Southern Chicken and Dumplings is one of those comfort food dishes your family will be begging for over and over again and it’s so easy to make, why not give them what they want and love? A Southern delicacy laced in tradition whether it’s made with chicken breasts, thighs, or the whole chicken, it’s the dumplings and the way they’re prepared that make this dish a favorite among many.
My son loves chicken and dumplings, so I was happy to make some for him last weekend along with my Coconut Pecan Cake with Caramel Glaze. We weren’t really celebrating anything; I just wanted to do something for him and since I didn’t see him on his designated Arrival Day, I decided this would be his celebratory meal. My son is adopted from the Philippines, so we always celebrate his arrival on June 14, the actual day he arrived to live with my husband and me in the U.S.A and officially became our son. Well, he shared his chicken and dumplings and cake with his friend and his friend’s son, so I’m told, and they loved it!
It’s really quite simple to make, but what separates this Southern version of the dish from most C & D dishes out there are the dumplings. Growing up in the South, I was taught that dumplings should be flat and flavorful. Where a lot of people will drop chunks of dough for a light and fluffy dumpling or even drop canned biscuits into a pot of chicken as dumplings, it’s truly a Southern dish if the dumplings are flat and dense. The preparation of the dough is key here to making a delicious dumpling.
Color matters, folks. For some reason, a colorful dish of C & D tastes so much better. Southern chicken and dumplings are not white or cream in color. They are often yellow in color, so I’m sharing the little secret to adding a little color to this dish full of everything goodness.
It’s time to make the dumplings!
I used two very large chicken breasts cut into cubes to start my dish. I put them in a pot of water seasoned with salt and pepper to cook. Cutting the chicken into cubes helps it to cook thoroughly a little sooner than if cooked whole. While the chicken was cooking, I began to make the dough for the dumplings.
The dough is made the same as I would normally make biscuits with a couple of exceptions. I always sift my flour because I want a smooth dough to work with. Getting those flour lumps out ahead of mixing helps to achieve this. I then cut in my shortening and heat my milk. Warming the milk is important in forming a dense dumpling, which is what you want in the end. Once I have my dough mixed well in the bowl, I knead it on a wooden board that is used for nothing except making bread. My dad made the board on my request several decades ago specifically to make and roll out biscuits, so it is very special to me and has been used for nothing else in all that time.
As you can tell in the above photo, I roll my dough very thin to about 1/16 inch or 1/8 inch. I then take a sharp knife and slice it vertically, then horizontally to make little squares approximately 1 1/2 inches squared. I then dip each square into flour before dropping them into the simmering pot of chicken, which helps to thicken the broth. I tend to add a can of chicken broth to my simmering pot of chicken to give the flavor a little boost. The dumplings will float to the surface and fluff a bit, so just stir them back into the pot. They will flatten again in no time.
I usually shred my chicken to spread it throughout the dish to make sure there is a good amount of chicken in every bite but chose not to in this dish. It was for no particular reason; I just didn’t shred it and left it cubed. I had plenty of chicken in the dish that I felt there would still be chicken in every bite, so I didn’t take that extra step. I added a final sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste, stirred in a few drops of yellow food coloring (yes, that’s the big secret here), and the dish was ready to serve. This thickened broth with dense dumplings and beautifully cooked tender chicken was devoured and an order placed for more.
Southern Chicken and Dumplings is one of those comfort food dishes your family will be begging for over and over again and it’s so easy to make, why not give them what they want and love? If you try this recipe, come back and leave a comment to let me know what you thought. Eat hearty, my friends!
If you want to try another mouthwatering chicken dish, try this Bacon Curry Chicken Bites in Ginger Sauce. You’ll love it!
Southern Chicken and Dumplings
Yield 4 servings
Southern Chicken and Dumplings is a Southern delicacy laced in tradition. Whether chicken breasts, thighs, or the whole chicken is used, it's the dumplings and the way they're prepared that make this dish a favorite among many.
- 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 4 medium size)
- 1 can chicken broth
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup shortening or lard
- 3/4 cup milk, warmed
- Yellow food coloring
- Fill a 2 quart pot with water. Cut chicken into cubes and place in pot with water. Bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes.
- Sift flour into a large bowl. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut shortening or lard into the flour until it resembles small crumbs.
- Warm milk in a small pot being careful not to boil or simmer. Create a well in the middle of the flour and add warm milk. Stir flour mixture until dough no longer sticks to sides of bowl. Remove dough to a floured board and knead until it forms a smooth ball.
- Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 1/16 inch to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into squares by slicing vertically, then horizontally.
- Add chicken broth to pot with chicken. With a fork, shred chicken cubes into pieces. Dip each dumpling into flour and drop into pot with chicken. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and dumplings are done and broth is thickened. Stir in yellow food coloring and season again with salt and pepper if necessary.
Substitution: Whole chicken can be used in place of chicken breasts.
Courses Main Course
Serving Size 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 18.5 g
Saturated Fat 5.7 g
Cholesterol 66 mg
Sodium 589 mg
Total Carbohydrates 50.5 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugars 2.7 g
Protein 33.5 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.