This chicken and dumplings recipe was originally published November 2016. It has been updated.
When it starts to get cold, I always crave Southern-Style Chicken and Dumplings. Tender and moist chicken simmered in broth and then loaded with filling and savory dumplings ... THIS is the ultimate comfort food. This recipe is actually easier than it looks. We use simple ingredients you already have in your pantry for this classic meal. My favorite part (besides the dumplings, of course) is the sage. (My mom's touch!)
Southern-Style Chicken and Dumplings
This is one of the most filling and affordable meals you can make! Use any type of chicken (leftovers, breasts, legs, thighs, whole chicken...whatever you have, whatever is on sale).
Our local grocery store had a pack of fryer parts on sale, so that's what we used.
Sorry for the unsexy shot of chicken cooking in water. Keepin' it real.
Key ingredient that we added = SAGE!
How to Make Chicken and Dumplings:
The best part of Chicken and Dumplings is the dumplings. I mean, without the dumplings it would just be Chicken. Chicken and nothing. If you have never made chicken and dumplings, don't be intimidated. It is so easy and you can't really mess it up.
Yep, we have added (just a little) more sage straight into our dumplings. Love this flavor. Earthy and savory, and smells amazing. Sage when used in the right amount is such a simple and real flavor...love it! I recommend dry rubbed sage.
First measure out all of your dumpling ingredients. Whisk the dry ingredients together and cut the shortening into the flour mix. (Cut just means mash it around. You can use a pastry cutter or a fork. No special tool required. We have always used a fork, but we picked up this awesome vintage pastry cutter at Vintage Treasures and we love it!)
You will read a lot of recipes that tell you to go for "pea-sized" pieces. What you are looking for is a big crumb-like texture where there are no huge lumps of shortening. Don't overthink it, and don't overwork it.
Once you work the shortening into the flour, stir in the buttermilk a little at a time until the dough starts sticking together and wraps around your spoon. You will know what I'm talking about, it doesn't take long. (These chicken and dumplings are going to be amazing, can't wait!)
Looking for more Southern Comfort Food?
Sprinkle your working surface and the dumpling dough with a fairly generous amount of flour.
Pat it down a little, fold the dough, and pat it again. Repeat three or four times, patting down, folding and adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
Rub some flour on your rolling pin. Gently roll the dumpling dough out to about ⅛ of an inch. Then cut it. I use a pizza cutter dipped in flour. Easy. No need to be perfect (unless being imperfect freaks you out, then by all means, be perfect 🙂 )
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I like dumplings of all shapes and sizes. Some little bites, some big ones. So I just cut mine in whatever size.
Heat your broth to boiling then drop the pieces in a few at a time. Stir, simmer and watch Chicken and Dumplings magic happen.
The broth will thicken into this magical stew-like chicken gravy from heaven. It doesn't get much better than this.
So good. Chicken and Dumplings are a great way to score brownie points with your spouse. (I speaketh of what I knoweth. Just sayin'.)
Southern-Style Chicken and Dumplings
- 4 lbs chicken leg quarters, whole chicken, fryer parts, breasts, etc
- 12 cups water
- 3 cups all purpose flour plus additional for dusting
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ⅓ cup vegetable shortening
- 2 ½ teaspoon sage rubbed or ground, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- 1 teaspoon bacon fat
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 bay leaf
- In a large pot, cover chicken with 12 cups of water. Add 2 teaspoon of rubbed sage, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of garlic powder. Toss in a bay leaf and stir.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium high and cook over a low boil until the chicken is done. Usually this takes around 30 minutes.
- The cooking time will vary based on the size and type of chicken. The chicken is done when the center is no longer pink. Do not overcook.
- Remove the chicken and let cool. Reserve the cooking liquid. Pour the seasoned broth through a fine-meshed strainer into another pot. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining sage, salt, and baking powder.
- Add the shortening and bacon fat to the flour. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, work the shortening and fat into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbs.
- Add the buttermilk slowly, stirring to combine. Stir and add more buttermilk until a dough forms.
- Transfer the dough onto a well floured surface. Sprinkle with more flour. Pat the dough into a flattened shape. Fold the dough in half, sprinkle with flour and repeat.
- Repeat this three or four times, flipping and flattening. Add flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Using a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough into ⅛" thickness. With a pastry or pizza cutter, cut the dumplings into desired sized pieces.
- Let the dumplings rest.
- Remove the skin and bones from the cooked chicken. Shred or chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the chicken to the reserved strained chicken broth.
- Heat the chicken and broth to a boil. Working quickly, drop dumplings in a few at a time, stirring very frequently. Continue dropping dumplings and stirring until they are all in.
- Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir frequently and cook for about 30 minutes until the broth has thickened and the dumplings.
- Serve hot.