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The BEST Chicken and Dumplings?

Hello everyone! I am looking for a really good recipe for chicken and dumplings. I, personally, have never had it..but it looks good. My husband on the otherhand raves about the best one he's had all the time (but can't remember what was in it). I have a good idea what goes into making it, but I've looked at so many different recipes that now I'm confused.

Whole chicken? Whole Roasted Chicken? Just thighs? Just breast? Cream based? Dare I say, condensed soup based? Homemade dumplings? Pre-made biscuit dough?

Opinions and thoughts appreciated!

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  1. I've made it the same way for years...start with a variety of chicken pieces (always bone-in, including breasts)...season & brown quickly, remove from pan, then add and saute chopped aromatics (onion, celery, celery leaves, garlic)...add flour and make a roux...add chicken broth, bay leaf and dried basil, pour over chicken and bake covered for 30 minutes, make drop biscuit dough and drop dumplings into pan, cook for a while longer. Always comes out very good. You can easily add mushrooms, carrots, whatever YOU like to the veggies...and you can add herbs to your dumpling mixture, too, which is always nice. I usually add basil to the dumpling mixture.

    1. You'll get a lot of replys, everyone here has there own loved version.
      I dust the chicken in flour, and I use a cut up chicken, and add thighs and legs.
      Brown it with onions, Herbes de Provence, and garlic, add carrots, and celery make a thicker and add the broth. (Use a lot of herbs de p) And then cover the chicken with broth barely. Put the lid on and let it stew then drop your dumplings he last 20 mins. cover.
      I use Bisquick for the dumplings. I've tried so many different ones, that I just love these best. Fresh parsley and chives on top, and serve. mmmmmmmmmmm!

      3 Replies
      1. re: chef chicklet

        I use Bisquick also for the drop dumplings...I neglected to say that in my post.

        1. re: Val

          Wow, a recipe that's baked and one that's not. Oh dear. I'm assuming that it's supposed to be on the really thick side rather than thin making it ok to either bake or simmer it. Basically you don't want a broth that can be slurped right?

          1. re: krisrishere

            Like Chef Chicklet, my mother always cooked it on the stove top. We always had broth - not quite as much as a soup - but still enough for slurping. And always bisquick dumplings. Oh, and wide egg noodles too!

            Okay, now I'm hungry for chicken n' dumplings - damn!

      2. I always use a whole cut up chicken, seasoned and then browned,

        home made roux, homemade chicken stock

        some heavy cream to thicken it up, no condensed soup ever

        home made dumplings of course..., a little extra efffort goes a long way.

        Best basic recipe I have found is in Joy of Cooking.

        do yourself & those eating this dish a favor, use homemade stock, no condensed soup, and homemade dumplings.

        1. Chicken & Dumplings, serves 4-6

          This recipe looks complicated but it is not, just a lot of explanations. It is basically a 4 step recipe: cook the chicken, make the dumpling batter, strip the chicken, cook the dumplings. See optional addition in dumpling procedure.

          5# chicken, quartered or 4-5 pounds your favored chicken parts
          1 t. black pepper
          3 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
          3 stalks celery, cut into chunks
          1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
          10 ¾ oz can low sodium chicken broth
          10 ¾ oz can cream of chicken soup, low sodium if possible

          2 cups all purpose flour
          1 T. baking powder
          1 t. salt
          1/3 cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco now has a zero trans fat)
          1 ½ cup milk (skim is fine)

          Place chicken, vegetables, pepper and broth in a dutch oven or large casserole pan. Add enough water to just cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium, cover and cook until the chicken is completely cooked, about an hour. (if you want to keep the vegetables in the finished dish, add after ½ hour.) Remove chicken to a bowl. Pour any extra liquid from the bowl back into the pot. Measure the broth; you should have about 5 cups. If not, add water to bring to 5 cups. Whisk in the can of cream of chicken soup.

          In a medium bowl, make dumpling dough. Mix flour, baking powder and salt to blend with a fork. (If you want to be fancy, you can stir in 1 T. fine chopped parley or herbs here.) Add shortening and mix with fork until the shortening is well distributed and dough is crumbly. Slowly stir in milk and mix until just combined. Let rest for 7 minutes.

          While dough is resting strip chicken from the bones, shredding into large bite sized pieces. Discard skin, bones and tired vegetables.

          Bring broth back to a low boil. Dip a large spoon into the broth, then scoop the dough in about ¼ cup (golf ball sized) blobs and drop evenly over the top of the broth. Sprinkle with black pepper. Lower heat to a medium bubble, cover and cook dumplings 15 minutes. Flip dumplings (this is where the pepper pays off, you can see which ones have been flipped) place the shredded chicken over the dumplings in an even layer, recover pot and cook 15 more minutes. Remove and split a dumpling to make sure they are cooked all through. Serve in bowls.

          I can attest that leftovers make a terrific cold morning breakfast but be careful scorching your dumplings if you use a microwave, it is better to heat on a stove.

          1. My wife made CI's recipe the other night and it was outstanding.

            2 Replies
              1. re: itryalot

                I like the CI recipe a lot, too. I posted my version of it on my blog:

            1. You've got no idea of the can of worms you've just opened. You've seen a hint so far.. baked, simmered. Whole chicken, parts (and which parts are best). Rolled flat dumplings or puffy 'boiled bread' drop dumplings. Is celery supposed to be in there or not? To cream or not to cream...

              My 2 cents:
              Whole chicken
              No cream
              Potatoes only, no other veggies.
              Chicken boullion for more liquid, no soup.
              Minimal seasoning, although boullion cubes are okay for more chicken flavor.
              Drop dumplings *plus* bowtie noodles.

              10 Replies
              1. re: ThreeGigs

                Whoa, I guess you're right! You haven't made things any easier! :) I might have to try a chicken and dumplings taste test!

                1. re: krisrishere

                  LOL. And, I'm thinking your husband would enjoy that! Chicken and dumplings is hard to ruin! A great comfort dish in the Fall, IMO. But, you can fine tune it in your taste tests.

                  Just a thought: Even though your husband doesn't remember what was in it, you can probably guess by what foods he usually likes, spicy? strong flavors? complex? extra creamy? dark chicken meat, white meat? organic? buttery?

                  But, just use fresh ingredients. No canned soups or mushrooms. No frozen carrots (though frozen peas are okay, IMO). Skip the broccoli crowns (messy), but stalks okay. Except, I believe in using Bisquick mix for dumplings - but not pop-can bisquits or ready made. It is simply savings steps in combining baking ingredients. There are purists that would say you can't control the amount of salt and the flour and I would agree, but I think Biquick mix makes a good dumpling, simply.

                  Taste tests will tell. Good luck.

                  One nice "twist" I like in chicken and dumplings is using yams instead of white potatoes, when making it with dark meat, and add crimini mushrooms in this recipe and not in others. A richer flavor in many aspects. There ARE many variations! Best wishes.

                  1. re: kc girl

                    I rarely use canned soups (except campbells tomato with a grilled cheese) but think here that the viscosity works well as a short cut in the recipe I posted above. I haven't ever used Bisquick so am unfamiliar with the ingredient list but would be surprised if it is that much more pure than used a canned soup. And why would frozen peas be ok but not carrots?

                    1. re: tomatoaday

                      Because peas freeze well and carrots don't! Never had a frozen carrot that had a texture anything like a fresh one.

                      For me it's frozen peas (the itty bitty ones), fresh carrots, onions, potatoes, maybe one thinly-sliced stalk of celery, all cooked in the broth after the chicken's been pulled out to cool/get boned & chopped. This is then thickened with a slurry of flour in cream (if we're being decadent, otherwise milk) stirred in, then the chicken meat added back to get hot. Noodle-dough dumplings go in at this point, too, and the dish is done when they are. Biscuit-dough dumplings, either dropped (my favorite) or rolled, go in after it's all come to the boil, and simmered under cover for 25 minutes, no peeking.

                      I am not going to specify seasoning, because y'all know what you like.

                    2. re: kc girl

                      "I believe in using Bisquick mix for dumplings"

                      I used to too, until I realized what a rip-off Bisquick is.
                      Flour, salt, baking powder and vegetable oil. That's it. Bisquik's only difference is that it uses partially hydrogenated oil, so you don't need to store it in the fridge. Save yourself some money, and feel batter about getting closer to "made from scratch" biscuits, dumplings, pancakes and waffles.

                      I do have to admit though that I cut out the back of my last bisquick box and saved the recipes from it, and have the "replacement bisquick" recipe written on the back.

                      1. re: ThreeGigs

                        threegigs, any chance you would care to share the replacement recipe with us please? I only buy a small box and since we live in SWFL, chicken and dumplings is not an often-prepared meal here...but on those seldom occasions, that's what I use...I would be willing to try a replacement recipe, though. (heh, at the risk of my son saying "the dumplings don't taste the same.")

                        1. re: ThreeGigs

                          If you use self-rising flour, you're already halfway to better-than-Bisquick! A pinch of salt, then the fat of your choice and some milk or buttermilk and you're there. Plus you have the luxury of picking your shortening instead of whatever ghastly stuff some soulless conglomerate chose to use. Butter and butcher's lard for me...

                          1. re: Will Owen

                            thank, Will...must try it next time.

                            1. re: Val

                              Hey Val.

                              Alton Brown's "Southern Biscuit" recipe is an excellent one and it's what I use for dumplin's.


                      2. re: krisrishere

                        Ya kris, while you're at it, why don't you ask for people's chili recipes too!!!


                        Anyway, I make simple one that uses condensed cream of mushroom soup and Alton Brown's biscuit recipe for dumplin's. IMHO the big key is the stock. Whether its a roux or soup based, you need a good home made (like) stock.
                        Just think of it as a chicken stew with dumplins as the starch.

                        Mostly for me, I make turkey and dumplin's. I just use my same recipe and use the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. Works great.


                    3. I use a rotisserie chicken (shredded), flour and water dumplings seasoned with parsley (rolled out and cut in squares, then dropped in), lots of black pepper, no veggies. I usually make it with canned cream of chicken and chicken broth, but I'm inclined to try some of the bases that have been mentioned here.

                      1. Okay, just to totally skew responses here, I kind of Ina Garter's Chicken and Biscuits recipe, but I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts and skip the step precooking the chicken, I omit the chicken cubes (too much sodium) but add the drippings from the chicken that I've cooked off already, and substitute biscuits for drop dumplings. It's cooked on the stovetop, and is not totally cream based, but it has some.

                        3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
                        3 tablespoons olive oil
                        Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
                        5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
                        2 chicken bouillon cubes
                        12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
                        2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
                        3/4 cup flour
                        1/4 cup heavy cream
                        2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
                        1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
                        1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
                        1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
                        For the biscuits:
                        2 cups flour
                        1 tablespoon baking powder
                        1 teaspoon kosher salt
                        1 teaspoon sugar
                        1/4 pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
                        3/4 cup half-and-half
                        1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
                        1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
                        Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

                        Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

                        In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13 x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes.

                        Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. Add the half-and-half and combine on low speed. Mix in the parsley. Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and, with a rolling pin, roll out to 3/8-inch thick. Cut out twelve circles with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter.

                        Remove the stew from the oven and arrange the biscuits on top of the filling. Brush them with egg wash, and return the dish to the oven. Bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits are brown and the stew is bubbly.

                        Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew and biscuits separately. Bake the stew for 25 minutes, then place the biscuits on top, and bake for another 30 minutes, until done.

                        1. This dish sounds really good. I have never had it or anything like it. I fear making most bread/carb type things...do you think I can get away with using those biscuits in the pop tube for the biscuit dumpling part?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: luckyfatima

                            You are better off rolling them out and slicing them into noodles if you are going to do that.

                          2. I made chicken and dumplings tonight. I was, in part, inspired by this post. I used a Sheila Lukins recipe as inspiration and tweaked it slightly.

                            I started off w/ 5 boneless, skinless thighs coated in paprika, s&p and then browned in some veg. oil in a dutch oven. I drained off the oil and added roughly chopped celery, onion, carrot, mushrooms and 4 cups chix stock. I brought it to a boil w/ 2 bay leaves and some herbs de provence. I then simmered for a half hour. Afterwards, I removed the chicken and shredded it and then returned it to the stock. I then mixed up Bisquick drop dumplings w/ some fresh parsley and dropped tablespoonfuls on top of the boiling mixture. I reduced the heat and simmered it for 10 minutes and then covered it and simmered for another 10 minutes. It was sooooo good served in soup bowls w/ a sprinkling of fresh parsley. (Lukins' recipe called for leeks).

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: lynnlato

                              lynn, that delicious dish you've created brings so many good memories for me. i'm going to see my 86-year-old mom on friday for an extended visit in (warm) florida. i'm going to ask her to "advise" me as i try and re-create her recipe. yum. yum. yum. (i eat way too much....).

                              1. re: alkapal

                                Oooh, you're so lucky to have your mom to "advise" you. :) Yep, this thread brought back those same memories for me also. I do remember my mom using bisquick to make the dumplings, but beyond that I had to wing it as she passed away many years ago. But the dish put a smile on my face and my family loved it so it was a good, good thing!

                                Enjoy your visit w/ your mom, and your chix & dumplings too!

                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  thanks lynn. one time a couple of years ago, she tried to argue with me that the pre-packaged wide "noodles" were called "dumplings", and i had to insist on the "homemade" flour dumplings. thanks for your well wishes, and i return warmest well wishes to you and yours this holiday season!

                              2. re: lynnlato

                                Sounds great! I took all of the suggestions and made a wonderful pot of chicken and dumplings...after a trip to the ER for a horrible knife accident involving a mushroom and the tip of my thumb. I will never forget the day I made my first pot of chicken and dumplings! Once I get over my phobia, I'll try to make it again :)

                                1. re: krisrishere

                                  Yikes, Kris! Sounds like you did some damage. I have a few battle scars myself. My last "incident" involved my thumb, a chef's knife and an onion. I lost. But I just capped it, elevated it and kept on chopping! LOL

                                  1. re: lynnlato

                                    I did do some damage! I cut through the top of my thumb and now I have permanent numbness..WooHoo! Didn't know I even did it until I saw blood :)

                              3. This is probably not the Chicken and Dumplings of your husband's memory but my family loves it. It was originally something my daughter discovered watching Sara Moulton but it, like Sara, it's no longer on the FN site -- demonstrating again just how disinterested they've become in good food and real cooking... =o

                                I highly recommend you give it a try. The cornmeal adds texture to the fluffy dumplings and the apple juice adds an interesting note to the broth.

                                Chicken and Dumplings

                                Recipe By: Sara Moulton
                                Serving Size: 6

                                • 8 chicken thighs, skinned and boned
                                • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
                                • 2 tablespoon butter
                                • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
                                • 4 leeks (pale parts), thinly sliced
                                • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
                                • 4 carrots, sliced
                                • 2 ribs celery (with leaves), sliced
                                • 1 bay leaf
                                • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
                                • 3 cup chicken stock
                                • 1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
                                • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
                                • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
                                • 1 tablespoon baking powder
                                • 1/2 teaspoon salt
                                • 2 tablespoon fresh dill
                                • 1 cup + 3 tablespoons half-and-half

                                Dredge chicken in seasoned flour. Shake off excess. In a large heavy kettle melt butter with oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Brown chicken in batches so as not to crowd. When browned on both sides, remove chicken to a plate and continue until all the meat is browned.

                                Stir veggies in the butter/oil mixture about 5 minutes. Add seasoning and cook another minute. Stir in broth and juice. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Return chicken to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

                                Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients for dumplings. With a fork, stir in half-and-half until just blended. Bring liquid back to a boil. With a 1.5 oz. scoop drop rounded scoops onto liquid. Reduce heat again and simmer, covered for another 12-15 minutes until dumplings are cooked through.


                                I use frozen concentrated apple juice at full strength to get the most from the apple flavor.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: rainey

                                  I've never seen Apple Juice in a recipe...very interesting! :) Sounds like it would be great.

                                  1. re: rainey

                                    I loved Sara too. This looks really good. Thanks for sharing. Ya know, I put apple juice (or cider if I have it) in my chicken noodle soup. It adds the loveliest sutble sweetness to the stock/broth. I never even thought to put some in my chix & dumplings. Next time I'll remember!

                                    1. re: rainey

                                      This recipe seems near perfect. I think it's WFD tonight. I will be adding frozen peas.

                                      1. re: rainey

                                        As long as we're reviving a topic, here's my almost-one-pot version with Cornmeal dumplings:

                                      2. This a dish my Cajun grandmother taught me when I was a teenager... I was her 6th grandchild and I'm 56 now. Because I live alone I make a basic chicken stock & divide it in half to make her gumbo later. Of course, you can double the amount of the dumplin's for a family, but remember to use the whole amount of chicken & broth.

                                        1 stewing hen - 3 to 4#
                                        Wash well & pat dry with paper towels
                                        1 med. onion cut in half & peeled
                                        2 large carrots peeled & cut into quarters
                                        2 ribs celery cut into quarters
                                        2 bay leaves
                                        1 t. tyme (or 2 t. chopped if using fresh)
                                        1/2 t. marjorum (or 1 t. chopped fresh)
                                        2 whole cloves garlic peeled
                                        1 t. pepper (or 10 peppercorns)
                                        1 T. kosher salt (or 1 & 1/2 t. regular salt)

                                        Bring to boil, cover & cut heat back to simmer for 45 mins or until chicken is cook thru. Remove from heat. Remove chicken to cool & pour broth thru a collander. Disgard veggies (for a quick snack for the cook) & peppercorns. When chicken is cool, bone & remove skin. Shred chicken & return with broth to smaller stock pot & return to simmer to reduce broth.


                                        1/2 cup milk or cream (add to broth)
                                        2 cups AP flour (plus extra for dusting dough)
                                        1 t. kosher salt (or 1/2 regular salt)
                                        1/2 t. pepper
                                        1/4 cup Crisco
                                        3/4 cup of milk (you want a slightly sticky dough or dumplin's will be tough)

                                        Add 1/2 cup milk or cream to broth. Blend dry ingredient together & cut Crisco into flour mixture. Add 1/2 milk & stir. Slowy add remaining milk (maybe less... maybe more). Turn out on floured surface & let rest for 5 mins. Portion dough into quarters & roll out until 1/4 thickness. Cut into squares 1x1 & drop on top of simmering broth. Work the next quarter & before dropping into broth, push down first layer into broth. Continue with remain dough. Do Not stir. Can't tell you how many times my grandmother has slapped my hand when I tried to stir her dumplin's. After last additon into broth, push layer into broth & cover again for 12 mins. Remove from heat & serve.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Buttons522

                                          With the Crisco and not much kneading, these dumplings will be tender, and likely to break if stirred.

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            I finally figured that out... grins. The plus is with the different lays of cooking, you had some that were "melt in your mouth" & some that had some bite to them. My mom didn't cook much & I can still taste what my grandmother would fix. My grandmother was a great family cook. And gumbo, cher, make you want to slap your momma... grins.

                                        2. This is interesting. Most of the responses have steamed biscuits as the dumplings, except for a very few who refer to noodle dumplings. I wonder if that's a regional thing. In the Midwest, I've had just the noodle type, specifically in Amish country in Northern Indiana.
                                          I've made the steamed ones with other dishes, but the picture that automatically comes in my head when I think 'chicken and dumplings' is a wide fat homemade noodle - kind of like a big spaetzle - swimming with the shredded chicken in a brown cream gravy.
                                          Now I'm hungry. ;-)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jmcarthur8

                                            I grew up in the northeast with steamed drop biscuits, but here in the south (where I live now), it is always what I would call a noodle. I was VERY confused the first time I ordered chicken and dumplings here and got what looked more like chicken noodle soup.