Southern-Style Chicken and Dumplings are a classic comfort food made from scratch with homemade chicken broth and rolled dough strips to create the most satisfying meal.
Southern-Style Chicken and Dumplings are classic comfort food that both my husband and I grew up on.
In fact, in my husband’s family, everyone gets together on Christmas eve where it’s a tradition to have a tamale and chili dinner. Along with that dinner, it is always requested that Nanny make her chicken and dumplings – and you’d better be at the front of the line to get them or there’s not a chance you’ll get a bowl!
Years ago when Nanny gave me her recipe, she insisted that they have to be made in an oval cast aluminum Dutch oven like hers. (I think it’s a Turquoise Club Aluminum Cookware Oval Roaster).
You would think that our mothers and grandmothers made the same Southern-Style Chicken and Dumplings and had very similar recipes, but they didn’t.
Both families make rolled dough dumplings, however, one family makes biscuit-style dumplings with a basic biscuit dough recipe and rolls them out and drops chunks of biscuit into the boiling chicken broth, which will puff the dough into big pillowy dumplings, like the recipe I have here.
The other family makes a dough that’s more noodle-like and cut into strips or squares and when dropped into boiling broth will stay fairly flat and be slightly chewy.
I really like both recipes, but I grew up on the latter version and these happen to be my very favorite.
Although this is a “chicken” and dumpling recipe, I happened to have a turkey carcass that I saved from Easter in my deep freeze, along with leftover breast meat. It all froze very nicely and came in handy for this recipe. Honestly, I like turkey and dumplings even better because the turkey makes such a tasty broth.
SOUTHERN-STYLE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS INGREDIENTS
Chicken. I typically use whole, skin-on, bone-in chicken. Yes, there’s extra fat there, but there’s also a tremendous amount of flavor! The skin and bones will be removed later. I also highly recommend browning the chicken prior to starting your broth to deepen the flavor. Sometimes as a shortcut, I use a store-bought rotisserie chicken, it makes a delicious broth!
Skin-on, bone-in turkey may be used too. Turkey is actually my favorite.
Vegetables. A must to making this soup is using a combination of fresh vegetables. I use fresh onions, garlic, celery, and carrots to make a rich and delicious broth.
Herbs and Seasonings. Salt is the main player in most recipes, but be sure to taste a little along the way (after the chicken is finished cooking) and adjust the amount to your liking.
A good dose of black pepper is what our family likes, adjust as you like.
Finally, nutmeg. Nutmeg is my secret ingredient in chicken-based soups, like my grandma’s Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. It was a little secret she shared with me and I’ve used it ever since. Don’t worry about it lending a sweet taste, it doesn’t.
Chicken broth. With this recipe, you’re going to be making your own homemade broth, however, to richen the flavor, you can substitute the water with a high-quality broth or stock to make it even better!
My favorite is Kitchen Basics.
Homemade dumplings. When making the dough, just bring all of the ingredients together into a firm ball. There’s no need for a lot of mixing and kneading. In fact, overmixing and kneading can make them tough.
The idea is just to bring the dough together until it forms a ball and then roll it out thin – about 1/4 of an inch and cut into strips or squares.
I like to use a pizza cutter for this step, however, a sharp knife will do fine.
Make sure to repeatedly dust the dough with flour to prevent them from sticking.
HOW TO MAKE SOUTHERN-STYLE CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS
If you have a turkey carcass from a roasted dinner or even a rotisserie chicken carcass leftover, keep the bones in a zip-top freezer bag in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
I don’t even defrost mine, I just cut open the bag and place them in a deep baking dish, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast the bones at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.
This is not mandatory but does give the broth an extra depth of flavor.
Now pile all the roasted bones in a stockpot and fill to cover with cold water.
With the bones, I add 1 quartered onion, 1 head of garlic halved, 2 or so carrots chunked, 2 or three stalks of celery, salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.
Don’t worry about peeling and dicing, you’ll be straining this broth through a fine-mesh colander. I’m telling you, this makes the most delicious broth and can be used for all kinds of soups and stews!
Make sure to continually dust the dough heavily with flour as you pile them onto a plate as this will prevent the dumplings from sticking as well as thicken the gravy.
It’s very important to remember to bring the broth to a full rolling boil before dropping in your dumplings. Also, don’t stir them or they will sink to the bottom and become very chewy.
I hope you’ll give these a try and enjoy them as much as we do!
MORE SATISFYING SOUPS!
HAVE YOU MADE ANY OF MY RECIPES? POST THEM ON INSTAGRAM AND TAG @jennifercooks123 AND #jennifercooks!
Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings
- Homemade Chicken Broth:
- 6 split chicken breasts
- 4 quarts water
- 1 onion quartered
- 2 carrots cut into large chunks
- 1 head garlic cut in half
- 2 stalks celery cut into large chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- For the Dumplings:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons cold butter cubed
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup reserved chicken broth cooled
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- For the Finished Soup:
- 10 to 12 cups chicken broth reserve 1 cup for dumplings
- 1 cup onion diced
- 1 cup carrots diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 to 6 cups cooked chicken coarsely chopped
- 2 cups half and half
- For the Broth: Place chicken in a large soup pot and cover with water.
- Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes or until chicken is very tender.
- Remove chicken to a platter and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, bring chicken broth to a boil, then lower heat and reduce the broth to about 10 cups.
- When chicken is cool enough to handle, chop into bite sized pieces; set aside.
- For the dumplings: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper; whisk to combine.
- Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry blender and mix until crumbly.
- Stir in cooled chicken broth and continue to blend until the dough forms a ball.
- On a heavily floured work surface, roll out dough to about ¼ inch thickness.
- Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dumplings into 1 ½ to 2 inch squares.
- Place dumplings on a floured plate and generously dust the tops of the dumplings with flour while piling them onto the plate to prevent sticking.
- Finish the soup: Bring the finished broth to a rolling boil.
- Drop the dumplings in one at a time, letting them sink into the broth.
- Reduce heat to medium-high and cover with a tight fitting lid and cook the dumplings at a medium boil for about 20 minutes. (The soup should have thickened slightly into a thin “gravy” with the additional flour on the dumplings.)
- After dumplings have cooked, stir in the half and half; heat to a low boil and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. (If soup is too thin, make a slurry by whisking together 4 tablespoons flour with 4 tablespoons water until smooth – stir in slurry a little at a time until the soup thickens to the desired consistency. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes after adding.)
- Stir in the cooked chicken and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.