The Best Chicken and Dumplings

I love this easy chicken and dumplings recipe made 100% from scratch! Our homemade drop dumplings are easy, and we cook the chicken and make a flavorful broth all in one step. It’s incredible!

Chicken and Dumplings Recipe Video

Last year, our friend Richard made us chicken and dumplings inspired by his childhood and grandmother. We loved them! The dumplings were melt-in-your-mouth tender and so unbelievably fluffy.

We immediately asked if he could share his recipe for chicken and dumplings with us, and here we are. This truly is the best chicken and dumplings recipe I’ve made.

A bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings

Key Ingredients

  • Whole chicken: I simmer a whole chicken with aromatics for about 1 hour, which produces the most delicious chicken broth and tender, moist chicken. Once you try chicken and dumplings this way, you’ll never go back. I use the same process to make our easy chicken broth.
  • Aromatics: For the classic broth, we add an onion top (the part you usually throw away — you can see what I mean by looking at our photos or watching the video), carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, and salt.
  • Self-rising flour: I use self-rising flour for the drop dumplings. Baking powder and salt have already been added, making the dumpling batter so easy! If you do not have it, I have included a DIY version in the tips section of the recipe.
  • Milk: I use whole milk, which brings our dumpling batter together and helps make them tender.
  • Butter: Adds flavor and keeps the dumplings moist.
  • Spices: I add ground pepper, a bit of extra salt, and fresh parsley to the dumpling batter.

How to Make Chicken and Dumplings From Scratch

You can break this cozy classic chicken and dumplings recipe into 3 easy steps.

Make broth and cook the chicken. For the best homemade chicken and dumplings, we make the broth ourselves (it’s so worth it and is much easier than you might think). By making the broth ourselves, we also gently cook the chicken, which guarantees juicy and tender chicken meat for our soup (it takes about 1 hour). If you are short on time, I have included a speedier option using store-bought broth below.

Making homemade chicken broth and chicken for chicken and dumplings from scratch

Make the soup. Since we make our chicken broth, making the soup for this recipe is quick and easy. After straining our homemade broth, we add chopped carrot, celery, and the shredded cooked chicken (from cooking the broth).

Make the drop dumpling batter. This Southern-style recipe uses drop dumplings (similar to drop biscuits). We make a somewhat wet dumpling batter and then drop it by the spoonful into simmering broth, where they steam in the broth (about 15 minutes).

Shredded chicken and dumpling batter for chicken and dumplings

When cooking the dumplings, keep these things in mind:

  1. Drop your dumplings into gently simmering broth with a spoon or cookie scoop, and don’t worry if the pot looks crowded. Depending on your pot shape, you might even have a few dumplings on top of each other.
  2. If the dumplings fully cover your soup, use a spoon to make a small hole in the middle to allow steam and some of the simmering bubbles to release.
  3. So that they cook perfectly, the dumplings need to steam, so cover the pot with its lid.
  4. Keep the pot at a gentle simmer when cooking the dumplings. An aggressive simmer or boiling will break them apart. Keep the heat low and cover the pot so that they steam. The dumplings can cook longer than the suggested times without issues, but agitating them with an aggressive simmer will make them fall apart.
Dropping dumpling batter into chicken soup

The batter for these dumplings is very similar to the batter for our easy drop biscuits. I love how light and fluffy the drop-style dumplings turn out. They also make the soup thicker and creamier since some batter will ultimately fall into the broth and help thicken it. We also have a this recipe for more traditional biscuits, but I’d keep those for dipping into the broth, not for cooking on top.

Drop Dumplings cooking in broth with chicken for chicken and dumplings

Storing and Make Ahead Tips

Homemade chicken and dumplings are at their best when fresh, but you can store them in the fridge for a couple of days and gently reheat them. The dumplings will be slightly more moist and might fall apart, but the flavors will all be there. We do not recommend freezing them.

To cut down on the preparation time of the recipe, you can make the broth and chicken up to three days in advance. Then, when you are ready to serve, reheat the broth, add your carrots and celery, and then make your dumpling batter.

Chicken and Dumplings in a Dutch Oven

The Best Chicken and Dumplings

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Our homemade chicken and dumplings recipe starts with a whole chicken simmered with aromatics to create a rich and flavorful broth. We use self-raising flour for the drop dumplings (DIY self-raising flour is shared in the tips if needed).

Makes 6 servings

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

Chicken and Broth

1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds

1 onion top, see notes

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 large carrot

2 stalks celery

3 bay leaves

8 whole peppercorns

1 tablespoon fine sea salt

12 to 14 cups (3 liters) water

1 bunch fresh thyme

Dumplings

2 ½ cups (325g) self-rising flour, see notes

8 twists black pepper

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 ½ cups (350ml) whole milk

1/4 cup (60g) butter, melted

Directions

  • Make Broth and Cook Chicken
  • 1Cut a 3-inch section of the carrot, about 1/4 the size of the whole carrot, and set aside. Chop the remaining carrot into small cubes. Cut a 4-inch piece of celery stalk and set aside with the carrot. Chop the remaining celery into small cubes. Save the chopped carrot and celery for later.

    2Place the chicken, breast facing up, in a large pot (we use a 9-quart Dutch oven). Then, toss the 1/4 carrot, 4-inch piece of celery, onion top, smashed garlic clove, bay leaves, peppercorns, and a tablespoon of salt around the chicken.

    3Pour in 12 to 14 cups of water, depending on the size of your pot. In the video, we used 14 cups. It is okay if the chicken is not fully covered; an inch or so of chicken breast above the water is okay.

    4Cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Once the broth is at a simmer, reduce it so that it’s a gentle simmer — the bubbles should be slowly dancing around in the pot.

    5Cook at a gentle simmer for 50 minutes. Peek under the lid occasionally to see if the heat needs to be reduced.

    6After 50 minutes, the broth will be aromatic, and the chicken will be cooked through (you can test this with an internal temperature thermometer — it should read above 165 °F).

    7Carefully transfer the chicken to a plate and allow it to cool until you can handle it.

    8Strain the broth, wipe any foam stuck to the sides of the pot, and then pour the strained broth back into the pot used to make it. Place the pot back over medium heat, add the thyme, chopped carrots, and chopped celery.

  • Finish Chicken and Dumplings
  • 1When it is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken by hand, removing all the bones and skin. Shred as big/little as you like. We keep the chicken in larger pieces.

    2To make the dumpling batter, melt the butter. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, pepper, salt, parsley, milk, and melted butter until mixed.

    3Remove the thyme from the soup, scraping a few leaves off the bundle as you remove it.

    4Stir the shredded chicken and any juices left on the plate into the soup.

    5Bring the broth to a gentle simmer, and then use a spoon to scoop golf ball-sized portions of the batter into the soup, scraping them off with your finger. (If you have a large cookie scoop, scoop balls of batter into the soup.) Do this until all the batter is in the soup — it will look crowded. Some might sink.

    6Cover with a lid and cook the dumplings at a low simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until they look like they are firming up on the bottom. Then, carefully turn each one over to simmer the other side. If there’s no space for the liquid to bubble up past the dumplings, use a spoon and make a small hole in the middle of the pot.

    7Once they are all turned over, simmer over low heat with the lid on for another 8 to 10 minutes. You can test a dumpling to check they are done — The center should look cooked through and fluffy, not doughy. When cooking the dumplings, keep the pot at a gentle simmer. An aggressive simmer or boiling will break them apart. Keep the heat low and keep your pot covered so that they steam. The dumplings can cook longer than the suggested times without issues, but agitating them with an aggressive simmer will make them fall apart.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Onion top: We are only looking for a mild onion flavor in our broth. Slice an onion at the top, keeping the skins on. Use the top (what you would normally throw away) to make the broth, and save the onion for another recipe. You can also use a 1-inch slice of onion in its place.
  • Self-rising flour: Unlike all-purpose flour, self-rising flour adds baking powder and salt. For 2 ½ cups of homemade self-rising flour (what you need for this recipe), whisk 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour with 3 ¾ teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Pot size: The perfect size for this recipe is a 9-quart Dutch oven, which is large enough to make the broth and cook all the dumplings. I have also used a 7 ½-quart Dutch oven with this recipe and found that I could only fit 12 cups of water with my chicken. If you don’t have either of these, make sure the pot is large enough to hold at least 12 cups of water with the chicken.
  • Shortcut: I highly recommend the homemade broth, but if you are short on time, use 10-12 cups of store-bought broth. Bring your chicken broth to a low simmer, and add chopped carrot and celery. Stir in 3 to 4 cups of shredded cooked chicken. Make the dumpling batter and cook by gently simmering them covered with a lid, per our instructions above.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/6 of the recipe / Calories 501 / Total Fat 14.4g / Saturated Fat 7g / Cholesterol 136.8mg / Sodium 1599.2mg / Carbohydrate 48.7g / Dietary Fiber 3.8g / Total Sugars 4.1g / Protein 42.4g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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41 comments… Leave a Review
  • Amber May 9, 2024, 4:02 am

    I have been trying to find a dumpling recipe that was just like my grannies, she passed away over 27 yrs ago. & since I was only teenager I thought to ask her as she kept all her recipe in her head, she was born & raised in the south & up until tonight I thought I would never again get to taste her wonderful chicken n dumpling. So your recipe has made so happy & now I have got to finally show my son what he’s been missing. Together we ate the whole pot. YUMMIEST. THANK YOU, For making my whole year that much better.

    Reply
    • Joanne May 23, 2024, 12:44 pm

      Aww, this made my day, Amber. I am so happy that you found our recipe! Thank you for sharing this with us.

      Reply
  • Wina April 28, 2024, 2:15 pm

    I am going to make this this week. However as seniors there are 2 of us. I am going to simmer half a chicken. Can I cut dumpling recipe in half. Thank you! We can hardly wait!

    Reply
    • Joanne April 29, 2024, 1:19 pm

      Absolutely!

      Reply
  • Danielle Conrad February 19, 2024, 8:07 pm

    We just finished eating this and it was so delicious! The only thing is that some of my dumplings came out gummy. Maybe I overworked the dough or maybe my dumplings were too large? Im not sure but still delicious. Also, I was wondering if you can freeze the leftovers with the dumplings?

    Reply
    • Joanne February 20, 2024, 7:26 pm

      I’m thrilled you enjoyed most of the recipe! Gummy dumplings can be frustrating, but there are a few potential causes. Overworking the dough can make them tough, so try mixing it only until it just comes together. Also, smaller dumplings cook through more evenly than larger ones. You can freeze this, but keep in mind that thawed and reheated dumplings might not have the same texture as fresh.

      Reply
  • Lane January 15, 2024, 4:11 pm

    Delicious! This is my go-to chicken and dumplings recipe from now on.

    Reply
    • Joanne April 13, 2024, 11:05 am

      That’a wonderful, Lane. Thanks for coming back and letting us know!

      Reply

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