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Dolly Parton’s Chicken & Dumplings Recipe

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I’m the one they’ll (family) always ask to bring the chicken and dumplings. I make it like my mama and my grandmas and my aunts.—Dolly Parton
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 70 min.
MAKES:6 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 70 min.
MAKES: 6 servings


  • 1 (3 pounds) broiler/fryer chicken
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 onion, peeled and left whole
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk


  1. Combine the chicken and 2 tsp. of the salt with 2 qt. of water in a Dutch oven. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the pepper, onion, and celery leaves. Simmer the chicken until the meat falls away from the bone.
  2. Remove the chicken and onion from the pot, and strain out the celery leaves. Discard the onion and celery leaves, and set the chicken aside to cool.
  3. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and cut into 1-in. pieces. Set aside. Discard the skin and bones.
  4. Meanwhile, raise the heat to high and bring the broth to a boil.
  5. Combine the flour, baking soda, and the remaining ½ tsp. of salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening with a fork and knife or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Gradually stir in the milk until the dough is moist.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly knead for about 5 minutes.
  8. Roll dough out to ½-in. thickness and cut into 1½-in. squares.
  9. Drop the pieces of dough into the boiling broth. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir gently.
  10. Add the chicken back to the pot, stir, and cook until the chicken is heated through, about 8 minutes. Serve warm. Yield: 6 servings.
Originally published as Dolly Parton’s Chicken & Dumplings in Country Woman August/September 2014

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.

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Reviewed Aug. 2, 2015

"Thanks for this recipe! Mother made a very similar stew and this is the first time I've seen a recipe similar to her and dumplings like she made.

Changes that I made to this recipe - skinned chicken breast only (faster but not as flavorful), added sliced Carrots, Dill, and powdered Garlic. My family likes the round biscuit-type dumplings that I typically make with parsley but these dumplings from this recipe are my personal fav."

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