in ,

Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Chicken and Dumplings

History and Origin

Chicken and Dumplings, a quintessential dish in Southern cuisine, has its roots deeply embedded in the culinary traditions of the American South. Originating as a simple, economical meal, it was a way for families to stretch their resources during hard times. The dish, initially a humble stew, has evolved over the centuries. Early versions were likely more broth-based, with the dumplings serving as a filling addition to make the meal more substantial. Over time, it transformed into the richer, heartier version known today, often featuring a thick, creamy broth. This evolution reflects not just changes in cooking techniques and available ingredients, but also the influence of various cultural traditions that Southern cooks have embraced. Today, Chicken and Dumplings stands as a symbol of Southern comfort cooking, embodying the region’s history and its spirit of resourcefulness and hospitality.

What Makes Chicken and Dumplings a Comfort Food?

The allure of Chicken and Dumplings as a comfort food lies in its ability to evoke a sense of warmth and nostalgia. This dish is often associated with memories of family gatherings, Sunday dinners, and the feeling of home. The emotional connection people have with Chicken and Dumplings is powerful; it’s a dish that many remember being prepared by loved ones, providing a sense of continuity and tradition. Additionally, the comforting ingredients – tender pieces of chicken, soft, fluffy dumplings, and a rich, savory broth – create a satisfying and hearty meal that soothes the soul and brings comfort on any day.

For more on the emotional aspects of comfort food, visit Food Safety Guidelines.

Key Ingredients Overview

The essence of Chicken and Dumplings lies in its two fundamental components: chicken and dumplings. The choice of chicken is crucial; traditionally, bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces are preferred for their rich flavor and ability to create a hearty broth. However, variations exist, with some opting for boneless cuts for convenience. The dumplings, equally important, can be homemade or store-bought. Homemade dumplings, crafted from a simple dough of flour, baking powder, and liquid, offer a comforting, heartwarming element to the dish. Store-bought versions provide a quick alternative but may lack the rustic charm of their homemade counterparts. The balance between these key ingredients defines the dish’s character and taste.

Traditional Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

The traditional Chicken and Dumplings recipe is a journey of flavors and textures. Begin by simmering chicken pieces (preferably bone-in for depth of flavor) in water with onions, carrots, and celery, creating a rich stock. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it, shred it, and set aside. For the dumplings, mix flour, baking powder, and salt, then add milk to form a dough. Roll out the dough and cut it into strips or squares.

Cooking tips:

  • Return the shredded chicken to the pot and bring the broth to a gentle boil.
  • Drop the dumplings into the boiling broth. They’re ready when they float to the top and are no longer doughy.
  • For a thicker broth, mix a little flour with water and stir into the pot.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and a hint of herbs like thyme or parsley for added flavor.
  • Cook the dumplings in batches to avoid overcrowding, which can lead to them sticking together.

Modern Twists and Variations

Chicken and Dumplings lends itself to various modern interpretations. For a vegetarian version, replace the chicken with a hearty vegetable like mushrooms or beans, and use vegetable broth. This alternative offers a similar richness and texture while being plant-based.

Contemporary flavor additions can include:

  • Incorporating spices like paprika or cumin for a smoky flavor.
  • Adding a splash of cream or a dollop of sour cream for richness.
  • Using gluten-free flour for the dumplings for those with dietary restrictions.
  • Experimenting with dumpling shapes and sizes for a fun twist.

These variations keep the soul of the dish intact while offering new experiences to the palate.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Chicken and Dumplings is a versatile dish that pairs well with a variety of sides and beverages.

Recommended sides include:

  • A crisp green salad for a fresh contrast.
  • Steamed green beans or glazed carrots for added vegetables.
  • A side of crusty bread to soak up the delicious broth.

For wine and beverage pairings, consider:

  • A light, crisp white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay to complement the dish’s richness.
  • For a non-alcoholic option, a sparkling apple cider or a herbal tea like chamomile can be refreshing and soothing alongside the hearty meal.

For wine pairing suggestions, check out Wine Pairing Guide.

Health Aspects of Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is a hearty dish that, while comforting, can be high in calories, primarily due to the chicken, flour, and, in some recipes, added fats. A typical serving contains a significant amount of protein from the chicken, along with carbohydrates from the dumplings. It also provides some essential nutrients, such as B vitamins from the chicken and iron from the flour. However, it’s often low in fiber and can be high in sodium, especially in pre-made or processed versions. Moderation is key when enjoying this dish, particularly for those monitoring their caloric intake.

Dietary Modifications

For those seeking healthier versions of Chicken and Dumplings, there are several modifications that can be made:

  • Gluten-free options: Replace regular flour with a gluten-free alternative for the dumplings. Xanthan gum can be added to help the dough bind together.
  • Low-calorie versions: Use skinless chicken breasts to reduce fat content, and consider making smaller, lighter dumplings. Additionally, increase the proportion of vegetables like carrots and celery in the broth to enhance the nutritional value while keeping the calories in check.


  1. How to store and reheat leftovers? Leftover Chicken and Dumplings should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed within 3-4 days. To reheat, gently warm it on the stove over medium heat. If the broth has thickened in the fridge, add a little water or broth to thin it out as it heats.
  2. Can chicken and dumplings be frozen? Yes, you can freeze Chicken and Dumplings, but it’s best to freeze the broth and dumplings separately. The dumplings might become soggy if frozen in the broth. Freeze in airtight containers or freezer bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  3. Tips for making dumplings fluffy and light?
    • Use cold ingredients: Cold butter or fat makes for lighter dumplings.
    • Don’t overmix the dough: Mix just until the ingredients are combined.
    • Use a light touch when rolling out the dough to avoid overworking it.
    • Drop the dumplings into simmering, not boiling, broth to cook them gently.
    • Cover the pot while the dumplings cook, as the steam helps them rise.
Chicken and Dumplings recipe

Classic Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

This classic Chicken and Dumplings recipe offers a comforting, hearty meal that's perfect for any family dinner. Featuring tender chicken in a savory broth with soft, homemade dumplings, it's a traditional dish that brings warmth and satisfaction to any table.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 6 people
Calories 400 kcal


  • Large pot or Dutch oven
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling Pin
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons


For the Chicken:

  • 1 whole chicken about 3-4 pounds, cut into pieces
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 cups of water

For the Dumplings:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cold and cubed
  • 3/4 cup milk


Prepare the Chicken:

  • In a large pot, combine the chicken pieces, onion, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, and water.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool. Shred the meat, discarding the bones and skin.
  • Strain the broth, discarding the vegetables, and return the broth to the pot.

Make the Dumplings:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Add the cold butter and use your fingers to rub it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Gradually stir in the milk to form a soft dough.
  • On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into strips or squares.

Cook the Dumplings:

  • Bring the broth to a gentle boil.
  • Drop the dumplings into the broth one at a time, stirring gently.
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through.

Finish the Dish:

  • Return the shredded chicken to the pot.
  • Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until the chicken is heated through.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.


  • Ladle the chicken and dumplings into bowls.
  • Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley if desired.


  • For a richer broth, you can add a chicken bouillon cube or use homemade chicken stock.
  • The dumplings can be flavored with herbs like parsley or chives for an extra touch of flavor.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated gently on the stove.
Keyword Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

More Recipes You’ll Love: