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Southern Style Chicken & Dumplings

(simular to Cracker Barrel)


  • Ingredients
  • Chicken:
  • 1 large fryer chicken (4-5 lbs.), neck and gizzards removed
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 3 carrots, cut into large pieces
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into large pieces
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • (I used left over turkey and broth also added frozen peas and carrots)


  • 3 c cake flour (I used 1.5 cups cake flour and 1.5 cups Gold and White flour)
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 4 ½ tbsp. shortening* (I used 1/4 cup lard, 2 tbsp butter, and another tbsp cooled bacon grease)
  • 1 c milk
  • *I imagine you could use butter, but I haven’t tried it. I’ve never been a fan of shortening, but I stuck to the recipe because I didn’t want to mess with its “right”-ness. You know Cracker Barrel and Southern grandmas aren’t afraid of using shortening. - See more at:


  1. Place the chicken, onions, carrots, and celery in a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so water maintains a gentle simmer. Cook chicken for 1 hour or until cooked through (about 165 degrees). While the chicken is cooking you can skip to Step 4 and start making the dumplings or you can wait until the chicken is fully cooked.

  2. Once chicken is done, remove from the broth and let cool. Remove chicken from the bone (this shouldn’t be hard, it should be falling off pretty easily at this point) and shred into medium-sized pieces, discarding bones and skin.

  3. Pour the chicken broth through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth (I improvised and used a coffee filter), discarding vegetables. Reserve 6 cups of the broth for the dumplings. Refrigerate or freeze the rest to use in for another recipe. It’s much more flavorful than the chicken broth you buy at the grocery store.

  4. Mix flour, baking soda, and salt together in bowl. Cut shortening into flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles small peas.

  5. Add milk — ¼ cup at a time, you may not need a full cup — and stir until a ball of dough just begins to form, being careful not to over-mix.

  6. Roll out the dough onto floured surface that you don’t mind cutting on. Roll about ¼ inch thick. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut dough into rectangles about 1 inch wide by 3 inches long. Place strips on wax paper and allow to harden up a bit, at least 30 minutes or up to several hours.

  7. In a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat (depending on your stove, you may need to increase the temp slightly), bring broth to a gentle simmer and drop in dumplings. Cover and allow to cook for 7-10 minutes.

  8. Reduce heat to low and add chicken. Allow to cook until thickened, about 20 to 30 minutes (or longer, depending on your stove or if you want a thicker broth). Season generously with salt and pepper.

  9. comments: Just a couple points to make about your wonderful recipe. Having grownup on a farm as a member of a very large family; this is the kind of food that were staples in a farm diet. As one commenter said this was traditionally made with an old stewing hen, as that person stated they had much more fat and flavor and had to be slow simmered to cook thoroughly and make tender. You are very correct in the proportion of celery carrot and onions during the simmering of the hen. There was plenty of time to make the dumplings because the hen had to simmer for about 3 hours. The dumpling were comprised of lard, baking powder, a small amount of butter and an egg. The dough was worked by hand with small additions of the simmering stock if it became a bit too dry. The dough was actually worked until the gluten of the flour came to life. The dough would be covered with kitchen towels until it was time to start cutting the dumplings and adding them to the pot.

  10. The hen was removed from the pot and cooled enough to be pulled from the bone. The celery and onions were nearly impossible to remove because they were so well cooked. The carrots were carefully removed from the pot and placed in a serving bowl, for later. The dumplings were gently added to the simmering stock until they were all in. By now the chicken had cooled enough that the skin could be removed and the chicken meat gently added back into the broth and dumplings, after maybe 15 to 20 minutes it was time to dish the chicken and dumplings up on large serving platters. Forgive my rambling; but for the person that said it was supposed to have vegetables in it—this is not chicken pot pie or stew or anything else. This is old fashioned chicken and dumplings and this recipe is very good since some of the items; stewing hens and lard aren’t as readily available as they were on the farm. Please don’t tell me how unhealthy and too much salt this has. I am an 80+ year man and I have eaten this type thing all my life and am in great health.

  11. Thank you for your recipe and the effort you put into recreating Chicken and Dumplings.

If the only chicken and dumplings I ever ate were at Cracker Barrel I would be very disappointed. My mother made them in Oklahoma by this recipe:

  1. Chicken:

  2. Cook a whole chicken until tender in a large pot with plenty of water, add salt, pepper and garlic powder while chicken simmers done. Remove chicken from pot, debone and add after dumplings are done.

  3. Dumplings:

  4. 3 cups flour, sifted

  5. ½ tsp baking powder

  6. 3 eggs

  7. 1 tsp of salt or to taste

  8. Mix together to form a soft dough. If more liquid is needed, add another egg or whole milk until dough comes together. Let rest for 20 minutes.

  9. Turn dough out on floured surface and dust top with additional flour. Roll as thin as possible, you may have to add more flour to keep the dough from sticking to the rolling pin or rolling surface. It will fell leathery when right. Mom liked to see through hers.

  10. Cut into strips and drop into stock at a rolling boil. When all dumplings are added, lower heat to very low and add a lid to the pot. Stir occasionally until dumplings are soft and done. (just taste them) After they are done, add deboned chicken and a cup of whole milk. Taste for more salt or seasoned pepper. Enjoy what real Oklahoma dumplings taste like!

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