Homemade Chicken & Dumplings


Homemade Chicken & Dumplings is the ultimate comfort food dish, especially perfect on a cold wintery day. 


I woke up at 1:17am last night barely able to move. Too cold to move, actually.

Somehow I mustered up the energy to kick my leg back to find Ben – my personal, portable heating unit – but foot met air. Freezing. Cold. Air.

Damnit! I cursed inside my head. He must have fallen asleep on the couch! As husbands sometimes do.

Too chilled to reach my arm outside of the covers, grab my phone on the nightstand and call him up, and way too cold to actually, you know, get out of bed to go get him, I burrowed deep. Deep into the recesses of my blankets, where I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to will myself back into dreamland.

I was so tired from working out and not sleeping well this weekend that… it worked… But any other day!!

Yes, Fall went out in a blazing 67 degree day of glory a couple weeks ago, and I think it’s now safe to say that it’s officially the season that shall not be named in Iowa.

Flurries seem to be fluttering around at all hours of the of day, static is dominating my life, and all I want is warm carbs. Tonight, to combat the now constant, chilly temps, I made the warmest, most comforting dinner I could think of. A cozy, culinary hug, if you will. Homemade Chicken & Dumplings.


I am obsessed with this dish!!! It takes a little bit of time to make if you’re going the 100% homemade route like I did, but it is so worth the effort!

This ultimate comfort food recipe is broken into two parts:

1. The chicken

2. The dumplings


First we start with the chicken which, after simmering low and slow with aromatic vegetables, produces a savory and luxurious stock, and juicy shredded chicken for the Chicken & Dumplings. You’ll want a 4-5lb fryer chicken for the recipe. Take it out of the wrapping and remove the giblets inside. Don’t be scared.


PS I’m not trying to sound ignorant or anything but are all chickens sold in grocery store…female? My family and I were having a debate about this at Thanksgiving. We all know hens are female, and roosters are male – but they’re both still considered chickens, right? Some members of the family are claiming that only hens can be called chickens, and thus, are the only ones people eat. Please help.

Chop up the aforementioned aromatic vegetables including onion, celery and carrot.


Place the chicken and veggies into the largest stock or soup pot you’ve got, and pour in enough water to completely cover the chicken.


Simmer the chicken low and slow for an hour, and you’ll be rewarded with this.


The most succulent, juicy, tender chicken you ever did see. Rest him or her (?) on a plate for now.


Turn your attention back to the pot which now contains cups and cups of uber-flavorful, homemade chicken stock. Whee! (I don’t know why, but making/having homemade chicken stock is just about the most thrilling thing ever!)


Line a colander with cheesecloth and strain the stock through it.


I got this cheesecloth from the regular grocery store in the disposable baking dishes and cooking utensils aisle, for about $2.50.


Discard the veggies, and you are left with pure, liquid GOLD my friends!


You should end up with around 12 cups of stock, 8 of which you’ll need for the Chicken & Dumplings.


FYI – after the stock cools, place it in the fridge and the fat will rise to the top and harden. Then you can just remove and discard.


After the chicken has cooled a bit, remove the meat from the bones, and shred it all up. You should get about 6-7 cups total from the chicken, but you’ll only need about 3 for the recipe.


Best chicken I ever had.


Mmmkay. Part 1 = done. Time to turn our attention to part 2 – the dumplings! These puppies are pretty much foolproof. Start with flour, baking powder and salt, then cut in some butter.

DSC_1045 DSC_1046

You can use a pastry cutter, a fork – or go old school like me and use your fingers. Just squish the flour and butter between your fingers until it’s the texture of cornmeal.

DSC_1048 DSC_1049

Next, add in enough skim milk so that when you stir the dough with a fork, it comes together in a ball.

DSC_1054 DSC_1056

Place some of the dough onto a heavily floured surface. As in – no inch of the cutting board should be without a thick dusting of it.


Flour a rolling pin, and roll the dough pretty thin.


Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into approximately 2″ x 2″ squares – it doesn’t have to be perfect. I showed my inner Type A THE DOOR with this recipe in regards to the flour mess and imprecise dumpling cutting. I even made Ben come to the kitchen to watch and observe the craziness. He was impressed.


Continue rolling and cutting your dumplings, placing them on a platter. Add a heavy dusting of flour between each layer so they don’t stick together.


Bring the reserved chicken stock up to a boil and drop the dumplings in one by one, gently stirring so they won’t stick together. Don’t be afraid of getting too much flour into the broth – it’ll just make for that much more of a thick and creamy Chicken & Dumplings.

DSC_1084 DSC_1082

About 10 minutes later the dumplings should be plump and chewy. PERFECT! Stir in the reserved, shredded chicken, add more salt & pepper if necessary, then dish it on up!

DSC_1086 DSC_1088

Take THAT, winter!


Homemade Chicken & Dumplings

Serves 4-6


Homemade Chicken & Dumplings is the ultimate comfort food dish, especially perfect on a cold wintery day. 


  • For the chicken:
    • 1 4-5lb whole fryer chicken, giblets removed
    • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped into large pieces
    • 3 carrots, chopped into large pieces
    • 3 celery stalks, chopped into large pieces
    • salt & pepper
  • For the dumplings:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • heavy pinch salt
    • 2 Tablespoons butter (I used Earth Balance)
    • 1 cup milk, maybe a little less (I used skim)


  1. For the chicken: Place chicken, onion, carrots and celery into a very large soup or stock pot. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a heavy boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Place a lid on top and cook for an hour, flipping the chicken halfway through. Carefully remove the chicken to a plate.
  2. Strain the chicken broth through a large strainer lined with cheese cloth. Discard the vegetables and reserve 8 cups broth for the dish. Store the remaining broth in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove meat off the chicken and shred. Reserve 3 cups for the dish and store the remaining meat in the refrigerator.
  4. For the dumplings: Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers. Add milk about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring between batches, until the dough comes together in a ball.
  5. Working in batches, place the dough onto a heavily floured work surface. Flour a rolling pin, and roll the dough out thin. Don't be afraid to keep adding more flour. If you don't, the dough will stick to the board or counter. Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into approximately 2" x 2" squares.
  6. Flour a large plate or platter to place the dumplings on while you roll and cut out the rest of the dough. Generously sprinkle flour between each layer as you place them on the platter so they don't stick together.
  7. For the rest of the dish: Bring 8 cups chicken broth to a boil and add dumplings in one at a time while gently stirring to prevent them from sticking together. Don't worry about too much flour from the dumplings getting into the broth. The more that gets in there, the thicker the sauce will be.
  8. Cook dumplings for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and more often towards the end so they don't stick to the bottom of the pot. When dumplings are cooked, turn off the heat and add in 3 cups shredded chicken. Season with more salt & pepper to taste, and serve.


From Back to the Cutting Board & Tasty Kitchen

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.


I could NOT be more tickled with how well this dish turned out! The broth was thick and creamy, the dumplings were plump and chewy, and the chicken was tender and juicy.


You could totally make this dish in a snap by using store-bought chicken stock and chicken – but taking the time to slow cook the chicken and make your own stock is SO rewarding. A perfect Sunday afternoon activity!


“The ultimate comfort food to me is _______.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Lauren 12.06.2011

    My dad makes homemade pot pie every year. It’s kind of a big deal when he does but he makes enough leftovers to freeze for the entire year. This recipe is so reminiscent of my childhood.

  2. Chili and cornbread is my comfort food of choice. Followed by chicken pot pie. :)

  3. ktlovespie 12.06.2011

    Spaghetti. It doesn’t even have to be homemade (Ssh don’t tell anyone!) I could eat it every day.

    I’m pretty sure I remember reading in a Cooks Illustrated magazine that chickens from the supermarket are both male and female though no way to tell which is which.

  4. Diana 12.06.2011

    Good ole maracaroni and cheese..made from scratch and baked in the oven..gluten-free of course :)

  5. Machelle 12.06.2011

    mashed taters and gravy. your supper looks wonderful!

  6. this looks incredible, you are inspiring me and i WILL make this on sunday. icant wait!!!!

  7. Amy 12.06.2011

    That looks so comforting!!!! I will try to make this soon:)

  8. Greg Hankins 12.06.2011

    Your chicken and dumpling recipe is great. BUT … my grandma taught me the Bisquick dumpling trick. It is a different kind of dumpling – fat and juicy – and so easy. The recipe is right on the box, and couldn’t be simpler.

  9. Midwest Girl 12.06.2011

    This looks so delicious and makes me want to try it even though I have a fear of raw chicken. Also reminds me that I need to make soo jae bee, which is a Korean soup with hand torn noodles. If you want to test your ability to quiet your type A, try it. :)

  10. this is ridiculously impressive! i have never boiled a whole chicken, but it looks pretty easy. and talk about comfort food… this is the epitome.

    the ultimate comfort food to me is chicago style deep dish pizza. something about it makes me feel so good! (and then yucky and bloated shortly after i stuff my face…)

  11. I made creamy tomato soup tonight and I used some of my homemade chicken stock! It is too easy to make not to have a stockpile in the freezer:)

  12. Joan VanCourt 12.06.2011

    My ultimate comfort food is cabbage and dumplings.
    Oh, as I was reading your post, it sure made me hungry. LOL. Thanks for the recipe. With the cold weather coming, this looks so good and I am sure it is warming.

  13. Ashley 12.06.2011

    This looks delish. Here’s a way to calm your static hair: http://simplystated.realsimple.com/2011/12/06/static-hair/

  14. Anna 12.06.2011

    My ultimate comfort food is beef and noodles and homemade mashed potatoes!

  15. Called my mom for your chicken question! :) You really have no way to tell what you are eating from the chickens you buy in the store. They are usually butchered around 6-8 weeks – too young to know the difference. You can, however, eat both! So glad you asked that question. I grew up on a farm – but never really knew the answer either!

  16. Tammy 12.06.2011

    Home made macaroni & cheese…or I should say cheese & macaroni!!

  17. Sheri 12.06.2011

    Wow this looks awesome! I’m really going to have to try this one out!

  18. Allison 12.06.2011

    That looks like a great recipe, but it may be too much work for me. My comfort food in winter is chili with a nice big chunk of cornbread.

  19. Julie 12.06.2011

    Either my mom’s perogies (I even tried them in Poland and they weren’t the same), my dad’s tator tot casserole (sounds gross, but it’s gooood) or tacos!

  20. I made this one too! It was awesome. I saw it on the tastykitchen.com blog and made it that night. I didnt take picture so I will have to make it again (oh shoot…) so that I can blog it. Im southern and i know my chicken ‘n dumps… and this is it!

  21. How comforting! Looks like its worth the time it takes..

  22. shandy (@webgals) 12.06.2011

    Oh yum. I want that now!

  23. Lisa S 12.06.2011

    Three words for you…

    heated mattress pad

    It will change your life forever!!! Great for relieving sore muscles post workout as well!

  24. CherubMamma 12.06.2011

    Mashed potatoes. The most perfect food in the world.

    The chicken and dumplings look wonderful. I just happen to have to homemade smoked chicken stock in the freezer right now that would probably make this dish even more amazing. I might have to give it a try. (FYI: homemade chicken stock is wonderful — but homemade smoked chicken stock will knock your socks off!!)

  25. Lexi 12.06.2011

    I love making chicken pot pie, but I need to try this too!

  26. Eeleen 12.06.2011

    Looks so yummy!! :) Have to try it out someday. :)
    By the way, regarding the “all chickens sold in grocery stores are female” issue (HAHA!), according to my mom, roosters don’t taste as good as hens.
    Which is why roosters are kept for reproduction purposes only. :) Not sure how true is this but hope it helps to explain why.

    I’m from Malaysia and we have chickens running along the smaller streets most of the time. Haha. :)

  27. I live in Phoenix and believe it or not, I woke up to a 62 degree house this morning and below freezing outside. I’m a ridiculous freeze baby and definitely need this dish!

  28. Wow that looks so delicious! My ultimate comfort food would probably be lasagna, which is kind of a challenge to make dairy-free, but I’m getting there…

  29. Lindsey 12.06.2011

    I had never had or made Chicken and Dumplings until a few weeks ago when I tried a recipe from Skinny Crockpot. The recipe turned out so good and my husband declared it a favorite recipe for sure. I will have to try a non crockpot version one day too.

  30. Karen B. 12.06.2011

    Wow. That’s all I can say.

  31. Deeeeee chicken. Deeeeee dumplings!

  32. Foodiku 12.06.2011

    This looks delicious. Can I just hire you to make it for me for the evening? Dealing with whole chickens is a challenge I have not yet been willing to take on. Wondering if there’s an easy crockpot version . . . to Google I go!

    And yes . . . it’s definitely winter in Iowa. I’m sporting my silly, colorful warm hat and my hoodie over it.

  33. jessica 12.06.2011

    Pot roast is one of my comfort foods made in the crockpot with potatoes, onions & carrots!

  34. Beth 12.06.2011

    That looks sooo tasty!

    My mom makes a simple chicken stew that just screams warmth and comfort, but I’m also a huge fan of mashed potatoes & gravy as well as egg sandwiches with american cheese…I don’t think I can call one a favorite!

  35. Rebecca 12.06.2011

    The ultimate comfort food to me is a piece of cheese toast and a bowl of chicken noodle soup. It reminds me of childhood.

  36. dawn 12.06.2011


    That is how I make mine, like this blogger!!! I think your recipe looks more like noodles really.

    What do you think? Is it because I am west coast??

    • Trisha 12.07.2011

      I’m right here in the Midwest and I would have to agree. The recipe Dawn posted is moreso what we call dumplings. No matter what you call ’em though, I’d have to say they’re equally delicious!

  37. Looks like a warm and comforting meal for a chilly day!

  38. Jessica 12.06.2011

    The ultimate comfort food to me is a warm bowl of chicken tortilla soup. There is just something about the cheese, avocado slices, and squeezed lemon mixed together that makes it awesome. Its even better when it’s cold.

  39. Jen C. 12.06.2011

    So to the chicken question… we raise chickens, ducks and turkeys. You eat both sexes. Our birds are heritage breed and free range so they are butchered at a later age than the commercial chickens. The biggest difference in the taste of Chickens is not the sex it is the age of the bird and what they are eating. Different aged birds require different styles of cooking. Commercial chickens are all butchered around the same age so it doesn’t make a difference for them. If you are roasting heritage birds it is different than commercial also, but for this type of a recipe it wouldn’t make a difference. And they are all called Chickens!!! Chicken is the species name :)

  40. Shannon 12.06.2011

    PIZZA!!!! Anytime any place, baby.

  41. Trisha 12.07.2011

    Prior to eating this post, I would’ve said that my ultimate comfort food was mashed potatoes and gravy. But now, I’m pretty sure it’s this chicken and dumplings dish! This looks SERIOUSLY amazing. My mom makes pretty much the same dish and I always want to try it myself, but I feel like I’d be calling her every 5 minutes to make sure I’m doing it right. Well, now I have a tutorial right here on IGE!
    P.S. You should get a dog. They make the BEST replacement for husband heaters. ;)

    • Trisha 12.07.2011

      LOL! I meant prior to *reading* this post. Obviously it made me so hungry that all I could think about was eating!

  42. brandy rushing 12.07.2011

    MY favorite way to enjoy coffee or tea is, well, anyway I can get it. Sometimes fresh cream and a little sugar makes coffee oh so comforting, but other days, I want a simple black coffee to get me going (and not interfer with the sweet treat I mite be eating for breakfast. And tea, straight up, plus!

  43. Teresa K. 12.07.2011

    mmm – I had a Homer Simpson reaction to this blog – mmmmm drool – chicken & dumplings – (oh sorry my bad!.
    Laugh at whomever is teasing you about the chickens – and ask are all humans female? hmmmm – now THERE’s a thought!
    I don’t know about commercial chickens, but we almost never cooked our roosters when I was growing up, they were just too tough. (like bees – we kept them around for breeding purposes only)

  44. Hahaha…I hate when husbands fall asleep on the couch. Why do they do that? The bed is much more comfortable.

  45. Jackie from M'town 12.07.2011

    Homemade chicken and noodles drizzled over buttery mashed potatoes! Sinfully delish and warms to the toes! :)

  46. The ultimate comfort food to me has to be pizza. I could eat pizza every day. I mean there’s like a bazillion different kinds and it is the perfect compilation of all the food groups, and duh, it’s delicious.
    Do work, pizza.

  47. KellyK 12.07.2011

    This looks really good – I totally love making my own stock too. I’ve never done the dumplings, and you make it look easy. I might have to try this – it would totally be a good dish for a December Sunday.

  48. Caitlin 12.07.2011

    My ULTIMATE comfort food is fluffy, buttery, garlic mashed potatoes:) When I got my wisdom teeth out it’s just about the only thing I ate for 2 weeks. Necessary? No way. Wondrous? Absolutely!

  49. My favorite comfort food is chicken and noodles – a slight variation on this, using eggs instead of butter in the dumpling mix, and slicing into skinny noodles. Served over mashed potatoes with a side of green beans…holy yum.

  50. Mine is chicken pot pie or macaroni and cheese! Yum!

Leave a Comment