Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings might be one of the most quintessential comfort foods ever. It's like a warm blanket of thick rich chicken stew with a pillow of dumpling in every bowl. What could be more comforting than a blanket and a pillow? 

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Most people think of chicken and dumplings as a comfort food from the southern United States, but I grew up in Canada with chicken and dumplings made by my British mother. What I was eating in my childhood was probably different, however, to what is commonly enjoyed in the South and that difference probably comes down to the type of dumplings. Chicken and dumplings in the South usually has a rolled dumpling that is similar to a flat noodle.

My mother’s dumplings, on the other hand, were big tender dollops of dough dropped on top of the rich stew and then steamed. Because I grew up on chicken with dropped dumplings, of course that is what I gravitate towards when I make chicken and dumplings as an adult (although I won’t turn down a bowl of the rolled dumpling variety!).

Dumpling batter in a glass bowl with a green spatula - part of chicken and dumplings.

As with any food that is enjoyed by so many, there are just as many ways to make this delicious meal as there are cooks who make it. Some start from scratch with a whole raw chicken, making the broth using that chicken and then pulling the meat from the bones to add to the stew. This version takes a little shortcut and calls for a rotisserie chicken (or roast chicken).

A cast iron pot with chicken and dumplings in it.

This not only saves you time, but gives you chicken pieces that are full of flavor, rather than chicken that has given all its flavor to the broth it is sitting in. Of course, you do have to accompany this great chicken with equally great chicken stock, so make your own chicken stock or bone broth or use a brand that you believe in, that has a nice dark color and great flavor.

There are also shortcuts that you can take when you make the dumplings. Bisquick is a commonly used mix for dumplings and produces quite satisfying results. However, it’s really so easy to make the dumplings from scratch with flour, baking powder and salt, so why not make them on your own? You can also flavor your dumplings by adding fresh herbs. This recipe uses chives, but any fresh herb that you like would be delicious. I sometimes throw a little lemon zest into the mix as well, which really brightens the flavor of the dumplings and might just brighten the cold winter day too.

A white bowl with chicken and dumplings in it, along with a spoon and a blue napkin.

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Basic Chicken and Dumplings

  • Prep Time: 25 m
  • Cook Time: 1 h
  • Total Time: 1 h 20 m
  • Servings:


  • 1 rotisserie chicken torn into bite-sized pieces**
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1 quart really good quality chicken stock
  • ¼ chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


  1. **If you don’t have a rotisserie chicken, you can use about 2½ to3 pounds of chicken thighs and breasts and sear them in the pot before following with the directions below. Once you’ve seared the chicken pieces, finish cooking the chicken in the oven on a baking sheet, or poach them in the chicken stock that is called for in the recipe. Once cooked, tear or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. Pre-heat a Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onion, celery and carrots until they are tender – about 8 to 10 minutes – stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and dried spices and stir around for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the flour and stir well. The flour will absorb the fat in the pan and might start to brown a little on the bottom but don’t let it burn.
  4. Add the white wine or vermouth and stir, scraping up any brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and reserved chicken pieces. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. While the stew is simmering, make your dumplings. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Cut the butter in with two knives or by pinching it with your fingers. (You can also use a food processor for this.) Stir in the milk and fresh chives until a wet dough comes together.
  6. Add the parsley to the stew and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  7. Drop the dumplings by the large spoonful onto the surface of the stew. Let the dumplings cook on top of the stew uncovered for about 10 minutes. Then, cover the stew and dumplings and let them cook for another 10 minutes.
  8. Serve it up!
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Comments (41)Post a Reply

    1. Hi Mary. Chances are you might have had the simmer a little higher than what I had, or perhaps your lid wasn’t tight (pour spouts?). Either would cause more evaporation and consequently fewer juices at the end. Just add more stock as the remedy.

  1. My dumpling dough wasn’t really wet, actually it was a bit shaggy. It’s cooking now, so we’ll see how bad I messed it up. The stew part looks great though!

    1. I would suggest just making it a vegetarian stew and omitting the chicken. You can use vegetable stock and add some butternut squash or any other vegetables you like.

    1. Hi Mark. You could make your dumpling batter using a baking mix (Bisquick) by following the directions on the package and cook them as stated in the recipe.

  2. Hi Meredith, I am from Annapolis, Maryland and my mama was also from Maryland for generations – and both sides originally, generations ago from England and this is how we ate dumplings – light and fluffy dumplings. I love them and you are so right – a real comfort food. My husband is from western Pennsylvania and they fix them like big noodles. We have been married for 60 years and he really enjoys the dumplings we make and the potpies with the crispy edges hanging off our iron skillet – as do we all. Thank you for introducing so many to good ole chicken and dumplings. I do start fixing our chicken and dumplings or potpie with a whole chicken and season and boil it and remove the bones and then it starts getting really good as I fix it and add to it the way Mama did – yum.

  3. 5 stars
    Great recipe! To use up the turkey from Christmas Dinner I picked the meat off the bones and made the broth in the Instant Pot from them with onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves and salt. We had 4 adults and 2 kids eating so I added a few cups more broth. Everyone loved it!

  4. 4 stars
    The stew was delish, almost as good as preparing it from scratch; ie: simmering a whole chicken for 2 hours. However my dumplings never rose, and stayed raw on top. I had to turn them over after 12 minutes and closed the heat as I was losing liquid. I was using a large oval Dutch oven, and there was enough steam. They taste a bit doughy & heavy but still edible. Meredith I looked at my other dumpling recipes which don’t call for butter and they called for larger amounts of baking powder. I would love to use your dumpling recipe though. Perhaps a short video on how and why these might not come out for Dumpling Dummies?

    1. Hi Althea. You have to leave the stew on a simmer to get the steam needed to cook the dumplings through, and you need to keep a tight fitting lid on your pot. The lid should help prevent the stew from reducing too much (although you can always add a little broth if it does). The broth will get a little thicker from the dumpling dough, but it should still have enough liquid to create steam. It sounds like you just needed to give your dumpling more time, completely covered. These dumplings are a little dense but shouldn’t be doughy in the middle. The other thing you might do is to check your baking powder to make sure it is still active. Baking powder does deteriorate and lose power over time. Pour a little boiling water on it and it should bubble rapidly. You can learn more about that here: I use butter in the dumplings for flavor.

  5. 5 stars
    Chicken and dumplings absolutely amazing recipe my family enjoys it so much Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe

    1. Hi Barbara. My go-to chicken stock brand is Kitchen Basics. I use their unsalted chicken stock most of the time, but have used the salted version too when it’s all I can get.

  6. 5 stars
    I had leftover rotisserie chicken from a salad earlier and was trying tofigure out what to do with it when your recipe popped up. I realized I had what I needed with a couple exceptions. I had veg broth and grands biscuits on hand, no chicken broth and used the last of the flour on the stew. I added better than boullion chicken and omitted the salt and used the grands biscuits on top. The stew came out wonderful!

  7. Can’t wait to try this recipe! Although I live in the south now (South Carolina) I grew up in NJ and one of my favorite food memories as a kid was the beef stew with dollop dumplings like you grew up with. I believe my mother made her dumplings with bisquick. We three kids absolutely loved the dumplings floating on top of the juice of the beef stew. Look forward to having them with chicken.

  8. Hey Meredith,
    Do you know that Bisquick no longer puts their dumpling recipe on the box?
    I just bought a box today and expected to see the recipe and was very disappointed.
    Just an FYI

    1. Hi Pat, that is interesting. With Meredith’s recipe you don’t even need Bisquick®. You can make these amazing dumplings with only a handful of pantry ingredients.

  9. 5 stars
    Family Favorite! We love the dumplings and the flavor infused with fresh herbs. It is easy and lends itself to adaption to other flavor profiles. I add mushrooms often times. The dumplings go great on beef stew as well, I like switching to a Syrah with beef version. Better than my Grandmas and that’s a pretty high bar to beat.

  10. Our family always makes a heavy dumpling. Flour water egg salt and sometimes parsley drop in the broth they are done when they float to the top.

  11. 5 stars
    I woke up this morning to snow and freezing temps (yes, I live in Nevada and it happens here too).. When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it for dinner.

    My husband of 40 yrs. passed away last year and now it is just me and my dog, so I cut the recipe in half. It turned out real yummy with fluffy dumplings. but I still ended up with WAY too much food. A shame to waste the good stuff… what to do? Can I freeze it? How long will it keep in the refrigerator? Of course my dog has a solution, but it’s not acceptable. I wish you could post some recipes for single people, so we don’t all end up eating ramen noodles and expensive take-out or throw away leftovers.

    Talking about dogs: I LOVE all the doggy pics. you post and the captions! My pup is 15 yrs. old but still going strong. She drools over all your recipes I make!

    Thank you for all the wonderful instructions and inspirations.

    1. Hi Joan. You can absolutely keep this in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The stew will freeze very well. If you were to make it again, make the full quantity of stew (and a partial quantity of dumpling batter) and then separate out what you’d like for dinner. Freeze what you don’t want right away or in the next few days. Then, add the dumplings to the hot stew that you’re serving tonight. When you fancy chicken and dumplings again, make a small batch of dumpling mix and drop it into the reheated stew to cook.

    2. Hi Joan, so sorry for your loss. It’s nice you have your pup to keep you company. The chicken and dumplings should be eaten in about 3 to 5 days. The consistency of the dumplings won’t be as light and fluffy after freezing, but if you do freeze them I would freeze them separately from stew. Most of the Meredith’s recipes have adjustable serving sizes so you can change the amounts to fit your needs so you won’t have so many leftovers. Of course your pup might like that!

    1. Hi Carol. If you want to make this in the pressure cooker, cook the stew for 10 minutes and then quick release the pressure. Then, while the stew is still hot and bubbling, drop the dumpling mixture into the stew and immediately return the lid to the cooker. Let them sit for 10 minutes and the residual heat from the stew should cook them.

  12. 5 stars
    This was really good. It has been cold, so this was a perfect treat. I like your recipes, and I look forward to the dog pictures of your cute dumplings.

  13. Hi. I’m from England and we love stew and dumplings here especially on a cold winters day. We generally make our dumplings with flour water salt and pepper and suet which is a fat that comes in a little tiny pellet form that melts into the dumplings and makes them light and fluffy. You can add fresh or dried herbs to add flavour but the gorgeous dumplings always soak up the flavour of the stew whether it be beef or chicken.

    1. Hi JoAnn,
      Yes, you could adapt this for the slow cooker, but it might not be worth it. But, if you wanted to, you could add raw chicken cubes, vegetables, and herbs to the cooker. Omit the vermouth or white wine and flour. Add 3 cups of stock and then slow cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. You’ll need to increase the heat in order to cook the dumplings – they need the steam. So, at that point either turn your browning slow cooker up to BROWN or SAUTE until the stew is simmering. Drop the dumplings in and let them cook in the stew. If you have the option, stovetop is much easier.

  14. We made this and it was absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing such an easy recipe! Will definately make again.

    1. Hi Patricia. Cutting the butter means to break the cold butter down into smaller and smaller pieces, rather than blend it into something. This can be done with a “butter cutter”, which is a handheld series of blades that cuts the butter into smaller pieces. It can also be done with two knives, criss-crossing the knives through the butter to break it down, but I usually use my fingers, just pinching the pieces of butter until they are smaller crumbs of butter. Hope that helps.

  15. 5 stars
    Just made this for dinner tonight and it was really delicious. I did have to cook the chicken and I was out of chives but it was still a big hit. Thank you for all the work on these recipes

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