Instant Pot

Sheri Castle's Instant Pot Whole Chicken & Fluffy Dumplings

October 13, 2018
23 Ratings
Photo by Hélène Dujardin
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves 6
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

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • Stew
  • 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
  • Dumplings
  • 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
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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18 Reviews

NXL December 10, 2021
I absolutely love this method of making chicken broth! So much faster than my old fashioned method. The soup had great flavor, but the dumplings were a little soft for my taste.
Anna S. November 11, 2021
I have made this at least a dozen times now, and it comes out well using an 8 quart Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus and a whole cut up chicken. I'm not a huge fan of the dumplings, but Steps 1-4 make a great roadmap for most of my chicken-based soups (chicken noodle, italian wedding, chicken & rice, etc.). Steps 1 & 2 are useful for making quick shredded chicken for salads (saving the bones in the freezer to make stock later). I also use Steps 1-3 as the start of my chicken pot pie filling. For the versatility and time saving alone, this gets five stars. Many thanks to Sheri!
Kestrel April 19, 2020
Wanted to submit an update on my previous review. I made some changes to the dumplings that made them even more light and delicious. I used coconut oil instead of butter, and I used unsweetened soy milk instead of the half and half. This is the most delicious chicken and dumpling recipe I have ever made, and I make it now at least once per month. Very grateful to Sheri!
Kestrel January 18, 2020
After seeing the confusion in other reviewers remarks, I just want to say that I made this recipe tonight, and it looks like all troubles with the recipe have been sorted out. The chicken was fantastic, the broth was amazing, and the dumplings, though a bit heavy, were delicious nonetheless. (They took more like a cup of half and half, not half a cup. ) I also added about 2 cups of fresh spinach - We loved it!
Shannon October 14, 2019
Dumplings are dense...not fluffy..
Lynda April 1, 2019
Tasty. It took a while to prepare...sugggest you make the chicken and broth one day, then simmer the veggies and make the dumplings the second could then skim the fat off the stock. However, I had no idea how to make the dumplings...just 1/2 cup liquid but instructions say they barely hold their shape on a spoon. I have no clue how to do both. They were very thick (and unmoving) with 1/2 c liquid, and never got to the barely hold shape state. More specific instructions PLEASE.
Kestrel January 18, 2020
While I had no problem making this meal in an afternoon, I agree with you about 1/2 cup of liquid not being near enough for the dumplings to be soft and sticky. I added more like a cup. Even then, they were not light and fluffy, but dense - still delicious!
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.
Jen V. March 24, 2019
Also I discovered if one happens to have bacon grease left over from breakfast, it makes an excellent substitute for the butter. I also used it w butter in place of shortening in the dumplings.
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.
Lynda April 1, 2019
Please see my question re: dumplings
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!