Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

great old-fashioned chicken & dumplings

(27 ratings)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
Jewel Hall
Cullman, AL

In 2004, I shared this recipe in honor of my wonderful mother-in-law, Lura Hall. She passed away quickly at home. Our last words on the phone the day before were, "I love you, I love you too." The food she had cooked that morning was still warm on the stove. One more time, her children sat at her table and ate her wonderful Sunday dinner. Today I looked back at that site and there the recipe remained. So many fantastic reviews and thank you's. I was overcome with joy. She took her dumplings to many family reunions to have them quickly disappear. I continue to make them and I hope you will too.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

A simple no-frills chicken and dumplings recipe just like Grandma used to make. Our ancestors used to boil chickens low and slow to make a rich nutrient-packed bone broth before it became a popular trend. This recipe does just that and creates a wonderful base. Adding butter to the broth gives the dish a nice buttery flavor. The dumplings are simple to make but do require a little elbow grease to roll out, but are worth it. A good, basic recipe, the only seasonings in this are salt and pepper, so it's a blank canvas to personalize. We added onion powder, celery seed, and a little poultry seasoning. Comfort on a plate!

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(27 ratings)
yield 10 serving(s)
prep time 1 Hr
cook time 2 Hr
method Stove Top

Ingredients For great old-fashioned chicken & dumplings

  • 1
    cut up whole chicken
  • 2 stick
    butter, salted or unsalted (added to chicken broth later)
  • 2 tsp
    salt, or to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 c
    plain flour
  • 1 tsp
    more of salt
  • ice water, added to consistency (I put 3-4 pieces of ice in glass and run water over them)
  • extra plain flour to the side
  • rolling pin & floured surface

How To Make great old-fashioned chicken & dumplings

Test Kitchen Tips
The butter could be cut back to 1 stick and be just as delicious. For the dumplings, we added 2 Tbsp at a time (12 Tbsp total) until the dough ball formed.
  • Chicken in a Dutch Oven with water, salt, and pepper.
    Wash and place cut-up chicken in a Dutch oven with plenty of water to boil. Start chicken and water on high to a good rolling boil. Add salt and pepper to boiling chicken. Can add more later if necessary. Turn down to medium-low after adding salt and black pepper. Be sure there is plenty of water in the pot, this will be your broth. It should always cover the chicken well. If necessary, add more hot water. Put the lid on the pot and keep it on medium-low for the chicken to cook, checking the level of water occasionally.
  • Adding butter to the Dutch oven.
    When the chicken is tender, check with a fork. Add the 2 sticks of butter and turn the pot off. Let chicken and broth cool in the pot with the lid on.
  • Picking the meat off the chicken.
    When the chicken and juice have cooled enough to pick the chicken off the bone, lift the chicken from the pot into a large bowl. Remove chicken from the bone. Then add the meat back to the pot and discard the bones. Keep the lid on the pot. The broth should be about 1/2 Dutch oven full. Turn the burner down to simmer.
  • Flour and salt combined in a bowl.
    In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour and combine it with one teaspoon of salt. Have your floured surface ready and your rolling pin along with a glass of ice water.
  • Slowly adding ice water to the flour.
    Begin adding ice water to the flour and salt mixture slowly.
  • Water added until a dough forms.
    When it stirs stiffly and forms a dough, you have enough water added.
  • Dough rolled out to 1/8
    Place onto a floured surface. Make sure you put flour on the rolling pin. Press out the dough to flatten it as much as possible with your hands. Sprinkle some more flour on the dough. Begin rolling the dough with the rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness.
  • Using a knife to cut dough into strips.
    It may take some elbow grease but it will be worth it. Using a sharp paring knife cut the dumplings into 1/2-inch strips. It's OK if they have some dusting of flour on them. The dumplings can remain on a floured surface and cure or dry a little. You want them to be stiff.
  • Dropping strips of dough into boiling broth.
    Turn up the chicken and broth to medium-high and begin adding the dumplings. They should lift easily across your hand and hang down. Make sure the chicken and broth are at a rolling boil before adding the dumplings. This is a slow process so don't rush. If it becomes necessary to turn the burner down, that's okay. You will add dumplings until most are in the pot. You want the broth to be thick enough but not too thick. Now turn the pot down to low and cover it with a lid.
  • Thickness after dumplings have simmered in broth.
    The dumplings will simmer on low until they begin to change and become somewhat translucent. Take out a few into a small bowl to cool. Taste your salt and black pepper content to your liking. Turn off the burner and leave the lid on for several more minutes. Stir them and check for the thickness of the broth. It will become thicker as it cools.
  • Textures of the Old-Fashioned Chicken & Dumplings.
    You may have to practice a few times, I did. However, you will get it down pat and your chicken and dumplings will be in huge demand. My deceased mother-in-law taught me the Midas Touch with these dumplings and you can learn it too. If you haven't, please read my personal story about learning to make these dumplings. They are awesome!