This comforting and cozy recipe for Dutch Oven Chicken and Dumplings is made completely from scratch. Tender vegetables, creamy chicken stew, and soft homemade dumplings make for the ultimate Winter meal.
If you’re in a hurry try out the easy shortcut option using broth, rotisserie chicken, and canned biscuits.
For well over a decade now I’ve been dedicated to cooking meals from scratch, using simple ingredients that my Grandmother would have been familiar with. This has meant cooking a whole lotta whole chickens!
I use whole chickens for everything from a classic roast chicken, to homemade chicken broth, or even multi-step meals like this one I’m sharing here today. This recipe for homemade chicken and dumplings is made in a Dutch Oven. Since I use my Dutch Oven daily for everything from sourdough bread to a batch of homemade marinara sauce, this trusty kitchen staple has a special place in my heart.
This recipe for chicken and dumplings is perfectly suited to using a Dutch Oven, but if you don’t have one – never fear! You can easily use any heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe:
- It is made completely from scratch using wholesome, simple ingredients.
- Although it’s labor intensive, you get that authentic just-like-Grandma’s taste.
- Makes use of whole chickens, which are economical compared to cuts like breasts and thighs.
- Can be made with leftover chicken broth and leftover cooked chicken – OR you can opt for the shortcut method and use store-bought versions.
A Comfort Food Classic: From Scratch
Since the this recipe for Dutch Oven chicken and dumplings is made completely from scratch, we have three different components of the completed dish: broth, chicken stew, and homemade dumplings.
If you want to take a shortcut (but still get those homemade bonus points!) you can skip the broth step and use canned or frozen chicken broth and cooked and shredded chicken. You could even use canned biscuits if you wanted to. This cuts down on time significantly.
Since I’m a broth afficiando, I really prefer going the from-scratch route. That being said, if I have some leftover homemade chicken broth in the freezer and some leftover cooked chicken, you better believe I’ll sieze the opportunity and make a shortcut version.
So all that being said, feel free to skip the “broth” portion of the ingredients and instructions if you’re making the shortcut version – you won’t need to complete those steps.
Making the Homemade Chicken Broth
If you really want that “from scratch” taste and experience, I recommend you start off by making the chicken broth. The base of this recipe was adapted from my homemade chicken broth recipe, which uses a whole chicken to make a delicious broth.
Because a whole chicken is used in the broth making process, you not only get a clean-flavored from-scratch broth, you also get plenty of cooked, shredded chicken.
The cooked chicken from the broth is used in the chicken and dumplings itself, but any leftovers can be frozen or added to any recipe that calls for cooked chicken.
Remember, this step is optional, so you could skip it and use some store-bought (or leftover) chicken broth instead, along with some chicken you pulled off a rotisserie chicken (or last nights dinner).
- Whole chicken: You’ll need one that’s about 3-5 pounds, with giblets removed.
- Aromatics: Onion, celery, and carrots form a great base for chicken broth.
- Water: You need enough water to cover. Make sure it is a drinkable quality water.
- Bay leaves (optional)
- Peppercorns (optional)
- Parsley (optional)
How to Make Homemade Broth (and Cooked Chicken)
You can find a step-by-step tutorial from my homemade chicken broth recipe, but it’s super simple, so I’ll break it down for you here.
- Add your whole chicken to a Dutch Oven that is 6 quarts (or larger), along with the onion, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt.
- Add enough fresh water to cover the chicken (typically 8-10 cups). The chicken may float a bit, so press it down with the end of a wooden spoon to see if you need to add more water.
- Place the Dutch Oven on the stovetop and heat over high heat until it comes to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 2-2 1/2 hours.
- Rotate the chicken halfway through to ensure even cooking. If you’re adding parsley, do so during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken, and if it has not yet reached 165F return the the heat and turn up the heat to a high simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
Straining the Broth and Reserving the Chicken
Once your chicken is cooked through, you’re ready to strain the broth from the vegetables and reserve the chicken.
I like to carefully lift the chicken using a few wooden spoons to a nearby platter. It is best to give it a good while to cool down before picking it apart, but if you’re in a hurry you can easily use a knife. I peel back the skin and reserve that for a batch of bone broth, along with the bones.
- Once the chicken has been removed from the Dutch Oven, fit a large bowl with a strainer.
- Pour the broth and vegetables through the strainer, collecting the broth below, and the spent vegetables and odds and ends of meat and bone in the strainer.
- You may use the vegetables for another purpose, or you can discard them or feed to your chickens if you have some.
- Allow the broth to cool enough that a layer of fat rises to the top. Spoon off the top layer of fat and reserve 6 cups of broth for your chicken and dumplings. Freeze or store the rest for later.
- Shred or cut the cooked chicken, reserving 3 cups for the chicken and dumplings. Freeze or store the rest for another recipe.
Making Creamy Chicken Stew
When it comes to chicken and dumplings, we’re about to make the core part of the dish. A little bit creamy, savory, and filled with tender carrots and celery. This chicken stew is the perfect vessel for soft dumplings. Talk about yummy!
Some of these ingredients are repeats from the broth making step. I don’t recommend re-using vegetables because they will be too soft and mushy – tender crisp is the goal here.
If you want to cut back in order to be more economical, you can totally make a broth with chicken alone and skip the vegetables, saving them for the key part of the recipe: the chicken stew.
- Chicken broth: Reserved from the homemade broth step, OR you can use store-bought.
- Cooked chicken: Also reserved from the broth step, but if you want a shortcut you can use meat from a rotisserie chicken or leftover from a previous meal.
- Avocado oil (or butter): This is for sautéing the onions, carrots and celery. I’ve tested the recipe with both avocado oil and additional butter, and I prefer using the oil – but they both taste great!
- Flour: This is added to the vegetables to create a sort of roux, allowing the soup to be thick without adding lots of heavy cream, cream cheese, or sour cream.
- Aromatic vegetables: You’ll need onions, carrots, celery, and a few cloves of garlic. I like to dice the onions, carrots, and celery into cubes for quick cooking.
- Heavy cream: Just a little bit adds the perfect creaminess to this recipe.
- Seasoning: Since we get so much flavor from the veggies and homemade broth, I recommend keeping it simple with just salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Frozen peas: These add a nice pop of green and a subtle sweetness to the dish.
How to Make Chicken Stew
Heat the oil (or butter) in a Dutch Oven over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the diced vegetables and toss to coat. Cook them until soft (about 4-5 minutes).
Once the veggies are soft, add in the garlic, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
Add in the flour, stirring to coat the vegetables and absorb the fat in the pot. Cook, constantly stirring, for 2-3 minutes, or until it changes color ever so slightly. Don’t let it brown or burn, instead remove it from the heat if you feel it is cooking too quickly.
Adding the Broth and Cooked Chicken
Slowly add in the broth, ½ cup at a time, and whisk until smooth before making another addition. Scrape the bottom of the pan if there are any stuck on bits.
Once all of the broth has been incorporated, add in the cooked chicken and stir to distribute it throughout the soup.
Add in the heavy cream and stir well to combine. Bring to a low simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes, whisking often, or until thickened.
As you simmer the soup, start preparing the dumpling dough so it’s ready to drop once the chicken stew is thick enough.
For the Dumplings
This easy dumpling dough is so easy to pull together. There is no resting or rising needed, so as long as you have all of the ingredients on hand you can pull everything together in a matter of minutes.
- Flour: I’ve tested both regular all-purpose and unbleached for this recipe and they both work well. T
- Baking powder: This helps provide some rise so the dumplings puff up while they are steaming in with the chicken and broth.
- Melted butter: No fussing around with softened butter – good ol’ melted butter allows this dough to come together very quickly.
- Milk: I like to use whole milk, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Parsley (optional): Some fresh parsley makes these dumplings extra delicious, but they are totally fine without.
- Salt and pepper: A little bit of salt and pepper is all the seasoning these need – most of the flavor will come from the chicken stew.
How To Make Dumpling Dough
Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper to a medium sized glass bowl and whisk everything together until combined.
Pour in the melted butter, followed by the milk.
Once the butter and milk are added, stir gently to moisten the dough. Add the parsley (if using), and continue to stir until it forms a cohesive and sticky dough.
If the dough is too dry, add a bit more milk. If it is too wet, add a bit more flour and stir again.
Cooking the Dumplings
Once your dumpling dough is made, you’re ready to drop it into the stew. Start off by adding the frozen peas into the soup and stirring to warm them.
Drop the dumpling dough by heaping tablespoons (or a cookie scoop) on the surface of the soup.
Continue adding heaping tablespoons of dough until all of the dough has been used up. Then cover the Dutch Oven with a lid and simmer on low-medium for 15 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through. I personally find this works better if there is no peaking involved.
Be sure to keep that heat nice and low (close to low than to medium), otherwise the bottom can scorch pretty easily.
Once the dumplings have been steamed (they will look doughy, but will be cooked through), remove your Dutch Oven chicken and dumplings from the heat and garnish with fresh parsley (if using). Portion into bowls, ensuring you get some of that creamy chicken stew AND a few dumplings in each serving.
Easier Shortcut Method Using Broth and Cooked Chicken
If you’re looking at this recipe and thinking you might want a shortcut version, I’ve got you covered! You can easily swap out the from-scratch broth and chicken portion for store-bought options.
- Swap the homemade broth for 6 cups of store-bought broth (or frozen homemade broth)
- Use 3 cups of cooked and shredded chicken from a rotisserie chicken, or cooked and chopped chicken breast.
- Swap the homemade dumplings for canned biscuits.
Using Canned Biscuits
If you want to save a lot of time, you can use canned biscuits in place of the dough in this Dutch Oven chicken and dumplings recipe.
- Open a can of biscuits and divide each biscuit into quarters.
- Drop the dough onto the surface of the simmering soup and cover with the lid.
- Steam for 10-15 minutes (depending on how large the pieces are) on low-medium heat.
- Then serve and enjoy!
Dutch Oven Cooking Tips
- Try to avoid using steel utensils – these scrape the enamel and make your Dutch Oven harder to clean over time, as food sticks more easily to a scratched surface.
- If you have stubborn stuck-on food after trying to clean your Dutch Oven, try a light application of Bar Keepers Friend Soft Cleanser. I apply a light coat with a paper towel to a damp surface, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Then I come back and scrub it off with a soft, yet sturdy sponge like a Scrub Daddy. Rinse it several times, and wash it one last time with a mild detergent and hot water. This works like a charm every single time!
- Use your lid to your advantage. If you want to keep the moisture in, put the lid on. If you want to reduce the amount of moisture, leave your lid on. Easy peasy!
More Dutch Oven Recipes
- Dutch Oven Chicken Breast and Potatoes
- How to Make Chicken Broth
- Dutch Oven Stuffed Peppers
- Dutch Oven Whole Roasted Chicken
- Hearty Marinara Sauce
Homemade Broth (Optional)
- 1 whole chicken (4-6 lbs), giblets and gizzards removed
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 carrots, quartered
- 2 celery ribs, halved
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 1 tsp. peppercorns
- ½ bunch parsley (optional)
- 8-10 cups water
- 6 cups chicken broth (reserved)
- 3 cups cooked chicken pieces (pulled from the chicken used to make the broth)
- 2 tablespoons butter or avocado oil
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Salt, to taste
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley (optional, for serving)
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoons unrefined salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley OR ¾ teaspoons dried (optional)
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- ¾ cup milk (plus more if needed)
Making the Broth (Optional)
- Add your chicken to a large stock pot or a Dutch oven that holds at least 6 quarts.
- Add in the vegetables, salt, and bay leaves.
- Pour in fresh water until everything is covered by at least 1 inch. Note that the chicken may float a bit, so press it down with the end of a wooden spoon to see if you need to add more water.
- Once the water is added, place your Dutch oven or stock pot on the stovetop and heat it over high heat.
- Once your pot comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Use a spoon or a skimmer to remove the foam that rises to the top during the first 30 minutes or so of cooking. This will make for a clear, clean broth.
- Rotate the chicken halfway through to ensure even cooking. If you're adding parsley, do so during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken, and if it has not yet reached 165F return it to the heat and turn up the heat to a high simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the broth, and fit a very large bowl.
- Strain the broth through the strainer, allowing the bowl to catch the strained broth.
- Allow the broth to rest, with the fat rising to the top. If desired, spoon off the top layer of cooling fat OR refrigerate and remove the hardened fat.
- Allow the chicken to cool enough to handle, then remove the cooked chicken from the carcass and set it aside.
- Reserve 6 cups of broth for the chicken and dumplings, along with 3 cups of the cooked and shredded chicken. Either freeze the remaining broth and chicken or use it in another recipe within the next several days.
Chicken and Dumplings
- Heat a dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add the butter and swirl to melt.
- Add in the onions, celery, and carrots and saute until soft, 4-5 minutes.
- Once the vegetables have softened, add in the thyme, pepper, and garlic and stir, and saute for an additional 1 minute, or just until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add in the flour, stirring to coat the vegetables and absorb the fat in the pot. Cook, constantly stirring, for 2-3 minutes, or until it changes color ever so slightly. Don’t let it brown or burn, instead remove it from the heat if you feel it is cooking too quickly. Then reduce the heat and try again.
- Slowly add in the broth, ½ cup at a time, and whisk until smooth before making another addition.
- Once all of the broth has been incorporated, add in the cooked chicken and the heavy cream (if using). Bring to a low simmer and allow to cook for 5 minutes, whisking often, or until thickened.
- Once thickened, add the peas, black pepper, and enough salt to taste. Adjust the seasonings based on your liking.
- Meanwhile, the batter for the dumplings by whisking together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Then add in the parsley (if using), melted butter, and milk. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry just until combined.
- Add a little more milk if needed to make a sticky, cohesive dough.
- Use a heaping tablespoon or cookie scoop to drop the dumpling batter into the simmering stew. Repeat until all of the dough is used up. (I used a large cookie scoop).
- Reduce the heat to low-medium, which should keep the stew at a low simmer. Cover the Dutch oven with a lid and allow the dumplings to steam for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Once the dumplings are cooked through, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Shortcut Method: Omit the broth-making step, and instead use 6 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. This could be some that you have on hand in your freezer, or you could use store-bought broth and meat pulled from a rotisserie chicken.
Using canned biscuits: Open a can of biscuits and divide each one into quarters. Drop the quartered biscuits on top of the simmering stew and place the lid on. Steam for 10-15 minutes.
Please note that some of my blog posts here at Little Home in the Making may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. See our disclaimer for more information.