You can make this easy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup recipe at home in only 20 minutes – no need to go to the Olive Garden! It’s creamy and luscious and the ultimate comfort food, loaded with veggies including spinach, with herbs, shredded chicken, and pillowy potato gnocchi. Stirring parmesan cheese in at the end makes the soup extra thick and flavorful and packed with Italian flavor!
If you’re looking for a comforting soup for a cold night, look no further. This chicken gnocchi soup has all the flavors of chicken pot pie, with an Italian twist, but it’s SO much easier to make.
This soup is quite similar to my chicken and dumplings (you all LOVE that recipe with over 100 five-star ratings!), but this one is even faster and easier because you use prepared gnocchi instead of making dumplings from scratch!
You’re going to love the flavor of thyme and oregano, the creamy and luscious thick texture, and the rich flavor of this chicken gnocchi soup. Not to mention how QUICKLY it comes together when you use store-bought gnocchi (which cooks in three minutes) and pre-cooked shredded chicken!
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cooked, shredded chicken – Rotisserie chicken is great for this, but I whipped up a batch of chicken breasts in my slow cooker for a healthier option. You can also poach chicken breasts, cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker, or use leftover roast chicken.
- Potato Gnocchi – I used store-bought potato gnocchi for this. You can find it in the pasta aisle in your grocery store. Feel free to use ricotta gnocchi or homemade potato gnocchi. For a low carb version, try pre-made cauliflower gnocchi, and use gluten-free gnocchi if needed.
- Spinach – I used baby spinach, which I roughly chopped. You can use mature fresh spinach, or frozen (thawed and drained) if you prefer, or even another green like chopped kale.
- Chicken stock – I used homemade chicken stock. Vegetable stock, or a boullion based broth, will work fine.
- Half and half – you can use heavy cream for a richer taste, or whole milk for a lighter version. You can use low-fat or skim milk in a pinch, but be aware that the texture will not be as rich.
- Herbs: Oregano and Thyme – One or the other is fine, or a pre-mixed Italian seasoning will work as well.
- Veggies: Garlic, Onion, Carrots, and Celery
- All-purpose flour – this is used to make a roux to thicken the soup. Use GF if needed, or another thickener such as arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
- Parmesan Cheese – Romano or another hard Italian cheese can be used instead, or even another shredded cheese like cheddar or mozzarella melted into the soup in the end.
- Butter, salt, and pepper – Olive oil can be used instead if you prefer.
How to make Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- First, sauté onion, carrots, and celery in butter with thyme and oregano.
- Then, add some minced garlic and sauté until fragrant (only about 15 seconds).
- Add some flour and stir to coat, continuing to cook for a minute or so until the flour coats everything and the raw flour taste is cooked out.
- Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil.
- Add the gnocchi (be careful of splashing!) and cook until the gnocchi float to the top, which only takes about three minutes. They may be a little stuck together- try to separate them out before adding to the soup.
- Finally, stir in the shredded chicken, half and half, chopped spinach, and parmesan cheese. Continue heating and stirring until the cheese is melted, the spinach is wilted, and the chicken is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and you’re done!
Tips and Tricks
- This soup cooks quickly, which means the celery, carrots, and onions don’t have much time to really soften. They come out a bit crunchy, which I liked. But if you prefer really soft veggies, I recommend either sautéing in the beginning for a longer time until they are really soft, or really finely dicing the onion and celery and grating the carrot (reducing their size will decrease the time it takes to soften them).
- Wait until the end to add salt and pepper – the chicken stock you use, the cooked chicken, and the parmesan cheese all will add salt and flavor to the soup, so it’s impossible to estimate the exact amount you’ll need. You won’t likely need much, so just wait until you can taste it at the end.
Can you freeze it?
Yup! Chicken gnocchi soup freezes really well. Just wait for it to cool a bit, then freeze it in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Are the leftovers good?
Oh my goodness YES! That makes this chicken gnocchi soup a great make ahead recipe or meal prep for the week.
This batch makes a lot. My family and I had this for dinner (with a loaf of crusty no knead bread), and then for lunches for the next two days.
Leftovers will stay good in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
Other easy Italian-inspired soup recipes
- Zuppa Toscana (another Olive Garden copycat recipe)
- Lasagna Soup
- Green Minestrone Soup
- Italian Spinach, Orzo, and Meatball Soup
- Winter Minestrone Soup with root vegetables and quinoa
- Rosemary Minestrone Soup with butternut squash
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Creamy Italian Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion diced (about 1.5 cups)
- 2 large carrots diced (about 1.5 cups)
- 2 ribs celery plus leaves if available, diced (about 1.5 cups)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock/broth preferably low-sodium
- 16 oz. potato gnocchi store-bought or homemade
- 2 cups cooked shredded or chopped chicken such as rotisserie or leftover roast chicken
- 2 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach (about 5 oz.)
- 1 cup half and half or whole milk, or heavy cream
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 3 oz.)
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter (2 tablespoons) over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion (1), diced carrots (2), diced celery (2 ribs), the thyme (1 teaspoon), and the oregano (1 teaspoon). Stir to coat in the butter and sauté until vegetables are softened and browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
- Add the minced garlic (2 cloves), stir, and sauté until fragrant (about 15-30 seconds).
- Add the flour (1/4 cup) and stir to coat the veggies. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Pour in the chicken broth (4 cups) and stir to scrape up any stuck-on bits on the bottom and make sure all the flour is dissolved. Bring to a gentle boil.
- Add the gnocchi (16 oz.) and simmer uncovered for about 3 minutes, until gnocchi are cooked and start to float to the top.
- Stir in the cooked chicken (2 cups), chopped fresh spinach (2 cups), half and half (1 cup), and grated parmesan (3/4 cup). Continue heating and stirring frequently until spinach is wilted, cheese is melted, and chicken is heated through (about 3 minutes).
- Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Serve.
- For a gluten-free version, make sure to use gluten-free flour and gluten-free gnocchi.
- For a lower-carb version, use cauliflower gnocchi and skip the all-purpose flour/roux step (the soup will be thinner).
- For a lighter version, use milk instead of half and half, 1/2 cup of parmesan, and chicken breast meat.
- Because this soup cooks so fast, the celery, carrots, and onions may be a bit crunchy. If you prefer softer veggies, sauté them for longer, or really finely dice the onion and celery and grate the carrots.
- Large Pot or Dutch Oven