Right from the heart of the Southern US comes the chicken and dumplings dish as rich comfort food that makes the perfect lunch or dinner.
The key to tasty chicken and dumplings is to have all the good flavors infused in the rich broth and later into the dumplings with some well-cooked chicken meat that doesn’t feel too hard because it’s been overcooked.
Removing the chicken from the broth before cooking the dumplings will solve the second problem. But if the broth feels too watery?
You’ve come to the right place because, in this article, we’ll explain how to thicken chicken and dumplings to enjoy a creamy and mouthwatering flavor infused with all the richness from the chicken and the spices you added.
So, let’s dive in.
How to Thicken Chicken and Dumplings
Also known as chicken and pastry, chicken and dumplings is a dish that warms your body and probably your soul with nostalgic memories.
And as a bonus, it’s pretty easy to prepare. But in some cases, this hearty dish might lack the needed thick consistency that you’d expect from comfort food.
Don’t worry because this problem is easy to solve. As a matter of fact, there are different ways to help thicken your chicken and dumplings to the desired consistency.
So, you might want to give each one of them a try to see which one will work for you.
1 – Cook the Dumplings
Some people make the mistake of judging the broth too early.
After removing the chicken from the broth, you don’t want to rush into adding any thickening ingredients before cooking the dumplings.
The dumplings are mainly made of a biscuit dough, whose main ingredients are flour, fat, and a liquid, which might be milk, buttermilk, or chicken stock. These ingredients will help thicken the broth a little while the dumplings are cooking.
Here are the steps to follow.
- Remove the chicken pieces from the broth because they’ll get too hard if overcooked.
- Dust the dumplings with some extra flour before adding them to the broth.
- Add the dumplings and let them cook thoroughly for 8 to 10 minutes.
When boiled, the flour from the dumplings will help thicken the broth. You can let the dumplings cook more if you still feel that you haven’t achieved the desired consistency.
This method will work for you if your broth isn’t too thin and you just need it to be a little thicker.
2 – Use Gelatin Powder
Adding gelatin is one of the easiest methods to thicken your chicken and dumplings dish without changing its flavor. Gelatin simply thickens the broth, and it doesn’t affect the taste of any of the ingredients.
You need to mix gelatin with some cold water, as this will give you some time to work with it before it thickens. Here are the steps to follow.
- When you feel that your dumplings are almost done, mix a tablespoon of unflavored gelatin powder with a cup of water.
- Pour the mixture on top of your broth.
- Mix well and bring to a boil while continuously stirring.
- Add the chicken pieces until you feel that your dish has the right consistency.
While it might be hard to determine how much gelatin you need to begin with, less is always more.
Adding too much gelatin can make your chicken and dumplings become too thick, which might not be desirable.
Sprinkling the gelatin powder directly into the broth will most probably result in lumps and parts that feel thicker than others, eventually ruining the overall texture of your chicken and dumplings.
You can always add more if needed, mixing the gelatin with water well before pouring the mixture into your dish.
3 – Use Cornstarch
Cornstarch is the go-to thickening ingredient in many recipes, including sauces, soups, stews, and other hearty dishes. And the chicken and dumplings plate is no different.
But because it has strong thickening power, you don’t want to add too much cornstarch to your mixture, or you’ll end up with a casserole-like consistency, which might not be what you’re looking for.
Here are the steps to follow.
- Keep on cooking the dumplings until you feel that they’re almost done.
- Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with a cup of cold water.
- Slowly add this mixture to the liquid and stir.
- Bring this mixture to a boil.
- Keep on stirring until you’re sure that the cornstarch has dissolved and cooked. It usually takes one minute or a little more to cook the cornstarch.
- Add the chicken pieces while mixing.
After adding the cold water, you should expect the mixture’s temperature to decrease. This is why you need to wait until the cornstarch mixture has fully combined with your broth and cooked.
If you don’t stir, you risk the broth becoming too thick and not consistent, as you’ll probably end up with lumps at the bottom of your pot.
You can add more cornstarch if you’re not satisfied with the results or you want your chicken and dumplings to be thicker.
4 – Mix Milk and Cornstarch
The combination of cornstarch and milk in your chicken and dumplings dish will increase its nutritional value and help thicken the broth.
Milk adds a silky and velvety texture, making your dish hearty and satisfying, while cornstarch is the golden thickening ingredient that you can depend on.
Here are the steps to follow.
- Mix one or two tablespoons of cornstarch with a cup of cold milk until there are no lumps.
- While your dumplings are boiling, add the mixture and keep on stirring.
- Wait until the broth has boiled, and then add the chicken pieces you removed before adding the dumplings.
Milk can be a versatile yet nutrient-rich ingredient to add to your chicken and dumplings. You can use full-cream milk if you want your dish to be richer or a low-fat version if you just wish the texture to be velvetier.
Other milk alternatives like coconut milk will alter the taste of your chicken and dumplings dish but can be a great way to try a new version of this traditional plate. The sweetness and richness of coconut milk will definitely elevate the taste of your recipe.
5 – Prepare Roux
A roux is a mixture of butter and flour and can be used to thicken any soup. It’s also the base of different sauces after adding the desired flavors.
This easy-to-prepare mixture will quickly thicken the chicken and dumplings you’re cooking, giving your dish a chewier and richer texture. Here are the steps to follow.
- While cooking your dumplings in the broth, melt one tablespoon of butter in a separate pan.
- Add two tablespoons of flour to the butter and cook until it’s golden. Make sure that the flour doesn’t turn brown, or it will change the taste and color of your chicken and dumplings.
- Take one cup of the hot broth and slowly pour it over the roux.
- Whisk with a whisker until you’ve achieved a thick sauce-like consistency.
- Pour the roux mixture back into the broth and mix.
- Cook the dumplings until they’re done, and then add the chicken pieces.
While cooking the roux, you can add some extra spices, herbs, or seasoning if you feel that your chicken and dumplings dish lacks rich flavors.
Using more flour in the roux means that your broth will be thicker. You can even repeat the process if you feel that your broth isn’t thick enough.
6 – Add Cream
Cream can be an excellent thickening ingredient that elevates your chicken and dumplings without making the broth too thick when used on its own.
It’s originally the fatty component of milk, which is separated and sold separately. When cooked at high temperatures for some time, the consistency of the liquid cream changes to a spreadable consistency.
This is why adding cream will make your dumplings feel and taste different. Here are the steps to follow.
- When you feel that your dumplings are almost done, pour one cup of cream.
- Let it boil and keep on stirring, allowing the dumplings to cook in the new mixture.
- Add the chicken pieces when you feel that your broth has reached the right consistency and your dumplings are fully cooked.
There are different types of creams that you can try to give your chicken and dumplings a new taste.
Stick to standard cooking cream if you want to retain the classical taste of this dish. It cooks fast and makes the dish taste more velvety and silkier.
If you want to give your chicken and dumplings a little edge, you can experiment with sour cream. Crème FraÎche is another alternative, but it’s richer and tangier.
Chicken and dumplings is a hearty, rich, and flavorful dish that brings so many memories and warms your body from the inside out.
But in order to enjoy this dish, you need to make sure that your broth isn’t too watery, or it will be disappointing.
Luckily, we did the research on your behalf, and you can try any of these methods to thicken your chicken and dumplings and enjoy a rich and tasty dish.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.