Chicken and Dumplings? What's your way?


I've promised chicken and dumplings for an elderly relative with tooth issues. Unfortunately, when I asked my mother about it, she seemed vague and asked me how I intended to make it, rather than telling me how she used to make it. Sigh. I really don't want to boil the chicken -- I can steam poach it in my steam oven which is a lot easier and should be equally tender for the tooth challenged. I was thinking about getting boneless breasts. They're not as tasty, but easier and prettier. I have plenty of chicken stock for the gravy, too. I figure I'll reduce it with some vegetables then simmer with the chicken and more vegetables while the dumplings are cooking. Or something like that. Right now I'm just working up my courage to put enough salt and fat in it to be tasty enough, without making it unhealthy.

How do you make chicken and dumplings?

Comments (21)
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Elderly people, more often than not, suffer from a diminished sense of taste.

With that in mind, I would use the most flavorful parts of the chicken--backs, thighs, legs, necks--boiling them for the broth and deboning the meaty pieces for the soup. Defat, mostly, the broth, of course. Reduce to help concentrate flavor since you have other broth that you can add.

I like onion, celery & carrot in my chkn/ dumplings. Garlic, black pepper, a bit of rosemary & thyme. No peas. Ever.

So, how I would make it is totally how you don't want to make it but, since you did ask...

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I use Betty Crocker's recipe from my old cookbook, but add fresh parsley, marjoram & garlic (or garlic chives) to the chicken stew & chopped fresh parsley to the dumplings. My old recipe has a scratch recipe for the dumplings - this modern one uses Bisquik...

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Yes, thanks, Ci_lantro! I asked because I wanted to know! The particular person I'm gearing this toward would pick dark meat out of her portion, which is why I thought I'd go the easy route with the breasts. Your flavor reminder was well timed. I will make sure to punch up the aromatics. My homemade stock has lots of chicken in it so I'm not worried about that part. Thanks, too, for the no peas ever. I was thinking of putting peas in because last I checked they had them fresh at the store, but I will heed your warning.

Carol, thanks, that recipe looks very straightforward. I'm less worried about the dumplings, but have been reminded lately how useful the recipes in the old Betty Crocker book are, and on your recommendation, I will check mine for that.

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There are two basic kinds of dumplings...dropped and rolled. I prefer dropped, because that is what I grew up eating. I don't follow a recipe....just use self rising flour, cut in butter....a generous amount....then stir in buttermilk to the right consistency. You don't want them too soft, because you don't want them to break apart. Having the de-boned chicken in the bottom of the pot so the dumplings sort of rest on them. Cover the pot and cook them for about 20 minutes. I like for the dumplings to be fluffy and dry inside, like a biscuit. If they sink or break apart, they become soggy.....or "sad" as my mother used to call them. You want enough broth so the pot doesn't cook dry and you don't want to cook them so fast that they break apart.

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Funny you should mention this because I have Chicken and dumplings on the menu for Sunday. I have been using this recipe ever since a friend served it at a dinner. Very yummy.

Chicken and Dumplings

Cuisine at Home, August 2004

For the

1 ½ # boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into

½ cup AP flour

2 T. veg oil

2 t. salt

½ t. cayenne pepper

¼ t. black pepper

1 leek, sliced into moons

1 rib celery

1 carrot, diced

1 sweet potato peeled and chunked.

2 parsnips, peeled and diced

2 bay leaves

¼ c. dry white wine

1 qt. Chicken stock

2 t. lemon juice

1 t. each chopped sage and rosemary.

Preheat oven
to 375, rack in center

Cut chicken
and dredge in flour, peppers and salt

Brown the
chicken in large oven proof pot with 1 T. oil over medium heat. Brown in batches, adding oil if needed. Remove from pan when brown.

Sweat the veg.
and bay leaves in oil until soft, 5 min.

Deglaze the
pan with wine, simmer until almost gone.

Stir in
remaining flour to coat vegetables.

Gradually add
stock, cover pot and transfer to oven, cook for 20 minutes.(no chicken yet)

dumping dough now)

After 20 min,
stir in chicken, lemon juice and herbs.
Drop dumplings into stew and braise 20 minutes until dumplings are
cooked, toothpick is clean.

For the Dumplings:

1 ½ c AP flour

3 T. Parm Cheese, grated

2 ½ t. baking powder

2 t. sugar

1 t. salt

½ t. ground pepper

2/3 c. whole milk

3 T. unsalted butter

Blend dry ingredients
in a mixing bowl Heat milk and
butter until melted, blend into dry ingredients. Shape into
small balls, or use small ice cream/cookie scooper

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Marilyn, thanks for the great description of making the dumplings. I think I prefer chewier than biscuit fluffy, but so long as it's soft enough to eat between visits to the dentist, I'm sure it'll be fine, and you've given me a great picture! I haven't made full sized dumplings in too long to remember, unless you count matzah balls!

PKramer, that recipe looks really good! Thanks! I never would have thought of parsnips (which I have) and leeks (which I can get). It sounds like a fuller flavor than I'm used to. I'm going to try those!

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plllog, you can sub onions or go to Trader Joe's. TJ's has cleaned, sliced leeks in the freezer section. I now always keep a bag so I don't run out for one item. Enjoy, it really is good and rich tasting.

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I do it like Peppi does but without the sweet potato and the parm in the dumplings.
If you use boneless chicken breasts and cook it long enough to cook the veggies, the chicken will become stringy and a nasty texture.
I always use a whole chicken, browned first, veggies and broth added, simmered until the veggies are almost done, some broth removed, cooled with cold broth mixed with flour and added back. Dumplings dropped on top, lid back on and simmer until dumplings are done...I put lots of parsley in the dumplings.
Love biscuit dumplings, not so much those rather slimey slider things...LOL!

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Thanks! They almost always have leeks at Whole Foods. If I don't get to the store, I'll use onions. :) And good to know about the frozen ones.

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Peppi, that recipe looks really good, thanks. Not that I'll probably ever get to make it, Elery despises chicken and dumplings. His family made the noodle type, my family made the fluffy biscuit type. He hates 'em both.

In our family it was a way to stretch chicken, so all the parts went into the pot. Grandma always added onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, sometimes parsnips, whatever was in the garden, including green beans or peas. Salt and lots of black pepper, of course. The chicken got cooked until it fell off the bone and then the bigger pieces got saved for hot chicken sandwiches or chicken salad. The smaller pieces and the dark meat got returned to the pot with the vegetables. When the vegetables were nearly tender, the dumplings got plopped in on top and the lid went on. Grandma strictly forbade peeking, said it made the dumplings gummy. If the flour from the dumplings didn't make the gravy thick enough Grandma would remove the dumplings to a platter and add enough flour stirred into water to thicken the gravy, then add the dumplings back in or just pour the chicken mixture over the dumplings and serve. Grandma just used biscuit dough, but I've always used the dumpling recipe from my old Betty Crocker cookbook, dated 1969.


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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

I often do chicken and dumplings in the crockpot. I throw a few legs in the pot with some water and let that simmer a while. Later I pull out the meat to cool and and shred. I add mushrooms, carrots, onions and plenty of fresh parsley. Perhaps a bit of white wine. I like a little cream in mine, too. Honestly, it never comes out the same way because I play as I go. I really like Pioneer Woman's recipe for dumplings. I find the cornmeal a fine addition.

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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

When i saw this i thought of my dumplings for the storm about to hit NY. Making a beef stew instead...last minute choice with DH in the market shopping while me still at work. Texting back and forth.

I think it is a 'what you know and grew up with' recipe choice. I make a braised chicken thigh with veggie broth/stock. We use thighs for us but for my parents and elders we use boneless breast. (i find thighs much more tender) but my parents think of the breast as the beauty of the bird. Might be a generation thing that they think thighs are the cheaper choice. My stock is so rich that the boneless breast is fine and makes a very clean soup.

I don't use any gravy in my plan. The dumplings add a bit of thickening and give a nice soft bite to the 'stew'.

My grandmother had a diner for a while when i young and was an amazing cook. She made rolled and cut dumplings. Eastern Shore. Lots of spice and herbs. (a shame my mother thought of her mothers food as 'old fashioned' and not modern in the 60's using cans and processed convent food all the rage in magazines at the time).

This is the dumpling recipe i've been using...(i use non-fat greek yogurt instead of the buttermilk i always have that)


I even have had success putting a few inside the top of qrt containers of chicken soup wrapped in saran and into the freezer. ...Heat the soup, add the semi-thawed dumplings after heating the chicken soup.

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We never put vegetables in our chicken and dumplings :) We also made the flat dumplings. I love dark meat and it is more flavorful with the bones in it for your broth. Making me hungry!


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I prefer to use just thighs for chicken and dumplings, but have used the whole chicken on occasion. Cook the chicken ( cut into parts if using whole chicken) and the vegetables (cut into bite sized pieces) in a heavy pot with just enough water or broth to cover, until done. I use quite a lot of vegetables, onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms, peas, chopped parsley. Allow to cool a bit, debone the chicken and cut it into bite sized pieces. Return to pot with broth and vegetables. You may need to add more broth at this point, you want enough liquid to cook the dumplings. Bring to a very gentle simmer, add dumplings, cover, cook until dumplings are done. (They will almost double in size).


1 ½ Sticks butter

2 C water

2 C sifted all purpose flour

1 tsp salt*

4 eggs

1/4 ro ½ C flour

* I like to use a seasoned salt. Morton’s Nature’s Seasoning when making chicken & dumplings, or garlic salt for beef stew with dumplings. For ham & dumplings I omit the salt entirely, they pick up enough from the ham broth.

In medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Add butter to melt. Add flour and salt all at once, stir and continue to cook until mixture leaves sides of pan. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly. Add the 4 eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, (Be sure each egg is well incorporated into the flour mixture before adding the next one.)

For the flatter, strip dumplings, turn dough out onto floured work surface (you may want to do this in sections, about a third at a time.) And pat out with floured hands or use rolling pin. Cut into strips, about 1" X 2". (Or get fancy and make whatever shape you like, squares, diamonds, etc.)

If you prefer drop dumplings, skip the rolling out step, and just drop dough by the spoonful into gently simmering broth. (A cookie dough scoop is great for this). Cover and cook until done, about 8 or 10 min.

These dumplings will absolutely melt in your mouth!

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Marilyn_c described exactly the dumplings I grew up on. Nan made the best chicken and dumplings and it was always the fluffy ones. No peeking!

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Lovin' all this discussion! Thanks to all for posting your different methods and recipes. Sleevendog, I've never seen cut, herbed dumplings before, though I made herbed matzah balls one year. Those look interesting! I think Annie's grandmother's way is most like my mother used to, but my biggest memory from childhood is a dumpling that soaked up a lot of gravy rather than being particularly fluffy. But it wasn't coarse or gummy. Chewy from the gravy but not gummy. I dunno. I've never had a dumpling failure, so as long as there are dumplings in it, no matter what the method, I'm confident it'll pass as chicken and dumplings. :)

I got leeks and sweet potatoes because they sounded good and interesting with a bigger punch of flavor than some other things I might use. I asked if they'd like white flour, cornmeal, whole white wheat or parmesan and they voted for parm (and unbleached KAAP), so I'm going to use Peppi's recipe, more or less, along with my young, tender chicken breasts plus homemade stock, since I don't have a stewing chicken. :)

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It was a hit! That recipes has lots of flavor. I didn't follow it 100% exactly, but pretty darned close. Along the way, I also had a lightbulb moment. I'd taken the right size food scoop with me, not knowing what was available there (made a kit at home with everything prepped, including the chicken steamed and cut). As I was looking at it and considering making a ball, as usual, I figured out that if I just dumped the free form lump, fissures and all, in the pot, it might get that soaked up the gravy thing. It worked! They weren't pretty dumplings, but they were tender and tasty. Served with a chopped salad to start and blueberry cobbler to finish (that was a hit too). Everything soft but not babyfoodish. :)

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So glad you liked it. I made it today also, and similar to your idea about one big dumpling, my 7 were very close together and touching each other. I also made the whole thing on top of the stove and not in it as my back was bugging me and it works fine. Chicken thighs and homemade stock can't be beat but I may have slipped with the cayenne as it was nice and spicy. And I have leftovers for tomorrow!

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I made it last night, same old Betty Crocker recipe as above, but I only use chicken thighs and I added some heavy cream to the broth. I cook the thighs and tear the meat off in large chunks. I cook mixed veggies in the broth, add back in the chicken and cream and plop on the dumplings. Only I forgot to use the taller pot, they rose up and hit the lid and got the bottoms a little too soggy but they weren't inedible. I'll try to remember next time to make sure there is plenty of room for them to rise up. I make my own biscuit dough from scratch but I know my mom used Bisquick, it's the same taste.

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Ooh! A chicken and dumplings movement!

I didn't make one big dumpling, though I can see how I gave that impression (I once was served classic chicken and dumplings, but with each dumpling the size of a grapefruit--the dumpling wasn't very good). Usually, when I've made dumplings, I've used the food scoop to portion, then roll very gently to make a round shape without compacting, before putting it in the broth. Yesterday, I scooped and just dropped them and let them be bumpy and craggy and free form with tails and all. I think that let in more of the liquid and exposed more surface area to it. The dumplings, themselves, were very tasty, too, however, rather than just bready. It was all really good! The one with no appetite ate a full portion and two of the cobbler. The one with the bad teeth ate everything and an extra dumpling. The nurse enjoyed it too, even though it's very different from the food she's used to.

Thanks to all of you, it was a big hit!

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A little late, but here is my cheating two cents worth. I do gently boil my chicken first in a broth that I flavor to taste. I usually add some finely diced onion and some diced chicken for more flavor and nutrition. Then I really cheat by using Bisquick to make fluffy dumplings. I know that's despicable, but that's what my DH and I like so we stick to it.


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