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Old Fashioned Southern Chicken and Dumplings

Can old fashioned chicken and dumplings really carry that name when I put carrots and celery in them? Heretic, slanderous, or traitor may all be better words used by my southern neighbors for it, but there’s one word you can’t dispute here: and that’s delicious. 

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a bowl of chicken and dumplings on a table with a spoon and another bowl in the background

Oh I feel you all out there gettin’ mad. You defend your regular old fashioned chicken and dumplings like a junk yard dog and nobody–I mean nobody puts vegetables in theirs. But stick with me here. Because I’m going to argue that even if you have a version you love, there’s always room for one more.

We have plenty of dumplin’ love to go around.

And there’s a lot to go all dreamy-eyed over here. First, I’ve eliminated the need to boil a whole chicken. (Gasp) and moved to roasting the chicken cuts of your choice. For me, that’s bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts but you can easily roast up some skin-on thighs if you like the dark meat.

Once your chicken is cooked, you can shred it and stick it away in the fridge for whatever night you want to make this–shaving tons of time off your meal.

Another great option is to cook the chicken and make the sauce and combine them, then cool the whole thing and either freeze it in individual servings or stick the whole pot in the fridge and when you’re ready to finish it, simply bring it to a simmer and add your dumplings.

That’s old fashioned chicken and dumplings in 20 minutes–and that makes you a very smart cook.

an overhead picture of chicken and dumplings in a white bowl on a table with a spoon

And speaking of dumplings–this version uses an easy drop version. You simply mix up some batter and drop it in to cook with the sauce. If you’re more in to the strips of dough, you can make a buttermilk biscuit dough then roll it thin and cut strips.

Chicken and dumplings are truly one of the easiest meals, not mention affordable. Check out my easy shortcuts to make this dish ahead.

Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings are one of the foundation recipes of a southern cook and will soothe you to your toes. Curl up with their comfort. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 people
Author Rachel Ballard


For roasting the chicken

  • 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts about 2 pounds total
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup diced celery about 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots about 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic minced or finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste

For the dumplings


To roast the chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 400
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lay on the chicken, skin side up. Drizzle over the oil, and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. 
  • Roast until no pink remains in the center, approximately 45-55 minutes. Make the sauce while the chicken is cooking. 
  • When the chicken is done, remove any skin or fat and using two forks, shred the meat and set aside. 

For the sauce

  • In a large pot, melt the butter and oil. Add the celery, carrots and garlic and cook on medium low until the vegetables start to soften--about 8 minutes--stirring often so the garlic doesn't burn. 
  • Add the bay leaf and the flour and stir to cook the flour--two minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the broth thickens slightly, about 8 to 10 minutes more. 
  • Add the shredded chicken and cream and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed. This will depend on a lot on how salty your chicken broth is. 

For the dumplings

  • While the sauce is simmering, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. 
  • Add the eggs and buttermilk or milk and stir just until no raw flour remains. Drop by tablespoons into the simmering broth. Remember they will puff up, so leave plenty of space between them. 
  • Cover and simmer on low 15 minutes, then label up and serve warm. 


If your sauce gets done before your chicken, no worries. Just turn it off and let it sit until you're ready to add the chicken and proceed as directed. 


Calories: 501kcal
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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  1. Nothing, at all, like REAL, southern chicken and dumplings, but good. growing up chicken and dumplings were very minimalist because we were so poor . some time we didn’t have milk . .you can make biscuit dough with water , we did , we never had vegetables or cream of anything soup!!! LoL. flour water,lard or butter. a whole chicken, because it was cheaper,we never had onions or all the stuff we called fancy. we were deep south , like in the woods deep. but this recipe version was really good.

  2. I did not have carrots on hand so after the sauce was done I added mixed veggies in it. I don’t normally eat chicken and dumplings but these were good. I did use roll up dumplings though.

    1. I swapped vegetable oil as well though not all of my old recipes reflect that. You can use more butter, avocado oil (my personal favorite) or even a dash of pastured lard. 😉 –Rachel

    2. @Rachel Ballard, I just found u and anxious to try some until I saw the chicken and dumplings. Thinking of my grandmothers, I skimmed over the comments and instead of seeing “pastured lard” I, living in farm country saw “pastured land” WHAT!! Good thing there’s only a dash!😂😂

  3. You (or someone else testing and cooking recipes for Feast and Farm) are a fantastic influence on my food preparation. Every recipe I have tried gets raved about. Thank you from me and all my guests!

    1. Hahaha Gloria! There’s only one cook and tester here and that’s me! I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipes. If they don’t taste great, they don’t get published! –Rachel

  4. 5 stars
    This sounds just like my granny’s chicken ? & Dumplings! I can’t wait to cook this for the 1st time! I haven’t had potatoes or chicken & Dumplings in years & I’m craving 🙂

  5. Thank you for the recipe. Can I use heavy cream for the dumplings. I don’t have any regular milk besides evaporated.

  6. 5 stars
    Great recipe! My wife wanted me to make her chicken and dumplings … I stumbled across this recipe … turned out great! I increased the carrots and celery to one cup and added one chopped leek. I did not have any cream on hand so used sour cream. The chicken broth was homemade, seasoned with onions, adobo, and herbes de Provence. We both were amazed! Thanks!

    1. Oh goodness Ron–you sound very resourceful! And it sounds like you made a totally different recipe 😉 So funny! But I’m glad you could use mine as a base and let your creativity pull the rest of it together. I try to make most of my recipes versatile enough that you can make a swap or two and still have things turn out well. Come back soon and try something else! Thanks–Rachel

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