This rich chicken and dumpling soup is my take on classic chicken and dumplings, only a slightly more brothy and simplified version to make. Filled with chunks of juicy chicken, lots of colorful vegetables and easy to make pillowy herb dumplings, this delicious chicken and dumpling soup recipe is sure to become part of your dinner rotation during the cooler months!
Chicken and Dumplings That Eats Like Soup
I was introduced to chicken and dumplings through my hubby, Michael, early on in our marriage.
Believe it or not, I'd never had this classic American dish (I grew up on Eastern European food).
But I eventually learned to prepare my own version of chicken and dumplings through tips my husband shared with me about how his great grandmother prepared hers, and a little trial and error as well!
My original version of chicken and dumplings would take me hours to prepare, beginning with my family recipe for chicken broth (which needed 4 to 5 hours of simmering for full flavor), to then mixing together, rolling, and finally cutting out my dumpling “strips” to add to the hot broth.
While the result was delicious, making the dumplings was pretty much an endeavor that took up the entire afternoon!
So when I recently flipped through the pages of a food magazine and saw a simplified version of soup dumplings which called for self-rising flour (an ingredient which I hadn't used before), I got to thinking that it was perhaps time to come up with a more simplified version of chicken and dumplings...
Enter my chicken and dumpling soup, a rich and hearty, yet slightly more brothy version of the classic, made with easy herb dumplings.
This savory and comforting take is on the table in a fraction of the time, requiring a fraction of the effort—a win-win for a busy weeknight when we're craving hot, cozy food without a lot of muss and fuss!
My Recipe For Chicken and Dumpling Soup
Friends, I'll just start out by admitting that I'm kind of addicted to this soup…
I love everything about it, from how quick the soup base is to put together (about 25 to 30 minutes, instead of 4 to 5 hours), to the preparation of the herb dumplings, which is such a breeze now.
I honestly wasn't sure that the soup base, or broth, would have a strong enough chicken flavor using this quicker method, but it totally did.
The secret is using good vegetables that offer earthiness and aroma, plus rich and flavorful chicken thighs with their skin on and bone in, and organic is best not only for health reasons, but for flavor.
For my chicken and dumpling soup recipe, I use sliced carrots and diced celery, like the traditional version does.
But instead of onion, I substitute two small leeks, and chop them finely. I also use a parsnip, which adds sweet and earthy flavor to the soup.
To keep the dumplings extra light, pillowy and flavorful, I use that self-rising flour, add in some whole milk and some melted ghee (you can use butter if you prefer), as well as some finely chopped parsley—I love the addition of herbs in my dumplings!
After these dumplings are dropped into the simmering soup and allowed to cook, the result is light, airy dumplings that melt in the mouth.
Here's a sneak peek at how I make my chicken and dumpling soup recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I season my chicken thighs and sear them in my large soup pot until golden-brown, then remove the thighs from the pot and set aside.
- Into the pot I add my aromatic vegetables and saute those for a few moments to soften them.
- Next, I add in my remaining ingredients, bring things to a simmer, then add back in my seared chicken thighs.
- I simmer the soup base for 20 minutes, until the thighs are cooked through.
- Next, I remove the chicken thighs from the pot, shred the meat, and add that back into the pot.
- Then, I mix together my dumpling batter and begin dropping in heaping spoonfuls of the batter.
- I cover the pot and gently cook the herb dumplings in the soup for 20 minutes, then finish the chicken and dumpling soup with fresh herbs, and serve.
Chicken and Dumpling Soup
by Ingrid Beer
This rich chicken and dumpling soup is made with easy, pillowy herb dumplings, juicy chicken, and colorful, earthy veggies!
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 561 calories per serving
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
- 6 chicken thighs (skin-on and bone-in)
- Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ghee (or butter)
- 2 small leeks (white part only), cleaned, quartered and finely chopped
- 3 small carrots, peeled and sliced into circles
- 2 ribs celery, diced small
- 1 small parsnip, peeled and diced small
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 8 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
Herb Dumplings Ingredients:
- 1 ¾ cup self-rising flour
- 1 (heaping) tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 ½ tablespoons melted ghee (or butter)
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your soup ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Place your chicken thighs onto a large plate or platter, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place a large soup pot over medium-high heat, and add in the tablespoon of ghee (or butter).
- Once melted, and the pot is hot, add the chicken thighs into the pot skin-side down and sear them on that first side for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the skin is golden-brown. Flip the thighs and sear on the second side for 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove the thighs from the the pot and set aside for a moment. (If there seems to be too much fat after searing, use a spoon to remove a little bit, leaving behind about 4 tablespoons worth.)
- To the pot add the leeks, carrots, celery and parsnip, and saute for a couple of minutes to soften. Add in the garlic, Italian seasoning and white pepper, and stir to combine, allowing things to become aromatic.
- Next, sprinkle in the flour evenly, and stir that into the veggies to incorporate, stirring for about 30 to 45 seconds. Then, slowly pour in the chicken stock, whisking all the while to avoid small flour “lumps” from forming.
- Bring the soup base to a vigorous simmer, add the chicken thighs back into the pot (plus any accumulated juices), cover, and reduce the heat to gently simmer the soup for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, turn the heat off under the soup pot, and carefully remove the chicken thighs with tongs. Place them onto a cutting board to cool just enough to handle.
- Once slightly cooled, remove the skin and bones from the thighs and shred the meat. Add the meat back into the soup pot.
- Next, gather and prep all of your herb dumpling ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- In a large bowl, gently mix together all in the ingredients just until a thick batter forms.
- Place the soup back onto medium-high heat, and bring it a vigorous simmer or gentle boil. Using a large soup spoon or a 1 ½ tablespoon-size cookie scoop (my preferred method), drop the dumpling batter into the simmering soup (the dumplings will immediately begin to puff up).
- Then, cover with a lid and cook the dumplings in the simmering soup, without stirring, for about 20 minutes, until very tender and light.
- To finish the chicken and dumpling soup, gently stir in the 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and the 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves, ladle up, and enjoy.
Tips & Tidbits for my Chicken and Dumpling Soup recipe:
- Juicy chicken thighs for flavor: Chicken thighs are my go-to for a soup like this, where the meat cooks directly in the pot. Because skin-on and bone-in thighs are used (though bones and skin are later discarded), this imparts more flavor and richness to the broth. Thigh meat is also much juicier, and will not become dried out as breast meat can. And, opt for organic chicken, if you can!
- Preparing chicken and dumpling soup ahead: Often, I like to prep my chicken soup “base” (without the dumplings) a day or two ahead of when I want to serve the recipe. Then, I just prep my dumpling batter and add the dumplings to the simmering soup, cook, and serve. The soup base even develops richer flavor as it sits for a day or two—bonus!
- For a thicker consistency, add more flour: This version has a more soup-like consistency, and is a bit more brothy than traditional chicken and dumplings, which can be quite thick. If you'd like to add more body to the soup, or you want a thicker consistency, add additional flour (about another 2 to 3 tablespoons) when sprinkling it over the vegetables in the soup pot. Then, proceed with the recipe.
- Leftovers will thicken as well: Keep in mind that if you have some leftovers of this chicken and dumpling soup, they may seem substantially thicker the next day, especially while the soup is still cold (the dumplings do tend to thicken things up). As you gently reheat the soup, you'll notice that it will thin out and become more soup-like again. You can thin it out with extra stock, if desired.
Craving more cozy recipes to warm your belly? Check out this Chicken Pot Pie with Biscuits, this Beef Pot Pie, this Chicken Paprikash, these Savory Hand Pies, this Chicken Stew, or this Hearty Italian Chicken and Autumn Veggie Soup!