2 Simple Tips for Making Perfect Fluffy Dumplings

published Feb 27, 2020
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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

When it comes to comfort food, it doesn’t get better than a heaping bowl of chicken and dumplings. With its rich, creamy broth, tender meat and veggies, and savory balls of dough, it straddles the line between soup and stew.

When done just right, the dumplings are light, fluffy, and tender. You slice into one with a spoon, scoop up a little chicken and broth, and the result is heaven. But those same doughy balls can be the meal’s downfall if they turn out tough, undercooked, or gummy.

Not to worry: I have two very simple tips to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Don’t Overwork the Dumpling Dough

First, mix the dumpling ingredients just until the dough comes together. You’ll whisk together the dry ingredients, then add melted butter and heavy cream. Stir everything together until the wet and dry ingredients are combined and you don’t see any more dry flour. The dough might look a little lumpy, but that’s okay! Overworking the dough is one of the easiest ways to end up with tough dumplings.

Do Steam the Dumplings for Perfect Texture

The second secret to making really good dumplings is to keep the lid closed while the dumplings cook. With the soup simmering over a low flame and the dumpling dough ready, you’ll drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the surface of the simmering broth, then cover the pot with a lid. The dumplings cook by steaming, which is part of what gives them such a wonderful texture. It’s tempting to open the pot to check on the dumplings, but don’t do it! We recommend waiting at least 17 minutes as the moment you lift the lid, all that wonderful steam is gone in a flash.

Get the recipe: Easy Chicken and Dumplings