Fluffy Drop Dumplings for Soup

published Aug 30, 2022
Dumplings Recipe

Simple drop-style dumplings come together quickly with only a handful of ingredients and transform any soup or stew into the coziest of cold weather meals.

Serves4 to 6

Makesabout 12 dumplings

Prep11 minutes to 16 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 13 minutes

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A photo of dumplings in a bowl with a spoon resting on the side.
Credit: Kayla Hoang

Perhaps most recognizable in the context of chicken and dumplings, these simple drop-style dumplings come together quickly with only a handful of ingredients and transform any soup or stew into the comfiest of dishes. 

A generous amount of butter and baking powder and just the right amount of milk ensures that the dumplings are easy to drop into the soup or stew and come out fluffy and tender rather than toothsome. The dumplings will take on color and flavor from the soup/stew it is cooked in, so if your liquid is on the paler side, don’t be alarmed by the color of the dumplings! Garnish the dumplings with freshly ground black pepper or fresh herbs for a meal sure to comfort and please. 

What Are Homemade Dumplings Made Of?

Homemade drop dumplings only require a handful of ingredients.

  • Unsalted butter provides flavor and tenderness
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder leavens the dumplings, making them puff
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper — an optional ingredient that can easily be omitted or swapped for another dry seasoning that pairs well with the soup or stew 
  • Milk — whole milk is the best option in this case, but 1% also works in a pinch
Credit: Kayla Hoang

What Is the Secret to Good Dumplings?

Drop-style dumplings, like most dumplings, can be troublesome if you’re not familiar with making them. Although the method for making them is simple, a few thoughtful tricks and mental notes really help in ensuring they are fluffy, tender, and light every time. 

  • Don’t overmix the dumpling dough! Overmixing will further develop the gluten, making for a tough or rubbery dumpling. 
  • Make sure your soup/stew is nice and hot. A too-cold base won’t provide the right environment for the dumplings to steam and puff. 
  • Make sure the lid to the pot is tight-fitting. The steam that builds up by covering the pot is what cooks the dumplings. 
  • Don’t boil or stir the dumplings. Vigorous boiling and stirring will cause the dumplings to fall apart. 

How Long Should You Cook Dumplings?

The amount of time you cook drop-style dumplings depends on the size. These dumplings, dropped into the hot soup/stew in rounded tablespoons, need 10 to 13 minutes to cook through in simmering liquid covered tightly. Using a glass lid will allow you to see the dumplings puff and rise as they steam in the pot. 

A toothpick coming out clean is a good indicator of a fully cooked dumpling, but the best way is to really just cut into a dumpling to make sure the center doesn’t look raw or doughy. 

Take care to not overcook the dumplings, as overcooking can result in either heavy, dense dumplings or the dumplings will begin to break down. 

Dumplings Recipe

Simple drop-style dumplings come together quickly with only a handful of ingredients and transform any soup or stew into the coziest of cold weather meals.

Prep time 11 minutes to 16 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 13 minutes

Makes about 12 dumplings

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • Cooked soup or stew, such as chicken soup

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1 1/3 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Pinch

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving (optional)

  • 2/3 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon whole or 2% milk

  • Fresh herbs, for serving (optional)


  1. Add enough stew or soup to get up the sides of an 8-inch pot or small Dutch oven at least 3 inches. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, make the dumpling dough.

  2. Place 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, about 30 seconds. Place 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and a pinch of freshly ground black pepper if using in a medium bowl and whisk with a fork to combine.

  3. Add the melted butter to the flour mixture and use the fork to mix until just combined, small clumps form, and the mixture begins to resemble wet sand. Do not overmix.

  4. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Pour 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole or 2% milk into the well. Using the fork, begin to incorporate the milk into the flour mixture until just combined with some dry bits remaining. Switching to a flexible spatula, give the bowl one good scrape to incorporate the last dry bits of the flour mixture. The mixture will look a little shaggy and lumpy. Do not overmix. Let the mixture rest for 5 to 10 minutes so that the flour can hydrate.

  5. If the soup/stew is vigorously boiling, reduce the heat as needed to maintain a steady boil. Using a tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, tablespoon, or two spoons, drop rounded tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into the soup/stew. For brothy soups, the dumplings will sink to the bottom and float back up.

  6. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until the dumlings puff up, are cooked through, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a dumpling comes out clean, 10 to 13 minutes. Garnish with more freshly ground black pepper and fresh herbs, if desired.

Recipe Notes

General tips: In most cases, the dumplings will thicken the broth of your soup or stew slightly. Depending on your preference, you may want to consider adding a touch of extra liquid to your soup or stew to maintain its brothiness.

Storage: Leftover dumpling soup can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.