Home » Main Dishes » Easy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Easy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Easy homemade chicken and dumplings take a few shortcuts just for ease–but there’s no loss of flavor. Make yours as simple or complex as you’d like them and dig in to creamy sauce, tender chicken and pillowy drop dumplings. Delicious!

Jump to Recipe
a bowl of easy southern chicken and dumplings on a table with parsley

Slow cooking a whole chicken in water and then thickening your broth with dumplings is the classic way to tackle this recipe. And to be honest, most people in the south would never dare put carrots and celery in theirs.

You’re welcome to leave them out here as well–I know it’s a bit controversial.

And to speed up the process and make these chicken and dumplings easier and faster, we’re roasting the chicken then adding it to good quality pre-made broth from the store or that you have made in advance.

What are chicken and dumplings?

Chicken and dumplings are a classic Southern dish similar to chicken pot pie that consists of just thickened chicken broth, chicken and dough or a more advanced version with vegetables and added flavors.

A thick chicken and vegetable soup serves as the base for my version and delicious dumplings that are cooked in the soup itself leaving you with a one-pot meal that will warm you to the bones. 

Ingredients needed

Here’s what you’ll need for chicken and dumplings:

  • Bone in chicken
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Carrots
  • Chicken broth
  • Milk or cream
  • Self rising flour, eggs, milk for dumplings

What kind of chicken should I use in easy homemade chicken and dumplings? 

You have a few options to choose from. People usually boil bone in skin on chicken parts when making classic chicken and dumplings. My favorite method, however, is to roast bone-in, skin-on pieces in the oven for more flavor. Roasting produces a juicier, more flavorful piece of meat. 

I realize this messes up the homemade broth part of most traditional recipes. You are absolutely welcome to simmer your chicken in water first so you can have a more flavorful homemade broth.
Or you can save time by using homemade broth you have in the freezer or canned. I use homemade chicken stock here.

In either case, you will need to shred the chicken after it is cooked before adding it to the sauce.

Cut out the long simmering time with pre made stock

Making your own stock only takes 10 minutes of active time and an hour-and-a-half-long simmer on the stove and it makes a world of a difference. Check out my post on how to make chicken stock.

Keeping good homemade on hand makes this recipe easy and fast without losing any flavor quality.

  • No additives. Store-bought stocks are often full of unnecessary goop (like MSG) that has nothing to do with chicken. Chicken might be in there, but it might also be the last ingredient on the list. 
  • Added nutrients. The bones used to make homemade stock contribute iron, collagen, and a plethora of vitamins that you are less likely to find in store-bought versions. 
  • You can skim off the fat. When you make stock at home and allow it to chill, the fat will accumulate at the top. This means you can easily skim it off if you are looking to cut some calories. I prefer to keep the fat for extra flavor, but the choice is yours. 

If you do choose to purchase a store-bought stock, look for an MSG-free product that is low in sodium and, ideally, organic. This chicken broth is a good one.

The first ingredient should be something related to chicken and water so read the label.

Bone broth is just way too strong here. I’d recommend staying away from that.

Different kinds of dumplings appropriate for chicken and dumplings. 

This heartwarming chicken and dumplings recipe uses drop dumplings, but there are a number of ways to top the hearty sauce. Let me walk you through them. 

  • Drop dumplings derive their name from the way they are cooked. Make a thick batter, form dumplings, and drop them into the simmering sauce. 
  • Rolled dumplings are formed from a biscuit dough that has been rolled flat and cut into strips before being dropped into the sauce to cook. 
  • Biscuits are a great choice for those of you uncomfortable with (or too busy for) making your own dumpling dough. Store-bought biscuit dough can be rolled into balls or just quartered right from the can and cooked like the other versions. 

Note: When making dumpling dough it is important not to over mix it. Overworking the dough will yield a tough, chewy dumpling.  

How do I know when my dumplings are done? 

Once the dumplings are done, you are ready to serve. To test the doneness of the dumplings, just poke a fork through the biggest one. If you hit a gummy center, they need a bit more time. 

They will also feel firm and puff up. Based on the size of your dumplings, they should cook in 5 minutes or so.

How to thicken the sauce when making chicken and dumplings.

The sauce should thicken up nicely just from the flour from the dumplings. You probably won’t need any additional thickener.

But if for some reason you feel your sauce is too thin, you can add a cornstarch slurry prior to dropping in the dumplings. Add 1/3 cup cold water to a bowl bit then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and mixing well.

Add the mixture back to the pot and stir. 

a bowl of cooked chicken being shredded with two forks
a pot of celery, carrots and onions being cooked for chicken and dumplings
vegetables in a pot with flour and butter added to thicken
a pot of chicken and dumplings with milk added to make a creamy sauce
two eggs in a bowl of self rising flour to make drop dumplings
dumpling dough mixed in a bowl

Can southern chicken and dumplings be made ahead?

Yes they absolutely can.

To keep your dumplings from getting too soft, you may want to add those when you reheat the broth to serve, but if you don’t mind the texture you can make a batch, cool to room temperature and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Can chicken and dumplings be frozen?

Yes! Make a big batch and save some for a busy day. You can either freeze everything together in one airtight container or freeze the chicken and sauce without the dumplings.

Sometimes the dumplings can change texture when thawed and reheated or even dissolve completely into the broth so it’s really better to add them later or be prepared to thin the thawed broth and drop in a few more when reheating.

a spoon close up in a bowl of chicken and dumplings

What substitutions can I use when making old fashioned southern chicken and dumplings? 

This recipe is easily adaptable to a variety of dietary needs and ingredient availability. Here are some substitutions you might find useful. 

  • Gluten-free. Use your favorite 1:1 gluten-free flour in place of conventional flour if your body cannot tolerate gluten. 
  • Oil. You are welcome to use avocado or refined coconut oil instead of vegetable oil here. 
  • No buttermilk? No problem. Mix 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and you’re set to go.
  • No heavy cream? Combine ¾ cup milk and ¼  cup melted butter instead. Whole milk will also substitute and of course I’m a huge supporter of raw milk.

Variations on southern chicken and dumplings. 

Use up what you have on hand in your chicken and dumplings. While it won’t be “classic” it’s a great time to throw in extra vegetables from the fridge and any white meat you have on hand.

  • Turkey and dumplings. Just use turkey breast instead of chicken for the protein. 
  • Vegetarian. Feel free to leave out the chicken and add some extra veggies (mushrooms are a great option) instead. 
  • Enhance the flavor of chicken and dumplings by adding a little Worcestershire sauce and/or mustard powder

What should I serve chicken and dumplings with? 

This heartwarming classic really is a complete meal on its own. If you would like to play around with side dishes, feel free to serve chicken and dumplings with any of the following: 

a bowl of easy southern chicken and dumplings on a table with parsley

Easy Homemade 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 avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil any flavorless oil works here
  • 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 gluten free flour works
  • 6 cups chicken broth homemade preferred
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream raw is best
  • 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 parchment paper 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.
  • 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

  • Once the broth is added and is returning to a simmer as directed above, make the dumplings. 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. Do not over mix.
  • After the broth as simmered for 8 to 10 minutes, then drop the dumplings by tablespoons into the pot. Remember they will puff up, so leave plenty of space between them. 
  • Cover and simmer on low 15 minutes, then ladle up and serve warm. 


Serving: 1cupCalories: 422kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 25gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 1365mgPotassium: 512mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1735IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 133mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Tag us on Instagram @feastandfarm and hashtag it #feastandfarm
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword easy homemade chicken and dumplings

Similar Posts


  1. I can’t believe I have finally found a recipe that gives me the taste I remember from my childhood. I have tried many, many different recipes for rolled dumplings. I took your recipe added a little more flour, kneaded it a couple of times, then rolled it out. They turned out perfect!! THANK YOU FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE AVAILABLE!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Well Michelle, I hardly feel worthy of your kind words. It’s the ultimate compliment to be able to connect the folks I love (my readers) with the kind of feelings and memories you cherish from your past. But I’m a tiny part of this puzzle–you did it girl! You made them and you are awesome for it! I’m so glad they did, too. –Rachel

  2. My grands did not add vegetables although the standard vegetables were always served with the chicken stew. I never saw drop dumplings until I moved to Virginia as an adult. I thought the dumplings were basically biscuit dough rolled out flat and cut into strips. Whatever the dumpling dough recipe it was always rolled out very thin & cut into strips & then dropped into the boiling soup. The best dumplings were the LEAST gloppy, droppy ones although some people tended to make them thicker & more gooey.

    1. Yes Cindy, there are LOTS of ways that you can make a dumpling. My grandmother did the rolled out versions as well. There’s no right or wrong in my eye–just personal preference. –Rachel

  3. 5 stars
    Just tried this recipe. I’ve had chicken & dumplings several different ways, but I like this version with the veggies & drop dumplings the best. My husband has NEVER eaten chicken & dumplings!! Yes, I added the veggies, PLUS onions & a sweet potato (I cut it up a little,put it in a foil packet on the pan while I roasted the chicken. Then chopped it up some & added it with the other veggies.) Only thing, I made way too many dumplings. Oh well. He LOVED it so much, he wants it again. Maybe I’ll just add a little “this & that” to the dumplings & turn it into a chicken veggie stew for tomorrow night.
    How would I figure out the carbs for your version?

  4. 4 stars
    My grandmother was Irish, and used vegetables as well. I like that yours look creamy, and you use garlic. I’ll add onions and fresh thyme when I make mine. Also, a leek or some green onions with plenty of black pepper makes them good. Sometimes, my granny would cook a potato in it, and it would make the soup thicker.

  5. A couple questions … can I boil chicken instead ? Don’t you need broth to steam dumplings? How do they cook in sauce? … I only have self rising flower … I loved my Mother’s dumplings … they were like puffy clouds … very spongy and tender …. are these like that and will buttermilk make them too heavy? Btw, this looks delicious….my Mother only made her C&D with drop dumplings and carrots and celery … best I’d ever had and I remember her dumplings … haven’t found a recipe yet that replicates her deliciousness … ty for the recipe

    1. Hey Josey, now first of all I make no claims that I can compete with anyone’s mama. 🙂 But let me see if I can help you. Yes, you can boil chicken but I find that the roasted chicken has more flavor. There is broth in the recipe–6 cups in fact so the dumplings do steam. Buttermilk is actually very light and low fat, so no these aren’t heavy dumplings. And if you don’t over mix your dough these should be light as well. I don’t know if they will be anything like what you remember, but all you can do is try. That’s the only way to to know for sure! I wish you very good luck. –Rachel

  6. 5 stars
    My grandma always used vegetables in her recipe. She was born in the 1800’s and off the boat from Ireland. Excellent cook and baker. The dumplings she made were very light and airy.

  7. Haha, the first thing I that popped into my mind when I saw the photo was, “She put carrots in her dumplings!”. 😉 Followed by, “Well, it does have a pretty pop of color.” Lastly, “Oh good, they’re drop dumplings.” Oh, my Missouri born heart was not sure what to think! I grew up always adding celery but never carrots. 🙂 Though our homemade noodles, or frozen egg noodles, NEVER have celery or carrots and get served over mashed potatoes. I think that’s a family thing… I bet the cream, bay, and carrots are a dreamy addition! I’m going to have to try it, even though it’s blazing hot out. That’s what the AC is for right? 🙂

    1. I know–I did something so illegal with those carrots, didn’t I?! And out here in Kentucky, there are NO vegetables in this recipe. NONE. I am such a rebel. LOL. And I don’t think they hurt anything more than our pride by putting them in. Hahaha!!! Maybe wait for fall on this one, huh Katie? –Rachel

    1. Flat dumplings or not, I’m glad you’re on my side with the vegetables Mary 😉 My family always does flat dumplings too, but I thought this might be an easier way to learn for anyone who was new to the process.

  8. Very interesting way to cook the chicken for this recipe….love it! I also like the idea of adding the veggies. There is always room for more versions of a recipe. Pinned. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.