Mama’s Chicken and Dumplings

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By Kimberly Schlapman

The measure of a mother’s love… Almost everything I learned about cooking, I learned from my mama. Growing up in small-town Georgia, my mother was at the door of anyone who had a birth or death in their family, got a promotion, lost a job, or just broke a bone - with a homemade casserole or pie in hand. She took care of people through food. Still does! Her greatest claim to fame is her mouth-watering chicken & dumplings. It is out of this world & the birthday or celebration dinner request of everyone in our family. She kept her secret from my sister & me for a long time, saying that those dumplings were what kept us coming home. Recently she opened up her recipe box, so to speak, & let us in on her secrets! I then came up with my own version of her masterpiece & served them to her when she visited me in Nashville. I had butterflies when she took her first bite wondering if she would approve. She did! Whew!

So I’m sharing with you my take on what Mama thinks keeps me coming home…

Mama-love is what keeps me coming home; my precious mama, my sweetheart of a daddy - ok, and your dumplings!

Chicken and Dumplings
Serves 6

4 Chicken breasts with skin, boneless
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
½ cup carrot, finely diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
2 jalapenos, finely diced
¼ tsp cayenne
1 tbsp thyme, minced
6 cups chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
3 cups self-rising flour
3 tbsp Crisco, cold
¾ -1 cup cold milk

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven and brown the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pot and add the onions, carrots celery, jalapenos, thyme and cayenne. Stir and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add chicken back into the pan. Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

In the meantime make the dumpling dough. In a bowl add the flour, Crisco and milk. Using your hands mix until it forms a dough. Knead it a few times to ensure it comes together. Set aside.

Remove the cooked chicken from pan. Remove the skin and discard. Using 2 forks shred the chicken and place it back in the pan. Add ½ cup of heavy cream. Stir and make sure it is mixed well. Using a tablespoon scoop 16 dumplings and drop them into the pot. Cover half way with the lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

For the past thirteen years, Kimberly Schlapman has brightened stages worldwide as a member of country foursome Little Big Town. This March, she’ll fulfill a lifelong dream with the second season airing of Kimberly’s Simply Southern, a half-hour cooking show on GAC.

Kimberly grew up in the northern foothills of Georgia where cooking was an enormous part of Kimberly’s upbringing. She calls both of her grandmothers “incredible” cooks but it was her mother who taught her not just how to cook, but how to take care of people with food.

In 1987, Kimberly left home to attend Samford University, where she met fellow vocalist Karen Fairchild. After graduation, both women moved to Nashville, which is where the idea for Little Big Town was born. The addition of Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet filled out their signature harmonic sound and five albums later; they’re still going strong.

Kimberly currently lives in Nashville with husband Stephen and daughter Daisy Pearl.

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Reader Comments:


If I can not find self-raising flour what should i use instead to make the dumplings? Thank-you in advance.

By Elizabeth Dick on January 20, 2013


Question: It seems that there is a part of the directions missing on how to shape the dumpings before putting them in the chicken broth. Do you roll the dough, cut in strips and lengths and then set to rest awhile before putting them in the "rolling" chicken broth? Or are the dumplings like small biscuit dough balls dropped into the broth? I've been hungry for chicken 'n' dumplings and usually prefer the wide rolled pieces for dumplings. They are not so "doughy"

By Esther McCormack on January 15, 2013


Paula, I love you, your shows are wonderful and oh how I would love to meet you and your boys. That lady Debra Meyn really got on my last nerve talking about you messing in your boys lives. I think it is wonderful that you and the guys cook together. I think she has a real problem and must not be close to her family. When she talks about you and Jamie and Bobby, it really makes me angry. my mother passed away on Dec. 25th 2009 and she was 92 years old. She had four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. the two boys passed away before she did. The boys were in the kitchen with mama many days and when the first one got married, his wife did not know how to cook, so guess who cooked? You must be a weird person. Paula i love you and your boys, do not listen to this woman. Love you from Augusta Ga. Anne Bishop

By Patricia Bishop on January 15, 2013


I've been looking for a Chicken & Dumplings recipe with a little more flavor and this one sounds like it would fit the bill! It's method and ingredients are different and I can't wait to try it! Thanks! Love your faith, your music and now your recipe! Sherry

By Sherry Dunn on January 15, 2013

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love the table paula would look good on my new patio. so glad you are back. I hope to get there to see you in person one day.i will start tomorrow to find the patern form the tablecloth.
Gladys Rainesl in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I just want to say this I don't even know if is the right page all I ever wanted to say to Paula Deen welcome back I have missed you. You are my favorite home down girls keep your head up and hang on and feel the love. P.S. from a woman of color.
in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

I just love love love the table and flowers and am so glad that I can still access all of Paula's recipes, her family life, Bobby's lighter versions and Brandon's beautiful work. Truly thankful to see such beautiful tablescapes. You guys are my heros.
Patricia in Savannah Style: A Spring Table for Two on April 13, 2014 at 9:14 am