Air fryers are fast becoming a staple in many home kitchens–and for good reason. Food cooked in an air fryer comes out crispy and delicious without the grease that is so commonly left after frying food the old-fashioned way.
With an air fryer, food is cooked by hot air circulated in what is essentially a fast-working, countertop convection oven. Without the oil, food is healthier yet still delicious–and there’s less cleanup!
As wonderful as all this sounds, air fryers are not always the best option for making certain foods. This holds true for soups and recipes that are sauce-based, such as the family-favorite comfort food described in our easy chicken and dumpling soup recipe.
One of the things that make chicken and dumplings so special is the taste of the dumplings after they simmer and cook in the juices of the chicken, vegetables, broth, herbs, and spices.
If you decide to try cooking the dumplings in an air fryer, chances are that the outside of the dumpling will be crispy and the inside will be gooey. This happens because of the way air fryers cook food.
Time-Saving Measures When Making Chicken and Dumplings
If you’re looking for a way to quickly whip up a batch of chicken and dumplings for dinner after a busy day, we have some other ideas to share.
For one, you can use pre-made buttermilk biscuits instead of making them from scratch (which are just made from flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, butter, and milk). However, don’t use flaky biscuits for the dumplings because they don’t hold up nearly as well. A compromise between making homemade dumplings and using premade biscuits from a tube is making a batch from a mix.
To cook your chicken and dumplings, it’s better to use a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-duty pot on the stovetop. This allows you to brown the chicken and enrich the flavor of the meal by cooking all of the ingredients in the same pot. If you are really pressed for time, many recipes on our website can be adapted for an Instant Pot!
A Few Tips for Perfect Dumplings
There are many chicken and dumpling aficionados online with lots of suggestions, but we have are a few tips that most subscribe to for making great dumplings:
- Use some warm milk in the dough. This prevents the dumplings from absorbing too much of the broth when cooking, which helps keep them tender and fluffy after they are cooked.
- If you make dumplings from scratch, let the dough sit for a bit before cooking so the baking powder has time to do its thing and improve the texture.
- Gently simmer the dumplings in the soup mixture (where the liquid is just lightly bubbling). If you boil dumplings with a rapid boil, they will become mushy.
- You can make balls from the dough or flatten the dough and cut it into short, fat noodles.
- Don’t be tempted to throw dumpling dough in the air fryer–you will be disappointed with the results. If you see air-frying recipes for dumplings, they are talking about Chinese potstickers commonly called ‘dumplings,’ not the dumplings for soup. A good rule of thumb to use when deciding on the method for making a meal is to only use the air fryer for foods that would otherwise cook in an oven or deep fryer.
Time to Get Cooking!
There is nothing like the taste of a home-cooked meal or how it makes the house smell so welcoming, but we also know that time is precious, especially with today’s hectic lifestyles. That said, a good pot of chicken and dumplings is worth the effort and is bound to spur heart-warming memories of stick-the-ribs meals at grandma’s house!