Chicken and “Clunkers” Soup

published Jan 15, 2022
Chicken and "Clunkers" Soup Recipe

This weeknight recipe starts with boxed chicken broth and a rotisserie chicken for ease and convenience.


Makesabout 7 cups

Prep20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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chicken and clunkers in a bowl
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

This recipe is part of Kitchn 100 — the hundred recipes you need right now. Check out all of the amazing dishes, from Kitchn and beyond, here.

When I was a kid, both my parents worked full-time, so my grandparents would often be the ones waiting for me and my sister when we got home from school. Occasionally, on days my grandmother picked up a chicken from the farmers market, she’d have the most delicious soup waiting for us for dinner. The whole house would smell of comfort the second we walked in — and to this day the aroma of simmering stock makes me smile and think of her. 

This recipe is based on that soup. It’s a take on classic chicken and dumplings, but we always called them “clunkers” because my grandfather thought they were too heavy. He was the odd man out on this opinion, but the name stuck!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

The variation I’m sharing here starts with boxed chicken broth and a rotisserie chicken for ease and convenience. If you have the time to track down a soup chicken and make your own broth, go right ahead — but for a weeknight dinner, you’ll be just as happy using shortcuts.

Grandma would make this soup as simple as can be with just broth and clunkers, but I’ve added some vegetables to make it a one-pot meal. If you like a little spice, add a dash of red pepper flakes when you cook up the vegetables. Despite the changes I’ve made, the effect remains the same: empty bowls and happy stomachs. 

Chicken and "Clunkers" Soup Recipe

This weeknight recipe starts with boxed chicken broth and a rotisserie chicken for ease and convenience.

Prep time 20 minutes to 25 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Makes about 7 cups

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1

    small or 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 4 ounces)

  • 2

    medium carrots (about 4 ounces total)

  • 1

    large stalk celery (about 3 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons

    olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1 (32-ounce) carton

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 cup


  • 3/4 cup

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2

    rotisserie chicken (about 1 pound), or 2 cups shredded, cooked chicken

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped fresh dill or parsley leaves

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place 2 large eggs on the counter and let sit at room temperature while you prepare the vegetables.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the same medium bowl as you complete it: Dice 1 small and 1/2 medium yellow onion (about 1 cup). Peel and halve 2 medium carrots, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup). Halve 1 large celery stalk lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/3-inch pieces (about 2/3 cup).

  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion mixture (reserve the bowl) and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are beginning to soften and are fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

  4. Add 1 (32-ounce) carton low-sodium chicken broth and 1 cup water, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low to maintain a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into the now-empty bowl and whisk until very smooth. Add 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and stir until smooth with a spatula or fork.

  5. Dip a small metal spoon into the simmering broth. Use the hot spoon to scoop a small amount of the batter (about 1 teaspoon) in the shape of a football. Dunk the whole spoon with the batter into the broth to release the “clunker.” Continue with the remaining batter, you should have about 30 clunkers. If the batter starts to stick to the spoon, dip the spoon in broth before doing the next scoop.

  6. Simmer the clunkers until they are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the meat of 1/2 rotisserie chicken into bite-sized pieces (discard the skin and bones) if needed. Coarsely chop a few sprigs fresh dill or fresh parsley leaves until you have 2 tablespoons.

  7. Add the chicken to the soup, stir to combine, and return to a simmer. Taste the broth and season with more kosher salt or black pepper as needed. Add the dill or parsley and stir to combine. Ladle into bowls and serve hot.

Recipe Notes

I use a regular eating spoon to make the clunkers just like my grandmother did. It makes the perfect cheat quenelle. A measuring tablespoon would be too large and rather awkward to use.

Make ahead: The soup can be made up to 3 days ahead without the fresh herb and refrigerated in an airtight container. Reheat the soup over medium heat and stir in the fresh herb just before serving.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.