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How to Make Homemade Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch

Updated on April 25, 2013
Chicken and dumplings is a comforting classic your whole family will love. It's one of my favorite dinnertime memories from my childhood!
Chicken and dumplings is a comforting classic your whole family will love. It's one of my favorite dinnertime memories from my childhood! | Source

Chicken and Dumplings Like Grandma Used to Make

One of my favorite childhood meals growing up was chicken and dumplings--I loved that dish so much, I wouldn't even eat sides or bread with it at dinnertime. I needed all the room in my stomach for dumplings!

It was also a meal my granny used to make for me--boiling the chicken, making the dumpling dough and slicing it into uniform pieces, and then simmering it for what seemed like hours to a hungry little girl.

Now that I'm an adult, I often make them for myself--though they'll never taste the same as my granny's, I think they come pretty close.

Read on for how to make traditional chicken and dumplings--the old-fashioned way.

The Joy of Chicken and Dumplings

In addition to being a hearty, comforting dish, chicken and dumplings is also very inexpensive to eat and can last for several meals--which is perfect for someone on a budget or someone with a busy family life, who can't spend hours a night in the kitchen.

The ingredients list is simple, and you probably already have everything you need in your cabinet--also making it a perfect meal for when you don't have time to get to the store.

Dumpling Ingredients

The ingredients for making chicken and dumplings are simple; you probably already have them in your cabinet!
The ingredients for making chicken and dumplings are simple; you probably already have them in your cabinet! | Source

Chicken and Dumplings Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour, (plus extra for rolling the dough)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk, (extra as needed)
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 heaping spoonful chicken buillion
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
After rolling the dough to 1/4 of an inch thick, use a knife or pizza cutter to slice the dough into uniform pieces.
After rolling the dough to 1/4 of an inch thick, use a knife or pizza cutter to slice the dough into uniform pieces. | Source
Once the dumplings are in the pot, allow them to simmer for about 45 minutes.
Once the dumplings are in the pot, allow them to simmer for about 45 minutes. | Source
Important Tip: Don't stir the dumplings at first! They may fall apart if you do. Instead, tap them gently with a spoon so that they're covered with broth.
Important Tip: Don't stir the dumplings at first! They may fall apart if you do. Instead, tap them gently with a spoon so that they're covered with broth. | Source

Chicken and Dumplings Instructions

  1. Pour the chicken broth into a large pot, then add water until the pot is around 2/3 full. Set your burner to "high" so that the broth begins to boil.
  2. While you are waiting for the broth to boil, you will mix the dumpling ingredients. Add three cups of flour, a teaspoon of baking powder, and a 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a large mixing bowl; stir well.
  3. Add the egg (you can use an egg substitute product here, just follow the measurement instructions on the side of the carton) and the milk; stir. The dough should be slightly sticky when all of the ingredients are combined; if it's too dry, add more milk.
  4. Sprinkle flour on either the counter surface or a length of wax paper; then separate the dough into two halves.
  5. Using a rolling pin, roll out one half of the dough until it's roughly 1/4 of an inch thick (if the dough is sticking to your rolling pin, sprinkle flour on top of the dough).
  6. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into uniform strips.
  7. Once the broth is boiling, drop in a heaping spoonful of buillion.
  8. Next, drop in the dumplings one by one.
  9. Roll out and slice the second half of the dough; drop it into the broth.
  10. Simmer the mixture for about 30 minutes; add the shredded chicken and cook for fifteen minutes more.
  11. Serve and enjoy!
  12. IMPORTANT TIP: When you first put the dumplings in, they will rise to the surface of the broth and appear to stick together. DO NOT stir them--they will fall apart! Instead, take a slotted spoon and gently tap them until the broth covers them; they will separate on their own as they cook. Very stubborn dumplings that refuse to separate can be gently separated with a fork about 25 minutes into the cooking time.

The Finished Product!

The finished product--warm, hearty dumplings are great ladled into a bowl or on a plate.
The finished product--warm, hearty dumplings are great ladled into a bowl or on a plate. | Source

Additional Instructions and Tips for Chicken and Dumplings

While this is a very easy dish, there is still room for error! Keep in mind the following tips and information:

  • Though the broth looks thin at first, the flour on the dumplings will thicken it--so don't add additional flour! Otherwise, you will be left with a gloopy mess.
  • If you're feeling very ambitious, boil an entire chicken and save the broth to boil the dumplings in.
  • You can customize the dumplings any way you like--add your favorite seasoning, like thyme or rosemary to the dough, and even add veggies like carrots and celery.
  • Dumplings make good leftovers for two to three days after you've prepared the dish, and can even be frozen.
  • If you want them to look more "chicken-y," add a few drops of yellow food coloring.

Side Suggestions

  • Green beans
  • New potatoes
  • Cornbread or dinner rolls
  • Carrots
  • Fried okra
  • Wilted greens

Making Memories Through Food

The way that food can take us back into a memory is almost magical--and starting comforting traditions in your own kitchen is one way to make memories with your own family.

Chicken and dumplings is a great choice for families on a budget, families who need to make one meal stretch over a few days, and for cold winter days when you need a little extra warmth!

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