Craving a quick, hearty meal? Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup is a comforting copycat recipe from the Olive Garden. Make it for lunch or eat it as a meal for dinner. Let’s keep it simple and totally delicious!
Soup is on our menu all year round. We love to have a big bowl for dinner with crusty bread. This recipe is a delicious copycat of the Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup. This soup comes together quickly in about 30 to 40 minutes.Jump to Recipe
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Why You Will Love Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup
What Is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi are bite-size, soft dumplings made from potatoes, flour, and eggs. They are often made with ridges and served with various sauces, making them a tasty and versatile pasta alternative.
Frozen potato gnocchi, used in this recipe, is a satisfying substitute for the homemade version.
What Ingredients Are In Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup?
This easy Chicken Gnocchi Soup is made with simple, full-of-flavor ingredients combined in a creamy silky broth. Here is what you will need to make this recipe.
Chicken is the main protein in Olive Garden’s Chicken Gnocchi Soup recipe. This recipe calls for 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts however, you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken tenders as well. I like to use pre-cooked chicken from leftover rotisserie chicken or chickens I roast at home.
If you are not a chicken fan, see what you can substitute for chicken below.
Use the best chicken stock you can find. The chicken stock you use should have a nice rich chicken flavor. You can also use regular or low-sodium chicken broth, but they are not as flavorful as stock.
I make today’s recipe with my own chicken bone broth. It’s heartier than regular stock or broth. See how easy it is to make below.
Half And Half
This recipe calls for half and half or heavy cream to make the soup broth creamy and full-bodied. You can use milk, but it will make a thinner, less tasty broth.
Onions, carrots, celery, and garlic are the delicious aromatics used in this recipe. Aromatics are vegetables that are the foundation of flavor in a dish. They are sauteed in butter and olive oil to bring out their beautiful, deep flavors.
Baby spinach added to this soup ups the nutritional value and taste. Adding it into the soup for just a few minutes before serving it wilts the spinach a bit and retains its integrity. I used fresh spinach for this recipe, but you can also use frozen leaf spinach.
I use thyme and bay leaves in this recipe. Both add depth to the creamy soup broth. Thyme is a perfect pairing for chicken. I also add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the soup. It may not be in the Olive Garden version, but I like a little warmth in a cream soup.
You won’t taste the mustard in this soup, but it adds a bit of complexity to it. If you don’t have dry mustard, you can use a teaspoon of Dijon.
Butter And Olive Oil
The butter used to sautee the vegetables adds flavor, and the oil has a higher burn temperature. Butter and olive oil are heavenly combinations, giving this recipe even more flavor.
Making Your Own Chicken Stock
Making chicken stock is so easy, it just takes a little time! For this recipe, I made stock from two chicken carcasses I had in my refrigerator. The bones had some meat and skin on them, which helped give the stock more flavor. But really, it is all about the bones!
I put the carcasses in the Dutch oven I used to make the soup, along with one onion and two carrots (roughly chopped), celery leaves from a stalk of celery, and parsley. I also added two bay leaves, several peppercorns, and salt. Then I poured water into the Dutch oven to cover the carcass, put it on the stove, and brought the water to a boil.
When it came to a boil, I turned down the heat and let the ingredients gently simmer for a few hours, checking it occasionally, making sure the carcass was covered with liquid, adding more water when needed. My whole house smelled wonderful!
Then I put a large strainer over an 8-cup measuring cup and strained out all the solid contents leaving a gorgeous, rich chicken stock in the measuring cup. The delicious stock was ready to be used in the soup.
How To Make Copycat Olive Garden’s Chicken Gnocchi Soup Recipe
See the full printable recipe below.
Make this one-pot soup by melting butter and oil in a Dutch oven. Cook the aromatics until tender, sprinkle them with flour, and cook for a few minutes. Add the thyme, mustard, and a dash of crushed red pepper flakes stirring to combine.
Add chicken stock a little at a time, stirring constantly, and then alternate the rest of the chicken stock and cream, stirring until everything is combined and begins to thicken. Add the chicken and bring the soup to a boil, quickly reducing the heat to gently simmer.
When the chicken is done, remove it from the soup; when it is cool, cube or shred it.
Remove bay leaves.
Add the gnocchi and cook until tender. Add the spinach and salt and pepper to taste.
Tips For Success
Chicken Gnocchi Soup is so easy to make! Here are a few easy tips to guarantee success.
Simmer, don’t boil this soup. Boiling it, other than to bring it up to temp might break or separate the creamy broth.
The soup will continue to thicken as it is cooked. Add more chicken stock if it gets too thick.
Stir this soup often to ensure the ingredients on the bottom of the pot don’t burn.
Substitutions And Add-Ins
One of the amazing things about this Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup is how easy it is to make your own best version! Go ahead and use the ingredients you love best!
Add bacon to this soup. I love the smokey flavor a few strips of bacon can make. Start by cooking 4 strips of bacon in a Dutch oven until crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel, add two tablespoons of butter, and cook the aromatic veggies in the bacon fat. Crumble the cooked bacon and stir it into the finished soup.
Instead of adding flour to thicken the soup, you can substitute the flour for a cornstarch slurry by mixing one tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of chicken stock until combined and then whisk it into the soup once the stock begins to simmer.
Substitute cooked sweet or hot Italian sausage or diced ham instead of the chicken in the soup. I love this soup with sausage! You can also substitute crab meat or cod for a seafood version.
Use different combinations of herbs like rosemary and sage in this recipe.
Cooked diced potatoes in the creamy broth for a more stew-like soup.
Slow Cooker Version
Although the recipe in this post is for the stovetop version of Creamy Chicken Gnocchi, you can make it in a crockpot.
The process for making this soup in a slow cooker is a little different but just as easy. Start by sauteing the aromatics with butter and oil in a pan on the stove until translucent. Add the thyme, dried mustard, and red pepper flakes and cook for an additional minute. Add them to a slow cooker and top with the raw chicken. Add the chicken stock and all the other ingredients except the half and half, gnocchi, and spinach to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Remove the chicken and make sure it is cooked all the way through. If the chicken is not cooked, add it to the soup for another hour or until it is done. Add the gnocchi and cornstarch slurry and stir to mix. Cook for an additional hour. Add the half and half, cubed cooked chicken and spinach and heat until everything is done, about 30 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.
Storing this soup is easy, and I think leftovers almost always taste better! The flavors have a chance to marry together and deepen in flavor.
Keep leftover Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze this soup in an airtight container for up to three months. Freezing can change the texture of the soup because of the cream but does not affect the taste. It’s still delicious.
You can make the base of this soup. Cook everything except the half and half, chicken and gnocchi. Cool and freeze. Defrost and bring the soup to a simmer in a Dutch oven. Finish the soup according to the recipe.
What To Serve With Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup
This soup is hearty and only needs a side salad or bread.
Salads And Bread Recipes
Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 3 TBS butter
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 medium onions diced
- 2 sticks celery diced
- 1 medium carrot grated
- 2 cloves garlic pressed or finely diced
- 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried mustard
- 1/2 tsp dried pepper flakes
- 1/3 cup flour
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups half and half or heavy cream
- 3 chicken breast halves or 2-3 cups of diced cooked chicken
- 1 small bag frozen gnocchi 16-20 oz.
- 1-2 cups fresh spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese optional
- Add butter and olive oil to a Dutch oven and cook over medium heat until melted.
- Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, dry mustard, and red pepper flakes, and cook for a minute or two.
- Add the flour and combine with the vegetables. Cook for a couple of minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste and the flour is incorporated.
- Slowly add the chicken stock a little at a time, stirring constantly until the stock thickens a little.
- Add the raw chicken breasts. If using cooked chicken, it will be added later.
- Simmer the soup and when the chicken breast is thoroughly cooked remove it from the pot and set aside to cool. Dice or shred.
- Add the cream to the soup and gently simmer. Do not boil.
- When the soup simmers, add the gnocchi. Add the chicken.
- Gently simmer the gnocchi for 3 or 4 minutes. Do not boil.
- Add the spinach and simmer for another 3 minutes.
- Serve. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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If you love Olive Garden’s Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup, you will love this easy-to-make copycat recipe.