Simple Hen and Dumplings Recipe from Scratch


Easy chicken and dumplings from scratch! There are no boxed mixes here. Our simple recipe cooks the chicken and makes a flavorful broth in one step. You will love our easy drop dumplings, too. They take minutes to prepare and cook to be so light and fluffy.

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Chicken and Dumplings Recipe Video

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Last year, on a cold night, our friend Richard made us chicken and dumplings inspired by his childhood and grandmother. We loved them! The dumplings were melt-in-your-mouth tender and so unbelievably fluffy. We immediately asked if he could share his recipe for chicken and dumplings with us, and here we are.

You can break this cozy classic chicken and dumplings recipe into 3 easy steps. We love starting with a whole chicken and making the broth from scratch (it only takes an hour). If you are short on time, I have included a speedier option using store-bought broth below.

How to make chicken and dumplings

Step 1: Make broth and cook the chicken. For the best homemade chicken and dumplings, we make the broth ourselves (it’s so worth it and is much easier than you might think). By making the broth ourselves, we also gently cook the chicken, which guarantees juicy and tender chicken meat for our soup (it takes about 1 hour).

Chicken broth and chicken for homemade chicken and dumplings

Step 2: Make the soup. Since we make our chicken broth, making the soup for this recipe is quick and simple. After straining our broth, we add some chopped carrot, celery, and the shredded cooked chicken (from cooking the broth).

Step 3: Make the dumpling batter. This recipe has Southern chicken dumplings (similar to drop biscuits). We make a somewhat wet dumpling batter and then drop it by the spoonful into simmering broth. The dumplings then steam on top of the broth to cook (about 15 minutes).

Dumplings cooking in broth with chicken

Chicken and dumplings ingredients

For our easy broth, we simmer a whole chicken, an onion top (the part you usually throw away — you can see what I mean by looking at our photos or watching the video), carrot, celery, garlic, and spices. It takes about 1 hour and produces the most delicious chicken broth and the chicken we need for our chicken and dumplings. We use the same method when making homemade chicken broth.

For the dumplings, we use self-raising flour. I’ve included a note at the bottom of the recipe for making homemade self-raising flour if you need it. In addition to the self-raising flour, we need:

  • Salt and pepper to season the batter.
  • Parsley adds a touch of fresh flavor and color. We love it, but you can leave it out if you need to.
  • Whole milk brings the batter together and helps make our dumplings tender.
  • Butter adds flavor and keeps the dumplings moist.
Shredded chicken and dumpling batter

Our tips for cooking the dumplings

  1. Drop the dumplings into gently simmering broth with a spoon or cookie scoop and don’t worry if the pot is crowded. Depending on your pot shape, you might even have a few dumplings on top of each other.
  2. If the dumplings fully cover your soup, use a spoon to make a small hole in the middle to allow steam and some of the simmering bubbles to release.
  3. The dumplings need to steam, so cover the pot with its lid.

⭐️ The most important tip: Keep the pot at a gentle simmer when cooking the dumplings. An aggressive simmer or boiling will break them apart. Keep the heat low and keep your pot covered so that they steam. The dumplings can cook longer than the suggested times without issues, but agitating them with an aggressive simmer will make them fall apart.

Dropping dumpling batter into chicken soup

The batter for these dumplings is very similar to the batter for our easy drop biscuits. I love how light and fluffy drop-style dumplings turn out. They also make this more of a thick and creamy soup than a casserole since some batter will ultimately fall into the broth and help thicken it. We also have a recipe for more traditional biscuits if you prefer them.

A bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings

Recipe shortcut: Quick chicken and dumplings with leftover chicken

  1. Bring homemade or store-bought chicken broth to a low simmer, and add chopped carrot and celery.
  2. Stir in shredded cooked chicken — consider these juicy chicken breasts or use leftover roasted chicken.
  3. Make the dumpling batter and drop it into the simmering soup.
  4. Cook the dumplings by gently simmering them covered with a lid, as instructed below.
Bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings

Make ahead tips

Homemade chicken and dumplings are at their best when fresh, but you can store them in the fridge for a couple of days and gently reheat them. The dumplings will be slightly more moist and might fall apart, but the flavors will all be there. We do not recommend freezing them.

To cut down on the preparation time of the recipe, you can make the broth and chicken up to three days in advance. Then, when you are ready to serve, reheat the broth, add your carrots and celery, and then make your dumpling batter.

Chicken and Dumplings in a Dutch Oven

Easy Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Our homemade chicken and dumplings recipe starts with a whole chicken, simmered with aromatics like carrot and garlic, to create a rich and flavorful broth while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Our drop-style dumplings are incredibly light, fluffy, and easy to make. For the dumplings, we use self-raising flour. I’ve included a note at the bottom of the recipe for making homemade self-raising flour if you need it.

As the dumplings cook on top of the soup, some of the batter will ultimately fall down into the broth and begin to thicken it, which makes the broth more of a creamy consistency (you can see this in our video).

Recipe shortcut: If you are short on time, we have included a speedier option using store-bought broth in the article and in the recipe notes.

Makes 6 servings

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You Will Need

Chicken and Broth

1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds

1 onion top, see notes

1 garlic clove, smashed

1 large carrot

2 stalks celery

3 bay leaves

8 whole peppercorns

1 tablespoon fine sea salt

12 to 14 cups (3 liters) water

1 bunch fresh thyme


Dumplings

2 ½ cups (325g) self-rising flour, see notes

8 twists black pepper

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 ½ cups (350ml) whole milk

1/4 cup (60g) butter, melted

Directions

  • Make Broth and Cook Chicken
  • 1Cut a 3-inch section of the carrot, about 1/4 the size of the whole carrot, and set aside. Chop the remaining carrot into small cubes. Cut a 4-inch piece of celery stalk and set aside with the carrot. Chop the remaining celery into small cubes. Save the chopped carrot and celery for later.

    2Place the chicken, breast facing up, in a large pot (we use a 9-quart Dutch oven). Then, toss the 1/4 carrot, 4-inch piece of celery, onion top, smashed garlic clove, bay leaves, peppercorns, and a tablespoon of salt around the chicken.

    3Pour in 12 to 14 cups of water, depending on the size of your pot. In the video, we used 14 cups. It is okay if the chicken is not fully covered; an inch or so of chicken breast above the water is okay.

    4Cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat to medium-high, and bring to a simmer. Once the broth is at a simmer, reduce it so that it’s a gentle simmer — the bubbles should be slowly dancing around in the pot.

    5Cook at a gentle simmer for 50 minutes. Peek under the lid occasionally to see if the heat needs to be reduced.

    6After 50 minutes, the broth will be aromatic, and the chicken will be cooked through (you can test this with an internal temperature thermometer — it should read above 165 °F).

    7Carefully transfer the chicken to a plate and allow it to cool until you can handle it.

    8Strain the broth, wipe any foam stuck to the sides of the pot, and then pour the strained broth back into the pot used to make it. Place the pot back over medium heat, add the thyme, chopped carrots, and chopped celery.

  • Finish Chicken and Dumplings
  • 1When it is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken by hand, removing all the bones and skin. Shred as big/little as you like. We keep the chicken in larger pieces.

    2To make the dumpling batter, melt the butter. In a medium bowl, stir the flour, pepper, salt, parsley, milk, and melted butter until mixed.

    3Remove the thyme from the soup, scraping a few leaves off the bundle as you remove it.

    4Stir the shredded chicken and any juices left on the plate into the soup.

    5Bring the broth to a gentle simmer, and then use a spoon to scoop golf ball-sized portions of the batter into the soup, scraping them off with your finger. (If you have a large cookie scoop, scoop balls of batter into the soup.) Do this until all the batter is in the soup — it will look crowded. Some might sink.

    6Cover with a lid and cook the dumplings at a low simmer for 5 to 7 minutes or until they look like they are firming up on the bottom. Then, carefully turn each one over to simmer the other side. If there’s no space for the liquid to bubble up past the dumplings, use a spoon and make a small hole in the middle of the pot.

    7Once they are all turned over, simmer over low heat with the lid on for another 8 to 10 minutes. You can test a dumpling to check they are done — The center should look cooked through and fluffy, not doughy. When cooking the dumplings, keep the pot at a gentle simmer. An aggressive simmer or boiling will break them apart. Keep the heat low and keep your pot covered so that they steam. The dumplings can cook longer than the suggested times without issues, but agitating them with an aggressive simmer will make them fall apart.

Adam and Joanne’s Tips

  • Onion top: We are only looking for a mild onion flavor in our broth. Slice an onion at the top, keeping the skins on. Use the top (what you would normally throw away) to make the broth, and save the onion for another recipe. You can also use a 1-inch slice of onion in its place.
  • Self-rising flour: Unlike all-purpose flour, self-rising flour adds baking powder and salt. For 2 ½ cups of homemade self-rising flour (what you need for this recipe), whisk 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour with 3 ¾ teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Pot size: The perfect size for this recipe is a 9-quart Dutch oven, which is large enough to make the broth and cook all the dumplings. I have also used a 7 ½-quart Dutch oven with this recipe and found that I could only fit 12 cups of water with my chicken. If you don’t have either of these, make sure the pot is large enough to hold at least 12 cups of water with the chicken.
  • Store-bought broth: Use 10-12 cups of broth. Bring your chicken broth to a low simmer, and add chopped carrot and celery. Stir in 3 to 4 cups of shredded cooked chicken. Make the dumpling batter and cook by gently simmering them covered with a lid, per our instructions above.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

Nutrition Per Serving
Serving Size
1/6 of the recipe
/
Calories
501
/
Total Fat
14.4g
/
Saturated Fat
7g
/
Cholesterol
136.8mg
/
Sodium
1599.2mg
/
Carbohydrate
48.7g
/
Dietary Fiber
3.8g
/
Total Sugars
4.1g
/
Protein
42.4g


AUTHOR: 

Adam and Joanne Gallagher



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