Mother's Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

Recipe for Mother's Old-Fashioned Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
Sam Jones/Quinn Brein


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


1. 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.

2. 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 ½ to ¾ pot of broth should remain.

3. 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.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured board. Pinch the dough in half, and roll out until thin, about ¼ inch. Slice the dough into ½-inch-wide strips, and cross-slice into pieces 4 to 8 inches long, for ease in handling.

5. 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.


Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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East TN Dumplings


Great recipe!

I make mine a little different- as I like a really savory dish. Of course, no measurements- as that’s the way I was taught, “just a pinch of this and a tad of that”.

When I can I do these things to make a hearty, richer flavored dish:
- prep chicken and put into a deep pan or Dutch oven
- in a bowl add salt, pepper, garlic &onion powder (to taste), crushed - dry thyme (a healthy pinch), soft butter. Mix well and put 1/3 between skin and meat, put 3-5 bay leaves between skin and meat. Smear rest of butter mixture over outside of chicken, add a cup of water and bake covered with foil. 1/2 through remove foil and turn chicken.

- let chicken cool, debone (and skin) , reserve liquid and carcass (to make stock later)

- fill pot 1/2 with water and add reserved juices and chicken. (I will use carcass instead if I want to make a lot of dumplings- boil, stain and return liquid to pot)
- bring to low simmer
*** Important- add next ingredients to pot before taking liquid out to make dumplings!
- add - to taste - salt/pepper/onion&garlic powder if needed.
*** a well seasoned stock will flavor your dumplings later. After all, who wants to bite into a plain tasting dumpling?
Add 1 c milk, 1/2 heavy cream (a must for heart stopping dumplings!) - stir and taste for seasoning.
Turn on low while making dumplings.

- Remove 1 or 1 1/2 cups liquid and set aside to cook slightly. Add 2 tsps of lard into liquid and let melt. (We render our own when process hogs in late fall/winter)
- I large (large) bowl add 3-5 cups of sifted flour. (You’re making an East Tennessee pot of dumplings... and my granny always made enough for drop-in guests as they seem to show up when dumplings are made!) or, adjust cups to your needs.
- pour a little liquid into flour and mix until you have a dry-ish biscuit consistency.
- turn stock up to a medium simmer, just below boiling (don’t forget you’ve got milk and heavy cream in there... don’t even think about leaving it out! LOL)
- roll out thin and cut (I use a pizza cutter) into squares/rectangles/whatever you like shapes/sizes, or - skip this step and make drop dumplings!
- I will often sprinkle a pinch (or three) of flour over the dumplings and give ‘em a fluff so that they don’t get sticky.
- once stock is simmering drop dumplings into it a few at a time, stirring now and again to keep them from sticking - until all are added. (Or, as many as you need. Stick the rest onto a cookie sheet, freeze, then put into a bag (I vacuum seal), and freeze for later use.
- once dumplings are added, turn heat down to a low simmer. I use a flat wooden spatula to keep bottom clean - stirring gently as required.
- when dumplings are almost done add chicken, now shredded, back into pot.
Cook til done, and serve with veggie sides of choice.

I often (90% of the time) add a bag of frozen mixed veggies in when I add the chicken to the pot. (Carrots, green beans, peas, and corn)
Make a big pitcher(s) of sweet tea, call friends & family over to share and enjoy!

(It may sound complicated, but, it’s not... just several steps. To make it easier, prep ahead!.
- When cooking chicken for another meal add an additional chicken in and cook, shred, and freeze for later use.
- use the carcasses to make stock with leftover vegetable scraps and freeze in meal portions.

Best wishes!


My mother cut up the fryer like one would do for fried chicken. Then she would S/P then dredge in flour. Then brown all sides in butter. (My mom ALWAYS fried her chicken in only butter-never oil) After would add veggies and stock. Let simmer until all melded and chicken done. Then top with the dollops of dumplings and let cook/steam. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! No noodles, no shreds of chicken. Yes, there were bones but that plus browned bits in the pot from browning the chicken pieces made for more flavor. Her veggies in the cooking process were celery and onion. Seasonings were thyme and sage. When she removed the chicken pieces for serving they were tender and full of rich flavor. She served with mashed potatoes too because the cooking process made a fantastic gravy for chicken, dumplings and the taters. COMPLETELY DROOL-WORTHY!!!!

Dumpling recipe

This was not the best dumpling recipe, I had to throw them out and redo. Gummy texture and no flavor. Definitely needs some work.

chicken and dumplings recipe

The Editors's picture

Hi, Darla. You’ll see from the intro that this is an old family recipe near and dear to Shirley’s heart. We are sorry that it wasn’t to your taste.

Chicken and Dumplings

I have made this recipe a few times and it is good and not too much work. She is right that the pepper is important.

Just use chicken breaata

Can I use for or five chicken breast instead of a whole chicken

Chicken dumplings

You could use just chicken beast. But be aware, the flavor of the final dish will not be as full flavored or rich. Your best bet is add some legs and/or thighs to those breasts for the best out come. Otherwise your meal will be on the bland side.

Chicken and Dumplings

My Mom's recipe is very simular. We use all purpose flour but add 1/2 to 1 tsp soda to 3 or 4 cups of flour. Don't use to much or you will definitely taste it. We use bacon drippings instead of butter, oil or lard. I've used each of these and the best flavor comes with the bacon drippings. As for stirring Mom's was a big NO! Mom would fuss at anyone who went near her stock pot. She would bring her broth to a rolling boil, roll out about a quarter of the dough about an 1/8 inch thick keeping the dough well floured. Cut into strips. She fan folded strips in her hand and then laid the strips across the boiling broth being careful not to put strips on top of strips. Once she had the top of the broth covered she used a spoon to gently push the strips under the broth. Repeat until all strips were in the broth. Turn down heat to medium low, cover and let cook for at least 5 minutes. Never put in more strips than the broth can cover. My poor sister-in-law has tried for years and still can't make them, LOL! My brothers come home so I can make dumplings for them!

Chicken Pastry

This is what my family has called Chicken Pastry for many generations. I have heard it called Chicken Slick and Chicken and Dumplings but it is all fairly the same dish. Some use Crisco, oil, butter but my Grandma always used lard because that is what she had on hand. Some like them thick while others like the thin. It is all a matter of what you like. Best dish to eat no matter what the weather or season. If you have never tried it you don't know what you are missing. Good food, good company, and a glass of sweet iced tea is all you need to make it an occasion.

Great Grandmother's Recipe

My wife uses my great grandmother's recipe for chicken and dumplings. In true Southern fashion it calls for a "lump of shortening or lard the size of a chicken egg". The dough is rolled thin and cut before going into the simmering broth. For us, chicken and dumplings are the meal accompanied at most by some cornbread.


The recipe says to bake the dish. On what temperature and for how long?


The Editors's picture

The recipe should have been classified under “Boil.” We’ve corrected it.

I add black pepper and a

I add black pepper and a pinch of poultry season to my dumpling dough and I use buttermilk - no eggs. They are fluffy and flavorful.

I also use SR flour, and I

I also use SR flour, and I make the dough just like I do for buttermilk biscuits, adding the pepper & poultry seasoning, and drop the dumplings into the stew broth made with water and cream of chicken soup - undiluted. Milk may be added if desired after the boiling is down to a simmer.

I used the canned pizza dough

I used the canned pizza dough in the cooler where the canned biscuits are, came out really good.

I have used all purpose and

I have used all purpose and self rising flour for dumplings. It all depends on wether you want doughy or light and fluffy dumplings. I personally like the doughy heavy dumplings but my husband loves the fluffy kind so I alternate. Either way the dish is delicious.

I added big chunks of

I added big chunks of carrots, 1 large onion, diced, and 2 whole
celery stalks to the broth during the cooking process. I removed the celery when the broth was done. I also added some fresh Thyme to the dumplings. My family loved it!

I always used butter instead

I always used butter instead of oil. It makes for a richer dumpling. OR, I used Olive Oil for the oil if I didn't have butter.

Have made these for all of

Have made these for all of my adult life and always use plain flour. also. use crisco instead of oil.. Be sure the broth is boiling when dropping the dumplings into it. If u use self rising flour they will be too mushy. You want them to be a little stiff and slsso let them cook on simmer for a while until done. Stir often very carefully so as not to tear the dumplings to pieces. try it very good. Been making these over 60 years.

I always use all purpose

I always use all purpose flour for my dumplings. I also do not roll them out but drop them by spoonfuls into the broth. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered, and 10 minutes covered. They should be puffy.

If you want to cut the

If you want to cut the cooking time down use five to six large chicken breasts instead ofa whole chicken.

I make my dumpling a number

I make my dumpling a number of ways. I use to do the old fashion way, but have much easier ways and just as good. Bisquick does good by either spooning or rolling. Canned biscuits with butter bits works well by rolling out. My favorite is flour tortillas. You can also sprinkle a little sage on the dumplings.

its a delicous entree.

its a delicous entree. Personaly i like creamy co;e slaw and a veggie with mine.

Tried this recipe and was

Tried this recipe and was really disappointed with the dumplings. I did everything just like the recipe called for and the dumplings turned out heavy and doughy.

Could someone please answer

Could someone please answer concerning the flour, self-rising or regular?

I'm waiting for someone to

I'm waiting for someone to answer concerning the flour. Use self-rising or regular?

Hi Jessie, For this recipe,

The Editors's picture

Hi Jessie, For this recipe, use regular all-purpose flour.

When I make my own dumplings

When I make my own dumplings ..I use self rising flour ( Hudson Cream)

I make my own dumplings using

I make my own dumplings using Hudson Cream self rising.

Has to be self rising in

Has to be self rising in order for the bisquits to rise, other wise the turn out doughy