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better than your mama's chicken and dumplings

This chicken and dumplings recipe is arguably “Better than your mama’s” (don’t tell my mama, she might not agree). This is my “go to” dish when I want to impress someone. It helped win my husband’s heart. My recipe is passed down from my great-grandma, who made the BEST chicken and dumplings. I grew up eating my mom’s version and this is a slightly modified version of hers that has been passed down many generations. This is my most prized recipe and I almost can’t believe I’m sharing my secret family recipe!


2 cups flour

½ tsp baking powder

4 tbsp butter, softened

1 cup milk

2 32 oz chicken broth

3 cups cooked chicken

2 tbsp minced garlic

1 tbsp onion powder


Freshly cracked pepper

Optional- 12 oz of light beer (a light lager works well)


Combine both quarts of chicken broth, minced garlic, onion powder, 2 tbsp butter, about 6 turns of pepper and the beer(optional) in a large pot. Turn on medium high heat to bring to a low boil.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl- flour, baking powder, pinch of salt, 6-8 turns of pepper. Mix well.

Dice remaining 2 tbsp of softened butter into small chunks and cut into the flour mixture with a fork until it is finely crumbled and you can’t see butter chunks. You can also do this with a pastry blender if you have one.

Pour 1 cup milk into dry ingredients. DO NOT OVER MIX, this will result in tough and doughy dumplings. The dough will be flaky and sticky, it will look like it is not combined. Don’t worry, it will stick together as you roll it.

Heavily flour your workspace. REALLY, heavily flour! Dumplings should be coated with flour when finished. Roll out dumplings to about ¼ inch thick and flour the top as well. It doesn’t have to be pretty (I didn’t promise the best looking dumplings you’ve ever seen, only the best tasting).

Use a pizza cutter to cut your dumplings, it will easily slice through the dough without pulling at the sticky underlayers. Cut dumplings to roughly 1.5x1.5 in (or the size of a larger ravioli if you’re eyeballing).

Once the chicken broth mixture is boiling, drop dumplings in one by one. Then lower the heat to a medium setting . After a minute or two, lower the temperature even further to a lower setting. You don’t want the dumplings to explode from too much “quick” heat or to scorch the inside bottom of your really nice stock pot.

Add the chicken. You can use a rotisserie chicken (this is what I did today, great flavor and easy cleanup), boiled chicken breasts,or roast your own whole chicken. You can even throw a couple of frozen chicken breasts into a crock pot with some water (enough to cover the chicken) and let them cook all day for an easy meal prep later in the day. We don’t discriminate on type of chicken around here, it’ll all taste great in this meal! I’ve tried each option and they all result in the same great tasting dish.

Return the chicken and dumplings to a gentle boil, reduce heat,(low medium), cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, taste test a dumpling to see if it is cooked? If it tastes “doughy” the dumplings aren’t finished. Cook for approximately 10 more minutes at a low/lower medium setting.

This is my basic “go-to” recipe for Chicken and Dumplings - it tastes great as is, but there are a couple of add-ins that can make this dish over-the-top! My granny’s recipe calls for diced celery (½ cup), diced carrots (1 cup), and hardboiled eggs. If I happen to have celery (or baby carrots), I’ll add these in. Throw these in with the chicken. Diced hardboiled eggs are added at the end. The eggs will thicken the broth. If you don’t want to use eggs but would like a thicker broth, add cornstarch (about 2 tsps) mixed with (3 tsp) cold water. This will also thicken the broth quite a bit. Whether you use these extras or not, you’ll end up with a fairly easy and sure to impress meal that might just steal someone’s heart!


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