Chicken and Dumplings


Chicken and dumplings—the ultimate comfort food. When we were kids, my mother used to make chicken and dumplings for us by simply adding Bisquick biscuit dough to chicken stew. We would always fight over the dumplings. (Ever wonder why people from big families eat fast? The first kid who finished could get seconds on the dumplings.)

Making dumplings that are tasty, light, yet hold together isn’t a given. The Bisquick version, although light and fluffy, tends to fall apart. At the other end of the spectrum, my dad remembers his mother’s dumplings which were, in his words “as hard as hockey pucks”. Leftovers would be grated the following morning and fried up like potatoes.

The dumplings in this recipe are firm enough to hold together without disintegrating even after multiple reheats of the stew, yet still manage to be light and fluffy. The key is to not peek into the pan while the dumplings are cooking. The dumplings need to gently steam in the simmering stew to result in a light texture. Using cake flour in place of all purpose flour will also help the dumplings be lighter, as cake flour has less gluten than regular flour.

To coax more flavor into the stew base, we brown the chicken pieces before cooking them in the stew, and we also create a roux by browning flour in the rendered chicken fat, before slowly adding liquid.

Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8


Chicken and Vegetables:

  • 3 to 3  1/2 pounds chicken thighs and breast parts, skin-on, bone-in, trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 teaspoons butter or olive oil, or a combination of both
  • Salt
  • 1 quart chicken stock (homemade is best)
  • 2 to 3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry or vermouth (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp of heavy cream (optional)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Ground black or white pepper


  • 2 cups (250 g) cake flour (can sub all-purpose flour, but use cake flour if you have it, your dumplings will be fluffier)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herb leaves such as parsley, chives, and tarragon (optional)


1 Heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer in a medium pot.

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2 In a large (8 qt), thick-bottomed pot, heat the butter or olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat dry the chicken pieces and sprinkle with salt. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces, placing the pieces skin-side down first; this will render out fat you will use to build the stew later.

3 Once the chicken pieces are browned on all sides, remove them from the large pot, and turn off the heat. Remove and discard the skin from the chicken pieces and put the chicken pieces into the pot of simmering stock. Poach the chicken in the stock until cooked through, about 20 minutes or so. Remove the chicken pieces and set on a tray to cool for a few minutes. When the chicken pieces are cool to touch, pull the meat off the bones and cut into 2-inch chunks. Set aside.

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4 Return the heat on the large pot to medium-high. When the pot is hot, add the onion, celery, carrot and thyme and sauté until soft, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and stir well. The flour will absorb the fat in the pot and will stick a little to the bottom. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir the flour vegetable mixture constantly for 2-3 minutes. Do not let it burn.

5 Get a ladle ready and have the pot of simmering chicken stock nearby. Add the sherry to the flour vegetable mixture. It will sputter and seize up. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to and stir well. It will be goopy. Add another ladle, then another, stirring all the while, until the broth comes together. Add the rest of the chicken stock, the reserved chicken meat. Increase the heat and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer while you make the dumplings.

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6 Make the dumpling batter by whisking together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add (optional) chopped fresh herbs. Add melted butter and milk to the dry ingredients. Gently mix with a wooden spoon until mixture just comes together. (Note: do not overmix! or your dumplings will turn out too dense.)

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7 Drop dumpling batter into the simmering stew by heaping teaspoonfuls, over the surface of the stew. (Note that the dumplings will easily double in size as they cook.) Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Once you have covered the pan, do not uncover and peek while the dumplings are cooking! In order for the dumplings to be light and fluffy, they must steam, not boil. Uncovering the pan releases the steam. If after 15 minutes they are still not cooked through (use a toothpick or skewer to test) cover pan again, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

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8 Gently stir in peas, parsley and cream, if using. Add more salt to taste. Ladle portions of meat, sauce, vegetables, and dumplings into soup plates and serve. Note that the stew will continue to thicken the longer it sits.

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Showing 4 of 69 Comments

  • Leslie

    I love this recipe! It seems everytime I make it though, the 1 quart of chicken stock doesn’t end up being enough liquid. I am wondering if perhaps it IS enough but when I look at it, it doesn’t seem so. How much liquid do you want in the pot before you add the dumplings?

  • Sabrina

    Hi Elise, just wanted to let you know I’ve been making this recipe for two years now and it is a serious favorite. Thanks for sharing it!

  • Nina

    I made this dish tonight and WOW, it was a flashback to my childhood of my mothers chicken and dumplings. I’ve tried many different recipes trying to replicate my mothers. She never had a recipe, she did all her cooking from memory, so she always had a hard time trying to put them on paper. These dumplings have a terrific texture. Not doughy or falling apart but just right. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  • Danielle Thurman

    Can this be frifrozenzen and re-heated? We are going camping in Colorado and I would love to make this for one of our dinners.

  • Dee

    Absolutely down home delish. I’ve made this over and over again for years now. My roots are from all around down south and it’s almost exactly like my grandma’s. We use 2 quart chicken stock (instead of 1) to start in our stock pan and add a bay leaf to it. I have tried adding different dry herbs in the biscuits from thyme to our favorite Herbs de Providence. I’ve also had them not rise and be pasty because I didn’t notice before hand my Baking Powder was out of date. Home Cook Beware of that We have noticed when the humidity in my house is low around 38% I have to add a bit more than what’s called for in milk. I just splash and stir as little as possible until it looks right and turns out wonderful. All biscuits I make are like this in the winter… s.o.s for moisture here in the Midwest.
    I have an electric stove, wish it was gas. But because of this I’m very careful at the end of step # 5 to put the lid on and start on a low setting being patient to see what boil I get so I don’t burn the bottom of the soup while I can’t stir, or play funky funk with the stove knob for the next 15 min. My setting is usually 2 which is the lowest setting…crazy stove.
    I do freeze mine every time by removing the leftover biscuits, usually we just eat them. Then I get it cooled down to fridge temp so I can ladle it into a big freezer ziplock bag. Make sure it’s sealed really good and put it in the fridge flat, the space savers way… Thanks Rachel Ray for that one.
    Love everything about your site. It’s one of the first sites I choose to go when I’m feeling like finding something new or to remembering the cooking order of something old. Thank you so much for your recipes. Going to go have another bowl of Chicken and Dumplings now ;)

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