How to Make Tender Dumplings

Soft and Fluffy Instead of Claggy Lumps That Even a Dog Wouldn't Eat


How to make perfect dumplings using a fail-proof recipe and a "magic" ingredient

Do you have a hankering for dumplings? Dumplings are the perfect accompaniment to stews and soups and somehow round out a meal. They are a nice change from bread and, of course, are served right from the bowl.

Dumplings take just minutes to throw together and add to a crock pot or pot of soup simmering on the stove. And they have an unmistakable flavor that goes so well with soups and stews.

Some cooks find, though, that their dumplings turn out claggy and heavy. And no matter what they try, this seems to be the norm. And they mistakenly think it may be the temperature. What is happening? Most often, it is not the temperature, nor whether the lid was lifted or not. You can make light non-claggy dumplings every time and this can be avoided by using the right ingredients.

Traditional dumpling recipes call for lard or shortening. While these may be suitable for biscuits, they are not the best choice for tender dumplings.

The trick is to use either soft margarine or butter, simply replacing the lard portion with butter or marg for much better results. if you do, you will be amazed at the results.

A Word About Lifting the Lid

Many cooks believe you can't lift the lid when making dumplings. Fiddlesticks! Tender dumplings have less to do with steam and more to do with ingredients.

Chicken and Dumplings



  • 2 cups flour
  • 4 tsp bakng powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp soft butter or margarine
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  2. Cut in butter that's been kept at room temperature or use soft margarine.
  3. Stir milk lightly into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon and adjust liquid amount to make sure that you have a moist dumpling dough.

Burn Alert!

Never boil your pot ingredients in order to cook your dumplings. This is the fastest way to burn your soup or stew and spoil your dinner.

Dumpling Cooking Tips

  • Make sure your soup or stew is on a gentle simmer. The liquid does not have to be boiling to cook tender dumplings. Remember that pot temperature rises with the lid on and you don't want the contents to stick to the bottom and burn.
  • Drop dumpling dough into the liquid by teaspoonfuls. There's no need to worry about shaping perfect dumplings because they will puff up as they cook. Cover your pot with a lid so that the dumplings can steam.
  • Check your dumplings after 10 minutes. The old rule of thumb was "no peeking" but this makes no difference to the finished result. Use a knife to cut a slit in a dumpling and check inside. Cook until dumplings are no longer raw in the middle. They should be slightly moist and light.

Cooking Alert

Do not overcook dumplings. They may disintegrate if left to cook too long.

Dumpling Variations

Like a little sweet with your meat?

Raisin Dumplings

Add the following ingredients to dumpling recipe:

  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 1 tsp chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp. chopped pecans

Sweet Drop Dumplings

For spicy, sweet dumplings, add:

  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1/4 cup of apples
  • dash of cinnamon

Sweet Dumplings for Chicken or Turkey Dishes

Add peaches or mangos to Your dumpling recipe:

  • 1/4 cup of raisins
  • 1/4 cup of chopped peaches or mangos

Favorite Dumplings?

  • Plain and Fluffy
  • Apple Dumplings
  • With Fruit
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Under the Hood

The next time you're wondering what to serve with that chicken soup or beef stew, why not pop some dumplings "under the hood" for hearty, down-home goodness?

3.5 stars from 6 ratings of Tender Dumplings
Biscuit spirals
Biscuit spirals | Source
Fluffy Biscuits
Fluffy Biscuits | Source

© 2013 Athlyn Green

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Comments 3 comments

amisyandre 3 years ago

The secret to a good dumpling is the texture of the filling. The filling should be firm, consistent and springy.

Too many homemade dumplings suffer from fillings that are separate and grainy, and which do not offer sufficient resistance to the teeth.

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moonlake 3 years ago from America

They sound very good. Voted up.

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Seafarer Mama 3 years ago from New England

yuuuummmy! Can't wait to try to make these dumplings. Love the variations that you included, too.

Lots of "up" votes to this hub!

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