Overhead shot of flat dumplings and shredded chicken in thickened chicken broth in a blue bowl.

Watch my Southern chicken and flat dumplings web story here.

…My sweet southern maternal grandmother made us chicken and dumplings (and butter beans and dumplings along with many other outrageously delicious meals). To learn grandma Rosie’s recipes, one had to watch her measure with her fingers, or a handful of ingredients. Thank you for printing this recipe. It came together quickly and easily. And it’s delicious. And I’m remembering my grandma.

Reader Rebecca

Chicken and Flat Dumplings, At a Glance

✅Skill Level: Intermediate
✅Skills: Making stock, making and rolling dumpling dough
✅Type: Southern stew
✅Number of Ingredients: 7 for the dumplings, 8 for the chicken stock
✅Prep Time: 45 minutes
✅Cook Time: 2 hours
✅Yield: 8 servings

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NOTE: There is a long section of this post devoted to a friend’s funeral. If you’d rather not read all of that, please use the Jump to Recipe button or use the Table of Contents below the first photo. Or just click here. Thank you.

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Saying Goodbye

Recently, the Beloved and I attended a dear friend’s older brother’s memorial service. Rich was one of a kind. His family requested that his favorite song, The Wheel by The Grateful Dead, be played at his service.

The Episcopalian priest who officiated told them that he could lose his job if he did, but he used the text of the song for his homily, referencing Voyage of the Dawn Treader to boot.

Everyone who knew Rich had a favorite Rich Story. This one is mine.

One day as Rich was working in his yard, some Jehovah Witnesses approached him. Rich never shied away from conversation, so he engaged them. They stood talking on his lawn for about 45 minutes.

At one point, Rich had them bend down to grab a handful of dark, moist earth, telling them that this was what it was all about. I wonder if those Jehovah’s Witnesses still talk about their encounter with Rich.

A Frisbee golf goal on a green lawn with people and a house in the background.

Seems Like Old Times

After the service, we all returned to Julie and Scott’s house, which is right across the street from the house where Rich, Scott and their sister Cindy grew up.

Lots of the guys played Frisbee in the street, using Rich’s discs from his Ultimate Frisbee days. As daytime shadows lengthened into early evening shadows, the game was periodically interrupted when someone would shout “Car!”

They’d all grudgingly move aside only to resume their positions as the car passed, much as slushy ice reforms in the wake of a slow-moving ice breaker.

Those cries of “car!” took me straight back to my childhood, as I played with many of the same people in the same neighborhood thirty-five and forty years ago.

I find that creamy, carby goodness is just what the doctor ordered after sad reunions (also, whenever), so Southern chicken and dumplings were definitely in order.

Flat Dumplings vs Fluffy Dumplings

A blue fluted bowl full of thick southern chicken stew with strips of pastry dumplings.

The chill breeze and a whole free-range chicken in the fridge were all the incentive I needed to make a big vat of chicken and dumplings. Southern Chicken and Dumplings.

Flat or slick dumplings. Some folks even call it chicken and pastry.

No puffy, bready dumplings for me, friends.

There is something about a fluffy dumpling that seems too much apart from the chicken. The outsides get nice and coated with the broth from the chicken, and while the insides are fluffy indeed, I find them dry.

I don’t want to have to dredge my dumpling through the chickeny gravy. I want it to be all soaked up in there. And that is what happens with flat dumplings.

Give me deep, rich chicken flavor in a broth that clings with dumplings you can cut with the side of your fork. I don’t need “crumb” in my dumplings. I leave that to bread.

Just a little puff from baking powder, and some smoky goodness courtesy of bacon fat. Or if you’re planning ahead, save the chicken fat from making stock, chill it, and use that as the fat in the dumplings. Good eatin’ friends!

And this from someone who grew up eating my mom’s “chicken fricassee,” which was really chicken and fluffy dumplings. (The linked recipe is similar to my mom’s recipe. Note to self: ask mom for her recipe.)

How to Make Flat Dumplings

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the dumplings.

Ingredients and Substitutions

A collage of ingredients to make flat dumplings: all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, poultry seasoning, black pepper, butter, and whole milk.
  • all purpose flour: provides the bulk and texture of your dumplings. Do not substitute bread flour unless you like really chewy dumplings. Don’t use cake flour or your dumplings may be too tender and may fall apart.
  • baking powder: provides a little lift for the dumplings. You may also substitute self-rising flour for the all-purpose flour and leave out the baking powder.
  • salt: brings all the flavors into focus
  • pepper (or the smoked black pepper): adds a hint of heat and bite
  • poultry seasoning: It’s technically optional, but adding the poultry seasoning really underscores the flavor of the broth and the chicken itself. You can also use a little bit of rubbed sage and/or thyme if you don’t have poultry seasoning
  • butter: or solid chicken fat, bacon grease, butter, or shortening (any will work. My vote is either the chicken fat or the bacon grease)
  • whole milk: You may substitute 2% here if you like.

How to Make the Dumplings

If you can make pancakes, you can make these slick dumplings. They’re made using the biscuit method.

Here’s how it goes:

  • mix dry ingredients together.
  • Rub in the fat until the mixture looks like cornmeal.
  • Make a well, pour in the liquid, and stir with a fork until it comes together.

Once you have the dough, knead it in the bowl just 3-4 times, turn it out onto a well-floured counter, and dust more flour on top.

Roll it out to about 3/16″ thick and cut it into any shapes you want. I usually use a pizza cutter to cut dumplings about 1 1/2″ by maybe 3″. But I don’t measure.

You can also cut them into triangles. My friend Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny grew up in Ohio eating chicken and dumplings with triangle-shaped flat dumplings.

How to Make the Chicken

Jenni Says: Keep your broth at a rolling boil. it sounds counterintuitive, but if the heat gets too low, the dumplings will disintegrate. Keep it at a high boil.

Made this yesterday for Sunday supper. AMAZING! The ultimate comfort food. Thanks for sharing.

Reader Ann

The ingredients for the chicken part of chicken and dumplings are pretty simple and straightforward.

You are trying to make rich chicken stock, and often, simpler is better.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Images of all the ingredeints needed to make the chicken and broth for chicken and dumplings, labeled and shot on a white background.
  • whole chicken: Traditionally, you’d use a whole chicken, but you can use a cut-up chicken or all white meat, or all dark meat. Bone-in will yield more flavor and body for your broth.
  • boxed chicken broth: or boxed stock. You could just use water, but using broth or stock to make stock allows for a rich and flavorful end product. Your chicken and dumplings will thank you!
  • onion: sweet or yellow onion
  • apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar adds a subtle tang, but more importantly, it pulls more flavor and body out of the chicken bones
  • salt: brings out the flavor. I use kosher salt
  • garlic: minced or cloves. You can also substitute granulated garlic if you don’t have fresh
  • pepper: I use smoked pepper linked above, but any black pepper will work
  • poultry seasoning: You can also substitute a sprig of rosemary, a few sage leaves, and some thyme leaves for poultry seasoning

Optional ingredients:

Here are some other ingredients you can use to make your stock.

  • diced celery
  • diced carrot
  • washed and chopped leeks
  • diced fennel
  • shallot

All these ingredients would lend flavor before you strain your stock.

True Southern chicken and dumplings don’t have a lot of vegetables hanging out in the broth. Maybe some onion. Maybe.

It’s mainly just thickened basic chicken stock coating delicious flat dumplings and large chunks of tender chicken.

It’s the best!

Reader Raves

I love hearing from folks who make my recipes!

My Facebook friend Janice made flat dumplings for the first time ever using my recipe. Here’s what she said about the chicken and dumplings:

I decided to add some tarragon, which I adore with chicken!! Yum!! It’s delicious!!! I may have rolled my dough not thin enough and it wasn’t that “wet” after mixing in the milk but it’s all in the learning…Thanks, as always, for the fabulous recipe and guidance!

Janice of Flour Power Pies

And here are a couple of her photos of making and serving them.

A collage of 3 images and 1 block of text. The first image is a lot of rectangular flat dumplings in a pot of broth. The next is a closeup of dumplings and chicken in the broth, and the third is chicken and flat dumplings in a bowl. Text reads "5 thumbs up from reader janice who had never made dumplings before!"
At first it looks like the pan is impossibly crowded with dumplings, but I promise they’ll all fit. The trick is to keep it at a rolling boil. If you keep the heat too low, the dumplings will disintegrate. And nobody wants that.

Tips for Success

Be sure to bring your stock/broth to a full, rolling boil before adding the dumplings. If the stock is not hot enough and is just simmering, your dumplings could dissolve.

Once you cook your chicken, allow the chicken to cool in the pot, whether you used your Instant Pot or a Dutch oven. Removing the chicken from the liquid to cool separately results in dry chicken, even when you add it back to the liquid later.

Southern Chicken and Slick Dumplings Q & A

How long does it take to cook the dumplings?

Even though they are flat, it still takes some time for the dumplings to cook through. I allow at least 15 minutes and up to 25 minutes (if I roll them a bit thicker) to make sure they’re completely cooked. If you undercook them, it’s not the end of the world, although they will be just slightly gummy inside.

How do I know my dumplings are done?

The easiest way to tell if your dumplings are done is to fish one out of the pot and cut it open. Blow on it for a few seconds, and then take a taste. It should be tender and not at all gummy on the inside.

How can I thicken my broth?

Often, I find that the flour that sticks to the dumplings is enough to thicken my broth sufficiently. If I want it a bit thicker, I add a slurry of water and flour, a little at a time, until I like the thickness. Make a slurry by whisking together flour and enough cold water or broth so it’s pourable. Do not make a slurry with hot liquid or your flour will clump up.

Why did my dumplings fall apart?

You need to add your dumplings to rapidly boiling liquid or they will fall apart. Adding them to hot and not boiling stock allows them to dissolve rather than cook, so make sure you are cooking your dumplings at a rolling boil.

Shortcuts to Chicken and Dumplings Deliciousness

Someone commented on the Facebook page the other day that they made these, but took a couple of shortcuts, and they turned out great.

I’m sharing them with you in case you don’t have time to make the stock or cook the chicken.

They used a rotisserie chicken.

And they used Better Than Bouillon to make a rich stock. Just add some Better Than Bouillon and a few bits of cut-up onions and celery to water, and you’ll have a tasty short-cut stock.

If you’ve never had Better Than Bouillon, it’s a great product that you can add to water to make a light or intense stock, depending on how much you use.

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07/22/2024 08:36 am GMT

Questions?

If you have any questions about this post or recipe, I am happy to help.

Simply leave a comment here and I will get back to you soon. I also invite you to ask question in my Facebook group, Fearless Kitchen Fun.

If your question is more pressing, please feel free to email me. I should be back in touch ASAP, as long as I’m not asleep.

Love This “Chicken & Slicks” Recipe? Please Rate and Review. Thanks!

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A blue fluted bowl full of thick southern chicken stew with strips of pastry dumplings.

Southern Chicken and Flat Dumplings Recipe

Jennifer Field
Make chicken and dumplings the southern way, with flat or slick dumplings. Up the ante by seasoning your dumplings and making them with some bacon fat or chicken fat. Yes. Approximate cooking times for both pressure cooker/Instant Pot and Dutch oven included.
4.64 from 36 votes
Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Poultry
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings
Calories 435 kcal

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 1 fryer/roaster (4-5 pounds)
  • 2 quarts organic chicken stock
  • 1 medium onion washed and quartered
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons salt I use Morton's kosher. Use 1 1/2 teaspoons if using table salt
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon smoked black pepper or several grindings of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • Additional salt and pepper

For the Dumplings

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked black pepper or several grinds of black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons solid chicken fat bacon fat, butter, or shortening (or a mix. Your call)
  • ¾ cup whole milk

Instructions
 

For the Chicken

  • Remove the pouch of giblets from the cavity of your chicken and use for another purpose. If your chicken came with a neck, you can cook that right along with the rest.
  • In your Instant Pot or a Dutch oven, place the chicken (and neck, if you have one), boxed stock, onion, garlic, vinegar, salt, poultry seasoning and smoked pepper or peppercorns.
  • Bring up to pressure and cook at high pressure for 33 minutes. (If using a Dutch oven, simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is cooked through and you have a nice, rich stock, about 2 hours. You may have to flip the chicken to get it to cook evenly).
  • For the most tender meat, allow for complete natural pressure release, about 30 minutes. If cooking in a Dutch oven, allow the meat to cool in the pot.
  • Carefully remove all the meat from the carcass, get rid of as many bones and onion pieces as you can. Once you’ve removed most of the larger pieces, pour the stock through a strainer to get all the little bits.
  • Return the meat to the pot, cool and then refrigerate overnight.
  • The next day, spoon off the layer of chicken fat from the surface of the stock. You can use this in your dumplings, to make matzo ball soup, or you can discard.
  • Place your Instant Pot insert back in your Instant Pot and turn to saute or place your Dutch oven over. Stir occasionally until the stock has melted back to liquid (it will probably be like soft Jello straight from the fridge). You don’t have to make it hot at this point, just warm enough to melt the gelatin in the stock.
  • Pour the stock and chicken through a strainer. Press down on the chicken to get as much of the stock as possible. Refrigerate the chicken.
  • Taste the broth and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  • Turn the Instant Pot back to saute and bring stock to a rolling boil. If using a Dutch oven, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Drop dumplings (procedure below) into the pot, a few at a time so they don’t stick together.
  • Boil for about 15-20 minutes, or until dumplings are cooked through. NOTE: A few of the smaller bits of dumpling may dissolve, and that’s totally fine. This is what thickens your broth into a silky, dreamy gravy.
  • Return the reserved chicken to the pot to reheat, about 5 minutes.
  • Serve in bowls with a fork and a spoon. Have some good bread or rolls handy to sop up the extra sauce.
  • Enjoy!

For the Dumplings

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, poultry seasoning and black pepper.
  • Drop in the chicken fat, bacon fat, butter, or shortening, and rub in with your fingertips until it is completely incorporated. No pea-sized pieces here. You want it to disappear.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stream in the milk.
  • Bring the dough together with a fork. It will be fairly wet.
  • Liberally flour your counter.
  • Scrape the dumpling dough onto the floured surface. Liberally flour the top of the dough and roll out into a rough rectangle about 1/8-3/16" thick. If the dough sticks, add some more flour to assist with rolling, but don’t knead it in. Use your dough scraper to lift the dough and toss some flour underneath and add some to the top as necessary.
  • Brush excess flour off the top of the dough. Cut into 2"x3" rectangles (don’t measure–just use a pizza cutter and go for it), and they’re ready to be cooked.

Did You Make Any Changes?

Notes

Using boxed chicken stock for the initial cooking liquid adds depth and intense chicken flavor to the dish.
You don’t have to use bacon fat in the dumplings. You don’t even have to season the dumplings. But I think you’ll be happy if you do both!
Notice I’m not giving weights here. No need to be super precise, even with the dumplings.

Nutrition

Calories: 435kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 54.7gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2.9gCholesterol: 137mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 2.3g
Keyword flat dumpling recipe, southern chicken and dumplings
Did you make this recipe?Please tell us what you loved!

If you are in need of comfort, I hope you try these southern chicken and flat dumplings. They’re good for what ails you.

And if you’re already feeling good, they’ll make you feel even better.

Thanks for spending some time with me today. Take care, y’all.

China the dog in driveway.
I took this picture of my mom’s dog China just a couple of days ago. I had a feeling it would be the last time I saw her. Frolic over the Rainbow Bridge, sweet girl. March 1999-September 18, 2014.

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19 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Cough, cough….I usually use flour tortilla strips. LOL! But I do want to try it this way. Like all your shares, yummy!!!

    1. That is a valid way, for sure! I know someone who dips flour tortilla strips in a simple tempura batter and uses those, too. I will say it’s hard to beat using bacon fat or chicken fat in these dumplings though! Enjoy!

  2. Delicious! I have made your recipe a couple of times. Both times I decided I wanted chicken an dumplings but ti was close to dinner time so… I had a rotisserie chicken in the fridg, and some low sodium chicken stock. I sauteed some onions, celery and carrots, added the stock and simmered for about 15 minutes until the veggies were tender and added a couple of teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon (which I find can be a lifesaver) to the pot. Then I proceeded with the recipe as written. I threw in some frozen peas at the end when I added in the chicken. The last time I made it I didn’t have any milk but I had buttermilk so I substituted that in the dumplings. It added another layer of flavor which was great. And, dinner in about an hour that tasted like I had taken all day. Thanks for this recipe!

    1. Hey, Donny! I am thrilled you like the recipe, and I love your shortcuts too. Better Than Bouillon has saved me a time or three too. lol Thanks for sharing how you make this on a busy day!

    1. Hi, Zelda. The vinegar serves 2 purposes: it pulls out more collagen from the chicken bones so the broth has tons of body, and it adds a little lift to the flavor, much like adding a squeeze of lemon juice to chicken soup. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I have often promised to try one of Jenni’s recipes because they all sound so fabulous, but this time I was really enticed and I did it! My first time making dumplings! I have three fussy eater grandsons with me on most weekends and they all have it a hearty thumbs up!! A miracle! This is so good!! It takes time but it’s so worth it! It didn’t last long either! Give it a try; you will be glad you did! The instructions are so detailed you can’t fail!

  4. I’ve been enjoying my new status as “great-grandmother” for the past 10 months. That’s just to give you a measure of time your recipe has touched in my family. My sweet southern maternal grandmother made us chicken and dumplings (and butter beans and dumplings along with many other outrageously delicious meals). To learn grandma Rosie’s recipes, one had to watch her measure with her fingers, or a handful of ingredients. Thank you for printing this recipe. It came together quickly and easily. And it’s delicious. And I’m remembering my grandma.

  5. You’ve had a week of weeks, and I’m pleased to know it’s turned around, taken in stride. Curled up on the couch was an apt description, and comfort food had to play a part. I’m intrigued as I’ve never seen flat dumplings like your lovelies―just the fluffy plump ones. I’m with the others…I need to get on this! Missing you.

    1. I miss you too friend! I hope the school year has started out well for the Wee Walkers and that Mrs. W is doing well too! Do try the flat dumplings. It will make you an honorary southerner! =)

  6. Gosh, I’m so sorry you had such a terrible week of bad news, Jenni. You deserve another week on the couch with Netflix and chicken & dumplings. It’ll get better!

    Here’s a tiny “get well card” in the form of a video to cheer you up — if you like Muppets, that is. (I love them.) The Swedish Chef making popcorn shrimp, featuring not only puppet shrimps but also a musical KitchenAid mixer:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7UmUX68KtE

    (I stumbled on this when I fell down a YouTube hole searching for that Gordon Ramsay cookery course, and instead found Ramsay -vs- Swedish Chef in a cook-off.)

  7. What an emotional time for you, friend. This chicken and dumplings surely gives the meaning to the words “comfort food” and I hope it was. I am sorry about your friend Rich and I know that playing frisbee in the street (like kids) and swapping stories is the best ending to a funeral day. Seriously. A way to honor a friend. And I am happy your dad is fine.

    I have to make this chicken and dumplings. I love it but have never seen or tasted dumplings like yours. It looks wonderful!

    1. Thanks, Carol. I really appreciate it. China was a lovely girl, but you can tell from her photo how old and tired she was. My mom did the right thing at the right time. I know none of us will wonder if we should have waited longer, or if we waited too long.

4.64 from 36 votes (34 ratings without comment)

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