Hearty cornmeal buttermilk dumplings simmered in a rich chicken stew laced with tomatoes, peppers, celery, and carrots — you’ll love chicken with cornmeal dumplings!
Why you’ll love it: With cornmeal dumplings and a tomato-based stew, this recipe is an tasty departure from the norm
How long it takes: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: large pan or Dutch oven, medium size mixing bowl
Chicken ‘n dumplings is such a homey dish. I just love dumplings! They’re sort of a mix between biscuits and noodles, wouldn’t you say?
I often make chicken and dumplings in my Instant Pot. Aside from the fact that it’s cooked in a pressure cooker, that recipe with chicken, carrots and celery, and white flour dumplings, is a bit more traditional than this one. I also love chicken stew with cornmeal biscuits or skillet chicken pot pie topped with flaky canned biscuits.
This chicken and dumpling recipe is a bit unique, with tomatoes, peppers, and cornmeal dumplings, and it’s oh, so good! It reminds me a bit of chicken cacciatore which is rich and tomato-y and is often served with polenta.
I hope you love this hearty recipe as much as we do. It’s delicious and perfect for a cold winter’s night.
About this recipe
Another reason I love this recipe is that it’s made in one pan! Making your whole dinner in one pan equals easy cleanup. We all love that, right?
You’ll find the printable recipe card with complete instructions and nutrition information at the end of the post. I’ll run through the recipe here and give you a few extra tips.
I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs but chicken breasts are fine, too. Cut the chicken into one inch pieces and brown them in a large Dutch oven. Remove them from the pan as they brown. They won’t be completely cooked but that’s okay because you’ll be simmering them later.
Add carrots, celery, chopped scallions, and green bell pepper to the pan and sauté until the vegetables are softening. Add chopped thyme and a fourth cup of flour, cooking and stirring for a minute. The flour will work as a thickening agent for the stew.
Pour in chicken broth and a big can of whole tomatoes. Squish them with your hands first to break them up a little. You can use diced tomatoes, if you prefer. Don’t forget to add the chicken back to the pot, too.
Simmer the stew for about a half hour or until the vegetables are tender. If the stew simmers longer than that, don’t sweat it. It will be perfectly fine. Check the seasoning and add a splash of red wine vinegar. Don’t skip the vinegar–it adds so much flavor to the stew. I find myself adding red wine vinegar to many stews and soups. That little bit of acid just rounds out the flavor.
How to Make the Dumplings
While the stew simmers, mix up the dumplings. Add flour, cornmeal, finely chopped herbs, baking powder, a hint of sugar and salt, and butter to a bowl. Blend the butter into the flour with your fingers or a pastry cutter. It should resemble coarse crumbs.
Pour in buttermilk, just enough to moisten the dry ingredients, and mix everything together. When the stew is ready, drop the batter into the stew by tablespoons. Cover the pot and let the dumplings steam/cook for about twenty minutes.
Gather the crowd, supper’s ready! You won’t really need to have a side dish or salad with this meal because you’re serving chicken, vegetables, and bread, all from one pan. Fresh fruit makes a great (and healthy) dessert.
Although the dough is similar, biscuits and dumplings differ in the way they’re are cooked. Biscuits are baked in the oven and dumplings are steamed in hot liquid. This gives dumplings a softer texture than biscuits.
It depends on the recipe and the size of the dumplings. In this recipe, the dumplings are simmered (not boiled) for about 20 minutes. Be sure to cover the pan while the dumplings are cooking.
Soggy or gooey dumplings are disappointing, aren’t they? They should be soft and fluffy. Make sure the liquid is at a good simmer but not a hard boil before adding the dumplings. Always cook dumplings in a thick stew or soup so they float on top. If they are completely submerged, they absorb too much liquid or even break up into small pieces.
Make it your own
- Replace boneless skinless chicken thighs with chicken breasts.
- Add corn, spinach, red bell pepper, zucchini, or another vegetable of your choice.
- Use a light beer, such as pilsner, instead of chicken broth.
- Replace a third cup of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour to make multi-grain dumplings.
To get a head start on this recipe, prep and chop the vegetables and store in the fridge up to 24 hours in advance. The chicken can be prepped as well.
f you’re planning on freezing some to eat later, reserve a portion of the chicken stew to freeze. The dumplings are best if you make them right before serving. Simply thaw the chicken stew in the fridge overnight. Simmer it in a pan on the stove and add the dumplings.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to one month.
To reheat leftovers, simmer gently on the stove, covered, until heated through.
More one pan dinners
- Chicken Fricassee
- Easy Skillet Lasagna
- Pasta Amatriciana
- One Pan Mediterranean Chicken and Israeli Couscous
- One Pot Vegetarian Orzo with Sundried Tomatoes
- Creamy Chicken Spaghetti with endless variations
- One Pan Cuban Chicken and Rice
- One Pan Lemon Pasta with Sausage, Asparagus, and Dill
- Taco Pasta
- Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ¾ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ¾ cup chopped green onions (about ½ bunch)
- 1 cup chopped green bell pepper (1 medium sized pepper)
- 1 ½ cups chopped celery (2 to 3 stalks)
- 1 ½ cups chopped carrots (2 to 3 carrots)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves)
- ¼ cup all purpose flour
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes (see note)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- ⅓ cup fine yellow cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped green onions, green part only
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ to ¾ cup reduced-fat buttermilk
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium high. Season chicken with salt and pepper, add to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a medium bowl.
- Add green onions, bell pepper, celery, and carrots to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in thyme and ¼ cup flour, season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper; cook 1 more minute.
- Return chicken to pot and stir in broth. With your hands roughly tear tomatoes and add to pot along with juices. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook, uncovered, 30 minutes.
- Shortly before the end of the cooking time, prepare dumpling dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together ⅔ cup flour, cornmeal, parsley, green onions, baking powder, sugar, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Using your fingers, fork, or pastry cutter, work in butter until fine crumbs form. Stir in buttermilk, just enough to moisten.
- After stew has finished simmering, season to taste with vinegar, and additional salt and pepper, if desired.
- Reduce heat to a medium simmer and drop dough by rounded tablespoons on top of stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
- In place of whole peeled tomatoes, 2 cans (14.5 oz.) of diced tomatoes can be substituted.
- If you prefer white meat, substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts for the thighs.
- If you like, substitute two 12 oz. bottles of light beer, such as pilsner, for the broth.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.