents the dumplings from becoming gummy.
- Clumps are good! Combining the buttermilk, egg and melted butter is the key to tender biscuits. As the warm, melted butter mixes with the cold buttermilk/egg, small clumps of hardened butter form, making it look curdled. The curdled butter bits are what aerate the dough and create the ideal texture without having to cut the butter into the flour.
- Don’t over-mix! After the wet ingredients are added to the dry ingredients, stir the dough slowly and gently just until it comes together. You want your dough to be loose and well-aerated. Over-mixing causes the gluten in the flour to form elastic gluten strands which result in a dense, chewy tough, texture. Stop mixing as soon as you see the dough is combined and starts to pull away from the bowl.
- Don’t pack dumplings. Use a cookie dough scoop or spoon to form your dumplings – don’t shape the dough with your hands after it is scooped as manipulating the dough packs the dough and will create tough, chewy dumplings.
- Cover and don’t peak! After you add the dumplings, make sure to cover the pot so the dumplings can steam and cook evenly to light and tender perfection. Resist the urge to lift the lid until it’s time to check for doneness. If you lift the lid, all the beautiful steam escapes and the dumplings will start to boil instead of steam as the pot builds up steam again. If you don’t have a lid for your pot, cover as tightly as you can with foil.
- Have fun! Dumplings are a match made in heaven to create Chicken and Dumplings but the dumplings can also be added to any soup! Drop dumplings into Minestrone Soup, Chicken Corn Chowder, your post-holiday turkey soup etc. You can’t go wrong with these gorgeous dumplings!
TIPS FOR SOUP
- Use chicken thighs. This easy Chicken and Dumplings recipe will work with chicken breasts or chicken thighs, but for the best flavor and most juicy chicken, use chicken thighs or shredded rotisserie chicken.
- Rotisserie chicken. Stock shredded chicken or rotisserie chicken portioned into 3 cup freezer bags so you always have chicken ready to add to any soup.
- Customize vegetables. In addition to the mirepoix, you can add whatever veggies you have on hand or mix it up just for fun! Green beans, corn, potatoes, zucchini, etc. would all be delicious. Just be aware most vegetables will not need the full cook time – see my detailed instructions in the Variations section.
- Vegetable size. Chop carrots and celery at least ½-inch thick because they are going to simmer for longer than many soups. Avoid chopping your vegetables too thin or they can become mushy.
- Half and half substitute. If you don’t have half and half, use half milk and half heavy cream or use evaporated milk.
- Don’t burn flour. Don’t let flour stick to the bottom of the pot or it will burn later. You can add additional oil if needed if the flour is sticking.
- Consistency. You can make this Chicken and Dumplings recipe creamier, more gravy-like or thin and brothy. See my section on how to adjust consistency.
- Don’t stir at the end of cooking. Once your pot is blanketed with gorgeous, fluffy dumplings, don’t stir or the dumplings can break apart.
How to Make Chicken and Dumplings with Rolled Dumplings:
Chicken and Dumplings with Rolled Dumplings is also known as Chicken and Pastry, or simply “Chicken Pastry,” or “Chicken and Sticks.” You can make your own dough using shortening or an easy shortcut version using canned biscuits. To make, you will follow my Chicken and Dumplings recipe and simply replace the balls of dough with biscuit dough. Here’s how.
- You will need 1 can (16.3 oz) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Southern Homestyle refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits (8 biscuits) or equivalent.
- Lightly flour a working surface, then roll or pat each biscuit to 1/8-inch thickness. The dumplings don’t need to be cut perfectly, but the dough should be close to 1/8” for the perfect consistency.
- Cut each biscuit into 1/2-inch-wide x 1-2″ strips using a pizza cutter.
- Drop strips, one at a time, into the simmering broth.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking.
How to Make Chicken and Dumplings with Biscuits:
Chicken and Dumplings with Biscuits doesn’t produce as fluffy results or as much textural variety as from-scratch dumplings, but it is an easy shortcut especially if you can’t get your hands-on flour during this lockdown.
For this Chicken and Dumplings with Biscuits recipe, you will need TWO cans (16.3 oz. each) Pillsbury™ Grands!™ Southern Homestyle refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits. Make sure you purchase buttermilk biscuits and not the flaky variety. Also, take care you purchase the Grands (aka large) cans of biscuits and not the small/regular biscuits otherwise your biscuits can dissolve into oblivion.
- Cut each biscuit into quarters.
- Lightly toss the pieces in flour to prevent them from sticking to each other.
- Shake off excess flour and add them to the simmering soup.
- Simmer, uncovered, for 8 minutes then check a biscuit for doneness by cutting in half. If the inside is still raw, continue to simmer for a few additional minutes but take care not to overcook or your biscuits can dissolve.
How to Make Bisquick Chicken and Dumplings:
Bisquick™ Chicken and Dumplings is the closest tasting to Chicken and Dumplings from scratch and is also a great alternative if you can’t get your hands on flour.
- In a medium bowl, add 2 cups Bisquick mix and 2/3 cup milk.
- Whisk until a soft dough forms.
- Drop dough by the tablespoons into simmering soup.
- Cook UNCOVERED over low heat 10 minutes, COVER and cook 10 minutes longer.
HOW TO MAKE OLD FASHIONED CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS (whole chicken):
Old fashioned Chicken and Dumplings is made from scratch using both homemade dumplings and a whole chicken – it is actually much easier to make you’d think! All you need is a one 4-5 pound whole chicken cut into pieces. You can ask the butcher to cut the chicken up into pieces or you can do it yourself. If you’ve never cut up a chicken before, do a quick google search and watch a HOW-TO video. You really can’t go wrong and you don’t need to worry about it being pretty because you will be shredding the chicken anyway.
To make Old fashioned Chicken and Dumplings, you will use most of the same ingredients, but the method will change. Here’s how:
- Add chicken, onions, carrots and celery to a large Dutch oven/soup pot.
- Stir in all seasonings, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, bay leaf and chicken broth.
- Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) until chicken is cooked through and tender enough to shred, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile make dumpling dough.
- Transfer chicken pieces to a cutting board using tongs. Once cool enough to handle, discard skin and bones and shred chicken with your fingers into bite size pieces. Skim grease from broth and add chicken back to the pot.
- Whisk ¼ cup cornstarch with half and half until smooth then stir back into the pot.
- Using a greased tablespoon or #50 cookie scoop, drop dollops of dough into the soup, spacing them out a little. Bring the soup to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through. You can check a dumpling by cutting it in half. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow the dumpling to soak up some of the soup.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS THE RIGHT CONSISTENCY FOR YOU!
Chicken and Dumplings are a “choose your own adventure” when it comes to the consistency. Some connoisseurs are adamant that homemade Chicken and Dumplings should be rich and stew-like; others argue it should be luxuriously creamy, others believe it should be less like a soup and instead very thick and casserole-like, eaten with a fork instead of a spoon.
I personally find rich and creamy Chicken and Dumplings to be 100% heavenly, so that is the recipe I’m sharing with you today, but don’t worry, I’ve included how to modify the recipe to suit your tastes.
FOR CREAMY CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS:
This homemade Chicken and Dumplings recipe doesn’t require any cans of condensed soups to emerge delightfully creamy. The creamy consistency is achieved by first sautéing the vegetables in butter and olive oil so they soften and drink up flavor. Next, we create a roux by stirring in all-purpose flour and cooking for a couple of minutes then stirring in chicken broth. Finally, the soup is finished by whisking cornstarch with half and adding to the soup to simmer with the dumplings. This slurry further thickens the soup, but most importantly adds a creaminess – so it’s not just thick – but thick and creamy.
FOR GRAVY-LIKE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS:
The roux in the recipe creates a gravy-like broth similar to white country gravy. It adds body and richness without creaminess. If you would like an even thicker broth, you can either add a cornstarch slurry or flour and butter paste before you add the dumplings.
- Cornstarch slurry: whisk ¼ cup water with 2 tablespoon cornstarch with a fork until smooth. Whisk the slurry back into the soup and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Repeat if needed but keep in mind the soup will continue to thicken once you simmer the dumplings.
- Flour and butter: mix equal parts flour and softened butter together with a fork so it becomes a thick paste. You will want 2-3 tablespoons each, depending on how thick you want the soup. Add it to the soup, stir, and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes, keeping in mind the soup will continue to thicken once you simmer the dumplings.
FOR BROTHY/THIN CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS:
If you prefer your easy Chicken and Dumplings from scratch on the thin, brothy, side, then simply omit the flour and cornstarch and replace the half and half with low sodium chicken broth.
CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS RECIPE VARIATIONS
In addition to the consistency, this Chicken and Dumplings from scratch is easy to customize with all sorts of add ins. Here are a few ideas:
Although this is Chicken and Dumplings recipe, it is a great springboard to make other soups as well using whatever protein you have on hand.
- Ground beef ground turkey or Italian sausage. Brown beef with the onions, carrots and celery, crumbling as you cook.
- Sausage. Brown kielbasa, Polish sausage or chicken sausage then remove to a plate. Slice or chop into bite size pieces then add back to the soup with the broth to simmer with the vegetables.
- Bacon. Cook the thick-cut bacon until crispy then remove from the pot. Reserve some of the drippings to cook the chicken in. Add the crumbled bacon to the soup at the end of cooking.
- Ham. Add ham just before adding the dumplings. Ham can be quite salty so reduce the salt in the recipe and add salt to taste.
I recommend sticking with the carrots and celery but you can also add any other vegetables such as:
- Corn. You can use canned, drained sweet corn or frozen sweet corn – no need to thaw.
- Mushrooms. Cremini/baby bella mushrooms will have the most flavor.
- Bell peppers. Any color will taste great! Add them right before the dumplings.
- Sweet or Yukon gold potatoes. Peel, chop into ½-inch pieces and add with the broth.
- Butternut squash. Peel, chop into ½-inch pieces and add with the broth.
- Broccoli. Chop into bite size pieces and add right before the dumplings.
- Cauliflower. Chop into bite size pieces and add right before the dumplings.
- Zucchini. Slice and quarter zucchini and add right before the dumplings. Slice zucchini on the thick side, about ¼-inch so it doesn’t get too soft.
- Green beans. Fresh green beans taste far superior than canned. Chop into 2” pieces and add right before the dumplings.
WHAT CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?
This homemade Chicken and Dumplings recipe is very simple but it does require some prep work as far as trimming the chicken and chopping vegetables. You can save time by:
- Trim chicken: trim off excess fat from chicken thighs then store chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Chop vegetables: chop the vegetables and aromatic’s a couple days ahead of time, the night before dinner or just a few hours before cooking then store the veggies and aromatics in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator.
- Measure Spices: it doesn’t take long to measure out the spices, but you can certainly do it beforehand and store the mix in an airtight bag or container.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH EASY CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS?
This easy Chicken and Dumplings recipe is practically meal-in-one complete with protein, veggies and bread. In addition, we like to serve with a refreshing salad and fruit such as:
- Salad: Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette, Apple Salad, Pear Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad or Green Bean Salad.
- Fruit: Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Vinaigrette Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone, Tropical Fruit Salad, or Pina Colada Fruit Salad.
HOW DO I REHEAT CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS RECIPE?
The flavors of this Chicken and Dumplings recipe get even better the next day and I love how the dumplings continue to soak up the broth.
- Storage: store Chicken and Dumplings in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Microwave: transfer individual servings to a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 2 minutes; stir around the dumplings, then continue to microwave for 30-second intervals, if needed.
- Stove: Heat soup over medium low heat, gently stirring occasionally around the dumplings, until heated through.
CAN YOU FREEZE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS RECIPE?
As a general rule of thumb, creamy soups do not freeze well as the texture can become unpleasantly grainy as the dairy and fat separate. You can still freeze the soup with these expectations, or omit the half and half when freezing. Alternatively, you can swap the half and half for evaporated milk (see tips below).
- Cook: Cook the Chicken and Dumplings recipe according to recipe directions.
- Cool: Allow soup to cool completely before freezing to preserve the integrity of the ingredients and prevent it from entering the “danger zone.”
- Package: Transfer soup to an airtight freezer safe container, taking care the dumplings are on top.
- Freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Defrost/Reheat. When ready to use, defrost overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave or stove according to aforementioned instructions.
TIPS FOR FREEZING CREAMY SOUPS:
- Leave out the half and half if you plan to freeze, then it will freeze and thaw without becoming grainy.
- Regular (not low-fat) evaporated milk, or heavy cream freeze much better than half and half -the higher the fat content, the better it freezes. If you think you might freeze leftovers of this homemade Chicken and Dumplings recipe, then plan on using either of these alternatives.
- If freezing with half and half, reheat the thawed soup very gently over low heat to help incorporate the cream back into the soup.
- If freezing with half and half, add some fresh cream or softened cream cheese to improve the grainy texture.
HELPFUL TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Cookie scoop: makes cooking life so much easier! A simple squeeze releases cookie dough, dumpling dough, meatballs, melon, sorbet, ice cream etc. instantly making cooing/baking a breeze! This cookie scoop is is made from 18/8 stainless steel, and won’t rust or corrode and is dishwasher safe.
- Dutch oven: is one of my most used pots! Dutch ovens are ideal for soups with their superior heat distribution and retention for even cooking. I have both a more expensive Le Creuset (keep in mind the price varies by color) and a less expensive Cuisinart (not sold on Amazon) which both work excellent. This less expensive AmazonBasics also has excellent reviews.
- Quality Knives: a chef’s knife will be your most used kitchen tool by far! Quality knives make prep time much quicker and are important for safety as well. If you’re concerned about moola, please remember that your best chef knives, depending on how hard you use them and how well you take care of them, can easily last 25 years or more. I love my Wusthof but there are hundreds of less expensive knives with great reviews such as this one.
- Cutting Board: I use my big solid cutting board daily so it’s worth the investment. This extra-large cutting board allows you to prep all your veggies on one surface and the bamboo is easier on knives than plastic.
- Garlic press: I use this every single day! It is the ultimate garlic press- it is easy-to-use, easy-to-clean and minces garlic with one squeeze. Unlike other presses, this garlic press has beveled holes that finely cut the clove rather than bruising it, bringing out the best flavor.
- Onion chopper: onions make me cry like crazy so I LOVE this onion chopper! It’s made with stainless steel discs for chopping/dicing the hardest vegetables/cheeses with 1 easy motion. It’s also backed by a lifetime warranty- and I can guarantee way less tears!
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