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Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
371 votes, 3.68 avg. rating (73% score)
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Total Time: 60

Hands On Time: 30

Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings.

This version of old-fashioned chicken and dumplings, which we've adapted from our friends at The Old Farmer's Almanac, is a wonderfully efficient way to use a chicken. The whole bird goes into the pot to make the broth, and then the meat is added back in at the end with the dumplings. It’s one of the most satisfying and comforting foods you can make during the cold winter months.

Our readers gave this recipe for old-fashioned chicken and dumplings rave reviews! "These dumplings taste almost identical to my grandmother’s!" "My mom and I always go to Cracker Barrel to get old-fashioned chicken and dumplings.  Now we won't have to." "I found this recipe a good substitute for my great-grand dad’s recipe"

Looking for something simpler? Learn the easy way to make homemade dumplings.


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Homemade Chicken Dumplings

For the Soup:


  • 1 whole 4- to 5-pound chicken
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 5 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons table salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste


Put the chicken into a large soup pot. Cover with about ½ inch of water and add onion, bay leaves, butter, salt, and pepper. Cover, set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and very gently simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 1 hour.

When the chicken is done, transfer it to a cutting board, leaving the broth and bay leaves in the pot. When chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bone in small pieces and set aside (discard bones, skin, and other waste).

For the Dumplings:


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • Garnish: minced fresh parsley


Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk to blend. Add the oil and stir to coat the flour, then add the water and beaten eggs. Stir just enough to combine, then knead with clean hands until evenly mixed.

Turn the dough out onto a generously floured board and divide in half. Take the first portion and roll out into a thin rectangle. Slice the dough lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips, then cut cross-wise into pieces 4 inches long. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bring the broth back to a boil. Drop the dumpling strips into the boiling liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the dumplings are tender (they'll puff up a bit), about 20 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.
Updated Monday, June 15th, 2015

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75 Responses to Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

  1. Anonymous July 1, 2004 at 8:11 pm #

    This is too elaborate to be titled
    Mother’s Old Fashioned.” I am 50 and am
    still using my great grandmother’s
    recipe, which is much simpler.

    • Deborah Rock August 14, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      Could you share your dumpling recipe? My father passed away and the dumpling ingredients went with him. He made his with salt pork, and then he went with beef. His recipe was simple made from scratch

      thank you

      • Paul Tomlinson January 19, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

        Here is my mothers recipe. From the piney woods of East Texas.


        ½ cup milk
        1 egg
        1 teaspoon baking powder
        ½ teaspoon salt
        2 tablespoon vegetable oil
        1 to 1 ½ cups flour

        Combine flour, baking powder, vegetable oil, and salt in a bowl. Stir in milk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll to ⅛-inch thickness; cut into 1-inch pieces.
        Drop dumplings, a few at a time, into simmering broth, stirring gently. Cover and simmer, stirring often, 25 minutes.

        From: Maurine Tomlinson

        • Yvonne Lloyd February 9, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

          I used your mom’s recipe for dumplings and it was EXCELLENT!! I will treasure this recipe !! Look no further people this is it!!

        • Melanie Cox February 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

          Oh my gosh my Grandmother’s name was Tomlinson

    • Misty December 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm #

      I am looking for the old fashioned, not so elaborate chicken and dumplings recipe. My grandmother use to make it when I was little but no one ever thought to get the recipe. She passed away in 1996 and I’m looking for one that resembles what I remember.

    • mother of 2 January 21, 2016 at 7:51 am #

      Thats exactly what I was thinking! Way to much. Be interested in hearing ur recipe plz :)

  2. Anonymous July 20, 2004 at 4:01 pm #

    I found this recipe a good substitute for my great-grand dad’s recipe (I am 71), which used lard (and later shortening) for the dumping dough and a good fat home grown hen needed no additional butter in the broth. This recipe took much less time to make without sacrificing too much of the flavor or texture of our family recipe. A keeper.

  3. Anonymous August 3, 2004 at 10:41 pm #

    This one is quite similar to the one I”ve been using for years.

  4. Anonymous July 12, 2005 at 4:34 pm #

    This was cooked in a crockpot all day.I had to substitute a few ingredients but this was a hit with the guys. I added 1/2 t of rosemary, 1T parsley along with the bay leaves, and also chunks of carrots. The broth was a little thin so I mixed in 3/4 cup of instant potatoes.I used instant biscuit mix and next time I won’t. It was very good!

  5. Anonymous August 16, 2005 at 11:15 am #

    My mother used lard instead of oil and just before serving used a small can of milk (or cream) and poured it into dumplings, and then sprinkled with black pepper. So creamy and good. That is how my grandfather taught her to make them. She dropped them slowly into the bubbling juice, so they did not stick together.

    • Terri Terry December 3, 2015 at 11:43 am #

      I made this recipe for the first time and used your tip for canned milk plus the one that added mashed potato flakes for thickness and it was the best

  6. Anonymous January 2, 2006 at 1:33 am #

    I found this recipe a few years ago in the Almanac and gave it a try. It turned out so good that I am constantly asked for the recipe. This is a good old fashioned dish which requires lots of cornbread for crumbling in and sopping the plate clean.

  7. Anonymous June 22, 2006 at 11:35 pm #

    If you like chicken and dumplings, this is the best I have ever had…and I am very picky!

  8. Anonymous August 2, 2006 at 9:22 am #

    Oh my … what great memories. I’m from a Pennsylvania Dutch family, on my Dad’s side, and these were the BEST eats growing up! Our dumplings were peppery, and the chicken was sometimes substituted with a hambone (therefore Hambone Potpie), another of us kids favorites.

    • Cheresa November 12, 2013 at 11:51 am #

      We always called flat dumplings “popeye” when I was little When I grew up I realized they were saying “potpie” LOL

      • debbie July 7, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

        So did my family call it Popeye. I thought it was a family thing.

  9. Anonymous November 11, 2006 at 10:16 pm #

    This was good, but the dumplings were very heavy.

    • Sandra September 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

      The next time you try this recipe….if you make adjustments in your dough…ex: do not make them so thick…you may enjoy them better.

  10. Anonymous May 28, 2007 at 3:57 pm #


  11. Anonymous July 18, 2007 at 8:30 am #

    Almost as good as Cracker Barrel’s.

    • Paula May 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

      I agree – You can’t beat Cracker Barrel’s chicken and dumplings. They have a great flavor and texture.

      However, I don’t add bay leaves to my dumplings and I do use Crisco – lard was definitely the tastiest back in the day. No carrots or other stuff. A big fat hen is best – no butter needed as has already been noted. Different ingredients are ok if they are liked but it doesn’t add up to our “old fashioned chicken and dumplings”.

  12. Anonymous September 28, 2007 at 9:17 am #

    I just want to thank you. I remember my mom making this and it was never written down, but you just gave it back. Thanks.

  13. Anonymous October 19, 2007 at 11:51 am #

    My mom and I always go to Cracker Barrel to get old-fashioned chicken and dumplings. Now we won’t have to. This recipe is very easy to make and tastes delicious.

  14. Anonymous October 29, 2007 at 7:43 pm #

    I would make it again but would add carrots, celery and onion.

  15. Anonymous October 31, 2007 at 9:46 am #

    Just like my grammy makes!!!

  16. Anonymous January 1, 2008 at 7:58 pm #

    This recipe reminds me of my grandmother’s specialty! It was very easy to prepare and delicious! I varied it a bit to use the turkey that I made yesterday. We saved and used the white and dark meat as well as the “drippings”…It was fantastic! Thank you for this perfect dumpling recipe!

  17. Anonymous January 24, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    I would tweak this recipe a bit. I like carrot, onions, celery and lots of Italian parsley in it. Also, I found a simpler idea, instead of making the dumplings, I use Kluski Frozen Noodles in mine. They are wide & heavy like homemade

  18. Anonymous February 16, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    I liked this recipe but prefer my own dumpling mix of 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some parsley – rolled the same way. I add thyme, sage and parsley along with the bay leaves and add a few white potatoes (pared and diced) and cook everything about 25 minutes longer. Heavy dumplings and a stew like broth. This was passed from a Quaker family.

  19. Anonymous March 16, 2008 at 10:31 am #

    The taste was great but the dumplings were hard and lumpy.

  20. Anonymous July 10, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    Very similar to what I, my Mom and my Mamaw have made for years but instead of the water, we use our broth.

    • barbara October 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

      DIDO on the broth i’m from a family of deep southern back ground and mom,aunts and grandmother only used broth, flour, eggs,salt pepper and of course the chicken and I agree free range are the best tasting chickens I’ve ever had. and don’t play with the dough that’s what makes it tough. and it has to been rolled out about 1/4 of a inch thick.dropping noodles in boiling broth one at a time and ADD deboned chicken after noodles are tender. that’s it enjoy.

    • Deborah Rock August 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

      That is the one i think dad used, but he did not use lard or any type of grease. He used the broth and little bits of the meat.

  21. Anonymous October 2, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    Great with fried corn bread. Almost as good as my Mom’s and Grandma’s used to be.

    • Jana October 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm #

      Oh yes, I agree fried cornbread is the best!

  22. Anonymous April 27, 2009 at 7:14 pm #

    There’s a much simpler way to make the dumplings. Don’t mix the dough quite as dry, and instead of rolling it out, drop it into the broth using a teaspoon or a very small scoop. The dumplings are fluffier and it doesn’t take nearly as long.

    • Tammy May 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      This is how my husband makes them and his momma taught him.He is 83 now and she went by covered wagon from Montana where she was born to Tenn….He ,my husband is related to Daniel Boone who I am sure made it the same…..didn’t roll the “noodle” just dropped the mixture into the delicious broth. sometimes he does add carrots,onions,celery or parsley but if he doesn’t have them then nope they don’t go in….

  23. Anonymous April 27, 2009 at 8:52 pm #

    I use the fat from hen instead of oil. Much more flavor. I also add stalks of celery when cooking the chicken. A layer of stalks under most meat acts like a cooking rack and gives a lot of flavor.

  24. Anonymous April 28, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    My father makes this also and when making the dumplings he covers the pot for 10 minutes and then uncovered for 10 minutes, thus making the dumplings huge!!!

    • marlene wright December 23, 2015 at 5:13 pm #

      This is how my dad made them too. From scratch. I cheat and use jiffy mix, but only because I did not know how to make them them with butter.

  25. Anonymous June 23, 2009 at 8:23 am #

    I would call these noodles as it is not what I remember gumplings being like when I was a kid. My mom made chicken and dumplings and they were fluffy mounds of a bready like substance. Times sure have changed if this is what they call dumplings nowadays.

  26. Maurine Bowles December 28, 2010 at 11:43 am #

    Reminds me of my childhood except our beloved cook would put the head and feet(skinned first) in the broth. My brother Pat said the prize was when you dipped out a foot with a dumpling in it! The recipe sounds like Aunt Senie’s dumplings and we all looked forward to our meal.

  27. Bonnie Newberry January 19, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

    I prefer the heavy flat dumplings over the big fluffy balls full of air. The flats are more like what my grandmother made. She knew that I loved dumplings and pastas over any other accompaniment. This recipe is delicious, however, I do use fewer bay leaves.

  28. J M December 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    This is very close to what my grandmom and mom made – love it! We always, always rolled out and cut the dumplings . . . like them so much better than just doing spoonfuls. Only difference is we always cube up a couple of potatoes to thicken up the soup.

  29. roberta douglas January 11, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    I’m with Ms. Beuleh, the “dumplings” I always knew were fluffy, bready and light, either big ones floating on top, like my New England grandmother’s, or smaller round ones from my aunt-in-law from southwest Virginia. I always ask now if I order them at a family-style restaurant, just so I can get prepared. One trick my mom had was to lay a large kitchen towel over the pot, then the lid, after putting the dumplings in.

  30. Pauline Matthews April 21, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    great recipe, but as others mentioned carrots, celery, parsley and a little cream or milk in the broth goes well and if having chicken should always have a little tyme.

  31. mary May 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    very very good all of the ways are very good i guess it matters where u are from or where the person is from that first handed down the recipe. dumplings can be put back in fridge and allowed to get cold or freeze before putting back in pot this helps them to stay flat if that is what u like and sometimes i even re roll mine out of fridge when i want them flat Shortcuts are good you can also find already made dumpling in the bread section of your store, one name brand is Ann’s homemade dumpling or ask the the person who orders at your store if they can get them for you, they are really good when i don’t feel like the long process, my friend rolls out butter me not can rolls and they are very good also what ever you use this is a great recipe thank u for sharing.

  32. Rebecca June 27, 2013 at 8:27 am #

    Do you use all purpose or self rising flour?

    • Aimee Seavey June 27, 2013 at 9:18 am #

      Hi Rebecca. Unless otherwise noted, all of our recipes call for all-purpose flour.

  33. Nanci August 5, 2013 at 11:19 am #

    Wow,the comments are even better than the recipe! Learned a lot!

  34. Nanci August 5, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Umm,what is moderation?

  35. Adrinne August 11, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    Didn’t have my Mother’s recipe on hand so the title of this one lured me in. I made it with my 14 year old son and it was simple enough to make it a nice experience. It turned out very good.

  36. Annette October 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Sounds great and will try it. My mom would also make her dumplings with self rising flour which supplemented the flat taste of the plain flour and thickened the broth.

  37. Jennifer November 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    These dumplings taste almost identical to my grandmother’s! I made them one week, and the next week we all went to Cracker Barrel. My son ordered the chicken and dumplings from there and they weren’t nearly as good as this recipe. This is most definitely a keeper, and anytime I buy a whole chicken at the store, the whole family starts asking when I’m making them. I don’t change a thing with the recipe and it comes out absolutely perfect.

  38. Robecca December 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    This was my first time making chicken and dumplings and it came out great thanks for the recipe….

  39. diane March 5, 2014 at 1:19 am #

    My grandmother and I didn’t talk much to each other growing up; but the one thing we had in common was her chicken and dumplings. — Loved her chicken and dumplings! It was the only thing that brought us together and finally form a bond. I followed the recipe and used all scratch ingredients (never saw a box of Bisquick in her kitchen) OMG it worked! I made my grandmother’s chicken and dumplings I haven’t had for the last 55 years! They were delicious! Thank you so much!

    Diane age 70

  40. John Waldrop May 19, 2014 at 6:37 pm #

    Made the dumplings tonight, and they were very good. I did add a few stalks of chopped celery and 2 chopped carrots to the boiling chicken to add some additional flavor to the broth. I also used 4 chicken breasts instead of a fryer chicken.

  41. theresa kowalski December 3, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    I have been cooking most of my life and I have made lots of dumplings and this recipe is almost the same as I make except I do like to add some sage to mine dumplings adds lots of flavor to them and I use broth in stead of water . roll them out and roll them thin they cook faster and the flavor goes into the dumpling . can also use poultry seasoning. love this recipe thanks for sharing . this is what I call Home made !!!

  42. Helaine September 27, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

    I am just trying this method of dumpling. My mom always used Bisquick for the dumplings and put them in via spoon into the broth. I didn’t have Crisco but I did have some lard in the fridge so went that way instead. I only used breasts as that’s what we prefer. Added celery, onion and a carrot for color.

  43. Jim October 18, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    This was excellent, first time I’ve made Chicken and Dumpings and my wife loved it which is a big complement since her family is known for this dish.

  44. Carrol November 1, 2015 at 5:57 am #

    This favoured recipe is called Chicken and Sliders back home in Ontario,Canada, across from the river from Detroit. The French made this, so I learned from my Mother in Law. My husband likes the dumplings dropped off the spoon and fluffy, but the kids and I prefer the rolled out noodle. I use butter, I think my MIL used lard. This has often been the Birthday Dinner in our family. We add the bay leaf, the celery and the carrots into broth.

  45. Janice Bettencourtt November 16, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    Never used all the spices..use self rising flour..cooked the hen in a pressure cooker..with butter not margarine the skin and bones are taken out..then add some more butter in the broth..roll out dumplings and drop in..add creme or vap milk. Cook in oven until the top is brown…i hope they have dumplings in Heaven,

  46. larry grant December 21, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    ok to first start off ,i am a 55 yr old man who has been very sick for the past yr. or so. so I’ve been laying here dozing off when all of a sudden my grandmothers chicken and dumplings pops to mind. Now as I and my 4 brothers remember it was made with some kind of egg batter that she lovenly scooped bit by bit into her broth. every morsel was dipped into the broth until it came off the spoon it took her several hours and even more yelling at us kids to stay away from it. wow the greatest memories of my grandmother that have crossed my mind except the homemade western shirts she made for all us kids. oh yeah 1 other fond memory was the toothpick/styrophone x-mas dec. so could someone of you older generation pls set me on the right path as to where I can taste the meal of my youth again

    • larry grant December 21, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

      oh by the way I still have pics. of my brothers and I in the shirts she made

  47. December 23, 2015 at 6:44 am #

    Never, ever heard of noodles in this dish!! I prefer plain, good old-fashioned
    To savor the broth, the dumplings, the chicken. If You want stew; make stew!

    Grew up with it in Vt. Grammy simmered chicken on back of kitchen stove.
    Pepere had just chopped the head off with all us grandkids watching it run
    Around headless afterwards!

    Fond memories and best comfort food ever! Thanks for the memories!

  48. Jessica lynn December 30, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    I put the dumplings in the crockpot instead and it turned out so much better !!!

  49. April January 7, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

    Well I tried this recipe and I must say it didn’t take long at all and I found it simple. It was my first time making dumplings and it turned out awsome. Still have much to learn.

  50. cynrok January 30, 2016 at 6:04 pm #

    this is just like my grandma nonnie used to make. i remember visiting her house in west virginia many times and seeing these dumplings spread out on newspaper all over the kitchen resting while the chicken cooked in the pressure cooker. i don’t understand how anyone can call it complicated, that’s crazy. it’s like 5 ingredients. yes it’s another step more than making drop biscuits, but some of us really dislike those fluffy things and prefer these heavier dumplings. these are hound-eared and the drop ones are a completely different style–there is no comparison. my mom always makes the drop biscuits because they’re easier but we all preferred nonnie’s hound-eared dumplings.

  51. SpinninJenny April 22, 2016 at 2:30 pm #

    I’ve loved reading all the comments here! So many different versions of a classic comfort food!

    My Mamaw, from Eastern KY, rolled her dumplings out and cut them into 2″x3″ pieces and loaded up our hands with them and we dropped them into the boiling broth. When I was little and she still kept chickens, everything but the head and feathers went into the pot! It was really gross trying to find the dumplings among the various bones and other parts, but the dumplings were so tender and tasty. After my Mamaw stopped cooking, my Aunt Jane made the dumplings, without the whole chicken! Cracker Barrel’s recipe comes closest to my Aunt Jane’s recipe, although, she added thyme, sage or poultry seasoning to the broth, and never any vegetables.

    I tried to make another internet recipe for chicken & dumplings-what a joke! It turned out nothing like I expected! I made drop dumplings and covered the pot. What I found when I removed the lid was not what it should have been-fluffy dumplings. I had creamy chicken soup. The dumplings completely fell apart, but thickened the “soup”. It tasted good ,but wasn’t what I was looking for.

    I wish I had found this recipe sooner, instead of the other!! Now, I can’t wait to make this. My 90 yr. old dad consulted on the other recipe, and though it tasted good, it wasn’t like his mother’s!!

  52. NicL June 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    This recipe was well received by the family. Thank you for sharing. Growing up, my neighbor down the street would make chicken and dumplings, and I considered myself lucky when I happened to be there when Mrs. Miget was making it a AND she would invite us to have a bowl, as it was not part of my parents’ recipe collection. This recipe reminds me of Mrs Miget and her chicken and dumplings and the good times. Thanks again.

  53. ED June 29, 2016 at 9:08 am #

    True old fashioned dumplings are made with lard.

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