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Classic Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings

Classic Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings transports you to the heart of Southern cuisine with its comforting flavors.

This timeless recipe combines tender chicken, aromatic vegetables, and fluffy dumplings simmered in a savory broth, offering a taste of traditional Southern comfort in every spoonful.

chicken and dumplings southern style

Classic Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is one of the South’s most comforting of all comfort foods. Well, in my world it is.

I spent years searching for that one perfect recipe that would satisfy my love for this Southern staple. My very dear friend Debbie shared this recipe with me years ago and I stopped looking. 

This recipe has the best chicken to dumpling ratio and the broth is just right; not too thick, not too thin.

How it all started...

When my son was little and would have a cold, he got chicken and dumplings rather than chicken soup. 

It’s believed that Chicken, which is especially rich in carnosine, helps reduce that stuffy head feeling. Eastern medicine has used celery seeds for thousands of years to treat ailments like bronchitis and the flu. 

So next time you’re feeling a little under the weather (or not), serve up a big bowl of comforting chicken and dumplings and let me know if you feel better.

Classic Southern Chicken and Dumplings can be made in a Slow Cooker, Instant Pot or on the stove top! #soulfoodrecipes #eatlocal

FAQs About Chicken and Dumplings:

1. What makes Southern-style chicken and dumplings unique? Southern-style chicken and dumplings are known for their rich and comforting flavors. This classic dish combines tender chicken, aromatic vegetables, and soft, pillowy dumplings, creating a soul-warming meal.

2. Can I make this dish ahead of time? Yes! Chicken and dumplings often taste better the next day as the flavors meld. Prepare the dish, let it cool, and refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a bit of broth to adjust the consistency.

3. Can I use store-bought dumplings? Absolutely. While homemade dumplings offer a distinct texture, using store-bought biscuit dough or dumplings can save time without compromising the dish's overall deliciousness.

4. How do I prevent the dumplings from becoming too dense? To ensure light and fluffy dumplings, avoid overmixing the dough. Gently incorporate the ingredients until just combined. Also, simmer the dumplings gently without stirring too frequently.

5. Can I use a different meat instead of chicken? Certainly! While chicken is traditional, some variations use beef or turkey. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the meat's tenderness.

6. Can I freeze leftovers? Yes, chicken and dumplings freeze well. Store in an airtight container or freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat gently on the stove.

7. How can I thicken the broth if it's too thin? Mix equal parts of cornstarch and cold water, then add the slurry gradually to the simmering broth until it reaches the desired thickness.

8. What's the secret to flavorful broth? Slow-cooking the chicken with aromatic vegetables like onions, celery, and herbs infuses the broth with rich flavors. You can also use chicken broth or stock for an extra flavor boost.

9. Are there vegetarian versions of this dish? Absolutely! Replace the chicken with vegetable broth and add hearty vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms for a delightful vegetarian twist.

10. Can I modify this recipe for dietary preferences? Certainly! Explore gluten-free or dairy-free dumpling recipes, use low-sodium broth for a healthier option, or adjust seasoning to suit your taste preferences.

What can you serve with chicken and dumplings?


chicken and dumplings southern style

Classic Southern Chicken and Dumplings

Classic Southern Style Chicken and Dumplings" transports you to the heart of Southern cuisine with its comforting flavors. This timeless recipe combines tender chicken, aromatic vegetables, and fluffy dumplings simmered in a savory broth, offering a taste of traditional Southern comfort in every spoonful.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Cuisine American, Southen
Servings 6
Calories 948 kcal


  • Pastry Cutter


Chicken and broth

  • 2 large chicken breasts or 1 whole chicken, with bone and skin
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • 32 oz chicken stock or broth
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • ½ cup cream or whole milk
  • Water
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 Tbs butter cold and cubed
  • cups cream or whole milk


  • In a large stock pot, cook chicken, onion, bay leaf , stock, and enough water to cover the chicken completely until the chicken is completely cooked and falls off the bone. (about 1 hour)
  • Remove chicken and bay leaf from the pot, discard bay leaf, and set the chicken aside.
  • Bring stock to the boil and reduce by half while the chicken is cooling.
  • When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin and bones, tear into bite-size pieces and return to the pot.
  • Add soup, cream, celery seed, and salt & pepper.

Make the dumplings

  • In a large bowl, mix flour and baking powder.
  • Cut in butter until thorough incorporated and flour has a meal-like texture.
  • Add milk and combine until dough forms.
  • Roll out dough to ¼” thickness and cut into 1” squares.
  • Liberally dust with flour and drop one and a time into the liquid.
  • Cover tightly, reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes without removing the lid.


For a richer flavor, use a whole chicken. It’s a little more work, but well worth the time. That’s not to say that this dish isn’t delicious using boneless, skinless chicken breasts either. If that’s all you have - go for it!
Cream really does make the difference, especially in the dumplings. If you only have so much to go around, add the cream to the dumplings and milk to the both. Check around for some half and half if you have it as that makes a great substitute as well.
If you have a pastry cutter, use that to cut in your butter; if not use a fork.  You can use your fingers, but the heat from your hand will melt the butter and your dumplings won't be nearly as good.
Dusting the dumplings with flour will prevent them from sticking together while cooking.


Calories: 948kcalCarbohydrates: 94gProtein: 36gFat: 47gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 167mgSodium: 1855mgPotassium: 801mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 1304IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 297mgIron: 7mg
Keyword Chicken, Comfort Food, Dumplings
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

History of Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch

In the 19th century, chicken and dumplings from scratch was considered an elegant dish that only finely-dressed ladies would create in their kitchens. Chicken and dumplings were very time consuming to make, because chicken was a very expensive item.

chicken in pot cooking

Small chicken farms were on the rise, but chicken still had to be processed before putting it in chicken and dumplings from scratch. Chicken was first boiled or roasted until the chicken meat was falling off the bone. Then chicken was discarded of all flesh. The chicken carcass would then be put into a pot with water and chicken broth and boiled for a couple of hours.

This created chicken stock, which was the base in chicken and dumplings from scratch. The chicken carcass could then be discarded or used as chicken soup to make chicken and dumplings from scratch. In order to stretch chicken farther, vegetables were added including onion, parsley or spinach. Chicken and dumplings from scratch was often served at the end of meal.

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