Chicken and Dumplings is a timeless comfort food, cherished for generations. It’s a dish that evokes a sense of home and warmth, perfect for cozy evenings.

This recipe delivers a mouth-watering combination of tender chicken and fluffy dumplings, simmered in a savory broth.

chicken and dumplings recipe

Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Skill Level: Intermediate


  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Servings: 6


  • Chicken: 1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds or 1800 grams), cut into pieces
  • All-purpose flour: 2 cups (256 grams)
  • Baking powder: 1 tablespoon (15 grams)
  • Salt: 2 teaspoons (12 grams)
  • Butter: 4 tablespoons (57 grams), chilled and cubed
  • Milk: 3/4 cup (180 ml)
  • Chicken broth: 6 cups (1.4 liters)
  • Carrots: 2 medium (100 grams), diced
  • Celery: 2 stalks (100 grams), diced
  • Onion: 1 medium (110 grams), chopped
  • Garlic: 2 cloves (6 grams), minced
  • Fresh parsley: 1/4 cup (15 grams), chopped
  • Black pepper: 1 teaspoon (2 grams)


  1. In a large pot, place the chicken pieces and cover with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove chicken and let cool. Shred the meat and discard bones.
  3. In the same pot, add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and simmer until vegetables are tender.
  4. For dumplings, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add milk to form a soft dough.
  5. Drop tablespoon-sized balls of dough into the simmering pot. Cover and cook for 15 minutes without lifting the lid.
  6. Add shredded chicken, parsley, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Tips for Perfect Chicken and Dumplings:

  • Use a heavy pot to ensure even cooking.
  • Keep the lid on while dumplings are cooking to keep them light and fluffy.

Speaking of Dumpling Dough…

Here are some common mistakes to avoid… so your dumplings turn out perfect every time!

1. Overworking the Dough:

If you mix or knead the dough too much, the gluten in the flour can develop excessively, leading to tough and crumbly dumplings. To prevent this, mix the dough just until the ingredients are combined.

2. Too Much Liquid:

An overly wet dough can cause dumplings to fall apart. Ensure you’re using the correct proportions of liquid to dry ingredients. The dough should be moist but not excessively sticky.

3. Not Enough Binding Ingredients:

Eggs or fat (like butter or oil) in the dough act as binders. If your recipe doesn’t include these or has too little, the dumplings may not hold together well. Adding a beaten egg to the dough can help.

4. Cooking Method:

Boiling water can be too aggressive for delicate dumplings, causing them to disintegrate. A gentle simmer is usually recommended. Also, avoid stirring the pot too much after adding the dumplings, as this can cause them to break apart.

5. Incorrect Flour Type:

The type of flour can significantly affect the outcome. All-purpose flour typically works best for dumplings. Using a flour with a higher gluten content, like bread flour, can make the dough too tough.

6. Undercooked Dumplings:

If dumplings are not cooked long enough, they may not set properly and can fall apart. Ensure they’re cooked through; they should float to the surface and appear puffed up when done.

7. Lid Lifting:

For certain types of dumplings, such as the fluffy variety in chicken and dumplings, it’s crucial not to lift the lid while they’re cooking. The steam trapped inside helps them to cook properly and retain their structure.

Have you heard the old adage: “If you’re looking, you’re not cooking!”

8. Old Baking Powder:

If your recipe calls for baking powder and it’s old or expired, it might not act as a proper leavening agent, leading to dense and crumbly dumplings.

To avoid these issues, carefully measure your ingredients, mix the dough gently until just combined, and cook the dumplings at a simmer without disturbing them too much. Each recipe might have its specific needs, so also consider any unique instructions it provides.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Add a pinch of dried thyme or rosemary for extra flavor.
  • Mix in a handful of peas or green beans for color and sweetness.

Vegetarian Suggestions:

Replace chicken with a mix of hearty vegetables like mushrooms, potatoes, and green beans. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve hot with a side of crusty bread or a green salad.

Nutrient Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 350-400
  • Protein: 25g
  • Carbohydrates: 35g
  • Fat: 15g
  • Sodium: 800mg
  • Fiber: 3g

Storing and Reheating Leftovers:

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat until hot.

Chicken and Dumplings

Fluffy or Slippery?

The dumplings in this classic Chicken and Dumplings recipe are often referred to as “fluffy dumplings.” There’s another type called “slippery dumplings.” These both differ in texture and preparation.

  1. Texture and Shape:
    • Fluffy Dumplings:
      These are light, airy, and soft, almost like a biscuit or bread. They are typically leavened with baking powder, which gives them a rise and fluffy texture. They are often dropped by spoonfuls into the broth, resulting in a rounded or irregular shape.
    • Slippery Dumplings:
      Slippery dumplings are flat and slick, more akin to a noodle or pasta. They are rolled out thinly and cut into squares or rectangles. Their texture is dense and chewy, lacking a leavening agent like baking powder.
  2. Ingredients:
    • The ingredients for both types of dumplings are quite similar, often involving a basic mixture of flour, salt, and a liquid (like water or milk). The key difference is the use of a leavening agent (like baking powder) in fluffy dumplings, which is not used in slippery dumplings.
  3. Preparation and Cooking:
    • Fluffy Dumplings:
      The dough is gently mixed and scooped into the hot broth, where they cook and expand, becoming fluffy and bread-like.
    • Slippery Dumplings:
      The dough is rolled out thinly and cut into pieces, then simmered in the broth or soup. They cook much like pasta, absorbing the flavors of the broth while maintaining a distinct, slightly chewy texture.
  4. Culinary Roots:
    • Both styles have roots in traditional American cooking, particularly in the Southern and Mid-Atlantic regions. The choice between fluffy and slippery dumplings often comes down to regional preferences and family traditions.

In summary, while both fluffy and slippery dumplings share a basic list of ingredients and a comforting, homey character, they offer distinctly different textures and eating experiences in a Chicken and Dumplings dish.

Origin and History:

Chicken and Dumplings originated in the Southern United States during the Great Depression. It was a cost-effective way to feed a family, utilizing cheap ingredients and the whole chicken. It’s a dish that symbolizes resourcefulness and comfort, often passed down through generations.