Save any broken tortilla pieces in your freezer to make dumplings.

How to Cook Chicken & Dumplings With Soft Tortilla Shells

by Samantha Lowe

Preparing chicken and dumplings in the traditional manner is a labor-intensive process that requires simmering savory chicken soup before dropping in your homemade dumplings one by one. The starch in the dumplings then gently thickens the soup -- the longer they remain in the simmering liquid, the more stew-like the soup becomes. The use of tortillas eliminates the step of preparing the dumpling dough, but the thickening process is the same: The longer you simmer the strips of the flatbread, the more stew-like the dish becomes.

Cut the boneless chicken breasts into 1/2-inch pieces on a cutting board. Alternatively, you can use bone-in chicken pieces for added flavor. If using bone-in chicken, cook it in boiling water for about 20 minutes. Remove it from the pot, let it cool, and then take it off the bone. Discard all the bones.

Pour the chicken broth or cream of chicken soup, according to your preference, into the large pot. Add the amount of water called for on the packaging, whisking thoroughly.

Place the pot on the stove and turn the burner to medium-high heat, bringing the soup/stock mixture to a simmer. Sprinkle in the desired herbs or spices to make the soup more fragrant and savory as it cooks. Chili, cumin and coriander work well with this dish, as does oregano and basil.

Add the chicken to the pot. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Slice the tortillas into 1-inch wide strips on the second cutting board. Cut them into additional, smaller pieces if desired. Add the tortillas individually to the pot. This keeps them from sticking together during the cooking process.

Simmer the chicken and tortillas for an additional 10 to 20 minutes, letting the starch from the flatbread thicken the liquid. Leave the flatbread in the soup for at least one hour if desiring a more stew-like consistency.

Add frozen corn, drained black beans, chopped fresh bell peppers, or any other desired vegetables, for more texture and flavor when your dish is almost ready. For example, frozen corn only needs about three to four minutes to cook, while canned black beans heat thoroughly in just a few minutes.

Serve right away or let cool and refrigerate at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below for up to 2 days.

Items you will need

  • Can of condensed chicken broth or cream of chicken soup
  • Water
  • Whisk
  • Desired spices and herbs (optional)
  • Chicken breasts or bone-in chicken
  • 2 cutting boards
  • Knife
  • Large pot
  • Salt
  • Flour tortillas
  • Frozen corn, drained black beans, or chopped fresh bell peppers (optional)


  • This method of making dumplings is also great for camping, as you can easily transport the tortillas and they do not require refrigeration.


  • Always ensure that your chicken is heated to at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature, as it can carry harmful bacteria if not completely cooked through.

About the Author

Based in Kingston, Canada, Samantha Lowe has been writing for publication since 2006. She has written articles for the "Mars' Hill" newspaper and copy for various design projects. Her design and copy for the "Mars' Hill" won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker award in 2008. Lowe holds an Honors BA from Trinity Western University, and a MSc in Occupational Therapy from Queen's University where she is currently doing her PhD.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images