Chicken and dumplings is not a recipe I was familiar with nor did I encounter it in my childhood, but it’s a well-loved classic Southern American dish and I was excited to give it a bash when Instant Pot SA commissioned me to do the recipe and create the video. It’s the middle of winter in Cape Town and this is the perfect kind of comfort food for now.

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

What better place to start the recipe development than with Melissa Clark, an American food icon who has written a total of 38 cookbooks including 2 using the instant Pot: Comfort in an Instant and Dinner in an Instant. Chicken and dumplings is a dish that was born during the great depression as a way to stretch out a meal using humble ingredients. It consists of two stages, the first being when the chicken on the bone is cooked to make a rich stock that forms the base. The second phase is where the shredded chicken gets added back and where the dumplings get cooked. Nothing is wasted. The original recipe uses turnip, which is one of my least favourite vegetables so I substituted it for orange sweet potato. In many recipes, potatoes are used so this made sense. I’ve added bay leaves which are not classic but I love how they work with this, and I’ve changed the dumpling recipe as I found Melissa’s a little too dense for my liking and it cooked for too long. It’s very similar to the dumplings I made for my chicken casserole with red wine and only take 3 minutes of pressure cooking in the Instant Pot.

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is one of my favourite new appliances and it slashes the cooking time of so many recipes. Its digital and precise so you step away and allow your food to cook itself. I made a little video to show you how:

Instant Pot is available from all @Home stores and at takealot and Yuppiechef.

This dish teeters somewhere between a thick soup and a gravy so its best to eat it with a spoon.

Inspired by from Melissa Clark, New York Times Food Columnist


Chicken & dumplings

  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


For the chicken

  • 810 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on (aprox 1.11.5 kg)
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Carrots thickly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1.5 litres good quality chicken stock (use boiling water)
  • 1 medium orange sweet potato cut into large chunks (aprox 250gms)
  • Chopped fresh parsley to serve

For the dumplings

  • 2 cups / 250gms flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives or parsley
  • 200ml warm milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30gms butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs olive oil


  1. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and while it warms up, season the chicken pieces well with salt & pepper.
  2. When the Instant Pot screen says HOT, melt the butter in the pot and brown the chicken starting skin side down. Cook on both sides until golden brown. This will take approximately 5 minutes a side and you will need to do 2 batches. Set the chicken aside.
  3. With the Instant Pot still on Sauté and using the residual fat in the pot, add the carrot, celery, onion, bay leaves and garlic and fry – stirring frequently for about 10 minutes until softened.
  4. Add the ¼ cup flour and stir briefly until it starts to brown on the bottom of the pot. Add the stock and stir well to scrape off any bits stuck at the bottom or on the sides.
  5. Return the chicken pieces back into the broth and close the lid.  Move the vent up to Sealing Position and set to Pressure Cook on High for 10 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is cooking, make the dumpling mixture.
  7. In a large bowl sift the flour and baking powder and mix in the chopped chives/parsley. In a jug, mix the warmed milk, with the salt, melted butter and olive oil. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and briefly mix until combined and a thick dough has formed. Do not over mix this.
  8. After the chicken has completed cooking, manually release the pressure and open the lid. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside to cool.
  9. Add the sweet potatoes to the sauce. Using 2 teaspoons, scoop up the dumpling dough to make a ball shape and drop these around the surface of the sauce in an even layer. Close the lid of the Instant Pot, move vent up and Pressure Cook on High for 3 minutes. Allow a Natural Release of pressure for 15 minutes then do a manual release of any remaining pressure.
  10. While the dumplings are cooking, remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat off the bones. Set this shredded meat aside and add it back to the dumpling mixture once it has finished cooking. Allow a few minutes for this to warm through and then serve in a bowl and garnish with parsley.


  • Serving Size: 4


For my other recipes in the Instant Pot:

Vietnamese caramel salmon

Lamb shanks braised in red wine & rosemary

Gammon with ginger beer & rooibos

Confit duck legs with cherry sauce

How to make chicken & dumplings in the Instant Pot

*This post is sponsored by Instant Pot South Africa


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