Homemade Dumplings Recipe: From FLOP to FAB (No Bisquick!)

Homemade Dumplings Recipe

Below you’ll find my original post, which was a Friday Food Flop, and there I explain how good my Mom’s dumplings were when I was a kid, but when I asked her how she did it, she told me she just used Bisquick.  There’s more below about why I didn’t want to do that!  Now I’ve finally done it, though, I made a homemade dumplings recipe that turned out as good as my Mom’s, but a no-Bisquick version!  I actually used the recipe from Sonya in the comments for “Grandma’s Dumplings”.  Her comments are italicized below, with my own comments mixed in and unitalicized…

Homemade Dumplings Recipe (“Grandma’s Dumplings”)

My ingredients are slightly different but very similar to yours.

Ingredients:  (Note:  I made a triple batch for our family so I could make them big and have enough for two pans of stew.  Pictures below.)

  • 2 cups flour ( I always use fresh ground soft or hard wheat, either tastes so much better than white flour)  (I used part whole spelt flour and part Einkorn flour)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt  (I’ll use more like 1.5 teaspoons salt next time.)
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg well beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter (pastured butter is best!)
  • Between 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk


Mix dry ingredients together, mix wet ingredients together, then mix it all together.  If the dumplings don’t come together well I add more milk.  Drop by heaping tablespoonful onto boiling soup or stew.  Turn soup to simmer and cover, cook for 18 minutes.  (These are tips I learned in the other comments:  Don’t overstir, and be sure to keep the cover on so they’ll rise up and get fluffy.)

I have never had them flop. You can use white flour if you want but it tastes so much better with fresh ground whole wheat. Good luck!

Here are some pictures, and below that find my original post and my big ol’ FLOP…

Homemade Dumplings Recipe covered

Homemade Dumplings Recipe pot Homemade Dumplings Recipe cast iron

Homemade Dumplings Recipe top

Here’s my original post — pretty sad huh?!

Homemade dumplings

When I was growing up, my Mom made the BEST stew and dumplings.  I didn’t have any trouble replicating this recipe back when I used nasty old Bisquick, which still has trans fats (partially hydrogenated soybean or cottonseed oil to be exact – gross!), but finding a good homemade recipe has not been easy.

The other day I tried again and instead of the high, light, fluffy-liciousness that Mom used to make, here’s what I got, nothing but hard dense blobs of blech:

These didn’t taste bad, but it’s not easy getting past the texture.  I asked Mom how she did hers, assuming they were homemade back in the day.  “I’ve always used Bisquick, it’s easy.”  Her thought is that it’s something you only have 2-3 times per year, so it’s not enough to hurt anything.

My thought is that if we think that way, that having one bit of nastiness 2-3 times per year is OK, and then you multiply it by all the other nasties that you have only 2-3 times per year, then you’ll easily end up eating junk that can really harm your body at least several times a week.  And most people who aren’t in the habit of reading labels (or avoiding food with labels) are eating much more than that.

What do you all think?

I did find my recipe here on the blog for homemade baking mix, but I notice in my pictures that the baked goods aren’t especially high there either, even if they did taste great.

So does anyone have a homemade recipe that turns out dumplings that are light and fluffy?  The recipe I used was from my ancient Betty Crocker cookbook:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I just used white unbleached white flour this time, knowing that I’d had trouble with this recipe before.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 T. snipped parsley
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 T. “cooking oil” – I used soft butter
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Anyone have a clue what I did wrong???  (Thank you for your help!)

If you need advice on your recent food flops, feel free to ask in the comments.  :)

  • See my other Friday Food Flops here for a good laugh!
  • Wonder how to make stew?  Well, here’s my index of soup recipes — just take any beef or chicken soup and thicken the base a little to make stew:  Take about 6-8 Tablespoons of arrowroot or flour and whisk in just enough water to make a good paste.  Stir this paste quickly into the soup and it will thicken.  Do this thickening part AFTER the dumplings are done and removed from the pan though, or it’ll be too thick and burn while the dumplings are cooking.




  1. says

    Did you leave the lid on the whole time? Your recipe is the exact one my mother used when I was growing up, and they’re very light and fluffy. When you make them, make sure to place the spoonfuls of dumplings on top of the solid ingredients, and not sinking into the liquid too much. Then put on the lid and DO NOT PICK IT UP until they’re done (whatever the time says in the recipe – don’t remember – like 10 minutes or something.) If you pick it up, the dumplings get all gummy inside. Besides that…I don’t know what to say. They always turn out fine for me as long as I do these things.

    • KitchenKop says

      You know, I don’t know if I DID have the lid on the whole time, maybe it’s just that simple!!!!!! Thank you!

  2. says

    Oh – I just saw that you used soft butter instead of oil. I don’t know if that threw things off or not. I use either olive oil or melted butter – if it’s a solid fat instead of a liquid that might change things.

  3. Elizabeth says

    I start with cold butter and cut it into the flour as if I were making biscuits. I also use 3/4 cup of milk for 2 cups of flour… maybe more milk? Also agreeing about keeping the lid on. Learned that lesson the hard way.

    I’ve always wanted to make them with whole wheat flour, but I’ve never had any luck there.

  4. Cherilynne says

    Check your baking powder. It can go “flat” sooner than you would think. Sift your flour. I like to add my bkg pwd in after mixing most of the liquids in. I also cut in my butter like making pie crust 1st and then add the liquids, then the bkg. pwd. This is only if I have to make my mix on the fly. I usually have my own “Bisquik” made up and ready most of the time for biscuits, pancakes, breading chicken or fish, etc. I also use butter milk pwd. And the lid down, no peeking is huge. Make sure your pot is boiling well too. I find I use a bit more bkg pwd than most recipes any way. And don’t put your salt in WITH the bkg pwd. just like yeast it will disrupt the action.
    Good Luck!

  5. Sonya says

    My ingredients are slightly different but very similar:

    Grandma’s Dumplings

    2 c flour ( I always use fresh ground soft or hard wheat, either tastes so much better than white flour)
    1 tsp salt
    4 tsp baking powder
    1 egg well beaten
    3 Tbsp melted butter
    Between 3/4 to 1 cup whole milk

    Mix dry ingredients together, then mix wet ingredients together, then mix together. If the dumplings don’t come together well I add more milk until they mix together well. Drop by heaping tablespoonful into boiling soup. Turn soup to simmer and cover, cook for 18 minutes.

    I have never had them flop. You can use white flour if you want but it tastes so much better with fresh ground whole wheat. Good luck!

    • says

      Sonja, I just made your biscuits for my family for dinner. I simmered them in a quart of homemade chicken broth. We had them with fried chicken legs and I made milk gravy with some of the drippings from the fry pan. These dumplings are delicious!!! Thank you SO much for sharing your nice recipe. I did use freshly ground whole wheat flour.

  6. Elizabeth J says

    I don’t know, just being honest, but I do know that Bisquick contains MSG. I’m not a fan of dumplings, but Mom makes “good” dumplings (so everyone else tells me) and there is no egg in her recipe.

    Here’s my homemade biscuit mix recipe, and it’s good for “everything”, IMHO!

    Homemade Biscuit Mix:

    • 9 cups flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 2 1/3 cups powdered milk
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1/3 cup baking powder
    • 2 cups shortening
    • 1 TBSP Cream of Tartar
    1. In a large pan, stir the dry milk, baking powder, Cream of Tartar, sugar and salt into the flour (all dry ingredients); mix thoroughly.
    2. Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients until the MIX is the consistency of corn meal.
    3. Place the mix in a covered glass or plastic container and keep in a cool, dry place.
    4. In warm weather the MIX should be refrigerated.
    5. Use within a 2-3 weeks if not refrigerated; 8-10 weeks if refrigerated.
    6. To measure, pile the MIX lightly into a cup and level off with a spatula or the back of a knife.

    For biscuits, mix together 3 cups of baking mix and 2/3 cup water or milk. Blend well, knead slightly, then roll out and cut into desired shape. Bake at 450° for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 10 to 12 biscuits. For drop biscuits, add 2 tablespoons extra liquid.

    • Lori says

      I have a similar recipe but it uses 10 cups flour; got it from Heloise (Hints from Heloise) back in the mid 1970’s. I have made it this year, but instead of regular shortening I used palm oil shortening (I use this for any recipe calling for shortening), and real sea salt. Makes it a bit healthier.
      I also keep mine in the fridge as it will last so much longer.
      Any recipe calling for Bisquick will work for this recipe.

  7. Lori says

    Hi Kelly,
    I’ve been making dumplings since 1975. I grew up loving these as they were comfort food. I made these at least 2-3 times a year for more than 30 years for my family. I haven’t made them in a couple of years as the kids all grew up and the hubby has never been fond of them as he never grew up eating them. But I’ve also made them just for myself in the past as I love them.
    The recipe I’ve always used comes from my copy of The Farm Journal’s Country Cook Book (copyright 1959, 1972) and always gives me good results.
    Since we’ve changed our eating habits, I use palm oil shortening in place of the shortening with fabulous results, and real sea salt in place of the salt.
    Here is the recipe from the cook book:
    Parsley Dumplings (page 66):
    “Sift together 2 cups of flour, 3 tsps baking powder and 1 tsp salt. Add 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (or 3 Tbls chopped chives). Cut in 1/4 cup shortening until mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. With fork mix in 1 cup milk to make a soft dough; stir as little as possible. Drop by spoonfuls onto chicken pieces. Simmer 10 minutes uncovered; cover and simmer 10 minutes longer. Serve at once. Makes 8-10 dumplings.”‘
    Tip from me: Dip spoon in broth before you add the first dumpling, then get some dough on spoon, drop in broth, then dip spoon in broth again and then in dough. This will help to keep the dough from sticking to the spoon and they will drop much easier into the broth. Do this with each dumpling.
    I rarely add as much salt to the recipe (never was big on salt), but I also salt and pepper the tops once I drop them all.
    I hope this gives you much better results.

  8. Nicole says

    I love America’s Test Kitchen. Great recipes and most everything is from real food–and if it not than the substitutions are made easily; I always just use a healthier fat when it calls for vegetable oil. They have a chicken and dumplings that I tried a few months back. I did use all-purpose flour, but was able to make everything else from healthy ingredients. Give it a try…


  9. Andrea says

    the thing about both dumplings and biscuits is that you want to handle the dough as little as possible. Kneading bread dough develops the strands of gluten. That is what makes bread chewy, which is exactly what you DON’T want out of a dumpling (or biscuit.) You want them tender and crumbly. So mix your dry ingredients, then cut in your butter (solid cut into chunks. Some people swear by a food processor, but The best way I’ve found to cut in fat is to rub the butter into the flour mixture with your thumb and fingers, like you’re making the sign for money.) When it looks like course crumbs, mix in the liquid, stirring as little as possible.

  10. jmr says

    I’m hit or miss with dumplings. Of course the Bisquick ones always turn out perfectly, but I have about a 50% success rate with my homemade gluten free ones. Joy of Cooking says the secret is to keep them steaming on top of simmering (never boiling) liquid in a wide-topped cooking pan. Don’t crowd the pan. Cover the pan immediately after putting the dumplings on top of the stew and don’t lift the lid until they’re done.

  11. J in VA says

    How about mixing lard for your fat in your mix? That’s what I use with the Heloise recipe.

    The Breadbecker’s give these recipes (I haven’t tried them yet–I just got my grain mill):

    2 1/2c freshly milled soft white flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking soda
    5 Tbs butter
    2 Tbs mayo
    3/4 c buttermilk
    Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Stir in mayo and buttermilk. Knead until just smooth on floured board. Pat 1/2 in thick and cut with biscuit cutter. PLace touching on pan and bake at 450 for 10-12 mins.

    Whipping Cream Biscuits
    2 1/2 c freshly milled soft white flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 T granulated sweetener
    1 c whipping cream
    Mix as usual for biscuits and bake at 500 for 10 mins.

  12. says


    Aside from the actual mix you use (and to me your recipe looks fine, just make sure your butter is really cold), the key to getting light and fluffy dumplings is to make sure that you drop the dumplings into your liquid when it’s boiling. In my experience, it has to be a fast rolling boil otherwise you’ll get a dense dumpling. And then as mentioned above, the dumplings are cooked for 10 minutes uncovered and then for 10 minutes covered.

    Good luck!

  13. Michele says

    I use my older Better Homes and Gardens cookbook recipe, but substitute Bob’s Red Mill’s Gluten Free All Purpose Flour plus a little Xantham Gum. The recipe does not have the eggs.
    2/3 cup all purpose flour (I use gluten free plus 1/4 tsp. Xantham Gum)
    1 Tbsp. snipped parsley
    1 tsp. baking powder
    1/8 tsp. dried basil,thyme or dill
    1/8 tsp. salt
    1/4 cup milk or milk substitute
    2 Tbsp. cooking oil
    Mix flour, parsley, baking powder, herb and 1/8 tsp salt. Whisk milk and oil. Pour into flour mixture. Stir with a fork til combined. Drop from tablespoon to make 4 to 6 mounds atop bubbling stew. Cover, simmer 10-12 minutes or til toothpick comes out clean. Do NOT lift cover.

  14. Jackie says

    Have you tried using lard? It adds a great flavor to the biscuits and, I believe, a fluffiness. Give it a try for really a really delicious chicken and dumplings dinner!

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