Southern Chicken and Dumplings

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
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Southern Chicken and Dumplings are true comfort food, made with tender chicken and rolled (flat) dumplings in a rich, savory broth. It’s a homemade Southern classic that’ll warm you up on a chilly night!

Why You’ll Love These Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings

If you want a true taste of the South, this dish is the way to go. Here’s why you’ll love it:

  • Comfort Food: Southern homemade chicken and dumplings are the epitome of comfort food, with meaty chicken, a luscious broth, and tender flat dumplings.
  • Traditional: This nostalgic and traditional dish is perfect for a family dinner that will have everyone going back for seconds. Its tried-and-true flavor can’t be beat.
  • Simple Ingredients: Southern chicken and dumplings turns simple, wholesome ingredients like chicken, carrots, and celery into a masterpiece!
  • Filling and Hearty: The combination of chicken, dumplings, and broth is a hearty, home-cooked meal that leaves you feeling full and satisfied.

If you are looking for fluffy dumplings, check out this recipe for the best homemade chicken and dumplings! If you are in a rush, try my easy chicken and dumplings made with canned biscuits.

Lifting a spoonful of southern style chicken and dumplings out of a pot.

What Are Flat Dumplings?

Flat dumplings (also known as rolled dumplings or slick dumplings) are different from the fluffy, drop-biscuit-like dumplings you might have seen in other recipes. Flat dumplings are rolled out pastry that is cut into big, pie-crust-like strips or squares and simmered in the chicken soup broth.

The finished result is somewhat like an oversized thick noodle that’s tender and bready on the inside. Some people only like fluffy dumplings, while others will only eat flat dumplings. We love them all!

Ingredients for old fashioned chicken and dumplings recipe, arranged in bowls on a work surface.

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe uses chicken, aromatic veggies, and a few classic baking items to create a heartwarming bowl of Southern homemade chicken and dumplings that’s pure comfort in every bite. Scroll to the recipe card for exact amounts.

For the Soup:

  • Chicken: Any chicken pieces you want are fine. I often make chicken and dumplings with bone-in chicken thighs or breasts, or both.
  • Veggies: We’ll be using carrots, celery, onion, and fresh garlic.
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme is optional, but it adds a wonderful flavor.
  • Water
  • Vinegar: A little acid brings out the best in chicken soup. I used plain white vinegar, but you could easily substitute lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or white wine vinegar.
  • Bouillon: Use a bit of your favorite chicken bouillon or base (I like Better than Bouillon) to add some extra umami flavor.
  • Black Pepper: Freshly ground will give you the best flavor.
  • Bay Leaves
  • Cornstarch: Optional, for thickening.

For the Flat Dumplings:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour, some for the dumplings and more for rolling them out.
  • Baking Powder: Make sure to use baking powder, not baking soda!
  • Salt
  • Shortening: Have your shortening cold. You can use butter instead, but shortening will give your dumplings the best texture.
  • Buttermilk: Also cold.
Three bowls of southern style chicken and dumplings on a table with fresh herbs and a cloth napkin.

How to Make Southern Chicken and Dumplings

Southern style homemade chicken and dumplings is an easy recipe to make as everything cooks together in one pot, making it simple and quick to clean up! Check out the recipe card at the end of this post for detailed instructions.

  • Simmer: Combine all of the soup ingredients in a large heavy bottomed pot like a dutch oven. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  • Dough: While the soup cooks, combine your dry dumpling ingredients, and cut in the shortening to make a crumbly mixture. Stir in the buttermilk, and knead for 30 seconds.
  • Roll: Place the dough on a floured countertop and roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about ¼ inch thickness. Cut the dough into strips, and then into rectangles. Let them air-dry while the soup continues to cook.
  • Finish: Shred the chicken and add it back to the soup. Drop the dumplings in and cook them until tender, stirring often. Adjust the seasonings to taste and thicken with cornstarch, if you like.
  • Enjoy! 
Southern homemade chicken and dumplings with flat noodles in a big pot with a ladle inside the pot.

Cook’s Notes

Whether you’re looking for a taste of tradition, a cozy meal on a cold day, or just some good old-fashioned comfort, this old fashioned chicken and dumplings recipe has you covered.

  • Veggies: The carrots, onion and onion are optional. They add a ton of flavor, but I understand some people like their chicken and dumplings without vegetables. Feel free to skip them!
  • Shortening: If you do not want to use shortening, you can use cold butter. Shortening is what my family used years ago, so I still use it as that is the comforting taste and texture I am looking for!
  • Measuring Flour: To ensure your dumplings are not overly dense, properly measure your flour! First, fluff the flour in the bag or canister with a fork. Spoon into the measuring cup and scrape a knife across the top to level the flour. If you scoop directly into a packed bag of flour, you can get too much flour, creating overly dense dumplings.
  • Making the Dumplings: It is best to make your dumplings as soon as you begin cooking the soup.  Once they are rolled out, they can dry until ready to cook. For cutting the dumplings, I highly recommend using a pizza cutter.
  • Save Time: Need dinner ready sooner? Skip cooking the chicken and use a shredded, store bought rotisserie chicken instead. Sauté the veggies till softened, then add the chicken and broth to the pot while you prepare the dumplings.
Three bowls of homemade chicken and dumplings next to a large soup pot.

Storing and Reheating Southern Chicken and Dumplings

Southern homemade chicken and dumplings leftovers are the best. Here’s how to handle them:

  • Store: Store leftover Southern chicken and dumplings in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Reheat: You can reheat soup on the stove over medium-low heat until warmed through. Keep in mind that the dumplings will soak up the broth while they’re in the fridge, so you might want to add a little broth or milk before reheating.
A spoon resting in a bowl of chicken soup with dumplings.

FAQs

Can I Freeze This Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings?

Sadly I don’t recommend freezing Southern chicken and dumplings. The dumplings will soak up too much liquid and will not be the same texture-wise after freezing and thawing. Instead, enjoy this recipe fresh. If necessary, you can cut the ingredient amounts in half to make a smaller batch that’s easier to use up within five days.

How do you know when flat dumplings are done?

What should a flat dumpling taste and feel like when done? It should be warm, tender, and tasty all the way through. If you bite into one and it feels tough or doughy, then they probably need to simmer a bit more.

Pro tip: it’s better to overcook, than undercook, this type of dumplings!

Landscape shot of chicken and dumplings garnished with cracked black pepper.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 10 servings

Southern Chicken and Dumplings

This Southern Chicken and Dumplings is made completely from scratch for the ultimate comfort food dinner! Made with tender chicken and rolled (flat) dumplings in a rich, savory broth, it will warm you up on a chilly night!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

For the Soup:

  • 3 pounds chicken, any chicken pieces you want
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into half moons
  • 3 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
  • 6 cups water, or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon, like better than bouillon
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for garnish
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, optional for thickening

For the Dumplings:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • cup shortening, cold, or butter
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, cold

Instructions 

  • In a large deep heavy bottom pot, like a dutch oven, add the chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, thyme, water, vinegar, bouillon, pepper, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 30 minutes.
  • While the soup is cooking, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Use a fork and cut in the shortening until small pea sizes remain, then stir in the buttermilk. Mix it all together and knead for 30 seconds.
  • Dust a flat surface with flour and roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. (Add extra flour if your dough is sticking while rolling it out.)
  • Use a knife or pizza cutter to slice the dough into 1” by 2” rectangle pieces (does not need to be exact in size). Let the dough dry while the soup continues to cook.
  • When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the soup and shred it. Remove the thyme sprigs and discard. Stir the chicken back into the soup.
  • Bring soup back to a low boil (over medium heat) and drop the dumpling pieces into the soup a few at a time, stirring often so they don’t all stick together. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are tender and cooked through. Dumplings may start to sink a little to the bottom as they finish cooking as they soak up the broth.
  • Thicken If Needed: The soup will have thickened while adding the dumplings, however if the broth is too thin for your tastes, combine 3 tablespoons of water and the cornstarch and pour into the broth, gently stirring to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened.
  • Remove from the heat, taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed and serve immediately!

Notes

Veggies: The carrots, onion and onion are optional. They add a ton of flavor, but I understand some people like their chicken and dumplings without vegetables. Feel free to skip them!
Shortening: If you do not want to use shortening, you can use cold butter. Shortening is what my family used years ago, so I still use it as that is the comforting taste and texture I am looking for!
Measuring Flour: To ensure your dumplings are not overly dense, properly measure your flour! First, fluff the flour in the bag or canister with a fork. Spoon into the measuring cup and scrape a knife across the top to level the flour. If you scoop directly into a packed bag of flour, you can get too much flour, creating overly dense dumplings.
Making the Dumplings: It is best to make your dumplings as soon as you begin cooking the soup.  Once they are rolled out, they can dry until ready to cook. For cutting the dumplings, I highly recommend using a pizza cutter.
How To Tell When Dumplings Are Done: Dumplings should be soft, tender and not doughy. If you bite into one and it feels tough or doughy, then you need to simmer them more. It’s better to overcook, than undercook, this type of dumplings!
Save Time: Need dinner ready sooner? Skip cooking the chicken and use a shredded, store bought rotisserie chicken instead. Sauté the veggies till softened, then add the chicken and broth to the pot while you prepare the dumplings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 1412kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 144g, Saturated Fat: 43g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 31g, Monounsaturated Fat: 64g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 118mg, Sodium: 301mg, Potassium: 141mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3104IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 1mg

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.