Easy Chicken and Dumplings Your Entire Family Will Love – and They’ll Love You For Making It

Bowl of chicken and Dumplings

Easy chicken and dumplings? Something your entire family will love? Barring any card-carrying vegans or vegetarians, I promise this will be the case. I fed a family of seven children and it was a rare event when dinner brought smiles to everyone’s face. But my chicken and dumpling recipe did just that – and it still does. It remains one of the most requested meals when I ask, “what should I make for supper this week?” Now I am going to share the secrets of this recipe with you.

My chicken and dumplings are comprised of aromatic, savory chicken soup with abundant feather-light biscuity dumplings. The recipe is easy to size down or up and saves well making a delicious lunch the next day.

Over the years, I have developed a few optional hacks to decrease the time needed to create this mouth-watering meal. I’ll show you the more time-consuming method as well as the shortcuts. Even the more extended cooking method is pretty quick and easy.

Completed pot of chcken and dumplings

First, the chicken

I typically use thighs with the skin and bone. I think dark meat has more flavor and adds more to the broth than white meat, but if you prefer breasts, they will work quite nicely. You can start with skinless, boneless chicken if that is what you have. If you have precooked frozen meat, that will also work. Heck, a whole chicken will too. Whatever chicken you have will do, and I’ll include specific directions in the printable recipe.

Tip: I watch for sales at the store, and often pick up a large tray of thighs (8-10) with a buy one package, get another free deal. I expect your store does something similar. Of course, we are supposed to repackage the chicken at home into meal-sized portions. But, if you are like me, you want to do this, but you don’t. You throw the entire two packages into the freezer. But then you have too many. I’ll take the 3-4 I need for this recipe, and while I am making it, toss the remainder into a 450 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes. I then have cooked chicken I can shred and freeze or keep for salads, sandwiches or other recipes that week.

Second, the broth

I mostly use Better Than Bouillion, but I have also made the recipe with Knorr’s bouillon cubes. Your choice. If the chicken starts out precooked, I suggest substituting the water with cans of chicken broth or stock. But still, add the bouillon.

Third, vegetables

I usually chop up an onion, celery, and carrots, but you can substitute frozen. I have seen various brands of frozen “mirepoix” (onion, carrot, and celery) or use frozen carrots and chop the onion and celery. Whatever is easiest for you. This recipe is very forgiving.

Tip: If your celery is all limp (happens to the best of us), just cut off about an inch from the bottoms and stick the stalks in cold water like they are flowers. They will quickly perk up.

The only essential spices are bay leaves (a must-have), pepper, and salt to taste.

Now – let’s get started

If you are using fresh chicken, heat 1-2 Tablespoons of oil and brown it in a soup pot or Dutch oven. About 5-8 minutes will do – just until it is nicely browned, it will cook through later. It is important not to crowd the chicken pieces in the pan. My pot’s limit is 3-4 thighs at a time, but I find 3 large thighs are perfect for one batch. Remove the cooked chicken (I know, this is always a pain, but it is necessary here) and lightly saute the vegetables until the onions are soft.

Most of the work is now done. Return the chicken to the pot and add the water, bay leaves, bouillon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let it cook for 30-45 minutes. By this time, the house will smell of aromatic vegetables and chicken. Your kids will start texting you and asking what’s for supper.

After the chicken, broth and vegetables have finished making their magic, remove the chicken (if you used bone-in pieces) and remove the skin, shred the meat and dispose of the bone. (Of course, you can skip this entire step by starting with precooked chicken defrosted from your freezer. The broth may not be quite as good, but the time saved will assure dinner is done before the fam starts squawking). Return the meat to the soup.

Some days I just skip this step and leave the chicken pieces intact. Each person dishes up a piece and skins and debones it while they eat. SHares the work around a bit more.

Shredded chicken thighs prepped for chicken and dumplings

Storing the soup starter for later use

At this point, you can stop and store the cooked soup for 1-3 days in the frig or freeze it for 2-3 months. Of course, then you will have everyone in the house anticipating chicken and dumplings for dinner because the aroma will be drifting into their heads, so if you do this, perhaps wait until no one is home.

Soup prepped for chicken and dumplings

Tip: Up to this point, you can prepare the soup in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker or a slow cooker. I don’t recommend finishing the dumplings anywhere but on the stove, though. I have tried, and they do not turn out the best.

The dumplings

The soup mixture should be simmering on the stove in a big Dutch oven or soup pot. Either it is still hot from just cooking, or you have defrosted it and brought it up to a simmer. Two things now need to happen. First, the broth is thickened with a little flour, and second, the dumplings are cooked. This stage takes about 30 minutes, so it is easy to prepare the meal even on a weekday.

To thicken the broth, take about two ladles of hot soup, straining out most of the chunks (a few won’t hurt), and pour it over the flour in a small bowl. Wisk this thoroughly as I demonstrate in the academy award level documentary short to follow. Pour this mixture back into the pot and let it continue to simmer while you prepare the dumplings.

ROux prep step 1 for chicken and dumplings
Roux (flour and broth) mixture pre-whisking
whisked roux for chicken and dumplings
Whisked roux to thicken the broth

To make the dumplings, whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, and then, in a 4 cup measuring cup, mix together the milk, oil, and eggs.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and gently fold together just until they are mixed. It is essential to do this gently and only until the dry and wet ingredients meld, or you will have hard, dense dumplings.

Now the magic happens

I use a one Tablespoon cookie scoop and drop dollops of dumpling dough into the soup. Splat the blobs down evenly over the entire top of the soup. They will sink first, but slowly start rising to the top. Please DO this as quickly as you can, then cover the pot and wait 13-15 minutes. DO NOT LIFT THE TOP while the dumplings are cooking.

While the dumplings cook, you can make a green salad, or sit down and read a book, check your Instagram feed, or go leave me a comment on this post telling me how luscious your home smells.

Nothing is left except to call your family to dinner and watch them ooh and ahh over the soup and then snarf it up. This meal is particularly appreciated on a cold winter day. My family asks for Chicken and Dumplings on hot summer days too, but hey, we live in San Diego, so there is about a 10-degree difference between winter cold and summer heat


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Bowl of chicken and dumplings

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

  • Author: Sandra
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


These chicken and dumplings are comprised of aromatic, savory chicken soup with abundant feather-light biscuity dumplings. The recipe is easy to down- or up-size and saves well making a delicious lunch the next day.

This recipe can be made on the stovetop, in an Instant Pot, or in a slow cooker



For the soup

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable
  • 3 chicken thighs or equivalent chicken meat
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced (or 1 cup frozen)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour (to thicken broth)

For the dumplings

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  1. To make the soup, start with the chicken: heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or other large covered saucepan. Add the chicken pieces and brown them on each side for 4 minutes.
  2. Set the chicken aside.
  3. Stir the onion, carrots, and celery into the pot. Sauté briefly, 4-5 minutes until onions are soft.
  4. Add 6 cups of water (or broth if using pre-cooked chicken), chicken, bay leaves, bouillon, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken, covered, for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken meat from the bones (or is you are in a hurry just leave it as pieces).
  6. Thicken the soup by remove 2 ladles of hot broth into a small bowl.
  7. Whisk 1/3 cup flour into the small bowl of broth until smooth.
  8. Add the flour/broth mixture and the chicken meat to the simmering saucepan. Cover and continue to simmer.
  9. Prepare the dumplings by combining the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  10. Whisk together the milk, eggs, and oil in a 4 cup measuring cup or small bowl
  11. Make a well in the dry mixture and add the milk, eggs, and oil mixture. Stir gently to make a thick batter.
  12. For each dumpling, spoon a rounded tablespoon of batter into the simmering broth. Cover and simmer for another 13 to 15 minutes, without stirring or lifting the cover.


Instant Pot Directions: Prepare the soup by completing steps 1-4 in the Instant Pot, but cook on normal for 30 minutes, with a natural release. Move the soup to a pot on the stove and complete steps 5-12.

Slow Cooker Directions: Prepare soup by completing steps 1-4 in the slow cooker, then cooking for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. Finish on the stovetop, completing steps 5-12.

This recipe works well with all-purpose gluten-free flour.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Instant Pot, SLow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Chicken, soup, dumplings, gluten-free, Instant Pot, Slow cooker


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