homemade chicken and dumplings (just like cracker barrel)

by jenna on November 29, 2011

I’ll admit it, one of the things I miss most about the South is Cracker Barrel.

Cracker Barrel!

How many times have I stopped there for chicken and dumplings and sweet tea on my way back up to school over holiday breaks and how many times have I roamed aimlessly around their old country store, buying horehound candy, greeting cards, black licorice nibs…. Ah, Cracker Barrel.

This recipe actually isn’t associated with Cracker Barrel at all but the second I tasted it, I knew. I hadn’t tasted chicken and dumplings like that since Fall of 2006—the last time I had them at Cracker Barrel (sad, isn’t it? It’s been way too long). I was on my way back up to Charleston after Fall break and already feeling a little homesick and tired from five hours at the wheel, pulled off at a Cracker Barrel in Northern Georgia. My roommate, Peggy, had come home with me for the first time and there, we feasted on chicken and dumplings, sweet iced tea and chocolate chip cookies before getting back on 95 and heading north.

Different parts of the country have different takes on this classic homestyle dish, and this kind is made unique by it’s flat square dumplings that you roll out then cut with a pizza cutter and simmer in chicken broth with a little flour until a rich, chickeny gravy appears.

It’s frequently called “Texas-style” chicken and dumplings or “Southern-style” chicken and dumplings, as some other parts of the country call for fluffy biscuits in the broth instead (that, to me, is chicken and biscuits).

Now, I’m not trying to take sides but…….this is the right way to make chicken and dumplings.

And it’s SO easy! I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I made this recipe three times over the past couple weeks. It’s Adam’s favorite dinner in the entire world and he ranked this version as a 9.99 (his mom’s is a 10–can’t argue with that).

See my step-by-step recipe for this deliciousness over at the Tasty Kitchen Blog today!

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Emmy (Wine and Butter) November 29, 2011 at 3:25 am

It’s so cold over right now – and we have like 1 hour of daylight per week – I definitely need to get more into comfort food and this looks like a great option – maybe even with wholewheat flour!!

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Katrina November 29, 2011 at 3:36 am

This sounds delightful!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga November 29, 2011 at 3:46 am

Cracker Barrel and Waffle House…those are my memories of the South. And oh yes, the Krispy Kreme drive thru that was open 24/7.

Your food looks great!

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Erika - The Teenage Taste November 29, 2011 at 4:04 am

Cracker Barrel<3
I'm lucky enough live by one and it is a family favorite! I've never had the pleasure of ordering their dumplings, but I am in love with their corn muffins and biscuits! :-D

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Casey @ Pocket Full of Sunshine November 29, 2011 at 4:23 am

These look amazing!! I love everything about Cracker Barrel. :)

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Heather Michelle @ A Sweet Simple Life November 29, 2011 at 4:29 am

Love me some dumplings and some cracker barrel. Adding this to my menu plan for next week!

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Bev Weidner November 29, 2011 at 4:32 am

I’m from the south and can you BELIEVE I’ve only been in a CB once? I think it was the gift shop thing that scared me.

But I’d happily go dumplin’ diving in this. MAN OH MAN.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 29, 2011 at 4:49 am

If you think not having visited Cracker Barrel since 2006 is sad, try having never visited in your life! ( –> that’d be me). Regardless though, these do sound really really good!

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Joelle (on a pink typewriter) November 29, 2011 at 5:35 am

I have never, ever been to a Cracker Barrel, but i do love chicken and dumplings.. And that cute little bowl you served it in!

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A Teenage Gourmet (Sami) November 29, 2011 at 5:55 am

SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME!

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Rachel November 29, 2011 at 6:00 am

Is your twitter broken? It’s telling me that you account was suspended.

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jenna November 29, 2011 at 7:12 am

Yes. Someone tried to hack my account over the weekend, apparently, and thus twitter put my account on a lock. I’m trying to get it back now!

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Jen November 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I bet you noticed that it save a lot of time though! Twitter is a time-suck…especially for random status updates.

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Cait's Plate November 29, 2011 at 6:24 am

I have never stepped foot into a Cracker Barrel – it’s actually become a semi-goal in life to go to one because I’ve heard so many stories from my friends in the south.

This looks delicious either way (and dare I say, without even having tried it, maybe even better than the Cracker Barrel version!)

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Faith @ For the Health of It November 29, 2011 at 8:33 am

You need to make a road trip down here just for the Cracker Barrels ;)

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Emily November 29, 2011 at 6:30 am

Those dumplings look just like my Pennsylvania Dutch great-grandmother’s pot pie. Which was not at all a pot pie, but rather these dumplings (we called the pot pies) in a beef broth with chunks of beef & potatoes. This just looks like a chicken version! Funny how Southern and Eastern cooking can have such commonalities. :)

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amy walters, aDESIGNdock November 29, 2011 at 6:56 am

I’ve never had chicken and dumplings…ever!! But carbs and chicken…works for me!

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Samantha November 29, 2011 at 6:59 am

I grew up in the North but we had a cracker barrel and I think I only ever ate there once, which in reflection is kind of sad. This recipe is wonderful I love love love chicken and dumplings.

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes November 29, 2011 at 7:06 am

Today is a perfect day for a recipe like this! It looks so warm and delish :D

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Julie @ Table for Two November 29, 2011 at 7:15 am

My boyfriend loves chicken & dumplings!!! :) this would be a perfect soup to make this winter!

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Lori November 29, 2011 at 7:29 am

Looks just like my Chicken ‘n Dumplings. I can’t believe how many people really think puffy, biscuits balls are dumplings, LOL!

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Hilliary @Happily Ever Healthy November 29, 2011 at 7:33 am

My grandmother always makes chicken and homemade noodles, and I have not had that dish in a long time! I am going to have to make this recipe!

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Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out November 29, 2011 at 7:54 am

I want this NOW. I don’t suppose you hand-deliver chicken and dumplings to people at work in the midwest? (Would it help if I told you we have Cracker Barrel here, too?)

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing November 29, 2011 at 7:56 am

YUM!! There are many things I don’t like about SC but one thing I DO, the food! And Cracker Barrel (for the most part) does Southern cooking correctly… and their chicken and dumplings?! Oh. My. Jesus.

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Lily O'Dare November 29, 2011 at 8:19 am

I love the Cracker Barrel by 95 in VB! So many great memories… Hashbrown Casserole is sooooo good from there!!

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Faith @ For the Health of It November 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

I’m excited to try this out with Gardein “chicken” – I always stole bites from my grandmother’s Cracker Barrel dumpling dish but haven’t had anything like it in years!

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Mel @ Post Grad Mel November 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

I’m a vegetarian so I won’t be making this…but I LOVE CRACKER BARREL! I could seriously go for some of their corn bread right now. My other guilty pleasure is Waffle House. In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing that neither of those exist here in the Pac NW. :)

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Moni'sMeals November 29, 2011 at 8:25 am

Looks great and can we say comfort food! Gotta love Cracker Barrel. :)

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Heather November 29, 2011 at 9:01 am

Oh, this makes me happy! I moved from Nashville to Seattle three years ago, and Cracker Barrel is one of my most missed treasures from the South! Oh, and I love you for calling out those imposter dumplings! Right on.

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Andrea @ The Skinny Chronicles November 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

If there’s one thing I know about Southerners: they know how to cook. I love chicken and dumplings!

Also, thanks for the reading list yesterday. There’s definitely some real gems there.

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Caitlin Murphy November 29, 2011 at 10:23 am

Oh man I loooooooove Cracker Barrel. I went to school at Virginia Tech so we went all the time. I grew up in Northern VA and my grandparents live near Knoxville, TN so a roadtrip to see them always included Cracker Barrel. I just went back for a VT football game (I live in LA at the moment) and my family and I went to Waffle House for my first time! Unreal.

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Danielle November 29, 2011 at 10:24 am

Love, love, love Cracker Barrel’s Chicken and Dumplings! Grew up in Ohio, but now we’re in Washington State. I’ve never had their Sweet Tea though, I always get Lemonade. Will have to check out their Tea if I’m ever in one again!

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Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather November 29, 2011 at 11:16 am

Chicken and dumplings are the bomb! Can’t beat that comfort food :)

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Holli November 29, 2011 at 1:01 pm

My dumplings are boiling right now :) It is a cold and rainy evening here in PA…PERFECT! Thanks for this recipe!

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Hilary November 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I looove cracker barrel, especially their biscuits. Maybe you can recreate those, pretty please:)

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Emily G. @ from my messy desk December 1, 2011 at 6:54 am

Reb Lobster has the BESSSSST biscuits! But I agree, Cracker Barrel’s are pretty darn tasty!

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Irina G (Fit Flexitarian) November 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Oh Cracker Barrel… I miss it so much too! This recipe looks pretty fantastic, though. :)

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Anne Grimes November 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Chicken and dumplings without a mess….visit http://www.annesdumplings.com and check out these delicious frozen dumpling strips . Available at most east coast stores and as far west as OK AND TX. So easy to use,Recipes are on website.

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Corrie Anne November 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm

That little dumpling cutter is so gorgeous. I love cozy food like this in the winter!

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Rebecca @ Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous November 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Looks so comforting and delicious!

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i'll do this later November 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

that sounds ridiculously good. o_O wow!!

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Deborah November 29, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I have actually never been to Cracker Barrel, although my husband and I almost went a couple of weeks ago. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love this chicken and dumplings! It sounds like the perfect comfort dish.

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Sarah @ newlyeverything November 30, 2011 at 6:30 am

Hi Jenna. I’ve just found your blog. I’m a misplaced Northerner living (and loving) my new home in Atlanta. I love your recipes and will be trying a few out on my husband. We’ve been trying to make/try lots of new local dishes. Thank you.

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Diane Wright November 30, 2011 at 6:50 am

could you post that recipe for chicken and dumplings The URL for Tasty Kitchen can’t be found.

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Liz November 30, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Yumm! I love soup and I can’t wait to try this one!

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Jen November 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm

These look great!

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Rachael @ FreshlyMinted December 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

These are my favorite!

I have distinct memories of picking out all of the dumplings, and begging to take a look around at the store while we waited for our food to arrive… mmm: Nothin’ else like ‘em.

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Lorna January 16, 2012 at 6:56 am

I made this recipe yesterday, and it was delicious! I ended up adding celery, carrots, onion and corn, and it was amazing. The only major change I would have made was less chicken stock- it was more soup than anything else by the time I was done. Delicious nonetheless though, I definitely recommend making it!

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orangek8 April 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm

I have my boyfriend rate my dinners, too! The only things that we will award a 10 to are burritos and lasagna.

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Terrye October 25, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Greetings Jenna,
I can’t tell you how happy I was to find this page! I have been looking for the past 20 minutes for an Authentic Homemade Chicken & Dumpling Recipe.
I realize folks from different areas have there own spin on this Down Home Southern dish, but really….those big gulp drops of biscuits from the can or even dough just does not do it for me! This dish takes me back to my early child hood in Arkansas, My Aunt Betty & my Aunt Ida could not be topped for making the BEST CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS in the world. Oh yes..you must roll out the dough and cut the squares.
Ditto for Cracker Barrel but nothing like homemade out of your own kitchen or someone from your past like with wonderful experience. I’m going to make some next week stay tuned. :)

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Pat December 20, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I have a question. I made the Cracker Barrel recipe on the internet for chicken and dumplings for Thanksgiving and they were a favourite and an awesome tasting main course that my family loved. I made the broth for our Christmas choice last week at home, and then took the broth and chicken and dough to make at the hall for the next days feast. My question is…why were the dumplings tough and too chewy when at Thanksgiving time they were so well done and tasty? Please respond with advice…my family and myself were disappointed.

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stacy February 11, 2014 at 2:09 pm

HELP! I have done this six times with the same thing gone wrong, My Dumplins have a brown thin gooey middle.

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Rosalie April 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I;m soooo envious of all the people that commented about Cracker Barrel. I live in So. Cal. the nearest Barrel is in Kingman Ariz. that is a 6 hr drive for me. We travel to the East coast and Southern states usually twice a year. The 1st thing I do when we make plans to travel is to go on line and find out where the nearest Barrel is to where we will be visiting. I don’t even look at a menu anymore. Fried chicken, collard greens and biscuits to die for. think of me the next time you dine and shop there.

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