How to Make Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch

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Homemade dumplings are a family favorite.
Homemade dumplings are a family favorite. (Image: Yeast dough image by Elzbieta Sekowska from Fotolia.com)

Savor the flavor of tender chicken and handmade dumplings in a creamy soup base with this made-from-scratch version of chicken and dumplings. This mouthwatering dish is destined to please, and folks will line up in the kitchen, bowls and spoons in hand, for a taste of this piping-hot comfort food. There's no place like home, especially when surrounded by close friends and family and great home cooking.

Things You'll Need

  • Large stockpot
  • Oven mitts
  • Long knife or spoon
  • Medium to large fresh whole chicken
  • Stick of margarine
  • 6 chicken bullion cubes
  • 6 cups plain flour
  • 2 to 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder

Rinse the chicken thoroughly under cold water. Place the chicken in a stockpot and completely cover it with water, allowing a 2-inch water level above the chicken.

Place the stockpot on the stove over medium-high heat. Occasionally poke the chicken with a fork to assist in the boiling process. Allow the chicken to boil for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is falling-apart tender.

Insert a large knife or spoon into the body cavity and lift the chicken from the water while wearing oven mitts. Transfer the chicken to a plate to completely cool.

Reduce the heat to medium and add six chicken bullion cubes to gently boiling water. Add water to bring the water level to where it previously was when the chicken was in the pot. Stir occasionally.

Place 6 cups of plain flour in a large bowl. Add 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. garlic powder to the flour. Stir with a fork to combine.

Place a stick of margarine into the flour. Using your hands, gently tear the margarine into small pieces, grinding it into the flour. Continue running the flour and margarine through your hands until it resembles coarse meal and no more pieces of butter can be felt.

You can use a pastry cutter to combine the margarine with the flour.
You can use a pastry cutter to combine the margarine with the flour. (Image: Butter image by Cornelia Pithart from Fotolia.com)

Pour 2 cups of milk into the flour mixture and stir gently with a fork until the moisture is absorbed. Continue to alternate adding milk and stirring until a soft ball of dough forms. Do not over-stir.

Flour a clean work surface or counter lightly. Transfer the dough to the floured surface. With floured hands, press the dough out until it is flat and thin like pizza dough, occasionally sprinkling it with flour and turning the dough over to the other side a couple of times. A rolling pin may be used if desired, or you may use your hands to stretch and flatten the dough.

A rolling pin is an option for flattening the dough.
A rolling pin is an option for flattening the dough. (Image: wooden rolls for dough image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com)

Cut the dough into pieces the size of dominoes. Pick up each piece individually and drop into lightly boiling broth. Stir after adding each piece of dough, slightly swirling broth. The dumplings will sink, then rise once cooked.

Wash your hands after all the pieces of dough have been placed in the broth. Discard the skin from the chicken and pull the meat from the bone. Slightly shred the meat with your hands or a fork into bite-sized pieces. Put shredded chicken into the broth mixture. Use both dark and light meat, and gently stir the broth while adding the chicken.

Allow the chicken and dumplings to cook 20 minutes before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tips & Warnings

  • If more dumplings are desired, simply repeat the dough-making process. Two batches are ideal.
  • Put all desired dumplings in the broth before adding the chicken.
  • Ideally, the dough should feel like soft pizza dough.
  • If the dough is sticky, add a bit of flour until it is easily handled. If the dough is dry, more milk can be added, but it is best to add milk before the mixture is at the dough stage.
  • Keep plenty of flour on your work surface to make kneading and cutting the dumplings easier.
  • Use oven mitts when handling hot objects to prevent burns.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling chicken and between steps, as directed.
  • Add 1/4 cup bleach to dishwater and disinfect all surfaces with the dishwater solution after handling raw poultry.
  • Do not allow food to remain out of the refrigerator for long periods of time.
  • Transfer food to storage bowls and refrigerate as soon as food has cooled.

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