Sheri Castle's Instant Pot Chicken & Fluffy Dumplings

October 13, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: Recipe reprinted from Instantly Southern: 85 Southern Favorites for Your Pressure Cooker, Multicooker, and Instant Pot®. Copyright © 2018 by Sheri Castle. Photograph copyright © 2018 Hélène Dujardin. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

There are as many ways to make chicken dumplings across the South as there are ways to fry those birds. Local loyalties run deep and people have their favorites. Mine are these fluffy biscuit-like dumplings that float like clouds atop a simple stew of large pieces of tender chicken studded with bright orange carrots and flecks of herbs. This meal is so comforting that it feels restorative.

Rich homemade stock that actually tastes like chicken is the bedrock of this stew. Twice-cooking the stock with meat and then with only the carcass deepens its flavor and doesn’t take long in a multicooker. You can purchase a whole chicken and cut it into pieces (or ask the butcher to do it) or purchase packaged chicken that is already cut into serving pieces.

You will need a tight-fitting lid to cover the pot and hold in the heat while making the dumplings, preferably a tempered glass lid that will let you keep an eye on things. The heavy lid that comes with the multicooker is not a good option because on some models, it causes the sauté function to cut off.

Food52 Review: Featured in: 10 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes for Comforting Dinners All Week Long.The Editors

Serves: 6
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 50 min



  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds meaty bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (from a cut-up whole chicken or a mixture of breasts and thighs)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into thin rounds (about 1½ cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening or leaf lard, chilled
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half, or as needed
In This Recipe


  1. For the stew: Place the chicken in the pot; arrange the dark meat pieces on the bottom and the split breast halves on top. Arrange the breasts so that they are nested together, skin-side down. Add 4 cups water, 2 tablespoons of the butter, thyme, and salt. Cover and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let stand for natural release for 5 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.
  2. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate. As soon as they are cool enough to handle, pull the meat from the bones and shred it into bite-size pieces. Save the skin and bones for step 3. Place the meat in a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate it until needed.
  3. Return the bones and skin to the pot. Add the vinegar. Cover and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Quick release the pressure. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and set aside until needed. Discard the solids. Rinse and dry the pot and return it to the multicooker.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the pot on sauté medium. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and thyme and stir to coat. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the reserved stock and chicken meat and season with salt and pepper. Cover with a tight-fitting tempered glass lid and select the keep warm setting.
  5. For the dumplings: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl. Work the butter and shortening into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture is crumbly. Slowly stir in enough half-and-half to make a soft, sticky dough that barely holds its shape on a spoon.
  6. Uncover the pot and bring the chicken stew to a gently bubbling low boil on sauté low. (If the stew isn’t warm enough to bubble, the dumplings will turn out dense and soggy. If the stew boils vigorously, the liquid will reduce too much.) Use a 1-ounce scoop or two spoons to drop dumplings the size of Ping-Pong balls evenly over the surface of the stew.
  7. Cover with a tight-fitting lid that can hold in the heat, preferably a tempered glass lid that lets you monitor the bubbling stew and see the dumplings while they cook. Simmer until the dumplings are firm and fluffy, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.

More Great Recipes:
Stew|Southern|Chicken|Instant Pot|Pressure Cook|Weeknight Cooking|Dinner

Reviews (9) Questions (1)

9 Reviews

Mary A. February 9, 2019
Does it matter what size of Instant pot you have
Jen V. November 24, 2018
I've made this twice and it's fantastic. I had no problems after the rewrite.
Corianne N. October 22, 2018
I stumbled my way through this recipe prior to the rewrite. It was probably the most annoying, fragmented recipe I have ever attempted, but it turned out very tasty.
Step 3 never happened since it didn't exist in the original, and I never added the vinegar. It may be unnecessary.

I don't know that it will replace my favorite Chicken and Dumplings recipe from the Lodge cast iron cookbook, but it's a close second in spite of the flaws.
JosieD October 21, 2018
This recipe needs a little work- there are many steps missing! Hope they edit it soon!
Eric K. October 21, 2018
So sorry about that; we've been having issues w/ our recipe upload system omitting steps completely. I've edited the recipe manually. See the previously missing steps 3 and 6, which should help. Thanks for flagging.
Laura R. October 19, 2018
Step 2 says to reserve the skin and bones for step 3, but step 3 never mentions what to do with them??
Eric K. October 21, 2018
Hi Laura, see my note to JosieD above. Thanks!
Linda October 17, 2018
Where is the rest of the Chicken and Dumplings recipe? Looks like they are drop dumplings from the photo, but I have never made them before? The recipe does not explain how to form them or anything. Too bad. I wanted to try this recipe.
Eric K. October 21, 2018
Hi Linda, see my note to JosieD above. Thank you!