Chicken and dumplings is an iconic Southern dish. Making it from scratch, though, can take half a day, and the consistency of the dumplings can range from light and fluffy to gummy clods of dough. Angela Latimer of Bake It With Love learned how to cook by being a baker’s assistant to her "Granny Janny," who taught her not only to cherish the goodies they made but also the process that goes into making them.
"I’m a huge fan of classic chicken and dumplings," Latimer told us. "It’s a childhood memory type of thing for me. A real comfort food. So I thought I’d try it out in the Instant Pot for a fast version." She’s not kidding when she says "fast." Latimer’s recipe takes five minutes to prep and only 18 minutes to cook! You can literally make her chicken and dumplings a half an hour before you want to eat. If you’ve wanted to try chicken and dumplings but thought it was too difficult or time-consuming, Latimer’s recipe will change your mind.
Gather the ingredients for Instant Pot chicken and dumplings
Latimer prefers chicken thighs over chicken breasts or even a whole chicken. Chicken thighs stay tender and juicy and respond really well to pressure cooking, which can rubberize chicken breast meat. The ingredients in Latimer’s recipe are what you would usually find in a recipe for making a hearty chicken soup. For the dumplings, she adds buttermilk, which, according to Southern Kitchen, helps keep biscuits — and dumplings — flavorful and fluffy. Latimer also calls for a 12-ounce bag of frozen peas and carrots. Alternatively, you could substitute it with 1 cup of peas and 1 cup of carrots.
Make the dough for the dumplings
The first step is making the dumplings. First, you’ll want to preheat your Instant Pot and add two tablespoons of olive oil. Select the sauté function and program it to "more." In a large mixing bowl, combine two cups of all-purpose flour with a tablespoon of baking powder and a teaspoon of salt. Use a whisk to make sure everything is blended together. Heat a quarter of a cup of the buttermilk in a measuring cup in the microwave, using one or two 30-second increments. Add two tablespoons of melted unsalted butter and one tablespoon of olive oil to the warm buttermilk. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix them just enough to combine. Take care to not over-mix, since this will toughen the dough. Set the dumpling dough aside.
Brown the chicken in the Instant Pot
When you’ve finished making the dumpling dough, your Instant Pot should be hot. Place your chicken thighs (boneless and skinless or bone-in) in the pot. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the chicken, and allow the thighs to cook for three to four minutes, until lightly golden. Turn the thighs over, and season them again with a pinch of salt and pepper. Brown the thighs for another two to three minutes. Depending on how large the chicken thighs are, you may need to do this in two batches. When the chicken is done, transfer the thighs to a plate and set aside. They’ll need to cool a bit before you can pull them into pieces for the soup later.
Sauté the aromatics and add the seasoning
Add one cup of chopped onion and one cup of chopped celery to the pot, and sauté for three minutes. Stir in the tablespoon of minced garlic, and sauté until fragrant for 30 or more seconds. Add your two bay leaves (or more, depending on their size), the salt, ground black pepper, paprika (sweet not smoked), and ground sage. Stir the seasonings into the aromatics, and sauté for an additional minute. Deglaze the inner pot with roughly about one cup of chicken broth, and add the Worcestershire sauce. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
Pull the chicken apart and make the dumplings
The chicken thighs should be cool enough to handle by now, so pull the chicken apart into bite-size pieces, and if you’ve used bone-in thighs, pull off as much meat as you can, then discard the bones. Add the chopped russet potatoes and any juices from the chicken that may have accumulated on the plate. And now it’s dumpling time!
"I am so pleased with these dumplings," Latimer said. "Much better than I was ever able to achieve in a slow cooker!" Spoon the dumpling dough with generous teaspoons into the broth. Seal the Instant Pot lid, then set the Instant Pot to manual. Program it on high for three minutes. When the timer goes off, allow 15 minutes for a natural pressure release, then do a gradual release by turning the venting knob just enough to allow more steam to escape. When the floating valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
Simmer peas and carrots, then serve your Instant Pot chicken and dumplings
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the dumplings to a bowl large enough to hold all of them. Be careful — they’re very hot! Stir the thawed peas and carrots into the soup. Press the sauté function, and simmer the peas and carrots for two minutes. If you want a thicker consistency to the soup, blend together a tablespoon of all-purpose flour and two tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Use a fork to make sure the flour is fully incorporated in the water. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the hot broth into the "slurry" and mix to combine. Repeat with another tablespoon, followed by a generous tablespoon. Stir the slurry into the soup, and simmer the soup until it thickens.
When the soup is at the consistency that you like, return the dumplings to the broth, stir them up a bit, and you’re ready to serve in large bowls. As Latimer told us: "This fast and easy Instant Pot version definitely rivals my Granny’s stovetop recipe!"
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 ribs celery, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ⅛ teaspoon ground sage
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 4 cups chicken broth, divided
- 2 medium russet potatoes, chopped
- 1 (12-ounce) bag frozen peas and carrots or 1 cup of each
- Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the Instant Pot, and select "saute" and then "more." While the oil is heating, make the dumplings.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Heat the ¾ cup of buttermilk in the microwave until warmed (one to two 30-second increments), then combine the 2 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a measuring cup. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix just enough to combine. Do not over-mix. Set the dumpling dough aside.
- Place the 1 ½ pounds of chicken thighs (they can be boneless, skinless, or bone-in chicken thighs) into the heated Instant Pot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until lightly golden. Turn and season the opposite side with an additional pinch of salt and pepper. Brown for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of the chicken thighs.
- Remove the cooked chicken, and set it aside to cool. Pull the chicken apart into small pieces.
- Add the diced onion and celery, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds more or until fragrant.
- Add 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon of paprika, ⅛ teaspoon of dried rosemary, and ⅛ teaspoon of ground sage. Stir and sauté for an additional minute.
- Deglaze the inner pot with 1 cup of the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape the bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the chopped russet potatoes (roughly 2 cups), the remaining 3 cups of chicken broth as well as the pulled chicken and all of its juices on the plate.
- Place generous teaspoons of dumpling dough into the broth.
- Seal the Instant Pot lid. Set it to manual, and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. Allow 15 minutes of natural pressure release, then gradual release (turn the venting knob just enough to allow more steam to escape). Once the floating valve drops, remove the lid.
- Use a spoon to skim the hot dumplings from the top, and transfer them into a bowl large enough to hold all of the dumplings.
- Add the 2 cups of thawed frozen peas and carrots to the broth. Stir to mix, and use the ‘saute’ function to return the Instant Pot to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes.
- If you want to thicken the chicken and dumplings, stir 1 tablespoon of flour into 2 tablespoons of cold water until combined. Add 1 tablespoon of hot broth, and stir the mixture. Add 1 more tablespoon of hot broth into the mixture. Repeat with a generous tablespoon, then stir all of it into the broth. Cook until thickened.
- Put the dumplings back into the Instant Pot, stir, then serve.