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Chicken and Dumplings are the ultimate comfort food, especially on a cold night! Your family will be amazed when you spend a couple of easy hours making this old-fashioned soup. Hearty, warm, and filling to the core, this family favorite soup will take you home again!
This homemade chicken and dumpling recipe starts with making homemade broth with whole chicken, carrots, celery, and onions cooked together in water. Once you pull out the bones and shred the chicken you’ll make a simple recipe for drop dumplings and this classic southern comfort food will be almost family ready. Yes, it does take several hours but it will probably be one of your family’s favorite meals.
This great recipe starts with a WHOLE chicken, but maybe you want a quick and easy chicken and dumplings recipe. The “easy recipe” starts with boneless chicken breasts or chicken pieces if you prefer and canned chicken stock or chicken broth. It’s ready to eat in less time but tastes almost as delicious, the easiest way to make a family favorite!
What you need:
- a whole chicken
- yellow onions with the skins on
- poultry seasoning (or Italian+sage+nutmeg)
- bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- all-purpose flour
- light olive oil
- large pot, at least 5-6 quarts, or a large dutch oven
- large bowl
- measuring cups
Seasonings For Chicken and Dumplings
Typically you’re going to want to use poultry seasoning in this recipe. It’s a classic and it has everything that tastes good with chicken in it. BUT if you don’t have Poultry Seasoning you can sub in Italian Seasoning which is a similar herb mix.
Poultry Seasoning: sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, nutmeg, and onion
Italian Seasoning: basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and marjoram
Both spice blends are full of savory and flavorful herbs!
If you don’t have poultry seasoning add Italian seasoning, sage, and grated nutmeg, and no one will know the difference. I actually prefer to use Italian Seasoning in this soup because I like the depth of flavor all the herbs have.
Leave the Skins on Your Onions for beautiful Broth!
When cutting the onions for this soup SAVE THE SKINS!! Those skins give your broth a nice deep hearty color. Don’t worry your soup won’t have skins in it, because you’re going to strain everything out of the broth before finishing this soup and adding dumplings.
Classic Fluffy Dumplings
Let’s be clear you don’t need a can of biscuits or biscuit dough to make dumplings, or even Bisquick, you CAN easily make dumplings without them! If you never made them before the first time may be a little clunky but the next time you make they’ll be better, and they’ll just keep getting better.
So how do you make soft homemade dumplings? Here are a few easy tips to make the best dumplings you can make:
- have the soup fully cooked and almost ready to serve, just at a low simmer, do not have the soup at a full boil
- Do NOT over-mix the very simple dough, stir JUST until it comes together in a ball
- use a fork or spoon to scoop up golf ball size pieces of dumpling dough, don’t pick off pieces and roll them in a ball this will make your dumplings into hard little balls
- put the dumplings into the simmering soup and keep it at a simmer while they cook
- while the dumplings cook keep the pot covered, the dumplings steam while they’re covered, so they need the lid!
- if your dumplings break up in the soup chances are you didn’t mix the dough enough OR the soup was at a hard boil when the dumplings went in
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat over medium-high heat just to bring it up to a simmer, reduce heat, cover, and cook until heated through.
Classic Chicken and Dumplings
- 1 chicken raw
- 2 large yellow onions
- 1/2 pound carrots peeled and chopped
- 1/2 pound celery chopped
- 3 quarts fresh water
- 2 TBSP Poultry Seasoning for more flavor add Italian Seasoning Mix, a little rubbed sage, and dash of nutmeg
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 TBSP salt
- salt and black pepper to taste added to the final broth
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup light olive oil
- 3/4 cup milk
- wash the chicken out, remove any giblets or neck parts
- leaving the skins on but trim off any roots that are dirty, then cut the onions in quarters, set aside
- roughly chop the carrots, no need to peel just wash them well
- add the carrots, onion, chicken, and any of the giblets to a large 6-quart pot or dutch oven
- cover completely with cold fresh water
- add the herbs, and salt
- bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat OR just to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2-3 hours until the chicken is soft, falls apart easily and is completely cooked
- turn off the heat and gently lift the hot chicken out of the broth it’s made
- let the chicken cool until you can pick it apart
- meanwhile, strain the broth to remove the veggie pieces and any small bones, return the broth to the pan, and turn the pot to low
- if the broth is too low and the flavor is too strong add some water to dilute it, this happens when the soup cooks down
- taste the broth, if it needs salt and pepper add it now, add more seasonings too if you like
- chop or shred the chicken as desired and add the shredded chicken back to the pot with the broth
- check for salt and pepper, add it as needed
- bring the soup to a simmer and reduce the heat to keep it there
- combine flour with the baking powder together
- mix the liquids separately
- pour the liquid in the dry ingredients and stir to combine, don’t over mix, just stir it with a fork until the dough comes together in a ball
- use a fork to drop 12 dumplings into the just barely simmering stew
- cover tightly and do not open the pot, let them cook 10-11 minutes and then check them
- take one and gently use a fork to open it, it should be well steamed and cooked through
- if it feels or looks doughy it’s not done and you should cover and cook for another two minutes or so, and then check again