How to Make Dumplings from Scratch

Chicken and dumplings are the ultimate Southern comfort food! While Grandma made it best, it's surprisingly easy to learn how to make dumplings for soup from scratch.

Chicken and dumplings might be one the South’s best comfort foods, but it turns out that soup dumplings are something of an international affair. They can be made with flour, rice, potatoes or cheese, and dropping dumplings into soup is a sure-fire way to reclaim the cozy, comforting feel of Grandma’s kitchen. Learning how to make dumplings for soup is an economical way to create a belly-filling meal that will warm you up from the inside out. And, as it turns out, we have a recipe that’s super easy to master!

What are soup dumplings?

Some people hear dumplings and think of the wrapped dishes found at Dim Sum restaurants. Others immediately think of their Grandmother’s chicken and dumpling soup. There are dozens of different kinds of dumplings around the world, but they mostly fit into two categories: filled varieties (also known as pot stickers, gyoza, mandu, pierogi or ravioli) and unfilled dumplings (like Southern chicken and dumplings, Knodel, Bavarian semolina dumplings, matzo balls or ricotta gnocchi).

Making filled dumplings is a bit of an art form. After you perfect the wrapper, you have to fill them just right (not to mention the learned skill of wrapping it all up in a pretty-looking package). We prefer unfilled soup dumplings because they’re just as filling, comforting and flavorful, all while being significantly simpler to make.

How to make dumplings for soup

You only need a handful of ingredients to make a perfect soup dumpling. The big secret is to mix the wet and dry ingredients just enough for them to come together. If you don’t overmix them, they’ll turn out light and fluffy every time!

Check out our chicken and dumplings recipes to get the whole package, broth and all.

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  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted to remove clumps
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled slightly

Yield: enough dumplings for 8 servings of soup

Step 1: Mix the batter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk and melted butter. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until the flour is just moistened. Be careful not to overmix, or the dumplings will become dense.

Pro Tip: If you’re looking for a shortcut, try using self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour. The salt and baking powder are pre-mixed into the flour, so you just need to sift it into a bowl!

Step 2: Form the dumplings.

Many recipes call for dropping the dough directly into the simmering soup, but we like to let ours rest for a few minutes first. This gives the baking powder time to produce gas bubbles, helping the dumplings stay as light as air! Form them by dropping rounded tablespoonfuls of the batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.

Step 3: Drop ’em in.

This is my favorite part! There’s something so satisfying about dropping balls of flour into a soup and watching them turn into light, fluffy dumplings. Bring your soup or broth to a simmer and drop the prepared dumplings into the soup a few at a time. Once they’re all in, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook (covered) for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the dumplings comes out clean.

Pro Tip: Avoid the temptation to lift the cover while the dumplings are simmering. They’ll cook faster if the pot is covered the entire time, ensuring a light and airy consistency.

Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay is a professional chef, recipe developer, writer and developmental editor. After years of working in restaurant kitchens, she turned to writing to share her skills and experience with home cooks and food enthusiasts. She's passionate about using local, organic ingredients and teaching others how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, writes for several publications and is the co-author of two books about Ayurveda.