Susie Thompson’s Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

Heirloom Eats

heir·loom (noun):
a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations
From furniture and faith to collectibles and character traits, there are a lot of things that get passed down over the course of a family’s history, and recipes are no exception. But a recipe nurtured by generations of love and care is so much more than the food it creates. It’s also a reminder of the laughter and light that can happen when a family comes together.
Photography by Rich Smith

chicken and dumplings in a bowl

Chicken and Dumplings

Susie Thompson
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 15


  • 5-7 lb. hen preferably with a lot of visible fat
  • 1 onion
  • 4 stalks of celery, halved
  • 6 qts. chicken stock or broth + 1-2 qts. for mixing
  • 5 lb. bag White Lilly plain flour
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste


  • In a 12-quart stockpot, add your hen, onion, celery, and broth and cook over medium-low heat for 2-3 hours or until vegetables are tender.
  • Let cool and then remove hen and vegetables from broth.
  • Discard the vegetables and debone the hen, making sure to remove the skin as well.
  • Set hen meat aside.
  • Once ready to make the dumplings, create a clean, wide workspace on your countertop. 
  • Place a layer of flour around your workspace and add ½ cup in a small pile in the middle.
  • Place another 1 cup of flour in a glass bowl and set aside.
  • Making sure your stock is hot (but not too hot to handle), skim off the top layer of fat using a ladle and place in a bowl.
  • Once settled, this should result in about 4-5 cups of liquid in the bowl with about 1 inch of golden, clarified fat floating on top. Quickly whisk the stock so that the fat becomes incorporated and pour 1 cup of the emulsified liquid into the bowl with the flour. The fat becomes separated from the stock rather quickly, so this is a job best for 2 people.
  • As one person pours in the liquid, the other can use their hands to combine the ingredients until the mixture forms a paste.
  • Add more liquid as necessary until all the flour is incorporated.
  • Scoop the paste into the pile of flour on your workspace and knead it into a soft dough (roughly 6-8 times).
  • Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is nearly transparent and about 1/8-inch thick.
  • Cut dough into ½ x 2 inch strips and use a spatula to transfer to a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  • Keep repeating this process until you have used up the bowl of stock, and be sure to add additional sheets of parchment paper between layers of dough.
  • To prepare the dish, bring the remaining stock to a boil and salt to taste.
  • Add the strips of dough one-by-one to the stockpot and stir frequently to keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot or each other.
  • Add in hen meat and stir to combine.
  • Turn heat down to medium and simmer for 30 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked through and plump, stirring frequently the entire time.
  • Add additional broth as needed, and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve within 2 hours of cooking and enjoy!
Keyword chicken and dumplings, chicken and dumplings recipe, heirloom eats
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“Every year for Thanksgiving, my Grandmother Pearl would arrive at our house with a huge roasting pan full of piping hot chicken and dumplings. I learned to make them in 1979. It took a few trials (and a couple of failures) to get them just right, but now I’ve been making them every Thanksgiving for over 40 years. I even taught our daughter the prized recipe so she can continue the tradition. It makes me proud that my 96-year-old father is still able to eat the same chicken and dumplings that his mother used to make him when he was a toddler.”

-Susie Thompson

Susie Thompson and family

Waldrep Construction

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