This delicious Chicken and Dumplings recipe comes together in well under an hour with tender chunks of chicken and fluffy buttermilk dumplings - it's the perfect cozy meal for a chilly day!
With Midwest roots, I didn't grow up enjoying Chicken and Dumplings. But these days, I can't think of anything more comforting or soul-warming on a chilly fall or winter day than a bowl of this quintessential Southern fare. I mean, what's not to love about a one-pot creamy chicken-veggie stew topped with the most tender, fluffy buttermilk dumplings? Comfort food at its very finest!
History of Chicken and Dumplings
Not having been born and raised as a southern girl, I was curious about the history of chicken and dumplings. After doing some research, I was surprised to learn that there's lots of speculation but nothing certain.
There's a common assumption that this dish originated during the depression years as an economical way to feed hungry mouths. But according to It's a Southern Thing, "The first known reference to chicken and dumplings together was in an 1879 cookbook called "Housekeeping in Old Virginia."
A similar theory, going a bit farther back, is that chicken and dumplings recipes were born during the Civil War, again explained to be an invention born out of poverty used to stretch common folk's budgets.
Food historian, Robert Moss, in a Serious Eats article disagrees with these speculations, saying that "this dish, far from some sort of humble economy dish, it's actually a rich, luxurious Southern icon."
He describes how this classic southern dish is referenced in the American folk song, "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain". The song says "We'll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes." Moss says the line gives evidence that chicken and dumplings were seen as "company food" and not an everyday poverty dish.
So who knows where this iconic Southern dish came into being? I don't claim to know, but I do have to agree with a statement from It's a Southern thing, that, "chicken and dumplings are one of God's most perfect creations". As I said at the beginning of this post, "what's not to love about a one-pot creamy chicken and vegetable stew topped with tender, fluffy dumplings?".
Classic chicken and dumplings
Classically, making chicken and dumplings is an all-day project. It starts with a whole chicken that's simmered with carrots, celery and onion for hours until it's fall-off-the-bone tender. The broth then needs to be strained and the chicken picked off of the bones. There are lots more steps before the job is done, but this initial process alone makes me kind of tired.
Knowing that so many of us have busy lifestyles these days, I wanted to come up with an easy but super delicious chicken and dumplings recipe. It's taken numerous attempts but I think we have a winner. I gave the recipe to my daughter-in-law, Lindsay, to test before I posted it. She texted the following day:
"Everyone loved the chicken and dumplings, even Hayes (our grandson who can be a teeny bit picky) ! And Emmy (our granddaughter) wanted to take it for her school lunch today, so that means she loved it!"
My recipe starts by sautéing onion, shallot and celery in olive oil and butter. I like to add a splash of white wine for extra flavor at this point but that's optional. A simple roux (to thicken the sauce) is then made with a few tablespoons of flour. Chicken broth, carrots and flavorful seasonings come next and are simmered briefly to soften the veggies before adding bite-size pieces of rotisserie chicken and a splash of cream.
All that's left is to quickly stir together the simple dumpling ingredients and drop spoonfuls into the simmering sauce. Cover it up and wait for the magical moment (15 minutes later) when you lift the lid to see fluffy, herb-speckled dumplings mounded high on top of the savory sauce. It's a beautiful sight to behold!
I wish we could all sit down together and enjoy a bowlful of these chicken and dumplings on a cold, snowy day. Next best thing? Make a batch for yourself. You can put it together in less than an hour. Invite the family or some friends and have a Southern party. I can't promise that you'll all start talking with a charming Southern accent but I will promise there'll be lots of rave reviews! Cheers to "y'all"!
Café Tips for making this Chicken and Dumpling recipe
- This recipe calls for fresh rosemary. You can substitute fresh thyme for the rosemary or go half and half.
- Look for frozen peas labeled "tiny" - they're super tender and look really pretty in this dish. They're already blanched so they are added at the very end and simply warmed so that they keep their vibrant color.
- This recipe makes great leftovers. I like to store the leftover dumplings and stew separately as the sauce tends to thicken up a bit and I usually need to add a little extra chicken broth when rewarming.
- This Chicken and Dumpling recipe works well in a large sauté pan or a low braiser. I love my Staub Braiser. I've had mine for years and it's been a true kitchen workhorse. (Psst... this would make a wonderful gift for anyone who enjoys cooking!)
- You'll be shocked at how much the dumplings will expand during the 15 minutes, so don't make them too big to start with. I used the medium scoop in this set which is 1½ tablespoons.
- Once you add the dumplings, be sure to cover the pan tightly and NO PEEKING for 15 minutes!
- You'll note that there's a half cup of white wine in this Chicken and Dumplings recipe. I use a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pino Grigio. The wine is optional - it adds an additional layer of flavor, but it's not necessary for a delicious finished dish.
Thought for the day:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations, and ideas for variations.
This delicious Chicken and Dumplings recipe comes together in well under an hour with tender chunks of chicken and fluffy buttermilk dumplings - it's the perfect cozy comfort meal for a chilly day!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 1 medium shallot finely chopped
- 2 medium stalks celery halved and sliced about ¼ inch thick
- ½ cup dry white wine optional
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 5 cups low sodium chicken stock/broth
- ½ cup half and half or heavy cream
- 4 medium carrots sliced in ¼ inch slices
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 2 medium bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1¾ teaspoons garlic salt
- 2 ½-3 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ¾ cup tiny frozen peas thawed
- finely chopped fresh parsley
Heat a low large sauté pan (or braiser) with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add the butter and oil and cook until the butter is melted, swirling the pan a few times to coat the bottom. Add the chopped onion, shallots and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion is softened.
If using the wine, add it now, then increase the heat a bit and allow the wine to reduce for 3-4 minutes.
Add the flour, stirring frequently for 30-60 seconds to coat the veggies.
Slowly add the chicken broth, stirring to dissolve all of the flour then add the cream or half and half, carrots, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, rosemary and garlic salt. Bring mixture to a medium boil. Once the sauce starts to boil, cook UNCOVERED, for 10 minutes, stirring and scraping the sides of the pan occasionally.
Remove the bay leaves. Add the chopped chicken and stir to combine. You can add a bit more chicken broth at this point if the sauce seems a little thick. (It will get thicker as the dumplings cook.)
Add tablespoons of the dumpling mixture (see recipe below) to the simmering chicken mixture. (I like to use a small 1½-2 tablespoon cookie scoop but a spoon can also be used. Don’t make the dumplings too large, they will get significantly bigger as they cook.)
Cover the pot and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes without removing the cover. The dumplings should be fluffy and float to the top. You can cut one open to make sure it’s cooked. If needed cover the pot and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Don’t overcook the dumplings as they will fall apart.
Add the peas and cover the pot for one minute to warm them. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and finely chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy!
While the sauce is cooking, make the dumplings by combining the flour, baking powder, baking soda, parsley, rosemary (or thyme) and salt in a medium-size bowl. Make a well in the center.
Combine the melted butter and buttermilk in a small bowl or measuring cup and set aside.
When the chicken mixture has cooked for 15 minutes, add the buttermilk mixture to the bowl with the flour mixture. Stir just until the flour is all incorporated. Don’t overmix. Follow the directions above (continuing with step 6) to add the dumplings to the sauce and finish the recipe.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn't have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.