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Easy to prepare with simple, nutritious ingredients, my Best Chicken and Dumplings recipe is ideal for a comforting family dinner! Rely on this quick comfort food, a southern-style classic with drop dumplings to feed your hungry masses, a perfect all-in-one meal for busy weeknight suppers!
Excited to share a great recipe for easy chicken stew, the ultimate comfort food with homemade fluffy dumpling dough. This richly flavored, old-fashioned chicken stew, cooked low and slow, features tender dumplings in a gentle simmer. Use shredded chicken pieces, be it leftover or rotisserie chicken, in a simmering soup that turns into rich gravy. Reminiscent of mom’s slow cooker chicken stew with Bisquick mix biscuit dumplings, but with a creamy chicken update.
Sometimes, I feel like I specialize in chicken recipes! If it’s your first time visiting Not Entirely Average, find seriously southern chicken dishes you are bound to put on repeat; among my favorites are this ‘Chicken on the Ritz’ Casserole, my Tender and Crispy Baked Chicken Sandwich, and this method for Crispy Chicken with Herbed Carolina Gold Rice and Scratch Pan Gravy!
Chicken and Dumpling Ingredients
This recipe prioritizes fresh ingredients, including fresh vegetables versus frozen and aromatic herbs for seasoning versus dried. What you get is a flavorful family favorite you can feel proud serving.
- Butter – Use salted butter for a deeper flavor.
- Onion, Carrots, Celery: Fresh produce is ideal. Frozen mirepoix mix is a great substitute.
- Frozen peas – Frozen because they cook FAST; fresh or canned won’t hold up even during a low simmer.
- All-purpose flour – For a gluten-free version, try a 1:1 gluten-free flour blend.
- Evaporated milk – The single KEY INGREDIENT to this recipe working. Use the same amount of heavy cream if you’ve no evaporated milk.
- Homemade chicken stock – Homemade is best, but store-bought chicken broth may be substituted.
- Shredded Rotisserie chicken – A grocery store rotisserie chicken is perfect for this comforting meal! Fresh chicken breast or chicken thighs can also be used; cook and shred them beforehand.
Substitutions and Variations
When making substitutions, texture, cooking time, and flavor may change.
- Leftover stuffing – Leftover rotisserie chicken means there is a good chance you have leftover stuffing. Stir 1 cup of leftover fully cooked stuffing into the dumpling batter before dropping into the hot chicken stew for out-of-this-world dumplings.
- Coconut Milk Infusion – Replace evaporated milk with coconut milk for a creamy, lactose-free alternative. This substitution adds a subtle, exotic flavor that pairs surprisingly well with the savory notes of the dish.
- Mushroom Medley – Introduce a mix of sautéed mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini, and portobello, to the stew for a deep, umami flavor. This variation is perfect for mushroom lovers and adds a rich, earthy dimension to the dish.
Can the Stew Be Made Ahead?
The chicken stew base for the Chicken and Dumplings recipe can be made beforehand. This is a great strategy to enhance the flavors, as stews often taste better the next day after the ingredients have had time to marry. Cook the stew base, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in an airtight container up to 4 days. Gently reheat on the stove over medium heat. Prepare the dumpling batter when serving the dish. They are best when freshly made and cooked directly in the stew.
Step By Step Instructions
Prepare a Bouquet Garni and Begin the Stew
Step 1. Take an 8-inch piece of kitchen twine and tie together several sprigs each of fresh thyme and parsley to form a bouquet garni. This will be used to infuse the stew with flavor. (Image 1)
Step 2. In a medium or large Dutch oven (minimum 4-quart capacity), melt 7 tablespoons of salted butter over medium-high heat. Wait until the butter has fully melted and is starting to bubble. Reduce the heat slightly. (Image 2)
Step 3. Add 1 ½ cups of chopped sweet onion, 1 ½ cups of carrots, and 1 ½ cups of diced celery to the pot. (Image 3)
Step 4. Stir the vegetables and cook them for about 5 minutes or until they soften and wilt. (Image 4)
Step 5. Then, add 6 cloves of roughly chopped garlic to the pot and cook for another minute until the garlic is fragrant but not browned. (Image 5)
Step 6. Sprinkle in 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour over the cooked vegetables. Stir the mixture well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute, during which the mixture will become somewhat sticky. You are cooking out that starch and the taste of the raw flour. (Image 6)
Step 7. Pour 10-12 ounces of evaporated milk into the vegetable roux. Stir quickly, using the back of a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, and ensure a smooth consistency. (Image 7)
Step 8. Slowly bring the mixture to a low boil as you stir in 1 quart of chicken stock. I recommend utilizing the entire chicken by making a homemade stock for this recipe; you can feel good about no waste. (Image 8)
Step 9. Add 4 cups of chopped cooked chicken, the prepared bouquet garni, 2 teaspoons of black pepper, and 2 teaspoons of Kosher salt. Cook everything at a low boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to blend the flavors and to avoid anything sticking to the bottom of the pot. (Image 9)
Step 10. Let the stew cook uncovered while you begin to prepare the dumpling batter. (Image 10)
Prepare the Dumpling Mixture
Step 11. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, and 1 tablespoon of Herbes de Provence. Whisk these dry ingredients together until they are well mixed. (Image 11)
Step 12. Create a shallow well in the center of the flour mixture. Into this well, pour ¾ cup of whole milk and 5 tablespoons of melted butter. (Image 12)
Step 13. Using a fork, gently stir the milk and butter into the dry ingredients. Mix until the batter starts coming together, resembling a sticky dough ball. The batter will be pretty sticky and somewhat stiff, which is typical for dumpling dough. (Image 13)
Step 14. Reduce to low heat. Add ½ cup of frozen peas to the stew. Since peas cook very quickly, they should only be added right before you portion in the dumpling dough. (Image 14)
Steam the Dumplings
Step 15. Remove and discard the bouquet garni. At this point, taste the stew for seasoning. If it requires additional salt or pepper, season it now and simmer for a minute or two. (Image 15)
Step 16. For best results, use a large cookie scoop to evenly portion the dumpling batter into the stew. If a scoop isn’t available, split the dough into two halves, then create three equal portions from each half. Shape these into rounded dumplings using a large spoon, and place one in the center of the stew and the rest around it, allowing space for expansion. Lightly press each dumpling to moisten the top with the stew’s liquid. (Image 16)
Step 17. Cover the pot with a lid and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. This prevents the bottom of the stew from burning while the dumplings are still cooking thoroughly. (Image 17)
Step 18. Let the dumplings cook for about 15 minutes. During this time, occasionally and gently stir or scrape the stew at the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking or burning. Be careful to do this around the dumplings, which will have almost doubled in size. (Image 18)
How to Serve Chicken and Dumplings
The key to serving Chicken and Dumplings is to maintain the warmth and heartiness of the dish while balancing it with lighter sides or drinks.
- Consider using earthenware or stoneware bowls for a rustic, homey feel. This complements the comforting nature of the dish.
- A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette can balance the richness of the stew, while a side of crusty bread or a warm baguette will help mop up the delicious broth.
- Whether for a comforting weeknight dinner, casual gatherings, or a holiday meal, chicken and dumplings are a gratifying eating event!
- A light white wine, such as a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc, can complement the creamy, savory flavors of the dish.
- A pale ale or a lager can pair nicely, especially if the beer has a slight citrus note to cut through the richness.
- Herbal teas like chamomile or mint can be refreshing alongside this hearty meal.
Jenny’s Recipe Pro Tips
- Experiment with Herbs: While Herbes de Provence is suggested, feel free to experiment with other herb combinations based on your taste preferences or what you have on hand.
- Use a Heavy-Bottomed Pot: This helps distribute heat more evenly and prevents the bottom of the stew from burning.
- Resting Time: After cooking, let the stew rest for a few minutes off the heat. This allows the flavors to meld together and the dumplings to set.
To prevent dumplings from falling apart, ensure your dough is not too wet; it should be sticky but firm. Ensure the stew is at a gentle simmer, and resist the urge to lift the lid frequently, allowing steam to escape, which is crucial for cooking the dumplings evenly.
Yes, chicken and dumplings can be frozen, although the texture of the dumplings might change slightly upon reheating. To freeze, allow the dish to cool completely, then store it in airtight containers. When you’re ready to eat, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it gently on the stove. Add extra chicken stock if the stew seems too thick after thawing.
The secret to fluffy dumplings lies in the dough and the cooking method. Use completely cooled melted butter and milk when making your dumpling dough, as this helps to create steam during cooking, which puffs up the dumplings. Also, be careful not to overwork the dough; mix just until the ingredients come together. Ensure the lid is tightly sealed on the pot to trap steam when cooking.
Leftover Rotisserie Chicken Recipe Ideas!
Best Chicken and Dumplings Recipe
- large Dutch oven with lid minimum 4-quart capacity
For the Chicken Stew
- 7 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 ½ cups onion chopped
- 1 ½ cups carrots chopped or matchstick
- 1 ½ cups celery chopped
- ½ cup peas frozen
- 6 cloves garlic rough chopped
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 10 – 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 1 quart chicken stock see my method for homemade
- 4 cups rotisserie chicken chopped
- 4 – 6 sprigs thyme fresh
- 4 – 6 sprigs parsley fresh
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
Homemade Fluffy Dumplings
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
- ¾ cup whole milk cold
- 5 tablespoons butter melted and cooled
- Pick the rotisserie clean. Chop the meat, discarding the skin. Use the carcass for homemade chicken stock. Using a 5-inch piece of kitchen twine, tie the fresh thyme and parsley together to make a bouquet garni. Set aside.
Prepare the Chicken Stew
- In a medium dutch oven (4 quart), melt butter over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables being to wilt. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Mixture will be sticky. Add evaporated milk and 1-quart stock and quickly stir to combine, breaking up all lumps with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Slowly bring to a boil and add 4 cups of chicken, bouquet garni, black pepper, and salt. Cook at a low boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to simmer. and add the peas. Peas cook VERY QUICKLY, so only add them during the last part of the cook. Let the stew simmer on low heat, uncovered, and begin the dumpling batter.
Prepare the Dumpling Batter
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, pepper, salt, and Herbes de Provence in a large bowl. Make a shallow well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the milk and the melted butter into the center.
- Using a fork, stir together until batter comes together similar to a dough ball. Batter will be very sticky and somewhat stiff.
- In the bowl, roughly cut the ball in half. From each half, portion three smaller portions of equal size. A large cookie scoop works best. Remove the bouquet garni and discard. Place one scoop of dumpling batter in the center of the stew, then place the five remaining scoops around the pot, leaving a bit of room between each.
- Once all dumpling balls have been added, gently press them down so the stew juice runs over just the tops of them.
- Place the lid on your pot and lower the heat to the lowest setting. You don’t want the bottom of the stew to burn but do want the stew to still be simmering to cook the dumplings through.
- Cook for 15 minutes. Occasionally gently stir/scrape the stew on the bottom of the pot to avoid sticking/burning. Do this as best you can around the dumplings, as the dumplings will have almost doubled in size by now. If you are unsure if the dumplings are cooked through, cut one dumpling in half to make sure. If necessary, cook another 2-3 minutes and recheck dumplings. Once the dumplings are cooked through, serve hot.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.