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Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

This easy Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings recipe has been passed down for generations in my family. It’s been adapted for the Instant Pot to make it even easier! Below you’ll find step-by-step photos and instructions so you can see how simple it is to make this hearty, delicious, and comforting dish!

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a bowl full of instant pot chicken and dumplings

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

What makes this the best Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings?

The original recipe was handed down from my grandmother to my mom, and it was likely my great-grandmother’s before that. It’s an old-fashioned, authentic recipe that uses real ingredients for a comforting, delicious bowl of hearty chicken and dumplings.

When I wrote my first book, “Weeknight Cooking with your Instant Pot“, I adapted the recipe for the Instant Pot. It was a perfect candidate since chicken in the Instant Pot – especially when it’s pressure cooked directly in liquid – gets incredibly tender very quickly.

Ingredients in Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

There aren’t many ingredients in chicken and dumplings. They’re almost identical to chicken soup, with the addition of flour to thicken it into a stew-like consistency.

Main ingredients

  • chicken legs or thighs
  • carrots
  • celery
  • onion
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • chicken broth

Dumpling ingredients

  • flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • whole milk
  • vegetable or canola oil

If you like, you can add freshly chopped herbs to the dumplings. I prefer the dumplings without herbs, but it really comes down to personal taste. If you’d like to give that a try, here are some herbs that work well. Be cautious not to add too much; you only want to add a subtle flavor. Start 1-2 tablespoons of any of these herbs or a combination:

  • dill
  • parsley
  • thyme (go lighter with this one as it has a strong flavor)
  • oregano
  • chives
a ladle full of instant pot chicken and dumplings

How can I make this low-carb or keto?

You’re in luck! I have a Keto Chicken and Dumplings recipe as well as other delicious keto recipes. You can also grab my 4th cookbook, “Weeknight Keto“, on Amazon and at major retailers and bookstores nationwide.

Can you use rotisserie or canned chicken?

Shortcuts in recipes like this can be great and you can use either of those here. It tastes so much better if you cook the chicken yourself, however, and only adds a few minutes of prep time.

If you’re truly short on time and need to streamline the process, I suggest skipping the browning step instead. This step does add a lot of flavor to the broth, so keep it in if at all possible.

Can you use chicken breasts instead?

Chicken breast – both bone-in or boneless, skinless chicken breasts – will work in this recipe. Dark meat is what I suggest using, or a combination of both. I’ve made this with white meat when that’s all I had and it definitely works, although I prefer using chicken legs or thighs.

Starting with frozen chicken

It’s true, you can cook frozen chicken in your Instant Pot! If you’re using the recommended bone-in chicken thighs or legs with skin, skip browning them and add them after sautéing the mirepoix (carrots, onions, and celery).

Using canned biscuits for the dumplings

Canned buttermilk refrigerated biscuits are an easy shortcut if you’d prefer not to make the homemade dumpling dough. One can is all you’ll need for this recipe. Roll out the biscuit dough until each biscuit is about 1/8-inch thick then cut them into strips about 1/2-inch wide. Drop them into the simmering chicken broth as instructed in the recipe below.

a closeup of a bowl full of instant pot chicken and dumplings

How to make Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

It’s very simple to make Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings. It’s really just chicken soup that’s been thickened with delicious dumplings instead of noodles. The dumplings are very easy to make and take just a few minutes. After you make this once, you’ll practically be able to do it in your sleep!

Watch the video above that shows how easy it is, or scroll down for step-by step photos and instructions.

Step by Step Instructions

Press the Saute function to preheat your Instant Pot. When the word hot appears on the display, brown the chicken (skin-side down), in batches if necessary. Remove the chicken and set it aside.

raw chicken legs being seared in the instant pot for chicken and dumplings

Add the carrots, celery and onions to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about five minutes or so.

diced carrots, onions, and celery in the instant pot ready to saute to make chicken and dumplings

Add the flour, salt and pepper; cook about another minute, stirring frequently. Turn off the Instant Pot.

flour, salt, and pepper added to the instant pot after sauteing carrots, onions, and celery

Add the chicken back to the pot and pour the broth over, taking care that most of the chicken is submerged (add a little more broth if necessary). Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Press Manual and immediately adjust the timer to 10 minutes. Check that the cooking pressure is on high and that the release valve is set to Sealing.

Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the milk and oil and stir just until incorporated (over-mixing can make your dumplings tough).

a pot full of the ingredients ready to pressure cook instant pot chicken and dumplings

When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. Open the Instant Pot and gently stir. Note: You can remove the chicken, shred the meat and return it to the pot at this point. Or you can leave the pieces whole if you prefer.

simmering instant pot chicken and dumpling ingredients just before adding the dumplings

Switch to the Saute setting, then drop in your dumplings by large spoonfuls, leaving them at the top (don’t stir them in). Put the lid back on for 10 minutes and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through.

dumplings added to the instant pot before cooking for chicken and dumplings

How long should you saute the chicken in the Instant Pot?

Sauté the chicken just long enough to brown it on all sides. It takes a few minutes per side to get it nice and golden brown.

Can you stack the chicken?

Place the chicken in the Instant Pot in one layer if you can. Don’t worry if a few pieces don’t quite fit as it’s fine to stack them if necessary. You really just want as much of the chicken in the liquid as possible.

Can you make Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings ahead of time?

Here are a few methods you can choose from to make this dish in advance:

  1. Make the dumplings the day before. The dumplings can be refrigerated for up to one day before cooking. Don’t form the dumpling dough into balls until just before cooking them as they’ll lose more moisture. Wrap the dough tightly with saran wrap and place it in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. Make the entire dish and refrigerate it. Chicken and dumplings is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day, making it a great make-ahead meal. Reheat over medium-low heat on the stove. You can also store the entire dish directly in the Instant Pot insert you cooked it in, just cover it tightly before refrigerating. Place it back in the Instant Pot and reheat on the “less” sauté setting.
  3. Make the entire dish and freeze it. You can freeze chicken and dumplings for up to three months in an airtight, freezer-safe container. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator then reheat as directed above.

How to make Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings in a slow cooker

If you prefer to make this in a slow cooker, I recommend using canned biscuit dough instead of the homemade dumplings as the thin strips cook faster. You could also roll out the homemade dough into the same size strips if you prefer.

  • To make this recipe in a crockpot, follow step 1 and 2 of the instructions in the recipe but using a sauté pan or skillet.
  • Add that mixture to the slow cooker and top with the chicken pieces. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours.
  • Have your strips of dumpling dough ready as you want to keep the lid off of the crockpot for a little time as possible.
  • Remove the lid from the crockpot and immediately add the dumplings. Gently press them down into the liquid to make sure they’re all fully submerged. Replace the lid quickly to retain as much heat as possible.
  • Cook for another hour or until the dumplings are cooked through.
a dish of instant pot chicken and dumplings

Tips for perfect Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

  • Add some heavy cream at the end of cooking if you prefer a creamier dish
  • Stir in some frozen peas just before adding the dumplings to the pot
  • Use chicken thighs or legs (dark meat) which is fattier and will get more tender than other cuts
  • Don’t over-mix the dumpling batter to help them stay light and not dense
  • For the best flavor, don’t skip browning the chicken
  • The broth should thicken from the flour in the recipe. However, if you prefer it to be even thicker, you can also add a cornstarch slurry (equal parts corn starch and cold water whisked together; I suggest a tablespoon or two of each) to the pot when the liquid is at a strong simmer and before adding the dumplings.
  • Add a bay leaf to the pot if you have some on hand
  • Season it well! Start with the two teaspoons of salt in the recipe and add more to taste. It’s very bland without salt but very delicious when seasoned properly! My dad likes to season his bowl with extra garlic salt (it’s pretty good, ngl).
  • You can make the dumplings whatever size you like. Smaller dumplings will cook faster. I aim for about 1-inch thick dumplings. You can gently roll them into balls or drop them by the spoonful (I do the latter).

What sides go with Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings?

While this really is a complete meal on its own, here are some side dish suggestions:

Discover more delicious Instant Pot Recipes

a bowl full of instant pot chicken and dumplings soup

Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable or avocado oil
  • 3 lb chicken legs or thighs
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 tsp coarse salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • 32 oz chicken broth (chicken should be almost covered; add more if necessary)

DUMPLINGS:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. Press “Saute” to preheat your Instant Pot. When the word “hot” appears on the display, add the oil. When it's shimmering, add the chicken pieces to the pot. Brown the chicken (skin-side down), in batches if necessary. Set the chicken aside. Add the carrots, celery and onions to the pot.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft, about five minutes or so. Add the flour, salt and pepper; cook about another minute, stirring frequently. Turn off the IP.
  3. Add the chicken back to the pot and pour the broth over, taking care that all the chicken is submerged (add a little more broth if necessary). Close and lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Press “Manual” and immediately adjust the timer to 10 minutes. Check that the cooking pressure is on “high” and that the release valve is set to “Sealing”.
  4. Meanwhile, make the dumplings. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the milk and oil and stir just until incorporated (over-mixing can make your dumplings tough).
  5. When the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. Open the IP and gently stir. Note: You can remove the chicken, shred the meat and return it to the pot at this point. Or you can leave the pieces whole if you prefer.
  6. Switch to “Saute” mode, then drop in your dumplings by large spoonfuls, leaving them at the top (don’t stir them in). Put the lid back on for 10 minutes and simmer until the dumplings are cooked through. Sprinkle with parsley, ladle into bowls, and serve.


Notes

The cooking time listed doesn't include the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure. This can often take as long as 20 minutes when the pot is filled with ingredients.

Kristy Bernardo
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