Southern chicken and dumplings is a dish with roots that stretch back further than you may think. Southern chicken, chicken and dumplings, and other great chicken recipes weren’t born out of the poverty of the Civil War or the Great Depression, as romantic as that may sound.
These magnificent chicken recipes are part of our earliest heritage, reaching back to a time when the chicken was a very valuable commodity. Chicken soup recipes meant looong laborious days in the kitchen. Some things don’t change all that much. I hope you’ll try my chicken and rice soup, old fashioned chicken noodle soup,or my chicken gnocchi soup!
Making this dish is a process, but it’s a very rewarding process!
What I Love About This Recipe
- Hearty stick-to-your-ribs YUM!
- Flavor-intense and oh so very satisfying
- Fragrant herbs rolled into the dumplings
- Great for a Sunday afternoon or holiday add on
- Wholesome nutritious ingredients
- Without a doubt – it’s a labor of love!
Southern Chicken And Dumpling Ingredients
Okay, the list may look overwhelming at first, but I broke it up into sections like the recipe to make it easier. Trust me, it’s really not all that much and a lot of it’s probably already sitting in your cabinets! OK – music up, aprons on, here we go!
- Chicken – I know some women who use hens for their chicken and dumplings but they’re pretty tough and need to be cooked much longer. I just use a regular ‘ole chicken – about a 5-pounder. When it’s done you can shred it or chop it. It’s up to you.
- Veggies – You’re using a reliable blend of celery, onions, carrots, and garlic. They don’t need to be cut pretty. We just need the flavor for the stock.
- Herbs & spices – This herb and spice blend (thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, S&P) may seem a little thyme-heavy but you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Again, it’s for the stock so you’re infusing flavor from the very beginning.
- Base – Your base is a 2 to 1 combo of chicken broth and water. – And it’s gonna’ be (ahem) slap-your-knee delicious.
- Flour – I use all-purpose flour for my dumplings. It just simplifies things.
- Herbs – Your fresh herb mix consists of thyme and rosemary. You’ll want these to be really fresh because they’re going to be rolled right into your dumplings.
- Leavening agent – You just need a liiiittle bito’ baking powder. This is a Southern chicken and dumplings recipe, so the dumplings are flat and tasty!
- Shortening – Yep! We’re making these the old-fashioned way, so you need some (gasp) shortening, lard, solid at room temperature. Just like grandma used to use!
- Milk – A cup of milk holds it all together and gives your dumplings that dreamy creamy type flavor that doesn’t come in a can.
- Butter – This is for sautéing the fresh veggies that really will be in the finished dish.
- Fresh veggies – Celery, carrots, and onions – just like you’d expect. I try to dice roughly the same size, so they cook evenly.
- Frozen peas – It’s not a true Southern chicken and dumplings recipe without peas. You have to use frozen or they’ll just be green mush.
See? It’s really not all that bad.
As I sort of mentioned earlier, this Southern chicken and dumplings recipe isn’t one of those weeknight dinners kinda’ recipes it’s more of a Sunday supper kinda thing!
- Pot: This is one of those recipes where the type and quality of your pot really do matter. If you scorch it, it’s a big deal. You’ll want a heavier gaged type stockpot – something 8 quarts or larger. It really helps distribute the heat more evenly.
- Stirring: Also, there’s a lot of boiling and simmering going on in this recipe. Plus, you’re making homemade herbed dumplings. These little babies are quite coveted. I use my favorite wooden spoon so as not to end up with dumpling mush.
Storing + Freezing + Make-Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? When stored properly, your Southern chicken and dumplings will stay fresh and crave-worthy for up to 4 days in the fridge.
- Can You Freeze This? It goes against everything I know to be true, but you can freeze this Southern chicken and dumplings recipe. Of course, it is better served fresh but sometimes we just don’t have that kinda’ time and sometimes we’ve just got that much leftover.
- I will say that it’s got to slow thaw, or you’ll end up with chicken mush. You’ll also want to keep a little chicken broth on hand because it does tend to thicken up as it sits.
- Make Ahead Tips: Part of the beauty of this Southern chicken and dumplings recipe is that you’ve got options! If you need to prep the day before you can go ahead and get all the chopping out of the way. Just be sure to store the stock veggies separately from the others.
- You can also make the dumplings a day ahead. Just put wax paper between the layers and slide them into the fridge. I always like to make my dumplings while the chicken is boiling so that’s an option too.
- Food Safety: If you’d like more info on food safety check out this link. Just be sure to let this soup cool completely before putting it in the fridge and reserve the FDA-recommended 2-hour serving rule.
- Can I Add Potatoes? Okay, my friend. There are simply no potatoes in Southern chicken and dumplings! If you’ve got a few lingering potatoes that need to get used up, one of my favorite cold-weather dishes is chicken gnocchi soup. Don’t have that kinda’ time? Make chicken potato soup instead!
More Chicken Soup Recipes
- Mexican Chicken Soup
- Italian Chicken Soup
- Crack Chicken Soup
- Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Cream of Chicken Soup
- Creamy Chicken Tortellini Soup
- Chicken Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Taco Soup
- Lemon Chicken Soup
- Chicken and Dumplings
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Southern Chicken and Dumplings
Chicken and Stock:
- 1 4-5 pounds whole chicken
- 4 large carrots cut into thirds
- 4 celery cut into thirds
- 2 large yellow onions quartered
- 6 garlic cloves smashed
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 8 cups chicken broth
- 4 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh herb mix of thyme, rosemary, and parsley
- 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup carrots diced
- 1 cup celery diced
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- Cook chicken and make stock by combining all ingredients in an 8 quart or larger heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the chicken is falling off the bones tender, about 1 hour. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until it's cool enough to handle. While chicken is cooking, prepare the dumplings.
- Make the dumplings: In a medium bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and the fresh herbs with a fork. Add the shortening and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives (the mixture will look like coarse crumbs). Add the milk and stir until combined. Gather the dough into a ball. Flour your countertop. Turn your dough out on the floured counter. Knead the dough gently until it comes together about 6-7 times. Divide the dough into thirds. Roll out the dough, one third at a time, until it's 1/8 inch thick. Cut the rolled out dough into roughly 1-inch strips then cut the strips crosswise into roughly 1 1/2 inch rectangles. (Use a floured knife or pastry cutter to do this don't worry if your pieces aren't exactly the same size...they're handmade!). Place cut pieces on a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat the rolling and cutting with the rest of the dough then stack the other layers of cut dough between sheets of parchment paper on the same baking sheet. You can refrigerate the dumplings at this point if you aren't serving right away, for up to one day.
- Remove the skin and bones from the cooked chicken and shred or cut it into bite-size pieces; set aside.
- Strain the broth into another large bowl or pot and discard the cooked veggies. Set aside. Add the butter to the original large pot and saute the diced carrot, celery and onion for 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Carefully add back the strained broth to the pot, increasing the heat to high, and bring to a boil. When the stock is boiling add the dumplings in batches, stirring between additions. Return the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir the dumplings. Cover and cook another 15 minutes.
- Stir in the chicken and the peas. Bring the stock back to a gentle boil then cover the pot and remove it from heat. Allow the Chicken and Dumplings to sit, covered for 20 minutes before serving.