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Chicken and dumplings is one of my favorite comfort foods. I am partial to the pillowy and fat noodle-like dumplings at Cracker Barrel and am completely overjoyed to have gluten free chicken and dumplings alternative!
About Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings (Cracker Barrel Style)
This recipe is a huge improvement from my first attempt at chicken and dumplings in college when I dumped chicken breast in a crock pot with water and dropped biscuits on top before serving. This recipe does take a little bit of work, but the end result is so worth it. I love making these gluten free chicken and dumplings on a cold, rainy day and cozying up on the couch with a warm bowl while watching a rom com.
This recipe builds flavor at every step by creating the stock with a classic mirepoix of diced celery, carrots, and onions. Chicken and spices are added and simmered until the chicken is so tender it just falls apart. While the chicken is simmering, the dumpling dough is mixed, rolled, cut, and tossed with flour before dropping individually in the simmering stock. Milk and cornstarch are added at the end to thicken and add some creamy goodness to this wonderfully comforting meal. The end result isn’t glamorous, but its so delicious. I like to top it with tons of fresh black pepper at the end! And if I’m feeling healthy I may add some fresh parsley as well 😉
Tips and Tricks for Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings
(Cracker Barrel Style)
- Use whatever chicken you have on hand. This recipe works so well with thighs or breasts. Really whatever you have! I prefer skin on and bone in to produce a more flavorful broth, but you can use skinless and boneless chicken.
- Use a biscuit gluten free flour mix. I try to stay away from pre-mixed gluten free flour blends because I feel like they’re not that good, but Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Biscuit & Baking mix is one exception. It works really well here. If you don’t want to buy another flour blend, then you can sub with your favorite GF flour, though the end result may vary.
- Don’t add too much moisture or overwork the dough. The dough will be a pretty dry and sturdy dough (see photos 3 & 4 below). If there is too much moisture, the dumplings may easily dissolve in the soup. We also don’t want the dough to be perfectly smooth, it should have some lumps. Lumps = good dumplings! 🙂 See the photo collage below of the dumpling dough for reference.
- Don’t roll the dough to thin or cut the dumplings too thin. The dough should be cut into fat noodles (see photo 5) and needs to be about 1/4 inch thick (see photo 6 below). Cutting them too small or rolling the dough too thin could result in your dumplings disappearing into your soup. Please excuse the crappy iPhone photos. I got some feedback that people were struggling with the dumplings so I made this for dinner and took photos of the process. Hopefully this helps! The dumplings can be tricky.
Serving Suggestions for Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings (Cracker Barrel Style)
- I can’t eat these gluten free chicken and dumplings without some gluten free savory southern style cornbread–my recipe is inspired by my Nana’s cornbread recipe and it is SO GOOD!
I hope you do the same and make a batch of cornbread.
- If you want to make this a more well rounded meal, I recommend adding some frozen peas, maybe some potatoes, and extra carrots when you add the dumplings to the stock.
- This would be great served with a simple side salad.
Did you try this recipe for Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings (Cracker Barrel Style)?
If so, let me know in the comments! I love hearing how recipes turn out for others! And it helps me improve my writing and recipe development!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! It is perfect this time of year on a cold evening when the weather is so unpredictable.
Gluten Free Chicken and Dumplings (Cracker Barrel Style)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups onion chopped
- 3/4 cup carrots chopped (about 1.5 large carrots)
- 3/4 cup celery chopped (about 2 celery stalks)
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 3/4 teaspoons salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pounds bone in/skin on chicken breasts
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill gluten free biscuit mix plus more for dusting (can substitute your favorite gluten free flour blend if desired, but results are not guaranteed)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 cups milk divided
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Using a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until slightly brown and translucent. Add the carrots and cook a few minutes until soft. Finally, add the celery and cook until soft.
Add the garlic, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoons of salt, and parsley. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze the pot with about 1/2 cup of chicken stock to pick up all the brown bits. Reduce till stock has cooked by half. Add the bay leafs.
Add the chicken, chicken stock, and water to the pot. If necessary, add more water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, keeping the pot covered. Skim any white foam that comes to the top. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes until chicken registers 165 degrees. Final cooking time will depend if you're using chicken thighs or chicken breasts.
While the chicken is cooking, add flour, baking soda and remaining 1 teaspoon salt to a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Using your hands, incorporate the butter until the dough becomes shaggy (see photo 1 in above collage). Add 1/2 cup of milk and stir just until it kinda resembles wet sand (photo 2) and sticks together when squeezed (photo 3). You should be able to form a large dough ball (photo 4). If the dough is too dry, add more milk, tablespoon by tablespoon. The dough will not be perfectly smooth and should have clumps and be rather stiff. Form the dough into a ball and if possible, let rest for about 10 minutes.
Flour a flat surface and rolling pin. Place the ball of dough in the middle and roll until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick. Using a butter knife, cut dough into large and fat noodle-like strips (photos 5 and 6). Sprinkle with flour and carefully place in a bowl using a long spoon. The dumplings will be delicate.
Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, remove from broth and place in a large bowl. Let cool. Once the chicken has cooled and you can handle it, remove any skin and bones if necessary. Shred chicken and set aside. Remove bay leaves from the stock and discard.
Bring the stock to a low boil, add dumplings one by one using a spoon. Take care not to place dumplings on top of one another. They will start to float to the top as the begin to cook. Reduce to a simmer.Periodically and carefully stir the pot. Cook for about 2-3 minutes.
Mix the remaining 1 cup milk and cornstarch in a bowl to create a slurry. Reduce the dumplings and broth to a low simmer and add the milk and cornstarch. If you want it to be creamier, add more milk. Return the chicken to the pot, and cook until dumplings and cornstarch are cooked through and chicken is warm, about 7 minutes, carefully stirring to prevent dumplings from sticking to the bottom.
Season with salt and pepper and serve!
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