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Jan’s Chicken n’ Dumplin Recipe

Sarah Hamelman

I recently spoke about Jan and Jan’s Chicken n’ Dumplin recipe in this video of mine (below) and this post I wrote in 2017, aptly called “Hens and Chicks, and Chicken and Dumplin’s” when she left this world. She was one of the most significant and influential people in my adolescent life, and this recipe is almost as warm and wholesome as she. Also, I want to add that as an Appalachian woman, she was adamant that these were called ‘dumplins’ and never ‘dumplings’.


I will share Jan’s chicken ‘n dumplin recipe sometime this weekend 🫶🏻

♬ original sound – Sarah ᨏ↟

I really don’t know if this recipe was supposed to be a secret or not, but she was generous to share it with my mother and me, so I feel it’s okay to share it with you. If not, I’ll ask her forgiveness in the next lifetime. I hope whenever you have this, you think of the fantastic maternal figures in your life (biological or not) and how you can be more like them for this next generation.

I so wish everyone could have a ‘Jan’ in their life.

Ingredients for Jan’s Chicken n’ Dumplins

  • Flour
  • Butter (preferably salted)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chicken (preferably something with the bone in– old laying hens are ideal)
  • Chicken or vegetable stock or broth (optional- especially if using bone-in chicken)
  • Water

Seriously, that’s it. This is such a simple and affordable meal, and if you’re on a homesteading journey, this is one of the first meals you can raise and create from your homestead.

Directions for Jan’s Chicken n’ Dumplins Recipe

  1. Boil chicken in a large stockpot filled with water. I use a 12-quart stainless stock pot. If you’re using breasts or boneless chicken, you may want to add chicken stock or broth (preferred) or vegetable stock for flavor. If you’re out of both options and using boneless chicken, you can add onions, garlic, and Italian seasoning for added flavor.
  2. In a large bowl, add in flour (about 3 cups to start) and room-temperature salted butter. Push the butter through tines of a fork to break it into smaller pieces so it incorporates better. Mix it into the flour well. This mixture should start to feel “silky” after a while.
  3. Once your chicken is fully cooked, take a ladle and dip one or two ladle-fulls of the boiling water and add it to the bowl of flour. Mix this in until a dough forms. Do not turn the stock pot of chicken off; it should continue boiling.
  4. Once the dough starts to form, sprinkle flour on your countertop, drop the dough on it, and then sprinkle more flour on top. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and get it thin, somewhere between an eighth and a quarter of an inch thick.
  5. Cut the dough into squares using a knife or a rolling pin. I like to make approximately 1 x 2-inch rectangles.
  6. Drop the dough into the pot of boiling chicken. Jan would usually put tin foil or a silicone mat down for rolling and cutting the dough and then transfer all of the dumplins (plus the loose flour) over at once. I have not had luck with this, and they seem to stick together with this method. I add my dumplins in a few at a time using a serving spoon so I don’t burn my hands.
  7. Keep a close eye on your dumplins so they don’t scorch at the bottom of the pot. If they don’t stick together, this shouldn’t be an issue. The rolling boil should keep them moving.
  8. Remove the chicken, shred it, and add it back to the pot. By this time, the dumplins are probably ready. They will float and have a firm yet not rubbery texture.
  9. If the soup seems too watery, sift small amounts of flour into it while the pot boils and stir carefully. This will thicken it up, and it will turn white. You do not want a gravy consistency; you just want it thicker than water.
  10. Serve, and add more salt and pepper to taste. If you used older laying hens, bone-in chicken, or you added broth or stock, it will have good flavor on its own. This is the only recipe I have where I don’t load it up with herbs and spices. It’s naturally good all on its own.

Final Thoughts

Thank you so much for reading our recipes, and double thanks if you take the time to make it. I would love to see your pictures and hear about any changes you made to make it your own.

Kayla and I are working on making this site accessible and genuinely helpful, and we promise it will always be 100% AI-free. We want to share more recipes that we have extensively tested and regularly share with our families. Alongside that, we will also add more homesteading content.

Craving more comfort foods? Be sure to check out Kayla’s Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup Recipe, or my Easy Baked Chicken with Mayo.

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