Chicken Champions

Grandbaby Cakes’ Chicken and Dumplings Is the Perfect Shortcut Recipe

published Mar 26, 2020
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chicken and dumplings in a dutch oven with spoon
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

Jocelyn Delk Adams’ ultra-successful food blog Grandbaby Cakes is a dream resource for anyone who likes to bake. Jocelyn takes inspiration from her grandmother’s baked goods, which means her recipes are always a delightful mix of comforting, fun, and delicious. What many people might not know, however, is that her savory recipes are just as good as her sweet ones.

When it came time to pick contenders for our chicken and dumplings recipe showdown, I received a recommendation to try Jocelyn’s recipe. I was curious about her use of a brown roux, and also the fact that she starts with rotisserie chicken. As a huge fan of Grandbaby Cakes, I was eager to get cooking. Here’s what happened when I made it at home.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn

How to Make Grandbaby Cakes’ Chicken and Dumplings

Grandbaby Cakes’ chicken and dumplings recipe uses some clever shortcuts that make it a cinch to throw together. You’ll start by melting a butter-canola-oil mixture in a pot and cooking onions, celery, and carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft. Set those aside and add more fat to the pan. Add flour and cook until the mixture is golden brown. (This process is known as creating a roux.) Whisk in chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add shredded store-bought rotisserie chicken along with the cooked veggies and bring to a simmer.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Add buttermilk, an egg, and melted butter and stir to combine. Dollop spoonfuls of the dough on top of the simmering liquid and let cook for 20 minutes, then sprinkle with parsley.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

My Honest Review of Grandbaby Cakes’ Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe is the perfect example that sometimes simple is best. It has everything I look for in a good chicken and dumplings recipe — light and fluffy dumplings and a simple, savory sauce base — and the entire thing was very well-seasoned. I was initially nervous that using a rotisserie chicken and store-bought stock would make this dish taste flat and dull, but that wasn’t the case at all. It tasted just as good as some of the more laborious recipes but came together in a fraction of the time.

Cooking the roux until it turned a deep golden-brown color made this recipe unique. It turned the sauce base a light brown color and gave it a rich flavor that was unlike any of the other recipes. This took some time (about eight to ten minutes) but it was well worth the effort. I had previously only ever seen brown rouxs used in gumbos, and it was a genius addition that took this recipe up a notch.

If you’re looking for a quick, no-frills chicken and dumplings recipe that tastes amazing, this is it. It’s a collection of smart shortcuts that add up to a wonderful result.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

If You’re Making Grandbaby Cakes’ Chicken and Dumplings, a Few Tips

1. Use an unsalted chicken stock to make the sauce base. This will let you season the end product however you want.

2. Make sure to purchase a standard rotisserie chicken, not a specially seasoned one such as a BBQ or Cajun-spiced variety. The latter varieties will give the chicken and dumplings an undesirable flavor, so stick to the classic rotisserie chickens made without any special seasonings.

3. You can use 100% butter or 100% canola oil in place of the butter-canola oil mix. While the recipe specifically calls for using a canola oil-butter product, you can use either butter or oil.

4. Cut a dumpling open to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Grandbaby Cakes’ suggests cutting a dumpling open and peeking inside after they have been cooking for 20 minutes. You want the inside to look light and fluffy, not dense and doughy.

Rating: 10/10

Have you ever made Grandbaby Cake’s chicken and dumplings? Tell us what you thought!

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk; Design: The Kitchn