How To Make Southern Chicken and Dumplings



Chicken and Dumplings, like most southern food, evolved out of necessity and practicality. Back in the day, chicken was a treat and not something offered or even available on a regular basis. Whenever it was, the chicken was more often than not on the scrawny side.

So you have this woman who has a house full of kids to feed and likely a few guests after word has gotten out that chicken is on the menu, and one scrawny little chicken. This is where flour comes to the rescue yet again! Back in the old days, flour was an affordable staple and bought in twenty five pound sacks. Flour could easily be used to stretch a meager meal so that an entire family would leave the table feeling full and satisfied by making biscuits, dumplings, hoe cake, or an assortment of other improvisational breads and meal stretchers.

This recipe is dedicated to my sister in law’s trainer, Debbie (you owe me Stacey, I just made you sound so hip in that sentence). Debbie’s failed attempts to make dumplings have led her family to formally request that she stop attempting them altogether. Now I’m here to tell you that if Debbie can remain skinny and fit in the land of fried chicken, she can certainly make chicken and dumplings! Stacey has assured her that our family recipe is foolproof and I plan on proving it with this tutorial. I am also going to explain the two instances where Stacey and I managed to screw up this foolproof recipe in our earlier days of cooking so that you can avoid our mistakes and have your perfect pot of dumplings!

Gina, this is for you, too! Gina is a reader who has her hands full with summer heat and two toddlers. When I posted a teaser sentence “Anyone up for chicken and dumplings this week?” at the top of my site, Gina emailed within minutes telling me that she certainly was! Gina, I promise this will be quick and easy enough that you can manage to make it in between calls for “Mama”! After making it once, you won’t even need a recipe!

You will need: Chicken, 1 can of Pilsbury flaky layers biscuits, flour (self rising or plain, doesn’t matter), chicken broth, and cream of chicken soup.

*I usually stew a whole chicken but today I had boneless skinless breasts and no chicken so this is what we got. Feel free to drop a few chicken bouillon cubes into your water in place of the broth.

Pour your broth into a pot.

Add cream of chicken soup.

Stir and let come to a very gentle boil while you prepare the dumplings.

Put a little bit of flour, about a cup, in a bowl.

Add some pepper. I added about a teaspoon. This isn’t a science, just add the amount you prefer.

Salt it. I added about a half a teaspoon. You can just use that as a rough guideline.

Stir that up a bit.

Take all of your biscuits out of the can and set them on a plate.

Now, we’re going to take each biscuit and tear it into three layers like this.

Dip each layer into your flour…

Making sure you coat both sides…
Until it looks like this.

Be sure you don’t skip this step! If you do, your dumplings will completely dissolve in the broth. That is exactly what I did the very first time I ever made chicken and dumplings after I had gotten married. Of course it didn’t help that I had bragged all day about how good my mama’s dumplings were! I ended up with a delicious dumpling flavored soup!

Now take each layer and tear it into three pieces…

Like this.

Lower your heat so that your broth is just barely barely barely boiling and drop these pieces in one at a time. It is important that you DO NOT STIR. We are not going to stir these as we don’t want our dumplings cooking up. If you do stir, you will basically cause your dumplings to dissolve. Stay tuned, I’m going to show you what we will do instead…

This is what your pot is going to look like to begin with.

You want to keep it on a low boil.

Instead of stirring, what we are going to do is just gently push the dumplings down into the broth as they cook.
Stacey stirred hers the first time she made it. She stirred and stirred and stirred. Like me, she ended up with a delicious dumpling flavored soup!

This is going to take ten minutes or so. Your dumplings will take shape and stop looking doughy as they firm up a bit.
See? Dumplings! Continue simmering it, pushing them down from time to time, while you shred your chicken.
Like this.

Drop your chicken into the dumplings and very gently stir that up. I really just push it down a bit like I did with the dumplings but you are past the point of them being able to cook up by this time anyway. Just be gentle.

Oh I wish you could smell these, I wish you could taste these, I wish you had dumplings on your stove right this very minute!

Remember the eighties Coca Cola commercials …”I’d like to buy the world a coke…”. Forget that! I’d like to feed the world chicken and dumplings! How about we start with you?


Chicken and Dumplings
  • 3 or 4 chicken breasts
  • 32 oz Chicken Broth (feel free to use water with bouillon cubes added)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1-10 count can Pilsbury layers biscuits
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour
  1. Cook chicken breasts in approx. 4 c. of water until fork tender, about 45 minutes. Place broth in medium to large sized pot. Stir cream of chicken soup into gently boiling broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pull biscuits apart into three layers. Dip each layer into flour and then tear each layer into three pieces and drop into gently boiling broth mixture. Do not stir biscuits a lot, or they will cook up, only gently push dumplings down into broth as they float to the top. Cook about ten minutes after last dumplings are added. Add shredded chicken and turn on low until ready to serve. added, Tear up chicken, add to broth mixture.Turn to low until ready to serve.

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  1. Baker says

    Thank you soooo much!! I am right in the middle of trying to make this dish from a recipe on another sight and got frustrated. Thank you for making this so easy to follow :)

  2. Genie Sawyer says

    I love this recipe for chicken and dumplings. I don’t always have canned biscuits on hand and there is only me & my husband and they go bad on me. I follow your recipe, except I use Mary B’s frozen buttermilk biscuits instead of the canned biscuits. If I forget to take them out when I take the chicken out to thaw, I just zap them in the microwave and hit defrost. I only do this for very short times and check because you do not want to cook them. Now when I am craving my chicken and dumplings I do not have to make a special trip to the store and can use as many biscuits as I need and we will not have left overs for a week. :)

  3. April says

    Are you kidding me??? Although I’m sure making it with canned biscuts is good but this is not what I call Chicken and Dumplings. All you need is 2 cups of all-purpose flour, pinch of salt, some pepper and some ice cold water. Just add enough water till dough forms then add about a tbs at a time to the simmering broth done in about 5-10 minutes. Easy and only few ingredients instead of what you find listed on the side of can. Also feel free to add herbs too.

      • Nan Rasor says

        My father-in-law made the dumplings his mother taught him and her mother taught her and so on. They were from Austin, Texas. He would make a biscuit recipe and then roll it out and cut it in strips and put it on top of the chicken. I think he made the chicken with carrots and onions, like a stew, but no cream of chicken soup. I’m gluten free, so I am going to make it this weekend like he did, but make my biscuits gluten free. Thanks for the inspiration, Southern Plate!

  4. Dallas says

    I’m in the navy and only get to come home maybe once a year. My mother makes me chicken n’ dumplings every time I do. Well that’s just not enough, so I made this with my girlfriend. Delicious! I told my mom how good it was and she was disappointed saying “Now I’ll never get to see you”.

  5. MARSHA G says

    Hello Christy, As you know I am a faithful follower of your blog, I love it! loved the menu ideas to help with a budget. I do have a question though. I have always made my dumplings the old fashioned way where you make them from scratch and roll them out, I have never taken the time to figure out the cost of doing it that way, which way do you think is cheapest the biscuits or the old fashioned way? I know most people probably have the ingredients on hand for the old way. Keep the recipes coming and the stories are wonderful! They feel like sitting and chatting with an old friend and catching up on all that’s been going on.

    • says

      Hey Marsha! I have never costed it out myself but I am pretty confident that your mother’s way of doing it would be the least expensive. I make mine this way because it is how my mother did it and what my family prefers. But you know what I always say “How YOUR Mama did it is the right way!”.
      I’m so glad you’re here :)

  6. Janice Gowens says

    I have been reading your blog and making lots of your recipes for years. For some reason, beginning today (9 Oct 13), your tutorial pictures aren’t coming thru (white box with red x in upper left corner). Am I doing something wrong; is it my computer or did the computer “demons” decide I was having too much fun?

    • Joyce Smythe says

      To Gigi, the more you work the dough before adding it to the boiling broth, the firmer the dumplings will be, I like them firm so I work the dumplings a little with my fingers before adding them to the pot. Thanks you Christy for the idea of using the layers bisquits, I have used the regular kind before , I will have to try the layers now :D

  7. Sharon says

    Christy, I made this tonight for my 14-year-old son. I’ve made it many times, and it’s his FAVorite! He was so excited when I told him what was for dinner! You made him happy, happy! Thanks for the great, easy recipe!

  8. says

    This is officially my “go to” cold night comfort food. I have made it so often I know it by heart. LOVE this recipe. Comes out perfect every single time. I add a little sage/poultry seasoning, just because we like that flavor with chicken, and some frozen peas/carrots just to add that texture. One of your best, Christy!

  9. Ken G says

    You can improve your dumplings by using Mary B’s dumplings. You can find them in Wal Mart’s frozen food section. You can stir them and they won’t turn to mush. I also like to add some Tone’s Chicken Base to the broth (usually a good table spoon) to add extra flavor.

  10. Brea says

    Christy, thank you for sharing this shortcut chicken & dumplings recipe. I make the messy old-fashioned kind but have been searching for something much simpler for my son to make. He has been on his own for quite awhile and does basic cooking. He told me he wanted to learn to make chicken & dumplings, but we’re sure he wouldn’t go to much effort. He doesn’t even care if they contain the chicken meat as long as there are dumplings. After other shortcut failures, I used your recipe yesterday while my son was visiting for the day. He was pleased and asked me to email the recipe to him. Thanks and God bless!

  11. Sharon Carson says

    Hey Christy! Just had to let you know how much my hubby and I enjoy this recipe! (My daughters wouldn’t know a good meal if it slapped them upside the head, but that’s a tale for another day – they’re so picky!) So, as I said, my hubby and I really enjoy this, and so does the extended family and beyond. I made it to take to my sister-in-law’s house for SuperBowl Sunday, and it got rave reviews. She kept the leftovers and took them to school the next day for lunch and one of her co-workers got a little too curious and almost ended up eating her lunch for her, lol! When I asked my husband what he wanted me to make him for a special Valentine’s day dinner, (fully expecting him to tell me Sticky Chicken!), I was pleasantly surprised to have him ask for your Chicken and Dumplings and he wasn’t disappointed. The good thing is, thanks to those picky kids previously mentioned above, there will be enough leftovers for me and hubby for tomorrow’s lunch. Those kids don’t know what they’re missin’!

  12. cyndy says…the tip about coating the biscuit pieces in four is awesome! I tried canned biscuits once and had the ‘dumpling flavored soup’. People had told me they did it, I had eaten them so I knew it was possible, but mine was certainly not dumplings. I’d never tried it again but no-one told me that I needed the flour. Thanks SO much for the tutorial!

    • Monica says

      I used the cheapest biscuit the store has…those little ones that way back when you could buy 4 cans for a dollar! Yes, aging myself…also use these for doughnuts! But, anyway, I tear each biscuit into 3 pieces, I don’t coat in flour. As long as you do like Christy says and DONT stir, just push under the broth mine always turn out wonderful. If you like a fluffier dumpling, cover the pot and the biscuit pieces will fluff up nicely. You will still probably have to push down biscuit pieces in the middle. At least I do as we like more dumplings than anything else. If you have leftovers, put in casserole, add some veggies and cover top with biscuits and bake til biscuits are done. Chicken and Dumpling Pot Pie!

  13. Virginia Pierce says

    My mother made the best chicken and dumplings you would ever put in your mouth. The dumplings were rolled thin from her homemade dough. I could never master her recipe. I make my dumplings from flour tortillas dipped in flour before dropping in the boiling broth. They are close to hers but not quite as good, but super easy. Try them sometime.

  14. Sylvia Burch says

    Hey, that is a great idea. My mama rolled out dough and cut it into strips for years and then discovered flour tortillas at 70! That is what I use and they work great also and taste delicious. There is nothing wrong with a shortcut.

  15. Bob Stevens says

    I use flour tortillas in the place of biscuits. You don’t have to dip them in the flour, but you do add them one piece at a time into the boiling broth. I use a pizza cutter to cut the tortillas up into strips. A single pack of tortillas will make a good size pot of dumplings, and the good thing is that if you eat all the dumplings out of the “juice” you can heat it back up to boiling and add more tortillas and make another pot full.

  16. Kathy K. says

    Christy: Thanks! This is very timely. I roasted a whole chicken in my new crock pot yesterday, and today, made stock in the crock pot. It cooked for 12 hours on low, and after all that, it isn’t chickeny at all and I am bummed about it so I will add some chicken base to it tomorrow. I get better and faster results with chicken legs, chicken base and the stove. Scratch isn’t always better. Sometimes you want faster and convenient.

    I was deciding between chicken pot pie, or making homemade noodles for chicken and noodle soup.
    Now I may do your chicken ‘n’ dumplings. Thanks for the great tutorial. I’ve never had good luck with dumplings, and neither did my mother. I’m getting groceries tomorrow and will get some soup and biscuits and give your recipe a try. I think it’ll work for me. I don’t use a lot of canned soups, but I do like the cream of chicken, and I will NOT bust your chops about the canned biscuits, either. I use them from time to time.

    I’m looking forward to trying this. I did like the chicken roasted in the crock pot and it will be very helpful during hot weather as I don’t have air conditioning.

  17. Linda says

    Have you ever tried using flour tortillas? They work in a pinch. Just cut them into strips and then crosscut them again. Drop into bubbling chicken or beef broth [stewed chicken or beef stew] They will puff up and float on top when done. They are a great alternative.

  18. Carol says

    This is a lovely, delicious, quick way to have a potful of yummy dinner on the table, without the uncertainty of less than successful dumplings! I believe that good cooks are the ones who actually get dinner on the table – dinners their families and friends will eat and appreciate! Those of us who actually do cook find easier ways to do things – my mother taught me this biscuit trick years ago (she’s 92 now!) and I’ve passed it both daughters-in-law. Our only difference was using biscuits without the added flour – and yes, you need to be very careful about the stirring – but still delicious dumplings – sometimes we like the dumplings more than the chicken!!! Last is a question – why do you suppose people feel it’s necessary to dissect any recipe with their sniping comments? I sure wish one of those doing so would tell us all why they feel so compelled !! If they dislike things this much, maybe they should get their own blog!!! Glad to see books are at Cracker Barrel – looking forward to the new one!

  19. Kathy K. says

    Christy: I did make this today, on a cold, rainy day in California, (finally!) so it was especially nice for that reason. I did have a bit of trouble separating the biscuits, and thought that part was a bit tedious, however, I plugged on and followed your instructions to the letter, and I am now on my second bowl and I think the dumplings were worth every bit of the effort. This is going into my regular rotation! Thanks!

    This may actually be your best recipe. I’d certainly vote for it, much as I love the Dishpan Cookies. I think the cookies have been knocked out of first. 8)

  20. anne says

    people give you trouble about this recipe?!?!?, funny, it is how my mother taught me how to make chicken and dumplings, she said it was the way her mama made it too. must be a Alabama thing.

  21. Lynne says

    Thanks so much Christy for telling me why I always end up with dumplin stew LOL. I thought it was something to do with using canned biscuits, because when I made my dumplins from biscuit dough they didn’t disappear. As it has already been stated many times, thank you so much for your post.


  1. […] for you.  Some people throw out the vegetables after boiling the chicken stock, some people use canned biscuits for their dumplings while others painstakingly roll out beautiful strips of dough.  Some people […]

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