We love Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings and this copycat recipe is easy to make at home and a total family favorite! These rolled dumplings are so tender!
My grandma is from the south and when I tell you that that woman knew how to cook…mm. Good stuff. Miss her cooking and miss her!
One of my favorite Southern recipes is chicken and noodles – preferably the kind with rolled dumplings, like my grandma used to make!
Sure, we have a shortcut recipe for crockpot chicken and dumplings (it uses canned biscuits!) and we make it pretty often on busy nights. It’s major comfort food and we love it!
But this copycat Cracker Barrel chicken and dumplings recipe will always have my heart. It just tastes like home, even if it is a restaurant copycat recipe. 😉
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll serve these chicken and dumplings over a pile of mashed potatoes. That’s the same way we serve our Amish chicken and noodles and yeah, it’s very carby, but it’s the most comforting food I’ve ever had.
👩🍳 Ingredient Notes:
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For the chicken:
Whole Chicken – You’ll need one whole fryer chicken, about 4 to 5 pounds, with the neck and gizzards removed. Don’t be scared if you’ve never worked with a whole chicken – it’s simple and the neck and gizzards are often in a little pouch that you can just take right out.
Veggies – Any good chicken stock recipe is going to include some freshly chopped veggies like onion, carrots, and celery! They’ll simmer with the chicken and add all their flavor to the savory broth.
Seasoning – Just some salt and pepper to taste!
For the dumplings:
Flour – We’ll use all-purpose flour here.
Shortening – My grandma used shortening so that’s what we’re doing here. Butter will work as well.
Milk – Adds a little richness to the dough.
Salt – Just a little for flavor!
What Readers are Saying!
“This is amazing. It’s a wonderful recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it! I’m from the good ole south and this is spot on!!!” – Carla
🐔How to Boil a Whole Chicken:
Prep: Chop your veggies into big pieces – we removed the tops and ends and halved them all. Remove the neck and gizzards from the cavity in the chicken. Pop it all in a large dutch oven or stockpot.
This gorgeous Dutch oven is perfect for making soup, pot roast, and more. It goes from stove to oven as needed and looks pretty enough to leave out on your stovetop as decoration.
Simmer: Pour enough water into the pot to fully cover the chicken. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
Allow the chicken and the veggies to cook, uncovered, for 2 to 3 hours until you’ve got a flavorful chicken stock and tender, juicy chicken falling off the bone.
You’ll want to move on to making the dumplings about 45 minutes before the chicken has finished simmering.
🥣 How To Make Dumplings:
Mix: Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to a mixing bowl and stirring together.
You’ll need to cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter, two knives, or even just your fingers. You want the mixture to resemble coarse sand when you’re done, with little pea sized clumps of shortening scattered throughout.
Pour in the milk to form a shaggy dough. Be careful – you may not need all of it! Just add enough to bring it together.
Roll: You can now dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll it out until it is about a 1/4″ thick. Cut the dough into long, 1″ wide strips. A pizza cutter works very well for this! Use it to cut the strips of dough in the other direction, turning them into 1″ squares of dough.
Dry: The dough will need to dry for a little bit, about 30 minutes. Place the squares on a parchment lined baking sheet to rest until the chicken and broth are done and then you can move on to finishing this recipe!
🍲 Boil the Dumplings:
Chicken: By the time the chicken is done cooking it should be tender enough that’s falling off the bone. Remove the chicken to a large dish and when it is cool enough to handle start stripping the meat from the bones.
You can use forks to do this too if it is easier. I prefer to shred the chicken into smaller pieces and chunks for this recipe.
Broth: After removing and shredding the chicken you can filter the chicken broth. Pour the broth from the pot through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard the vegetables. You’ll only need 6 cups of the broth. You should have more, so either refrigerate or freeze the extra for later! It’s worth saving.
Simmer: Return the 6 cups of broth that you saved to the stock pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the homemade dumplings one at a time so they do not stick together. Cook the dumplings in the broth for 6 to 7 minutes.
Combine: Almost done! Trust me, this copycat Cracker Barrel chicken and dumplings recipe is worth all the effort!
You can now return the shredded chicken to the stock pot with the broth and dumplings and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. The broth will thicken up as it finishes.
Serve: To finish add some salt and pepper to taste!
🍽 Serving Suggestions:
Honestly, these could be a meal on their own, but if you’d like to add some veggies, our Cracker Barrel chicken and dumplings go great alongside our air fryer carrots, Southern creamed corn, and green beans with bacon and onions.
When we’re really needing comfort food, we serve these over a pile of our Instant Pot mashed potatoes!
Leftover chicken and dumplings should be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerate. They’ll reheat well and last for 4-5 days.
To freeze chicken and dumplings, place cooled chicken and dumpings in a freezer safe zip top bag or freezer safe dish and freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw completley in the fridge and reheat on the stove. Add more broth as needed when reheating.
There are many types of dumplings, but in this case we’re referring to a simple rolled dough that gets boiled in chicken broth.
Cracker Barrel Chicken and Dumplings
- 4 pound whole chicken neck and gizzards removed
- 1 large onion peeled and cut in half
- 3 carrots peeled and cut into large pieces
- 3 stalks celery cut into large pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt more to taste
- 1 teaspoon cracked pepper more to taste
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 cup whole milk
- Place the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, and a teaspoon of salt and pepper in a large stock pot and add enough water to cover the chicken.
- Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for around 2-3 hours or until the chicken is very tender and falling off the bones.
- About 45 minutes before the chicken is done, prepare the dumplings by stirring together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Cut in the shortening using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers.
- Slowly stir in the milk, 1/4 cup at a time, just until a shaggy dough forms. You may not need the full cup of milk. Do not over mix the dough.
- Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter to cut in long 1-inch wide strips. Cut the dough the other direction into 1-inch squares.
- Place dumplings on a parchment lined baking sheet to dry for 30 minutes.
- When the chicken is finished cooking (it should be falling off the bone) remove it to a large dish and, when cool enough to handle (or use forks), strip the meat from the bones and into small chunks.
- Pour the broth from the stock pot through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Discard the vegetables. Return 6 cups of broth to the stock pot and refrigerate or freeze the remaining stock for another use.
- Bring the stock to a simmer and add the dumplings, one at a time so they do not stick together. Cook for 6-7 minutes.
- Add the chicken back to the stock pot and stir to combine. Continue cooking for 20 minutes. The broth should thicken as the dumplings cook.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste before serving.