This Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings recipe is classic homestyle cooking at its best. It’s perfect for a chilly winter night!
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I’ll be the first to admit that some of grandma’s recipes deserve to be left in the past. What was it with the 1960’s and cooking everything with gelatin!? And boiling Brussels sprouts until they were soft and tasteless? We can leave that behind. But this Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings? Amazing!
Chicken and Dumplings have stood the test of time…and for good reason! This recipe is absolutely delicious. It’s classic homestyle cookin’ at its best. It’s hearty, flavorful and perfect for warming your belly on a cold night.
Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings
If you’ve never made a homemade version of this dish, then you’re in for a real treat. Chicken and Dumplings is essentially a creamy chicken soup where the soup is used to cook dumplings, or balls of biscuit dough.
When served, the soup is spooned into a bowl and then a dumpling is added on top. My grandma always made very large dumplings, and we each got one in our bowl. We’d use our spoons to break apart the dumpling so we got some biscuit and some soup in each bite.
Another one of grandma’s “secret” tricks? Evaporated milk. The soup portion of Chicken and Dumplings varies greatly in different versions, but I’ve always enjoyed a thicker, creamier soup. A can of evaporated milk is an easy way to boost the creaminess in the soup portion of this recipe.
As a kid, I remember grandma would roast a chicken to use for Chicken and Dumplings. While you can absolutely still do that, we’ve added a shortcut – rotisserie chicken. I always keep bags of rotisserie chicken in the freezer for easy use in soups and other recipes. This recipe is one where I just drop in a bag of frozen (cooked) rotisserie chicken. Easy peasy!
Types of Dumplings
When it comes to Chicken and Dumplings, there are 2 main versions of dumplings out there:
- Drop Dumplings – the dough is made in a large mixing bowl and then balls of dumpling batter get dropped into the soup. This is my personal favorite, and it’s the style I used in this recipe. A shortcut version calls for canned biscuits to be cut into quarters and dropped into the soup.
- Rolled Dumplings – the dough gets mixed and then rolled out. This leads to a denser dough-y dumpling.
My wife grew up near Pennsylvania Amish country, and she makes a soup every winter with rolled dumplings. They’re delicious, but I personally prefer the shaggy biscuit like dumplings that come from dropping mounds of dough into the hot soup.
Chicken and Dumplings Ingredients
- Butter & Olive Oil. I like to use a combination of butter and olive oil for sautéing the veggies. The butter brings flavor, but the olive oil increases the smoke point…which means it’s harder to burn the chopped vegetables.
- Onions, Celery, Carrots & Garlic. The combination of onions, celery and carrots are the classic mirepoix used in many soups. I like to add a bit of minced garlic here, too.
- All-purpose Flour. Adds to the creamy texture of the soup.
- Low-Sodium Chicken Broth & Evaporated Milk. I like to use low-sodium broth and then add salt on my own. This lets me control the amount of salt a bit better. And the evaporated milk really elevates the creaminess of this recipe without using actual heavy cream. (Evaporated milk also freezes better than cream should you plan on freezing leftovers.)
- Shredded, Cooked Chicken. I use shredded rotisserie chicken as an easy shortcut. We typically keep bags of rotisserie chicken meat in the freezer for easy use in recipes like this one.
- Spices: Salt, Pepper, Thyme & Parsley. This classic combination is great for chicken recipes. If you’re not a fan of thyme, rosemary would also work well here.
Like many soups, Chicken and Dumplings actually taste better on Day 2 as the flavors meld and the dumplings absorb more of the broth from the soup. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If needed, you can freeze leftovers for up to 3-4 months. To thaw, place container or freezer bag in the refrigerator overnight. To reheat, place thawed leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave thawed leftovers in a microwave-safe container in 1-minute intervals, stirring after each round, until heated through.
If you’re looking for an all-time favorite comfort food recipe, then this one deserves a spot on the list. Grandma knew what she was doing…at least when it came to Chicken and Dumplings! Enjoy!
Did you make this recipe at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Old Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings
For the Soup
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onions
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (see note)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
For the Soup
- Using a large stockpot or Dutch oven, add butter and olive oil and place over medium-high heat.
- Once butter has melted, add onions, celery and carrots; stir until well combined. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes.
- Add garlic; continue sautéing for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add flour; continue sautéing for 1-2 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add chicken broth and evaporated milk; stir until well combined. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil.
- Add cooked chicken, salt, pepper and thyme; stir until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer.
For the Dumplings
- Using a large bowl, add flour, salt, pepper, thyme and baking powder; stir until well combined.
- Add buttermilk and melted butter to the bowl of dry ingredients; stir until well combined.
- Using a ¼-cup measure, drop mounds of the dumpling dough into the simmering soup. Gently press dough into soup.
- Cover pot and simmer for 12-15 more minutes, or until dumplings are fully cooked. (Tip: To check dumplings, split one open and confirm that the center is cooked. If necessary, continue cooking for 3-5 more minutes.)
- Garnish with freshly chopped parsley before serving.
Looking for more classic comfort food recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: