Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is comfort food at its best! Start with a hearty chicken and vegetable stew, then add easy homemade dumplings that cook up light and fluffy.

Chicken and dumplings ladled into a china bowl.
Elise Bauer

Chicken and dumplings are the ultimate comfort food, aren't they? 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 these dumplings. (Ever wonder why people from big families eat fast? The first kid who finishes gets seconds on the dumplings.)

Video: How to Make Chicken and Dumplings

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Chicken & Dumplings

Problems With Homemade Dumplings

Making dumplings that are tasty, light, yet hold together isn't a given. The Bisquick dumpling 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.

Bowl of Chicken and Dumplings
Elise Bauer

Tips for the Best Chicken Dumplings

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. Below are some tips to achieve the best chicken and dumplings:

  • Don't peek! 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.
  • Use cake flour: 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.
  • Brown the chicken: To coax more flavor into the stew base, we brown the chicken pieces before cooking them in the stew.
  • Make a roux: Browning the flour in a roux with rendered chicken fat will give the base more flavor, while thickening the stew.

What to Serve With Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings is basically a meal unto itself. But if you'd like something extra on the side, go for a simple green vegetable, like steamed broccoli, sautéed greens, or roasted Brussels sprouts. A simple salad would also be great.

Want More Classic Comfort Foods?

Chicken and Dumplings

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 60 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

You can substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, but use cake flour if you have it and your dumplings will be fluffier.

Ingredients

For the chicken and vegetables:

  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken thighs and breasts, skin-on, bone-in, trimmed of excess fat

  • 2 teaspoons butter or extra virgin olive oil, or a combination of both

  • Salt

  • 1 quart chicken stock, homemade or store-bought

  • 2 to 3 ribs celery, 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 tablespoon heavy cream, optional

  • 3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

  • Ground black or white pepper

For the dumplings:

  • 2 cups (250g) cake flour (see recipe note)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1/4 cup minced fresh herb leaves such as parsley, chives, and tarragon, optional

Method

  1. Heat the chicken stock:

    In a medium pot add the chicken stock and bring it up to a gentle simmer.

  2. Brown the chicken:

    In a large (8-quart or larger) 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.

    Chicken thighs skin side down in a stock pot for chicken dumplings.
    Elise Bauer
    Skin-on chicken browning in a stock pot for chicken dumplings.
    Elise Bauer
  3. Poach the chicken in the stock:

    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.

  4. Cook the vegetables until softened:

    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 to 5 minutes.

    Diced carrots, celery and onion cooking for Chicken and Dumplings.
    Elise Bauer
  5. 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 to 3 minutes. Do not let it burn.

    Flour added to soup to make Chicken and Dumplings soup.
    Elise Bauer
    Diced vegetables sauteed and stirred with a wooden spoon to make Chicken and Dumplings.
    Elise Bauer
  6. Add sherry, slowly add stock:

    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 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 and 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.

    Creamy chicken dumpling soup in a stock pot.
    Elise Bauer
  7. Make the dumpling batter:

    Whisk 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 over-mix or your dumplings will turn out too dense.)

    Homemade dumplings whisked in a metal bowl.
    Elise Bauer
    Dumpling recipe mixed in a metal bowl.
    Elise Bauer
  8. Add dumplings to the stew:

    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 the dumplings are still not cooked through (use a toothpick or skewer to test), then cover pan again and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

    Dumplings spooned onto the top of chicken soup.
    Elise Bauer
    Stock pot with chicken dumplings floating on top.
    Elise Bauer
  9. Finish the stew:

    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.

    Stock pot with peas and carrots being stirred into soup with dumplings.
    Elise Bauer
    Stock pot with chicken and dumplings inside.
    Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
638 Calories
24g Fat
40g Carbs
60g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 638
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 8g 41%
Cholesterol 247mg 82%
Sodium 824mg 36%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 60g
Vitamin C 7mg 33%
Calcium 162mg 12%
Iron 6mg 31%
Potassium 847mg 18%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.