Easy Drop Dumplings for Stew

Easy drop dumplings in bowls with chunky beef stew

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 6 to 8 dumplings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
78 Calories
2g Fat
13g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 78
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 5mg 2%
Sodium 273mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 89mg 7%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 41mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These drop dumplings are the perfect finishing touch for a hearty chicken or beef stew. While it may seem daunting to make dumplings from scratch, it only requires a few ingredients and is just as easy as using biscuit mix. This recipe calls for all-purpose flour, so there's no need to have self-rising flour on hand. Self-rising flour is just all-purpose flour with leavening added, so including some baking powder will yield fluffy, tender dumplings.

The dumplings cook to biscuit-like perfection on a pot of bubbling stew. They're relatively light, too. The only fat is 1 tablespoon of butter plus enough milk to moisten the dough. They're a nice alternative to baked biscuits or yeast rolls, and they take just a few minutes of preparation. Just mix the ingredients and drop them onto the bubbling stew.

You can add a teaspoon or two of fresh chopped parsley or chives to the dough for a little color and fresh flavor. Your stew with drop biscuits is a one-pot meal but serve with a nice, crisp salad on the side for a feast.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened

  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk (to moisten)

  • Beef or chicken stew, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy drop dumplings for stew recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

    Flour, baking powder, and salt being mixed in a glass bowl with a spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Cut in the butter and parsley (if using) until blended using a fork.

    Butter being worked into flour mixture with a fork to a homogenous consistency

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Stir in the milk to form a wet dough. It should be a thick dough but thin enough to drop from a wet spoon.

    Milk added to mixture and stirred to make a thick, wet dough, not runny but thin enough to be dropped from a wet spoon

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Heat the stew until it is simmering. Drop spoonfuls of the soft dough onto the simmering stew. Try to drop the dumplings on top of the vegetables so they won't sink too far into the liquid.

    Spoon filled with dough dropping unevenly shaped dumplings on top of beef stew in pot

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes and then cover the pan tightly and cook for about 10 minutes longer (20 minutes total). Stir a few times to keep the stew from scorching.

    Drop dumplings firmed up and puffed after cooking in an uncovered pot of beef stew

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Serve and enjoy.

    Three easy drop dumplings in a portion-size bowl with chunky beef stew

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga


  • Keep in mind that the batter will be lumpy, so don’t over-mix it trying to get a smooth consistency or the dumplings might become tough and not rise as much.
  • The dumplings expand and get larger as they cook, so a heaping dinner spoon of batter creates six large dumplings. Spoon a little smaller than you might for a drop cookie and you’ll get eight or more dumplings.

Recipe Variations

  • Cheddar dumplings: Add about 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to the dumpling mixture before you add the milk.
  • Old-fashioned fruit dumplings: Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar to the dumpling mixture. If desired, add about 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Drop onto boiling fruit in syrup. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes longer.
  • Cobbler topping: Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and about 1/3 cup of chopped pecans, if desired. Drop onto a fruit cobbler filling and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, if desired. Bake as directed, or until the cobbler is bubbling and the topping has browned. 

How to Tell When the Dumplings Are Done

The dumplings are done cooking when they are puffed and risen. If you slice into one, it should be cooked all the way through with no liquid batter left.

Why Didn't the Dumplings Rise?

Double-check that you added the correct amount of baking powder and that it's not out of date. Additionally, if the dumplings don't have room to grow in the pan, they may not rise properly. Make sure to drop them spaced apart and on top of meat and vegetables so that they aren't submerged into the stew. Lastly, don't forget to put the lid on for the last 10 minutes of cooking so that the dumplings can properly steam and puff up.

Why Are the Dumplings Chewy?

Make sure you use the right proportion of ingredients and don't overmix the batter. Overcooking can also make dumplings chewy, so cook them just until they are puffed and cooked through and then remove from the heat and serve.