This creamy Chicken and Dumplings recipe is the ultimate comfort food! The most flavorful and hearty chicken soup filled with fluffy, homemade dumplings that are made from scratch in minutes!
The Best Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
If you have been looking for the best homemade chicken and dumplings recipe, you have finally found it! With a rich and creamy broth, bites of tender chicken, and the fluffiest, homemade dumplings, this really is the BEST Chicken and Dumplings recipe!
Don’t get nervous when I say this recipe is made from scratch. You’ll be glad to know homemade dumplings are surprisingly simple to make with pantry staple ingredients. Grab a spoon and let’s dive in!
Watch How To Make It
Want to see how to make this chicken and dumplings recipe from start to finish? Here’s a step-by-step video:
What are Dumplings?
Sweet or savory, a dumpling is soft dough that’s been boiled, steamed, or fried. You can cook dumpling dough as is (eg: chicken and dumpling recipes), or roll it out to wrap around fillings (eg: wontons).
There’s a lot of wiggle room within the true definition of a dumpling. However, with chicken and dumplings, there are 3 popular kinds of dumplings:
- Drop Dumplings: Light and fluffy dumplings that are made in a bowl that you scoop out and drop into the soup to be cooked. This recipe uses drop dumplings.
- Rolled Dumplings: These are the kind of dumplings you get when you order Cracker Barrel’s Chicken and Dumplings. They are a flat dense dumpling, sometimes also referred to as “flat dumplings” or “noodle dumplings”.
- Biscuit Dumplings: Made with canned biscuits that are cut into quarters and dropped into the soup. Here is my favorite easy Chicken and Dumplings with Biscuits Recipe! You can swap out the homemade dumplings for canned biscuit dumplings in this recipe.
Love chicken & dumplings? Me too! Try these other favorite versions: Chicken and Dumplings Casserole, Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings, Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings (with biscuit dumplings), or Crockpot Chicken and Dumplings (with homemade dumplings).
Made with a simple assortment of everyday ingredients, you probably have most of the items in your kitchen already! For the full ingredient amounts, scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Vegetables: I like to use a combination of onion, carrots, celery and garlic. You could also add peas if you like them in your soup. If you prefer to not use vegetables, I still recommend using the onion and garlic for a good savory flavor boost.
- Flour: I use regular all purpose flour to thicken my soup. (See below for gluten free options.)
- Evaporated Milk: Evaporated milk is creamier when compared to whole milk, but not as thick or fattening as heavy whipping cream. It is a shelf-stable canned milk with 60% of the water removed, making it much creamier. It is also less likely to curdle!
- Chicken Stock: Chicken stock or chicken broth both work perfectly.
- Chicken: You can use a rotisserie chicken or shredded cooked chicken to make this recipe go a lot faster. However, I have also included directions on how to use raw chicken breasts or thighs.
- Spices: Thyme, salt & freshly cracked black pepper.
- Flour: See below for gluten free options.
- Baking Powder: Do not swap for baking soda.
- Seasonings: Freshly cracked black pepper, salt, and thyme.
- Milk: I highly recommend using whole milk, 2% milk, or evaporated milk, to give your dumplings the right amount of fat to stay moist.
- Butter: Melted.
Can I make this recipe gluten free?
Yes! First, use cornstarch to thicken the soup instead of flour. Skip adding the flour to the soup and continue on with the recipe. Before you add the dumplings, whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into 2 tablespoons of water or chicken broth. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the soup.
For the dumplings, many readers have commented on having success with Bob Red Mill’s Gluten Free Flour Blend. They substituted it 1:1 for the all purpose flour in the dumplings. They have said it worked perfectly!
How to Make Chicken and Dumplings
Just how hard is it to make this classic comfort food dish from scratch? Surprisingly easier than you think! First we start with the soup base:
- Sauté your veggies: Sauté the onion, carrots and celery in a hearty bit of butter until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add flour: Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. (This is making a roux, which will help thicken your soup.)
- Simmer: Add the evaporated milk and broth. Stir quickly to combine. Bring to a boil and add chicken, thyme, black pepper and salt. Let soup simmer, uncovered, while you make dumplings.
How To Make Dumplings for Chicken and Dumplings
This homemade dumpling recipe is SO easy! They take just minutes to whisk together and they are ready to go into the pot:
- Mix dry ingredients: Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, pepper, salt and thyme) into a medium sized bowl and whisk together.
- Add wet ingredients: Add in the butter and milk, mix it together using a wooden spoon, until dough ball forms.
- Drop the dumplings into the soup: Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dumpling dough into balls and drop them directly into the simmering soup.
- Cover and simmer: Place a lid on your pot, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Test the dumplings: Gently stir the soup. Remove one dumpling and cut it in half to make sure it is cooked through. If not cooked through, cook a few more minutes (with the lid on) and test again.
- Serve: Once the dumplings are cooked, your soup is ready to eat. Time to dig in!
Tips For Success
Still worried about making chicken and dumplings from scratch? Here are a few last tips to help guarantee your success:
- Dumpling Size: In the photos and video, I used a large cookie scoop, which produces large dumplings. They do take a little longer to cook through than dumplings scooped with a medium sized cookie scoop. Both are delicious, it’s really just personal preference.
- Scooping Dumplings: I find it much easier to scoop dumplings with a cookie scoop. However, if you do not have one, you can use two spoons! Scoop a round of dough with one spoon and push it off and into the pot with your second spoon. Try to make sure your dumplings are even in size so they all cook evenly.
- Why aren’t my dumplings cooking through? Make sure you have the lid on the pot! This is important to help trap in the heat to evenly cook the dumplings. If you have the lid on and they still aren’t cooking, make sure you have the heat up just high enough that the soup is simmering (a low bubble).
- Why are my dumplings super dense and sinking? This is usually caused by expired baking powder, accidentally using baking soda in place of baking powder, or by using too much flour. Make sure that your baking powder is not expired and is still active. To check if your baking powder is still active, pour 1/4 cup boiling water over 1/2 tsp baking powder. If it bubbles, it’s still good. If not, it’s no good! If it foams when you pour over boiling water, the baking powder is active!
- Measure Flour: To ensure fluffy dumplings, make sure to properly measure your flour! First, fluff up the flour in the bag or canister. Spoon the flour into the measuring cup. Then scrape a knife across the top of the measuring cup to level the flour. Using this method will guarantee you get the correct amount of flour. If you scoop directly into a packed bag of flour, you can get too much flour creating overly dense dumplings.
- Evaporated Milk: It is VERY IMPORTANT that you make sure and use evaporated milk and not condensed milk. Many readers have emailed me over the years asking why their chicken and dumplings is weirdly sweet…that’s because they accidentally grabbed sweetened condensed milk and not evaporated milk. If you do not have evaporated milk, whole milk is a great substitute. You can also use 1% or 2% milks, but your soup will not be as creamy.
- Thyme: Fresh thyme adds a great mild herb-y flavor to the soup and dumplings, but it’s completely optional. You can also swap it for another mild herb or seasoning mix like dried parsley, an Italian seasoning mix, or rosemary. If using rosemary, I would recommend cutting the amount in half as it has a very strong flavor.
How To Store Leftovers
This soup is best served fresh, once stored the dumplings will absorb the extra liquid and become a little mushier. However, we still love the leftovers, they are just a little different than hot off the stove.
To store leftovers, make sure to let them cool completely and then store in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave in small 30 second bursts, until warmed through. You can also reheat them on the stove top. I like to add a little extra chicken broth and evaporated milk to loosen the soup back up, but that’s totally optional!
Can You Freeze Chicken and Dumplings?
Yes, you can freeze the leftovers from this Chicken and Dumplings recipe, but it will change the overall texture. The dumplings will absorb the extra liquid, but the flavor will still be there.
Let the chicken and dumplings cool to room temperature, and then ladle into freezer bags. Freeze for up to three months, and make sure to thaw in the refrigerator before reheating and serving again. The dairy in the soup may separate a bit, but you can usually stir it (and add another splash of evaporated milk) to make the soup fairly creamy again. You can also always add a little chicken broth as well.
Best Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 12 oz (1 can) evaporated milk
- 32 oz (1 quart) chicken stock
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper, or to taste
- salt, to taste
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon, baking powder
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¾ cup (6 oz) whole milk
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- In a large heavy bottomed pot (like a dutch oven), melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook for 5 minutes, until vegetables being to soften. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add evaporated milk and chicken stock and quickly stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and add chicken, thyme, black pepper and salt. Let soup simmer, uncovered, while you make dumplings.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, pepper, salt and thyme. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the milk and butter into the center of it.
- Using a wooden spoon (or rubber spatula), stir together until dough ball forms. If your dough seems too dry, you can add an extra tablespoon of milk.
- Using a large or medium sized cookie scoop (depending on how large you want your dumplings), scoop dough and drop directly into the simmering soup. Place them around the pot, not all in the same place.
- Once all dumplings have been added, gently press them down so the soup runs over just the tops of them.
- Place the lid on your pot and lower the heat a little to a low simmer (you don’t want the bottom of the soup to burn but also want the soup to still be simmering to cook the dumplings).
- Cook for 15 minutes, gently stir the soup/dumplings and then cut one dumpling in half to make sure they are cooked through.
- If the dumplings are cooked through, serve hot! If not, cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes and check again.
More Classic Comfort Food Dinners
- Cracker Barrel Meatloaf Recipe
- Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Ground Beef Stroganoff
- Easy Beef and Noodles
- Loaded Baked Potato Soup
- Million Dollar Spaghetti
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