This recipe for Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings is a family favorite. Tender chunks of chicken and light and fluffy dumplings float in a rich, homemade chicken broth. And while this recipe takes a little bit more time, the resulting dish of made-from-scratch Chicken and Dumplings is worth the extra effort. This is a comfort-food classic and is guaranteed to impress. And if you like hearty, old-fashioned chicken recipes, check out my recipe for Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup with Rivels.
About once a week or so, usually on a Saturday or Sunday, I like to take the time to put some extra effort into a meal. I’m talking real from-scratch home cooking. This past Sunday it was a batch of these Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings.
And sure, I sometimes make a quicker version for a weeknight meal. But, here I’m giving you the real-deal method I use to make what my family thinks is the best chicken and dumplings. I start with a whole chicken, some vegetables, and flour and end up with a pot of chicken stew and fluffy dumplings. And for this recipe, we’re making the fluffy biscuit-like kind of dumplings, not the noodle-like type (although you can look for that recipe sometime in a future post). The dumplings also have a little bit of cornmeal added in so that they puff up in the broth but still retain a bit of substance and texture.
What are the ingredients for homemade Chicken and Dumplings:
Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list. The ingredients are very basic and most items you will already have on hand. A few ingredients, though, are worth mentioning:
Chicken – This is the star of the show. Of course, you can make chicken and dumplings with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but I don’t recommend it. What you need for delicious chicken and dumplings is a whole chicken. Buy the best quality chicken that fits your budget. A 4-5 pound whole chicken will work best.
Poultry Seasoning – I always keep poultry seasoning on hand because it’s a great all-purpose seasoning. I also like it because it contains sage which has a distinct flavor that pairs well with poultry. But if you don’t have poultry seasoning, just substitute a mixture of dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram, and/or sage (if you have it). Just use what you have and it will still be delicious.
Turmeric – You may be tempted to skip the turmeric in the recipe, but if you have it in your spice cabinet, I encourage you to use it in this recipe. It adds a small amount of flavor, but it gives a rich yellow color to the broth.
Chicken Base – I like to use chicken base because it adds extra seasoning to the broth and gives it a more pronounced chicken flavor. This is an optional ingredient but I think it really makes the dish more flavorful. I use this one by Better than Bouillon.
All-Purpose Flour – I use regular unbleached all-purpose flour (but bleached flour is OK, too). If you would like to make gluten-free chicken and dumplings, be sure to use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend like this one by King Arthur Flour, or this one by Bob’s Red Mill. Also, be sure that the cornmeal you are using is certified gluten-free. Because while cornmeal is naturally gluten-free, there can be traces of gluten acquired during the manufacturing process.
Tips for making Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch:
The trick to making a pot of old-fashioned chicken and dumplings as delicious as grandma used to make is TIME. Be patient. Skip the boneless, skinless chicken, and instead, start with a whole chicken. And simmer it slowly until it is fall-apart tender. In this process, you’ll also end up with the rich broth that will be the base for your soup (or is it a stew?).
You’ll want to simmer the chicken in a big, heavy pot on the stovetop. Or, if you aren’t pressed for time, use your slow cooker. And if you want to make things a little easier, go ahead and cook the chicken a day or two ahead, then remove the meat and refrigerate both the meat and the broth until the day of your meal.
Store leftover chicken and dumplings in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you try this recipe, I hope you love it. And follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram so you don’t miss a post.
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