The Best Chicken & Dumplings Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. Cook: 1 hour 10 min.
This homestyle chicken and dumpling soup recipe is just like mom's with its classic mirepoix base and doughy drop dumplings.

Updated: Jun. 30, 2024

Some recipes just remind you of traditional homestyle cooking. For me, chicken and dumpling soup is one of them. With juicy pieces of chicken, fresh vegetables and little clouds of dumpling dough, every spoonful of the broth takes me back to visits at my grandma’s house.

This classic version is, without a doubt, the best chicken dumpling soup recipe. It’s chock-full of everything you want (and need) in a delicious homemade soup recipe and is made the old-fashioned way: low and slow. Busy weeknight? Opt for this quick chicken and dumplings instead. This recipe is for those slow, chilly weekends when you want something simmering away on the stovetop while you curl up in a blanket with your favorite book or movie.

Ingredients for Chicken and Dumpling Soup

  • Chicken: To achieve the best flavor, we use a whole chicken in this chicken and dumpling soup recipe. Using a bone-in chicken puts tons of flavor into the soup and ensures the chicken stays ultra-moist and juicy.
  • Flour: Before cooking, dredge the chicken through flour, which helps it brown and sear in the pan and thickens the soup while it simmers.
  • Aromatics: This easy chicken and dumpling soup uses a traditional mirepoix of carrots, celery and onions, plus a bit of minced garlic as its base.
  • Chicken stock: For this recipe, you can use your favorite store-bought brand of chicken stock or homemade chicken stock.
  • White wine: Add depth to the soup with white wine. Choose a crisp white wine with nice acidity, like a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc, for the best taste. To omit the wine, swap for apple cider instead (like in this apple cider chicken ‘n’ dumplings recipe).
  • Sugar: Use sugar to counter the acidity of the wine and balance the savory flavors in the soup.
  • Dumplings: A combination of flour, baking powder and salt mixes with melted butter and 2% milk to form a sticky drop dumpling dough that steams on top of the soup.
  • Heavy cream: Finish off the soup with heavy cream for a final dose of richness and a little extra body.
  • Herbs and spices: Bay leaves and whole peppercorns add a depth of flavor to the soup and chicken as they simmer, while fresh herbs like parsley and thyme finish the dish with a punch of color and freshness.

What are the different types of dumplings?

Old-fashioned chicken dumplings recipes are not all the same. When comparing versions, you’ll typically see slight variations in the ingredients and the type of dumplings used. There are three main types of dumplings you might see in chicken dumpling soup.

  • Drop-style dumplings: These are dumplings in which the dough is scooped directly from the bowl and spooned onto the surface of the soup for steaming. Drop dumplings (as seen in this healthy chicken dumpling soup recipe) are soft, pillowy and somewhat spongelike.
  • Rolled dumplings: This style (as seen in Dolly Parton’s chicken and dumplings) calls for thinly rolling out the dumpling dough and then cutting it into strips or irregular pieces. The dough pieces are then added to the soup and simmer until fully cooked. These dumplings have a slight chew to them and resemble thick-cut noodles.
  • Biscuit-style dumplings: These dumplings are actually biscuits (e.g., turkey biscuit stew). The dough is rolled and cut into biscuits, then placed onto the surface of the soup to steam or bake. Sometimes, large biscuits are used, and other times, they are cut into smaller pieces. These dumplings are more structured than drop dumplings and can be made from either homemade or store-bought canned biscuit dough for a shortcut.

Directions

Step 1: Brown the chicken

In a shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper. Add the chicken, one piece at a time, and toss to coat, shaking off any excess. In a 6-quart stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken in batches on all sides, then remove from the pot.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t discard the drippings from the chicken. It’s packed with flavor and will be used in the next step to saute the vegetables.

Step 2: Saute the vegetables

Add the aromatics (onion, carrots and celery) to the same pot and cook for six to eight minutes or until the onion is tender. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally for one minute or until fragrant.

Step 3: Combine and simmer

Stir in 1/4 cup of flour until a simple roux forms. Then, gradually add the stock, stirring constantly to ensure there are no lumps in the soup. Stir in the wine, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns, then return the browned chicken to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove the chicken from the pot and let it cool slightly.

Editor’s Tip: The chicken is fully cooked once its juices run clear and it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F with an instant-read thermometer.

Step 4: Mix the dumpling dough

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the milk and melted butter until blended. Add the milk mixture to the flour and stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.

Editor’s Tip: To prevent sticking, you may coat or spray the parchment with a small amount of cooking oil.

Step 5: Shred the chicken

Discard the bay leaves and skim the fat from the soup. Then, remove the skin and bones from the chicken and discard. Using two forks, coarsely shred the meat into 1- to 1-1/2-inch pieces and return to soup. Cook, covered, on high until the soup reaches a simmer.

Step 6: Steam the dumplings

Drop the shaped dumplings on top of the simmering soup, a few at a time. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the dumplings comes out clean. Important: Resist the urge to lift the lid while the dumplings steam.

Gently stir in the cream and sprinkle with parsley and thyme. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, then serve warm.

Editor’s Tip: Drop four to five dumplings into the soup and let them cook for a second or two to firm up on the edges before adding more to the pot. This will help ensure your dumplings do not fuse together and form one super massive dumpling blob.

Recipe Variations

  • Make Instant Pot chicken and dumpling soup: For an Instant Pot version, refer to the directions for this pressure cooker chicken and vegetable soup. Preparing the dumplings as directed and stir in the cream just before serving.
  • Try slow-cooker chicken and dumpling soup: To make in a crockpot, try this slow cooker chicken and dumpling recipe.
  • Use a rotisserie chicken shortcut: Using a rotisserie chicken is one of our favorite dinnertime shortcuts. If using rotisserie chicken, begin the recipe with Step 2, sauteing the vegetables in 2 tablespoons of butter rather than chicken drippings. Then proceed with the recipe as directed, removing the skin and bones from the chicken and adding it to the soup in Step 5 of the recipe.
  • Flavor your dumplings: For extra flavor, add a teaspoon or two of dried herbs to the dumpling dough before cooking. A combination of dried thyme, parsley, oregano, sage and/or basil are all great choices. For a fun twist, try using the famous Red Lobster biscuit recipe for dumplings.
  • Add more veggies: For extra nutrition, additional vegetables may be used. Try extra carrots, parsnips, frozen corn (hello, corn chowder with dumplings), cut green beans, sliced mushrooms or diced red bell pepper.

How to Store Chicken and Dumpling Soup

This traditional chicken and dumpling soup recipe may be stored in an airtight container for two to three days in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze chicken and dumpling soup?

Yes. To freeze, store the chicken dumpling soup in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. You may also wish to omit the heavy cream from the recipe initially and add it to the soup upon reheating. Some soups containing dairy tend to separate once frozen. Here are more soup freezing tips.

How do you reheat chicken and dumpling soup?

Warm leftover chicken and dumplings over medium heat in a stockpot until heated through. If you feel as though the dumplings have absorbed too much of the broth, you may wish to add 1 cup of chicken broth to the soup before reheating.

Can you make chicken and dumpling soup ahead of time?

Yes! To make this chicken dumpling soup recipe ahead, prepare the recipe through Step 3. Remove the chicken, shred it and then return it to the soup. From here, you may refrigerate for up to two days. To finish, bring the soup to a simmer over medium heat; meanwhile, mix the dumpling dough. Cook the dumplings and finish the recipe as directed. Here are more soups you can freeze or make ahead.

Chicken and Dumpling Soup Tips

How can you tell when dumplings are done?

To test if dumplings are done, stick a toothpick or skewer into the dumpling after the specified cook time. If the skewer comes out clean, the dumplings are done. If it comes out wet or sticky, cover and let cook a bit longer. Floating isn’t as good of a gauge of doneness, so stick with a toothpick.

Can you overcook dumplings?

Yes, even in the most simple chicken and dumplings recipe, it is possible to overcook them. Overcooked dumplings will start to fall apart and disintegrate in the broth, so don’t walk away from the stove. Be diligent about checking them when the cook time is nearly up.

How do you thicken chicken and dumpling soup?

The flour in this recipe is what thickens the soup and gives it body. If you would like a thicker chicken dumpling soup, add a few extra tablespoons of flour in Step 3 of the recipe. Alternatively, a cornstarch slurry made with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water may be whisked into the soup with the heavy cream. Let simmer for four to five minutes until the soup thickens. Here are more of our favorite ways to thicken sauces and soups.

What can you serve with chicken and dumpling soup?

Chicken and dumpling soup is a one-pot meal that really needs no accompaniments. However, a colorful side salad or a loaf of homemade crusty bread always pairs nicely with a hearty soup recipe like this one. Looking for dessert? Try one of these equally comforting warm desserts.

Watch how to Make The Best Chicken & Dumplings

The Best Chicken & Dumplings

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield 8 servings (3 quarts)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken (about 3 pounds), cut up
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine or apple cider
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 whole peppercorns
  • DUMPLINGS:
  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • SOUP:
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • Additional salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a shallow bowl, mix 1/2 cup flour, salt and pepper. Add chicken, 1 piece at a time, and toss to coat; shake off excess. In a 6-qt. stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken in batches on all sides; remove from pan.
  2. Add onion, carrots and celery to same pan; cook and stir 6-8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Stir in 1/4 cup flour until blended. Gradually add stock, stirring constantly. Stir in wine, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns. Return chicken to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, 20-25 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.
  3. For dumplings, in a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk milk and melted butter until blended. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened (do not overmix). Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet; set aside.
  4. Remove chicken from stockpot; cool slightly. Discard bay leaves and skim fat from soup. Remove skin and bones from chicken and discard. Using 2 forks, coarsely shred meat into 1- to 1-1/2-in. pieces; return to soup. Cook, covered, on high until mixture reaches a simmer.
  5. Drop dumplings on top of simmering soup, a few at a time. Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of dumplings comes out clean (do not lift cover while simmering). Gently stir in cream, parsley and thyme. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 470 calories, 24g fat (8g saturated fat), 104mg cholesterol, 892mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 32g protein.

Homemade chicken and dumplings from scratch harken back to my childhood and chilly days when we devoured those cute little balls of dough swimming in hot, rich broth. It's one of those types of soup you'll want to eat again and again. —Erika Monroe-Williams, Scottsdale, Arizona
Recipe Creator