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Mother's Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Mother’s Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
160 votes, 3.84 avg. rating (76% score)
by

Yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings.

The best way to learn how to make homemade chicken and dumplings is, of course, from your mother or grandmother. If they didn't pass down a family recipe, try this version of old-fashioned chicken and dumplings.

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

Mother's Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole fryer chicken or hen
  • 4 to 5 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons butter
  • pepper, to tasteDumplings:
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 small eggs
  • 3 cups flour

Instructions:

Wash the chicken and place into a large Dutch oven. Cover well with plenty of water and add bay leaves. Add salt and pepper, and the butter (the more butter, the richer the dish). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, uncovered, until the chicken is well done, about 1 hour.

Remove the chicken from the broth. Discard the bay leaves. When the chicken has cooled, remove the meat from the bone and return the deboned chicken to the broth. About 1/2 to 3/4 pot of broth should remain.

For dumplings: In a large bowl, mix together the salt, oil, water, and eggs. Slowly add the flour to the mixture, blending it constantly with a fork. Stir only long enough to mix the dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Pinch the dough in half, and roll out until thin, about 1/4 inch. Slice the dough into 1/2-inch-wide strips, and cross-slice into pieces 4 to 8 inches long, for ease in handling.

Bring the broth and chicken back to a boil, and pepper well to taste. Drop the dumpling strips into the boiling stock. Boil approximately 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the dumplings are done (they'll be puffy). Most of the broth will be absorbed. Serve with red pinto beans and corn bread.

Updated Tuesday, May 21st, 2013
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48 Responses to Mother’s 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.

  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.

  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 #

    Great.

  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 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.

  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.

  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!!!

  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 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.

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