Cheater Chicken and Dumplings

October 26, 2015


Easy quick chicken and dumplinsWhile away on vacation a few weeks ago in Cedar Bluff, Alabama, I made a large batch of my family’s favorite cold weather stew, chicken and dumplings. Although, this time, because I was on vacation, I knew I didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen, plucking and boiling a chicken while everyone else was out enjoying the beautiful fall weather, so I cheated just a bit, well . . . a LOT, and pulled out an old sneaky recipe that would make Southern Grandmothers everywhere have a hissy fit.


easy and quick chicken and dumplings, from the blog by: Leslie Anne TarabellaThis Cheater Chicken and Dumplings is so easy, it involves the lowest form of culinary skills . . . opening cans. (gasp!) My two boys can’t get enough of Chicken and Dumplings, and if they can tell the difference between this and the real, made-from-scratch version, they haven’t let on.


Easy Chicken and Dumplings

The amounts are all variable and can be adjusted, but basically, you bring to a boil chicken broth, cream of chicken soup, canned chicken, chopped carrots, celery with poultry seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Then add . . .


Mary B's Dumplings, Quick Chicken and Dumplings recipe

The best kept secret of the South, store-bought dumplings. Yikes! I know! Mary B’s is a great brand you can find in the frozen food section at most stores around here. I got mine at Piggly Wiggly, but if your store doesn’t carry them, the other secret to use is canned biscuits separated into thinner layers and cut into quarters. Drop them into the hot, bubbling broth, and stir to keep from sticking to the pan. When the dumplings start to float and are soft, you’re done!


** I looked up Mary B’s to find their link so you could see their web site, and I had no idea they are headquartered just an hour away in Pensacola  – where I grew up! No wonder I love them! 


Chicken and Dumplings recipe easy

Mouth watering chicken and dumplings everyone will think it took all day to cook.


If you want the real-deal melt in your mouth Southern Chicken and Dumplings look at THIS recipe from Mary at Deep Dish South. Her version is a lot like my Grandmother made, thick enough to serve on a plate, not in a bowl.


But for my cheater version, follow the steps I outlined above and depending on how soupy or thick you want it, adjust the quantities of ingredients here:


For my camping away-from-home (very large) version I used . . .

1 – 32 oz box of Chicken Broth, low sodium

2 – 26 oz cans Cream of Chicken soup

4 large cans of pre-cooked chicken (or use a rotisserie chicken)

2 large carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

Mary B’s frozen dumplings, broken into small bite size pieces (I only used about a fourth of the package)

1 Tablespoon poultry seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

*if I had thought to bring an onion with me, I would have thrown that in as well.

Combine ingredients, add dumplings to boiling mixture and wait until they float to the top, reduce to simmer and cook until dumplings are tender. 

Hide all the cans, dab a little flour on your cheek, and no one will be the wiser. 


*This made a huge amount for four adults, including two growing teenage boys, and we still had leftovers for the next day.


Now do tell . . . do you make your chicken and dumplings from scratch?



  • Michelle Gibson says:

    I grew up in Pensacola as well. I made Mary B’s dumplings tonight because I just cannot get mine to taste like my mama’s they definitely turned out great. Very hearty.

    • A good dumpling dinner and you supported a local Pensacola business at the same time. Win-win!

  • I made this last night and it was delicious. It was so easy! Thanks for this!

  • Mrs. B dumplings are good. But if you want to try something unique and delicious try Mc Libs Southern Dumplings. Not only are they unique but just about the easiest quickest dumplings I have ever tried. They are not easy to find. They are made in Pendleton, SC and the last time I checked they are not distributed by any food company. They can be ordered on the internet but they are pricey. I have bought them at Winn Dixie and some Food Lions. Good luck.

    • Annie’s is the homemade choice for this Carolina girl!

  • I’ll look for the dumplings up here in the PNW. We don’t have pimento cheese in stores here so I make my own. I got such a reaction from friends when I explained pimento cheese I immediately brought up banana sandwiches. They had never heard of banana sandwiches either. Bless their hearts.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Sylvia, you could truly save the world one day, one pimento cheese sandwich at a time.

      (My Daddy ate banana sandwiches!)

    • Banana sandwiches are a staple in Southern diets. We grew up slicing them into little rounds onto Miracle-Whip white bread and precariously holding it together (some rounds WILL slip out). But some folks just fold the whole banana into the bread and mayo. Much easier to eat!

      • Leslie Anne says:

        My Daddy sliced them lengthways to fit the bread. Genius.

      • Miracle-Whip what? Dukes is the real southern mayo!!!

  • Hi Little Bitty Pretty One! Oh, you’ve hit the nail on the head with this one! Yummy and so easy. I love Mary B products but haven’t found them up here. I must look at Walmart as they just might Can’t find pimento cheese up here either! Thank you for the easy recipe. I’m going to make this!
    You’re always a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

    • Leslie Anne says:

      No pimento cheese? Oh dear!

  • Thrilled to get the cheater’s recipe. I recently bought a package of Mary B’s dumplings and now it’ll be even easier, ha! Chicken and Dumplings are one of my favorite recipes, but who has time to roll pastry or even cook a chicken when the rotisserie chick-a-dee is so yummy?!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      This is actually the first time I used canned chicken, but since we were traveling and there were no stores close to us, I had to rely on a can. Rotisserie is the way to go!

  • I’ve used Mary B’s for years with about your same additions and they are delicious. But, now I’ve found some I like even better. They are McLibs in the pasta department. You
    can find them at some Piggly Wiggly’s
    and some Walmart’s. I have to make
    a trip to DeFuniak Springs (you know where that is) to get mine. They really are better, if possible. Cook a
    little longer than recommended.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I’ve never heard of McLibs, but I’ll have to take a look. And you’re right, I do know my way to DeFuniak Springs! Thanks for the tip.

  • Absolutely delicious…I want the Mary B’s…love the south.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I wonder if they have mail order? If not, you’ll have to buckle down and make them from scratch!

  • Pinned this for later for the family! I’m all about easy… and really tasty, “faux homemade!” 🙂 ~Hope your week is off to a great start! Rhonda

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Thanks Rhonda, the ease of cooking it this way (and also the ease of clean-up time) does away with any, or at least most of the guilt from not being like Granny in the kitchen all afternoon rolling out dumplings!

  • I also use the Mary B’s Dumplings. I find them in my “neck of the woods” at Wal-Mart. I’ve already pinned this recipe for future use!!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      It’s such a delicious comfort food. Enjoy!

  • Consider this recipe pinned! Have to find some Mary B’s.

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Hope you can find them. Mary B’s is worth the search!

  • I’m all for shortcuts Leslie Anne, and I love Mary B’s tea biscuits so I bet her dumplings are good! Love the flour on the cheek tip, brilliant!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      Oh, I’ve buried many a can to the bottom of the trash can and dabbed a little vanilla behind my ear to make my husband think I’d been slaving away in the kitchen all day . . . I mean a FRIEND of mine did that! Hahaha!

  • Love those Mary B’s dumplings! My poor daughter was so deprived when she could not find them in Colorado….until I got there and bird-dogged those super stores until one began carrying them. Honestly, they are as good as my mother’s without all the hard, time-consuming work, and that’s a mighty big compliment to Mary B!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I think the “Big Box” store does carry them, but I wasn’t sure if that was nationwide, or just in our neck of the woods. Glad to know friend in Colorado can have Mary B’s!

  • Leslie Anne I could never match my mother and my grandmother’s chicken and dumplings so I just gave up!!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      I know what you mean. Even when I take the time to make them from scratch, it’s just not the same!

  • Chicken and Dumplin’s is one of my favorite dishes! This is my cooking style, too! Whether at home or while away on vacation, I will have to save this recipe! A southern classic and you are right, who would know I didn’t spend hours in the kitchen?! Only my puppy dog!

    • Leslie Anne says:

      It’s great when you’re in a hurry or like I was, away from home. I happen to know what a fabulous cook you are, so I’m sure you are usually in there rolling out the dough and boiling your chicken!

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