This, my friends, is comfort food at its finest. It has all the taste of chicken pot pie without the effort (who has time to deal with a pie crust on a busy weeknight?). This version of Chicken and Dumplings is made from scratch… with just a couple of cheats to make it extra fast and easy.
Traditionally, chicken and dumplings is a somewhat labor-intensive process, involving boiling an entire chicken to make stock, waiting for it to cool, and de-boning it, not to mention making dumpling dough by rolling and flattening out biscuit dough, creating a floury mess in your kitchen.
But almost every “quick and easy” recipe for chicken and dumplings I’ve come across has taken unhealthy shortcuts, such as using condensed canned creamed soup and pre-made biscuit dough (both laden with processed ingredients).
This version is scratch-made, and you don’t have to worry about any processed ingredients in here besides white flour. Normally I try and use whole wheat flour for my recipes, but for something like chicken and dumplings, I don’t recommend it. First of all, you need to thicken the stew, and white flour works much better for thickening because it has a higher starch content. Second of all, the dumplings should be fluffy and soft and perfect. The density of whole wheat flour would make them a bit heavier.
In my recipe research for this one, I did come across some recipes that use a mixture of both whole wheat and white flour for the dumpling dough (like this one), so that might be worth a shot if you’re interested!
Here are the tricks to find that happy balance between a two-hour labor-intensive ordeal and dumping pre-made ingredients into a pot:
- Use already cooked chicken and pre-made chicken broth. I used leftover meat from roasted chicken thighs and I simmered the bones, skin, and veggie scraps in the slow cooker overnight to make broth. You can certainly use a rotisserie chicken and store-bought stock for this.
- Mix a simple biscuit dough and drop it directly in the broth with a small cookie scoop rather than rolling it/flattening it out. The dough will cook and expand directly in the stew and will be fluffy and delicious.
Have extra? Freeze the leftovers (or make a double batch on purpose and freeze one for later).
Easy Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch
If you use already cooked chicken (such as rotisserie) and store-bought broth, chicken and dumplings from scratch is a fast and easy comfort food meal to make on busy nights!
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 carrots, diced small
- 2 stalks celery plus their leaves, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 1/4 cup flour, divided
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried), plus more for garnish
- 2 cups cooked diced or shredded chicken
- extra salt and pepper
- Saute the carrots, celery, and onions in 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large pot over medium high heat until browned and soft (about 3 minutes).
- Add 1/4 cup flour, stir to coat.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to simmer and add 1/2 cup milk and the chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, to make the dumplings, mix together the remaining 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, baking powder, and fresh thyme leaves. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, melted, until flour mixture is crumbly looking. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk and stir until just combined.
- Add spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture to the simmering pot- I recommend using a small cookie scoop for this.
- Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until dumplings are fluffy, cooked, and float to the top.
- Serve garnished with extra fresh thyme and fresh ground pepper, if desired.
Freeze the leftovers, or double the batch and freeze one for later in an airtight container for up to 6 months.