Chicken and Dumplings Recipe from a Real Southerner

What do you do when you have a fresh batch of chicken stock, some leftover chicken, and three hungry kids? Make chicken and dumplings!

Now, despite my abiding love for it, chicken and dumplings is not a part of my culinary tradition. As with other Southern dishes like shrimp and grits, Brunswick stew, and pulled pork, it's a dish I've made with varying degrees of success over the years. This year, though, I finally decided to just get it right once and for all.

This a tried and true recipe from my friend (Mama of 3 Munckins fame) who lives in the South. I'm passing it along with her permission so that you, too, can achieve chicken and dumplings success!

She starts the recipe assuming you've already cooked your chicken in water or broth. (I just put a whole cut-up chicken into a pot with enough colder water to cover by an inch or two. I add in some peppercorns, onion, garlic, and a couple bay leaves that I tie-up into a cheese cloth and huck into the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a bare simmer, skimming any foam or impurities as needed. Chicken will be cooked through/falling off the bone in about an hour.)

Note: As a short cut I use a chicken carcass from a roast chicken and make the soup/broth ahead of time (I always have a batch in my freezer) and then buy a rotisserie chicken to shred into my chicken and dumplings.

Make your dumplings. These are light and fluffy—sort of a cross between a gnocchi and a noodle.


  • 2c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 3 TB shortening (I use Earth Balance sticks)
  • 3/4 buttermilk (a MUST)

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cut in the shortening. Add the buttermilk, stirring with fork until moistened. Knead the dough 4 to 5 times, and pat to 1/2-inch pieces and drop into boiling broth (I don't pat out, just pinch off pieces -- do same thing with biscuits most of the time). Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Take chicken out of broth and bring broth to a boil. Add pepper. Add thyme—I use about 1 tbsp fresh or 1/2 tbsp dried. (Lisa says thyme is a must.) I also add carrots and celery and sometimes peas, but Lisa says southerners don't add veggies. Stir in chicken (I take off bone and leave in big chunks), heat through, and serve.
If you want to thicken more, use a little bit of flour that you've stirred in milk.(I find that the dumplings thicken enough.)

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