Drop Dumplings Are the Comfort Food Addition Your Soups and Stews Need

They're easy to make—the process is more like drop biscuits than filled potstickers or pierogies—and there are so many tasty ways to use them.

When it comes to comfort food, drop dumplings, best known for their appearance in the classic Southern dish Chicken and Dumplings, are right up there. Closer to the beloved biscuit than filled and wrapped dumplings like potstickers or pierogies, drop dumplings are ideal for topping soups, stews, and chilis; they deliver carby, buttery goodness, reminding you and your family of beloved dishes like chicken pot pie without all the work. Just drop spoonfuls of the buttery batter right into soup and let them steam—they'll soak up that delicious broth flavor while they cook.

test kitchen favorite chicken and dumplings
Justin Walker

Master the technique (which is really quite simple), and you'll be well-equipped to transform any soup or stew into a comforting and hearty one-pot meal topped with rich, airy, biscuit-like pillows of dough. Ahead, we're sharing the keys to making the fluffiest drop dumplings and creative recipe ideas (beyond the standard chicken and dumplings) that put them to good use. As you'll soon see, these dumplings are much more versatile than they get credit for.

How to Make Drop Dumplings

Drop dumpling batter is prepared very similarly to biscuit dough. Rather than making a dough, rolling it out, and baking it, these dumplings are made by dropping a looser batter by the spoonful right into a pot of hot soup or stew. For the most pillowy-light drop biscuits, don't overmix the batter or overcook it. Drop dumplings are made with just five ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, butter, and milk. Whisk the dry ingredients to combine, cut in the butter, and stir in the milk just until the batter comes together. Again, make sure not to overdo the mixing here or the result will be tough drop dumplings. Just like biscuits, drop dumplings should be light and airy.

Use two spoons to form the drop dumplings. It doesn't need to be a perfect scoop, but it's best to add each dumpling in one fell swoop. That's why one spoon is used to scoop heaping spoonfuls of the batter and the other is used to scrape the batter off into the simmering liquid. Once all the dumplings are in the pot, cover it and let the drop dumplings steam until just tender.

Depending on the amount of batter, heat, and other variants in the recipe, cook time will be around 15 minutes. Don't guess when they are done; instead, test for doneness. This is just like you would for a cake, by inserting a toothpick into the center of the dumpling. If the toothpick comes out clean, it's time to eat.

How to Eat Drop Dumplings: They're Not Just for Chicken Soup or Stew

Master the classic chicken and dumplings, then explore recipes that let you pair drop dumplings with new flavors. Start with by upgrading your go-to chicken soup with flavorful ingredients. You can also customize the flavor of the dumplings by whisking in herbs and spices. But don't stop there! Does your family love southwest-inspired flavors? Then whip up a batch of our Green Chile Chicken and Dumplings, which adds cornmeal and cilantro into the dumplings and green chiles into the broth. Another take is Mushroom-and-Dill Chicken and Dumplings, which features mushroom-studded broth and dill in the dumplings.

There's no need to limit drop dumplings to twists on chicken soup, either. Try dumplings cooked atop this Fireside Beef Stew, in one of our Chili Recipes, or on vegetable filled soups like Minestrone. Just follow the technique in our Favorite Chicken and Dumpling recipe and be prepared to add a little extra liquid if the dumplings absorb too much of the broth.

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