When I think of comfort food, Chicken and Dumplings tops my list! While there are dozens of other variations available on the interwebs, this simple recipe will show you how to make a batch completely from scratch, with no can of cream-of-something-soup or store-bought broth. Enjoy this straightforward, homemade comfort food that will take you on a mental vacation back to your grandma’s kitchen. Take a bite, close your eyes, and let this homestead staple whisk you away to a simpler time and a slower pace.
This recipe creates light, fluffy buttermilk dumplings but offers an option for tougher textured chewy dumplings as well. (Dad, if you’re reading this, I did this just for you. Chewy is the only way you like ’em!) The all-purpose flour can easily be replaced with a gluten-free alternative without sacrificing flavor. Feel free to adapt this recipe and make it your own!
No-Frills Chicken and Dumplings
Creamy and hearty chicken soup base with fluffy buttermilk dumplings made completely from scratch. Just like mom and grandma used to make. A budget- friendly dish that pairs fantastically well with a side of buttery peas and carrots!
Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 3-4 Hours *
- 3 lbs. bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 3 qts. water
- ½ stick (4 tbsp) butter
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (helps bring out the nutrients from the bones while making the broth)
- 3 tsp. salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)
- ¼ tsp ground thyme (1-2 sprigs of fresh would be even better)
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (or gluten free substitute of your choice)
- ½ cup milk (I used raw milk)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (or gluten free substitute of your choice)
- 1 tbsp. baking powder (omit for tougher textured, chewy dumplings)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- Pinch of garlic powder
- 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar,) room temperature
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ¼ – ½ cup broth from soup
- Place chicken thighs, water, butter, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar , 3 tsp salt, thyme, and bay leaves into a large stockpot. (I use this 7 qt enameled dutch oven.) Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 hours, until skins separate and meat pulls easily from the bones with a fork or tongs.
- Strain all solids from broth and allow them to cool. Separate meat, cutting into bite sized pieces ( it may fall apart on its own.)* At this point, you may refrigerate the meat and return the bones and skins to the stockpot and continue simmering for several additional hours to create a heartier “bone broth” base for the soup. While this may increase the nutrient density of the dish, it will have little effect on the flavor. If you chose to skip this step, or have completed the bone broth, please continue to step 3.
- Discard bones, skins, and bay leaves. Add black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder to the broth, whisking to distribute. Simmer over low heat.
- In a small bowl, stir ½ cup flour, ½ cup milk and ½ cup broth until smooth to create a roux. Slowly whisk in roux into the remaining broth inside the stockpot. This will ensure that your soup base is thick and creamy. Increase to medium heat.
- While broth begins to gently boil: sift together 2 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 ½ tsp salt, and a pinch of garlic powder in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 1 cup buttermilk, and ¼ broth.
- Gently fold the wet dumpling ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. An additional ¼ cup of broth may be needed to ensure that the dumplings reach a sticky, loose dough consistency (they should NOT be runny like batter!)
- When the broth has reached a steady, but not full rolling boil, drop the dumplings by tablespoonfuls into the hot broth. Err on making them a bit on the small side, as they will expand quite a lot while cooking (unless you omitted the baking powder to achieve a tougher, chewier dumpling.)
- Once all dumplings have been dropped into the broth, stir gently to separate any dumplings that may have clumped together. Remove from heat and cover for 5-10 minutes.
- Once your chicken and dumplings have been salted and peppered to your liking, serve promptly. You may garnish with parsley or freshly cracked black pepper if you wish. ENJOY!