Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings from Scratch

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This recipe turned out deliciously thick, rich, and tasty, making nearly every bit of the recipe from scratch.

Rib-sticking goodness right here.

As part of my ongoing quest to eat a little healthier, I’ve been eating a lot of chicken. It’s a great lean meat, but as anyone who has eaten a lot of chicken can tell you, it gets bland after a while. We’ve cooked it in a bunch of different ways (sous vide, air fryer, baked) but I wanted to try something a little different.

I’ve always been a fan of chicken pot pies and that entire genre of stew-like meals. Coincidentally, I saw a friend of mine in a Discord chat (Hi Mar!) made some chicken and dumplings. He said it was pretty easy, and I decided to give it a try.

This also gave me a good excuse to try out the slow cooker setting on my Instant Pot. Turns out, it’s better than the old slow cooker we used to have, with the cracked pot and the lid that never quite closes right. Big surprise there, huh?

Normally, chicken and dumplings like this calls for a can or two of condensed soup. Originally, this recipe did too; specifically a can of Cream of Chicken and a can of Cream of Celery. However, my partner doesn’t like using condensed soups as an ingredient (and honestly, if I’m trying to watch my sodium, I should probably avoid the preservative-filled soups anyways), so I decided to make the Cream of Chicken myself. I also replaced the Cream of Celery with Cream of Mushroom, both to add some mushrooms to the meal and to give it a richer flavor. Next time, if I have a bit more time, I’ll probably make that soup from scratch as well.

There are two main parts to this recipe, and I cooked it over the course of two days. Because of how long it takes to cook (six hours in the slow cooker!) I decided to make the Cream of Chicken soup the day before. We even had a little extra, and mixed it with some egg noodles and cheese for a delicious meal all its own. If you’re making the Cream of Mushroom from scratch, you can do it ahead of time as well.

Making the Cream of Chicken Soup

As I said, I made the Cream of Chicken soup from scratch. It was pretty easy to do, and didn’t take too long, but since the entire recipe takes over six hours to do, I made it the day before. Don’t let anybody tell you it was because I was going to start dinner too late that day and would have been eating hours later than normal, that’s slanderous lies and I won’t stand for it.

To make the soup, I just used this recipe from Spend With Pennies. I used the evaporated milk, a whole small can of it was fine. Also, I made the poultry seasoning from scratch and used it in both parts of the recipe.

If you want to make Cream of Mushroom (or Cream of Celery) soup on your own, you can do that too. If and when I make this recipe again, and if I make that soup as well, I’ll come back and edit this section to add that recipe as well.

Poultry Seasoning

Simple, but delicious.

Poultry seasoning is just an herb mixture, and I happened to have everything I needed on hand. I blitzed some of it in the spice grinder to make it a close to a powder as I could, so I wouldn’t be picking bits of Thyme or Rosemary out of my teeth later. Here’s what went into it:

  • 4 Teaspoons of Ground Sage
  • 3 Teaspoons of Thyme
  • 2 Teaspoons of Rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon of Marjoram
  • 1 Teaspoon of White Pepper
  • 1/8th of a Teaspoon of Nutmeg

Taken all together, this made more than enough spice for the soup, the chicken and dumplings itself, and some left over for use in the future. I look forward to using it on more chicken, even if it’s just a basic seasoning mix.

Making the Chicken and Dumplings

It really doesn’t take much, though I’d like to get that can out of there.

I took a basic recipe for a slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings meal and adapted it for my Instant Pot and for my tastes. If you’ve made something similar before, you’ll recognize some parts of it, since it’s a relatively standardized recipe.

First, I added my diced onion (a small Spanish onion) to the bottom of the pot, then laid out the chicken breasts on top. Those, I covered with the Cream of Chicken, Cream of Mushroom, spices, and a sprig of fresh thyme. To that, I added some chicken broth, and started the Instant Pot. This part cooks for about four hours.

During this time, I had plenty of time to make the dumpling dough. It’s a simple buttermilk dumpling dough that I pulled almost straight from the Food Lab cookbook, which I added some of the poultry seasoning to. I’ll detail that recipe below. It makes about six dumplings, though since they break up when you stir it up and shred the chicken, it hardly matters.

It’s a very sticky dough, but it cooks beautifully.

After the four hours of cooking time, I added my vegetables. I used about two cups of thinly sliced carrots, a cup of chopped celery, and a cup of peas. I thawed out some frozen peas for this, but fresh would be even better. Everything else was fresh. Stir all of that up and add the biscuit dough. This cooks for another hour and a half.

At this point, the broth still looked, well, like broth. The dough serves to thicken it up a lot, though, and the end result is the delicious rib-sticking goodness you see up above. I was worried I would have to add corn starch (I hate that stuff) but it turned out plenty thick without it.

Once everything has cooked, shred the chicken (I did it right inside the pot, but you can fish out the breasts, shred them, and put it back in) and stir it up again. Then serve!

Homestyle Chicken and Dumplings

A rich and hearty chicken and dumplings recipe made over the course of a day in a slow cooker.
Servings 8 Bowls
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 6 hrs

Equipment

  • Instant Pot Slow Cooker
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Rubber Spatulas
  • Food Processor

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 1 Spanish Onion Diced
  • 10 Oz Cream of Chicken Soup One can of condensed soup is fine
  • 10 Oz Cream of Mushroom Soup One can of condensed soup is fine
  • 1 Tsp Poultry Seasoning See above for recipe
  • 1 Sprig Fresh Thyme Optional
  • 4 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cups Sliced Carrots
  • 1 Cup Chopped Celery
  • 1 Cup Peas
  • Black Pepper to taste

For the Dumplings

  • ¾ Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 Egg
  • 10 Ounces All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • ¼ Tsp Baking Soda
  • Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tsp Poultry Seasoning See above for recipe
  • Black Pepper To taste
  • 4 Tbsp Salted Butter Divided into quarters

Instructions

Starting the Chicken

  • In the pot of your crock pot or Instant Pot, spread the diced onion across the bottom.
  • Lay the chicken breasts across the bed of onions.
  • In a mixing bowl, mix together the Cream of Chicken soup, Cream of Mushroom soup, poultry seasoning, and black pepper. Pour this mixture over the chicken.
  • Add the chicken broth and the sprig of thyme. Cook on high for 4 hours.

Making the Dumplings

  • In one bowl, beat together the buttermilk and egg to combine.
  • In a food processor, add the butter, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, poultry seasoning, and pepper, then pulse to combine well until no large chunks remain.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix to create a sticky dough.
  • Divide the dough into roughly six equal portions (more or less depending on the surface area of your slow cooker).

Combining and Finishing

  • Add the carrots, celery, and peas to the soup mixture and stir to mix.
  • Gently add the dough globs to the top of the soup.
  • Continue to cook for about an hour and a half, or until the dumplings are done.
  • Shred the chicken (fishing it out with a spoon, or shredding directly in the slow cooker), then stir it all together. Serve and enjoy!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken, Dinner, Dumplings

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