This Dutch Oven Chicken and Dumplings recipe is the ultimate comfort food, with a healthy classic chicken soup base and fluffy, herb-filled dumplings that make the soup creamy without using heavy cream. Hello, cold nights!
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This is definitely the week to be hibernating. It was 5˚F this week with wind chills that make it even colder, and all I want to do is sit by the fire and dethaw like a turkey. It's also the time of year I crave comfort food. Salads are only so comforting on cold winter nights. You want something substantial and warm. This chicken and dumplings recipe is an old Southern favorite -- but it's made healthier with no cream. Read on!
Ingredients You'll Need
You'll need the following ingredients to make Dutch Oven Chicken and Dumplings:
For the soup:
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh thyme
- chicken stock
- bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- chicken (either pre-cooked rotisserie or uncooked chicken breasts)
- fresh dill
- fresh parsley for garnishing
For homemade dumplings:
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- fresh cracked black pepper
- fresh thyme
- fresh parsley
I love to use a Dutch oven to make chicken and dumplings but it's not absolutely necessary because you're not putting this soup in the oven or braising the chicken for a long period of time. I just love that a Dutch oven retains its heat so well, keeping your soup warm for hours. You can easily use a large stock pot if you have that.
Other than that, a cookie scoop is helpful when dropping the dumplings into the soup but also not necessary.
How to Make Homemade Southern Dumplings
The best part of this soup is definitely the dumplings. They are so hearty, full of fresh herbs, and thicken the soup to make it more "stew-like," which is the quintessential consistency to this Southern delicacy.
To make the dumplings, simply combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the melted butter and milk and mix with a fork until you no longer see any of the dry mixture. The dough will be a little thick.
The dumpling part of this meal is incredibly easy to throw together in less than 5 minutes. You can prep the dumpling dough while the soup is simmering so you're not wasting any time.
When you're soup is ready for you to add the dumplings, you'll use a spoon or cookie scoop to form no more than ¾" balls of dough. Drop the balls of dough right into the soup, put the cover on, and let the dumplings cook for 10-12 minutes.
Test the dumplings by taking one out and cutting into it. If it's still doughy in the center, cook the dumplings for a couple minutes longer.
Try These Shortcuts to Reduce the Prep and Cooking Time
- Use rotisserie chicken. This is what I usually do -- but I've shown you how to cook chicken and dumplings both ways -- using raw chicken or already cooked rotisserie chicken.
- Buy pre-cut mire poix in the refrigerated section of the produce area. You can usually buy pre-cut carrots, celery and onions that save you close to 10 minutes of chopping. Yes, it's more expensive, but sometimes it's just what's needed.
Can you freeze chicken and dumplings?
Yes, you can freeze this soup -- but make the dumplings when you're ready to eat.
Calories in chicken and dumplings
These aren't your standard Paula Deen chicken and dumplings recipe. These chicken and dumplings are much healthier and rely on the dumplings to thicken the soup up a bit to be more stew-like than soup-like. There's a little over 500 calories in each plentiful serving of this chicken and dumplings recipe. That's an estimate and shouldn't be used as 100% accurate.
Reheating Leftover Chicken and Dumplings
This soup surprisingly reheats really well. We make a big batch of the soup and then heat the soup up again for another dinner that same week.
Chicken and dumplings sides
It's so hard to pair chicken and dumplings with any sides because I think this is a really hearty meal unto itself; however, I would pair it with a nice green salad if I was looking for a little something else. Try some of my favorite salads below:
- Copycat Sweetgreen Harvest Bowl Salad
- Copycat Cosi Signature Salad
- Copycat Chick-fil-A Superfood Kale Salad
- Ultimate Winter Salad from the Pioneer Woman
Dutch Oven Chicken and Dumplings
For the soup:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 3 carrots peeled and sliced
- 2 celery ribs diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 3 cups leftover shredded rotisserie chicken or 3 raw chicken breasts (both methods included in instructions)
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnishing
For homemade dumplings:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- ¾ cup whole milk
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven (or large stockpot) over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Stir in chicken stock and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring soup to boil; reduce to a low boil, add raw chicken (if not using a rotisserie chicken). Low-boil covered for 10-12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. If using rotisserie chicken, don't add chicken yet.
- Meanwhile, make your dumplings by combining all dumpling ingredients into a bowl. Set bowl aside.
- If cooking chicken, remove chicken from the soup and shred with a fork. Place chicken back in the Dutch oven or now add rotisserie chicken. Add fresh dill and allow to simmer covered 3-4 more minutes.
- Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, form no bigger than ¾" balls of dough (they don't have to be neat) and drop the dumplings directly into the soup until you've used all of the dough. Dunk all of the dumplings so they've been touched by the soup. Make sure soup is still at a low-boil or simmer. Simmer covered for another 10-12 minutes until dumplings are cooked through (you can cut one open to make sure).
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve in a bowl immediately.