Everyone must have a good chicken and dumplings recipe on hand. This classic comfort meal is the epitome of perfect cold-weather comfort food, and this post will show you exactly how to make dumplings for chicken and dumplings with a simple homemade chicken broth!
Have you followed me for more than five minutes? Then you know I absolutely love a good chicken soup recipe. I especially love making a quick homemade chicken broth before I start the soup.
This recipe is no different. It’s time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort.
Here are the main components of my chicken and dumplings recipe:
- The broth: this is made by simmering a whole chicken with aromatics, like onion, carrot tops, celery, bay leaves, garlic, and thyme. You’ll use the chicken from the broth for the soup!
- The soup: I make the soup with mushrooms, onion, celery, carrot, and parsnip. Lots of butter and flour for the roux, and then the homemade chicken broth and resulting shredded chicken are mixed in. It’s finished with cream and frozen peas.
- The dumplings: The dumplings combine a few techniques I read online from Chef Rick Martinez and AllRecipes. I made a few modifications based on a few phone calls I had with my dad.
But first, the broth.
My method for making chicken broth for soups is based on many soup recipes I’ve made. Typically, homemade broth is a very long affair. I make it a bit quicker by simply simmering a chicken with aromatics for just 1 hour and 30 minutes. You can use a cut-up chicken if you prefer. I prefer a whole chicken because I don’t have to fish out all the pieces. I just lift the whole bird straight out of the broth with tongs and right into a bowl where I can shred up the meat.
A few tips for aromatics:
- Scrap veggies are king. Use whatever scrap veggies you have on hand! Carrot tops, throw ’em in! Weird, pale leafy inside parts of celery? Perfect, even more flavor!
- Skins are friends! The peels from onion and garlic will lend a deeper flavor. Onion skins, in particular, impart a darker color too, which I like. If your onion peels are free from black dots, throw them in! Give the whole onion a good scrub before throwing it in.
- Don’t oversalt! Throw in a teaspoon or so of salt in the beginning. You can always add more salt later, but diluting overly salty broth is challenging. Play it safe in the beginning to save yourself hassle at the end!
If you don’t want to fuss with making homemade broth, no problem. Use a store-bought rotisserie chicken and shred it up. Use 8–10 cups of store-bought or homemade chicken broth or stock. Start with 8 cups when making the soup and whisk in 1–2 cups as needed.
Once the broth is done, you’re ready to move on to the soup.
How to make dumplings for chicken and dumplings:
Once the soup is finished, you’re ready to make the dumplings! The dumplings were surprisingly easy to make. You need just a few ingredients, including:
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Salt and pepper
- Cold butter
To make them, simply combine the dry ingredients. Add a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Work in the cold, cubed butter with your fingers to form a dry, crumbly mixture.
Next, stir in the buttermilk until combined. It’s okay if it looks a bit dry, and here’s why: my dad told me what he loved about his mom’s dumplings is that they were wet. He also said slimy, which didn’t seem attractive to me BUT, he said he loved that they were super moist. So, right before dropping the dumplings in, I gently mix in 1–2 tablespoons more buttermilk. You aren’t trying to mix it into the dough fully; it’s really just to create an almost protective layer of buttermilk to keep them extra, extra moist as they steam up in the pot!
Once you’ve dropped the dumplings in, they need just 10 minutes in the covered pot over medium-low heat to puff up. Check them with a toothpick to ensure the toothpick comes out clean; that’s how you know they’re done!
Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
- Large pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- 4- pound chicken, giblets reserved for another use
- 1 yellow onion, scrubbed and quartered (peels left on, if you like)
- 1 bunch of carrots, tops cut off and rinsed, carrots scrubbed and cut into thirds
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
- 4 ribs of celery, rinsed and cut into thirds
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 12 cups water, plus more if needed
- 1 cup flour
- 3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- Salt and pepper
Prepare the chicken broth:
- Place chicken in a large pot and cover with 12 cups water. Add onion, carrots, garlic, celery, bay leaves, and thyme. Add 1 teaspoon salt (you’ll add more later). Ensure the chicken is covered with water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove the chicken from the pot and transfer it to a large bowl.
- Turn the heat on the broth to medium. Allow it to rapid-simmer for 30 minutes so that it reduces further. The broth will be a very deep golden brown. You should be left with between 8–10 cups of broth.
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a very large bowl. Discard solids.
- Shred the chicken from the carcass and place the meat in the bowl of broth (I do this to keep it moist.). Set aside.
- Carefully wash out the pot and return it to the stovetop.
Cook the soup aromatics:
- Turn the heat on the pot to medium. Add the mushrooms and let them cook in the dry pot until they release their liquid, about 6–7 minutes. No need to fuss over them or stir them too frequently. Allow them to release their liquid and for that liquid to evaporate.
- Continue cooking until they begin to brown, an additional 3–4 minutes.
- Melt the butter into the mushrooms and cook for 2–3 minutes, occasionally stirring. They will begin turning golden brown.
- Add the diced onion, carrots, parsnip, and celery and toss to combine. Cook for 6–7 minutes, often stirring until they soften. Season all over with salt and pepper.
Simmer the soup:
- Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and toss to coat. Toast the flour for 1–2 minutes.
- Ladle 1 cup of the reserved broth from the bowl and whisk to incorporate. Continue adding 1–2 ladlefuls until most of the broth has been added. Pour in the remaining broth and the chicken.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the soup is thickened. Taste and season to your preferences.
Make the dumplings:
- Combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Add the cold butter and work it into the flour until it’s crumbly. Season with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper.
- Pour in the ½ cup buttermilk and stir to combine. It’s okay if it becomes a little doughy or seems slightly dry.
Finish the soup:
- Pour the heavy cream into the soup and add the frozen peas. Turn the heat to medium-low.
Cook the dumplings:
- Before cooking the dumplings, stir 2 tablespoons more buttermilk into the dumpling mixture. It should feel relatively loose and still wet.
- Using a tablespoon, drop spoonfuls of the dumplings into the pot.
- Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Test dumplings with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Turn off the heat.
- Ladle the soup and dumplings into bowls. Garnish with freshly minced chives. Enjoy!