We Tested 4 Famous Chicken and Dumplings Recipes and Found a Clear Winner (2024)

We Tested 4 Famous Chicken and Dumplings Recipes and Found a Clear Winner (1)

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Chicken Champions

Jesse Szewczyk

Jesse SzewczykContributor


published Mar 27, 2020





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Chicken and dumplings is the definition of comfort food; it’s the culinary equivalent of a tight hug —and we could all use a hug right now, in any and all forms that allow us to do maintain a safe, six-foot distance.

Here’s the thing, though: While all pizza may be good pizza, the same cannot be said of chicken and dumplings. Sad chicken and dumplings can be very, very sad. On the other hand, the very best versions are transformative, combining an ultra-savory broth with dumplings that puff up like clouds.

To find the absolute best chicken and dumplings recipe out there, I pittedfour of the most popular recipes against one anotherin a side-by side-taste test. They varied widely in terms of difficulty: Some called for making your own stock, while others used store-bought chicken stock. Some had you break down entire chickens and cook them, while others used store-bought rotisserie chicken. At the end of it all, I learned alotabout what makes a good chicken and dumplings recipe, and one recipe stood out as the clear winner.

Meet Our 4 Chicken and Dumplings Contenders

There are a lot of chicken and dumplings recipes online; in order to narrow the field, I stuck to classic interpretations of this comfort-food classic.

I started by looking at the most searched-for recipes, and quickly narrowed it down to The Pioneer Woman’s and Betty Crocker’s, both of which get glowing reviews. But, knowing that the most popular recipe isn’t always the best (and in hopes of uncovering a surprising gem), I chose two others based on personal recommendations from friends. The first was for Grandbaby Cakes‘ recipe, which we’ve previously shared on Kitchn; the second was the high-effort, but highly recommend Bon Appétit recipe. Here’s a bit more about each.

The Pioneer Woman’s recipe is rather simple, but calls for a few unexpected ingredients: turmeric and apple cider.

Betty Crocker’s recipe is very straight-forward and doesn’t use any unexpected spices or ingredients. It does, however, use a shortcut to make the dumplings: Bisquick mix.

Grandbaby Cakes’ recipe is a southern-style chicken and dumplings, made with a brown roux instead of a white one— a technique often reserved for making hearty stews such as gumbo. It also used store-bought rotisserie chicken to cut out a few steps and make it a recipe you can throw together on a weeknight.

Bon Appétit’s recipe was the most labor-intensive of them all. The recipe is calls for a homemade stock made from ingredients like leeks, parsley stems, and whole black peppercorns.

How I Tested the Chicken and Dumplings Recipes

Every recipe was made on the same day. I followed each recipe exactly as written and didn’t take any creative liberties. I also grabbed some of my friends to help taste, and we all agreed that two of the recipes were better than the others.

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Meet Our 4 Chicken and Dumplings Contenders

1. Under-seasoned and Underwhelming: Betty Crocker’s Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe was a disappointment. Even with the Bisquick shortcut, it was a lot of work for something that wasn’t that good. I wanted more spice and more savoriness. It was almost as if someone had started to make chicken and dumplings but never added the seasonings at the end. As for the dumplings, instead of being light and airy, they were bread-like and heavy. Finally, the recipe never instructs you to shred the chicken, so you’re left with clunky pieces that are hard to eat. I will not be making it again.

2. Weird (Not in a Good Way): The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe wasn’t bad, but it had some strange additions that didn’t work for me. The first was apple cider, which made the broth too sweet. The second was turmeric, which gave the whole thing a yellow hue and strong earthy flavor that felt out of place. The dumplings themselves were nice and light, but the turmeric in the broth stained them a bright yellow color. If this recipe had a more straight-forward approach, I would have been more into it.

3. High-Effort, High-Reward: Bon Appétit’s Best Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe was a delicious, classic interpretation of chicken and dumplings — but it was also a lot of work. You have to make homemade stock, strain it, shred the chicken, make the sauce base, and then the dumplings. The sauce base was great, with a wonderful leek-forward flavor and a pleasant richness from a generous amount of chicken fat. The dumplings were wonderfully light and the dish, overall, was perfectly- seasoned, hearty, and exactly what I think of when I picture “comfort food.” If you want a cooking project that will take practically all day to pull off, this is for you.

4. The Clear Winner: Grandbaby Cakes’ Southern Chicken and Dumplings

Sometimes simple is best and that was definitely the case for this recipe. It was everything I wanted in terms of flavor and it was also the easiest. It cuts out a ton of the extra steps by using a rotisserie chicken and store-bought stock, but still tastes amazing. If you’re looking for a simple, quick, and no-frills chicken and dumplings recipe that tastes amazing, this is it.

Do you have a favorite chicken and dumplings recipe? Tell us below in the comments.

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Recipe Review

We Tested 4 Famous Chicken and Dumplings Recipes and Found a Clear Winner (2024)


Who made chicken and dumplings? ›

By the mid-1800s, a variety of dumpling and meat dishes began to appear in southern cookbooks and a recipe of chicken stewed with dumplings was first published in 1879 by Marion Cabell Tyree in a cookbook called “Housekeeping in Old Virginia.” Many historians are also quick to point out that these recipes were cooked ...

Why are my chicken and dumplings gummy? ›

Why are my Dumplings Gummy? Good dumplings should be soft and tender. To make sure you don't end up with gummy or tough dumplings, be careful not to overwork the dough. You'll stir everything together just until the wet and dry ingredients are combined, and you don't see any pockets of extra flour.

Why are some chicken and dumplings yellow? ›

Turmeric – You may be tempted to skip the turmeric in the recipe, but if you have it in your spice cabinet, I encourage you to use it in this recipe. It adds a small amount of flavor, but it gives a rich yellow color to the broth.

Are chicken and dumplings unhealthy? ›

Is Chicken and Dumplings Healthy? Chicken and dumplings is a classic Southern comfort food dish, but it isn't necessarily the healthiest dish. Traditional chicken and dumplings from scratch uses a lot of rich ingredients like chicken fat, butter, and heavy cream.

What is the difference between northern and southern chicken and dumplings? ›

What is the difference between Southern and Northern chicken and dumplings? Old-fashioned Southern chicken dumplings are made with shortening or butter and dropped into a simmering broth. Northern dumplings are made with eggs and served with a thinner broth.

What is the secret to perfect dumplings? ›

Overworking the mixture, thus having heavy dumplings is a common mistake people make. Dumplings need very gentle handling, so mix only until the ingredients are just combined, and if your recipe involves rolling them out with extra flour, avoid using too much.

What can I add to my chicken and dumplings to make it thicker? ›

How can I thicken stove top chicken and dumplings? You can thicken this dish by adding more flour, or even cornstarch. Create a slurry with either of these ingredients and milk or water, then stir into your broth base until you get your desired consistency.

How do you thicken homemade chicken and dumplings? ›

Use Cornstarch to Thicken Chicken and Dumplings

To give that a little thicker texture we're going to add 1 cup of cool water to 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and stir it up well. Make sure the soup is brought back to a good boil and go ahead and stir in the cornstarch mixture.

Why are my chicken dumplings not fluffy? ›

Baking powder is the leavening agent of choice for fluffy dumplings. It is important that the right ratio of baking powder to flour be measured. Too little and the dumpling will not rise adequately; if there's too much baking powder, then the dumplings will rise and fall.

Why do my dumplings disappear when I make chicken and dumplings? ›

Start with the lid on, to trap heat so the dough rises and the dumpling cooks. The liquid should be at a low/moderate steady boil. If it's boiling too hard, the dumpling dough can fall apart. Simmering broth might not be hot enough to raise the dumpling dough.

Why are my chicken and dumplings watery? ›

If you follow our One-Pot Chicken and Dumplings recipe, the liquid for the chicken and dumplings should be rich and comforting, not watery. Adding too much liquid, whether that is water or broth, is the main reason the dish would be watery.

Can you eat leftover chicken and dumplings? ›

Depending on how the dumplings are made they may just get soft and slimy. That leaves the smell and taste test. Some say that in an airtight container in a very cold refrigerator you can keep chicken and dumplings up to a week, but I would personally not keep it past the fourth day, max.

What side to eat with dumplings? ›

The best side dishes to serve with Asian dumplings (East Asia) are ramen, tomato and egg stir fry, fried greens, chilli miso steamed aubergine, pork belly fried rice, cucumber salad (Oi Muchim), tahini miso noodles, and claypot tofu.

What is another name for chicken and dumplings? ›

Chicken and dumplings
Alternative namesChicken and pastry, chicken and sliders, chicken and slicks
Region or stateSouthern and Midwestern United States
Main ingredientsFlour, shortening, water or milk or stock; chicken
Media: Chicken and dumplings
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Where did chicken and dumpling originate from? ›

Most claim the American South, or some might claim French Canadian roots. Some say what we know as American chicken and dumplings started as a cornmeal-based dough, boiled on top of turnip greens.

What's the origin of chicken and dumplings? ›

Some sources say that chicken and dumplings originated in the Southern United States during the era of the Antebellum South and was considered a mainstay during harsh economic times. One of the earliest versions of the recipe was cornmeal dumplings cooked with turnip greens.

Who first invented dumplings? ›

Most experts believe that dumplings were invented by Zhang Zhongjing, a Chinese medicine practitioner who lived in the Eastern Han Dynasty, the second imperial dynasty of China that lasted from 206 BC to 220 AD. As legend tells it, it was a difficult winter and many were experiencing ill effects from the cold.

Where did dumplings originated from? ›

Where Did Dumplings Originate? Dumplings are thought to have been created in Northern China. Eventually they moved south to the Cantonese, who were the first Chinese immigrants to America, and brought their dumplings with them. As a result, this led to their popularization in the US.

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