Our test kitchen's secrets to getting this comfort-food classic just right.

December 03, 2018
Justin Walker

Creamy and warm, a bowlful of chicken and dumplings is like a cashmere wrap on a cold night. The beauty of our approach is its simplicity: Make an herbaceous broth that cooks the chicken in 20 minutes, add vegetables, and blanket it all in pillow-soft dumplings. Follow the steps below for delicious chicken and dumplings every time.

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Grocery List

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Unsalted butter
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • White potatoes
  • Dried thyme
  • Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Frozen peas
  • Flat-leaf parsley
  • Baking powder
  • Whole milk
  • Lemon

1. Make Broth and Cook Chicken

Combine 2 pounds chicken thighs (4 to 5), 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; let cool 10 minutes. Discard skin and bones; shred meat into bite-size pieces (you should have 3 cups). Strain broth (you should have 4 cups; if not, add more water).

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2. Do the Roux

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 diced onion; 3 diced carrots; 1 diced celery stalk; 8 ounces potatoes, peeled and cut into a 1/2-inch dice; and 1 1/4 teaspoons thyme. Cook, stirring, until onion is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup flour; cook 30 seconds. Gradually stir in broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, 1 cup partially defrosted frozen peas, and 3 tablespoons chopped parsley. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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3. Dollop, Simmer, Serve

Meanwhile, whisk together 1 2/3 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 3 tablespoons chopped parsley. Cut in 4 tablespoons cold butter. Stir in 3/4 cup milk until dough holds together. Drop 8 heaping spoonfuls of dough on top of chicken mixture. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 12 minutes. Serve with more chopped parsley and lemon wedges.

Get the Test Kitchen's Favorite Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Two More Takes

Make this classic earthy with mushrooms, or turn up the heat.

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In step 2, before adding the vegetables to the pot, sauté 10 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, quartered (3 cups), over medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Use dried marjoram instead of thyme, and fresh dill instead of parsley. In step 3, use dill again in place of parsley.

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In step 2, before adding the other vegetables to the pot, sauté 2 cups chopped poblano chiles (from 2 large) over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce thyme to 1/2 teaspoon, and add 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder with it. Swap out the peas for frozen corn, and the parsley for cilantro. In step 3, replace 1/3 cup of the flour with finely ground cornmeal, and again use cilantro instead of parsley.

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