Making the perfect batch of chicken and dumplings is a culinary art form that takes many people multiple attempts before they are completely satisfied with the final product–so don’t get frustrated if they aren’t perfect the first time around.
Part of the uncertainty newbies to the world of Southern cooking feel may occur when they hear more seasoned cooks talk about boiling dumplings as part of their method of making the best chicken dumpling soup. In this case, ‘boiling’ might not be the most accurate term.
How Dumplings Need to Be Cooked
The broth should be boiling when you add the vegetables and chicken, and should be gently bubbling by the time you drop in spoons of dumpling dough–but the heat must be reduced immediately to a simmer, or you will end up with a soggy, very unappealing mess. Boiling is not the way to make the fluffy dumplings you had in mind, no matter what others say.
The dumplings will be cooked directly in the soup mixture. Make sure there is enough liquid in the pot to hold all the dumplings before you start dropping them in. The dumplings will soak up broth as they cook (one of the reasons why they are so yummy), so you can add extra liquid as needed to maintain a soupy consistency. Depending on the size of the dumplings, the cooking process will take about ten to fifteen minutes.
Don’t be tempted to lift the lid and look at your simmering sensation–only remove the lid when it’s time to test the dumplings to see if they are cooked through. You do this by inserting a toothpick into the center of the dumpling and seeing if it comes out clean, which is similar to how you might test a cake or tray of brownies that come out of the oven.
When done, the dumplings should have some air bubbles in them and be the consistency of a soft biscuit. If the inside is too gooey, leave them a few more minutes in the simmering soup. Repeat the toothpick test to make sure they are ready to serve.
It’s All About the Dumplings
When it comes to chicken and dumpling soup, it is the dumplings that take center stage and make the meal a delight. We have updated versions of the traditional Southern meal on our website, but dumplings simmered in a broth filled with tender chicken and vegetables will always deliver the same effect–people asking for seconds and thirds!
One word of advice: don’t be tempted to try to air fry dumplings–you will be disappointed with the result. Instead, follow the directions outlined in our recipe, because the prospect of a big bowl of soup with a generous serving of delicious dumplings is enough to pull even the most finicky eaters to the table.