Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)

This creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup tastes way better than Olive Garden and is simple, easy and delicious loaded with pillowy gnocchi, juicy chicken, and aromatic veggies all cooked in one pot!

This easy Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is wonderfully rich, and comforting with a fraction of the calories of the original!   Most of the prep time is hands off simmering for an ideal weeknight dinner which makes equally fabulous leftovers – and did I say one pot already?

top view of healthy olive garden chicken gnocchi soup recipe

Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Ever since I posted my (Better than Olive Garden), Zuppa Toscana recipe, I have been itching to make an Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup Copycat because I knew I could make it lighter while tasting equally delicious – and because gnocchi in soup – yasssss!

This lighter Chicken Gnocchi Soup is one of the most comforting, flavorful soups on the planet.  It’s super hearty but comes together quickly as most of the prep time is hands off waiting while the chicken breasts simmer in the soup until shreddable for extra juicy chicken (and YAY for no chopping raw chicken!).  If you want to make this Chicken Gnocchi Soup uber quickly, then you can also use shredded rotisserie chicken instead of raw chicken breasts and then just simmer the soup until thickened.

Along with chicken and potato gnocchi, this Chicken Gnocchi Soup boasts shredded carrots, celery, and spinach to stay true to the original, but you can always customize the veggies with your favs or whatever you have on hand.  Now add this Chicken Gnocchi Soup to your MUST TRY list because it is destined to become a family favorite forever and ever!

up close of healthy Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

What is Gnocchi?

Gnocchi are small dumplings made with a variety of ingredients but for our Chicken Gnocchi Soup, we are going to be using potato gnocchi.  Potato Gnocchi are, in essence, cooked potatoes mashed and combined with flour to create a dough that’s then rolled out and cut into small pieces then pressed with a fork to create ridges to hold sauce/broth.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of devouring gnocchi in soup, you are in for a treat. Gnocchi’s plump, pillowy texture and delicate flavor make them ideal to be smothered in rich, creamy broth. The are a fabulous pasta alternative that transform into melt-in-your-mouth, light, fluffy flavor bombs from cooking directly in the one pot soup.

Where Can I find Gnocchi at my grocery store?

Pre-packaged gnocchi can either be found fresh in the refrigerated section, frozen in the freezer section, or dried on the shelve with other pastas.  I recommend fresh gnocchi as my first choice followed by frozen.

If using frozen gnocchi, take care to not thaw them first.  Simply add your frozen gnocchi directly to the soup.  If allowed to thaw first, they will turn into soggy mashed potatoes.

Dried potato gnocchi are the driest of the bunch just as their name implies. Because of this lack of moisture, the dried shelf gnocchi tend to fall apart somewhat and would be my last choice.

top view of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup with matchstick carrots, shredded rotisserie chicken

How to Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup (tips and Tricks!)

This Chicken Gnocchi Soup is very simple but here are a few tips and tricks to make your Oliver Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup the best ever!

  • Substitute chopped or sliced carrots. This recipe calls for matchstick carrots like the Olive Garden original but if you don’t want to purchase matchstick carrots or already have carrots on hand, then substitute chopped or sliced carrots and cook them with the onions and celery and NOT when the recipe calls for matchstick carrots otherwise they will not cook through.
  • Use low sodium chicken broth. We use both chicken broth and chicken bouillon in this recipe so it is crucial to use low sodium chicken broth or your soup could be too salty.  The additional chicken bouillon adds an intense chicken flavor characteristic of the Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup.
Showing how to make easy Chicken Gnocchi Soup by adding chicken and seasonings to soup in a white dutch oven
  • Whisk cornstarch until smooth.  Along with chicken broth, we use milk whisked with cornstarch for the soup base. You can whisk the cornstarch with as little as ½ cup milk, just enough so it dissolves completely into a smooth slurry. The cornstarch thickens the milk and makes it behave like heavy cream so we get all the richness without the fat.
  • Pound chicken to an even thickness so it cooks uniformly and remains juicy through and through.
  • Stir occasionally. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender enough to shred with a fork. You will want to stir occasionally so the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom and so the soup thickens evenly
  • Simmer until chicken is shredable. Thinner chicken breasts might cook in less time, thicker chicken breasts might require more time, so check occasionally if chicken is tender enough to shred because you don’t want to overcook your chicken. Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred when cool enough to handle.
Showing how to make best Chicken Gnocchi Soup by shredding chicken on a cutting board with two silver forks to go back in soup
  • Simmer gnocchi just until cooked. While chicken is resting, we stir in gnocchi and shredded carrots into the soup and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or just until the gnocchi are cooked.  Each brand of gnocchi is slightly different, as are stoves, but cooked gnocchi will float.  When in doubt, just taste a gnocchi to see if they are cooked 😊.
Showing how to make healthy Chicken Gnocchi Soup by adding potato gnocchi to soup in a white dutch oven
  • Customize thickness of soup. If you would like a less “chunky” soup, simply add additional half and half or milk and heat through.
Showing how to make best Chicken Gnocchi Soup by adding spinach to soup with shredded chicken
  • Add milk to leftovers. Leftovers are fabulous but the gnocchi will suck up some of the creamy broth so be prepared to stir in additional milk to thin it back out.
up close of healthy Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Now sit back and slurp up a big bowl of hearty Chicken Gnocchi Soup with a big chunk of dunkable crusty bread.  Because it’s not quite sandal weather yet.

top view of healthy chicken gnocchi soup recipe

IF YOU LOVE THIS CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP, YOU WILL LOVE THESE SOUP RECIPES WITH PASTA!  

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WANT TO TRY THIS OLIVE GARDEN CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP RECIPE?

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

up close of Chicken Gnocchi Soup with one potato gnocchi in a silver spoon
top view of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup with matchstick carrots, shredded rotisserie chicken

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

This creamy ONE POT Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is simple, easy and delicious loaded with pillowy gnocchi, juicy chicken, aromatic veggies. This easy Chicken Gnocchi Soup is wonderfully rich, and comforting with a fraction of the calories of the original!   Most of the prep time is hands off simmering for an ideal weeknight dinner which makes equally fabulous leftovers – and did I say one pot already?
Servings: 8 servings
Total Time: 45 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins

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Ingredients

Add later:

  • 2-3 cups half and half
  • 1 16 oz. pkg. potato gnocchi**
  • 1 cup Matchstick carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups packed chopped spinach

Instructions

  • Melt butter in olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery and sauté for 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes (if using) and sauté 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook, while stirring, an additional 2 minutes.
  • Turn heat to low and stir in chicken broth. Whisk cornstarch with milk (you can whisk with as little as 1 cup milk, just enough so it dissolves) and add to pot. Add chicken, Dijon, bay leaves and all seasonings.
  • Increase heat to high, cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and keep covered. Simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and replacing lid, until chicken is tender enough to shred with a fork. Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred when cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, add half and half to the soup and bring to a simmer. Stir in gnocchi and shredded carrots and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or just until the gnocchi are cooked. Stir in spinach and shredded chicken and heat through, approximately 1 minute.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste (I like more salt) and add additional half and half or milk if desired for a less “chunky” soup and warm through.
  • Garnish individual servings with Parmesan and fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

*May substitute 2 ½ cups shredded rotisserie chicken.  If using shredded chicken, do NOT add chicken to simmering soup, instead add it when the recipe calls for shredded chicken.
**Look for potato gnocchi in the refrigerated or frozen foods section.  If using frozen gnocchi, do NOT thaw before adding to soup.
***May sub chopped or sliced carrots and sauté them with the celery and onion.

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36 Comments

  1. 2pots2cook says

    This is so beautiful ! I must say, also, I truly enjoy your works ! Thank you so much !

    • Jen says

      You are so sweet, thank you so much!

  2. Michelle says

    I was so excited to see this in my email because I love this soup from Olive Garden so I had to make it right away- yours was hands down way better than Olive Gardens – as I suspected it would be . Thanks for another family favorite!

    • Jen says

      That is awesome you made this Gnocchi Soup already and I’m thrilled it’s a new favorite! Thanks so much for making my recipes Michelle and for taking the time to comment!

  3. Carol F. says

    This soup was completely amazing. I love it so much. I am making it again tonight. Just a note…your blog name is not on the recipe. I had to google the description to be sure of where I had gotten the recipe. I just want you to get credit. My mouth is watering!

  4. Sue says

    I think this soup saved my daughters life . She was so sick and reached that point where she just couldn’t face any food. I knew her favorite food ever is gnocchi so I decided to try this. She had a little cup, then another one, then a small bowl later ! She loved it and was in tears at how good it tasted! Thank you so much!

    • Jen says

      Oh my goodness Sue, I cannot tell you how much your comment means to me – I am teary at the thought of it. I am humbled and grateful that my soup helped your daughter be able to eat! It reminds me of when I was so sick before my lung transplant and food was such a challenge and my mom would make anything I thought I could swallow. I know you are your daughter’s angel here on earth. I pray for your family and for her improved health! xo

      • Sue says

        8 lbs! She has gained 8 lbs! We are ok. It’s been a long time, we just need to keep moving forward. Thank you for your prayers and cravings. You get it! Best wishes for all your challenges too.

        • Jen says

          8 pounds is wonderful! I hope and pray she continues that awesome trend! All my love! xo

  5. Cheryl says

    Can this be frozen? I wanted to make a double batch and freeze some, but wasn’t sure with the gnocchi if it could be frozen or not. Thanks for another great recipe and beautiful photography.

    • Jen says

      Hi Cheryl, thank you for your kind words! I have never frozen this gnocchi soup before but in theory, it won’t freeze well due to the dairy and gnocchi – sorry!

  6. Tanvi says

    I have tried a few of your recipes, your Thai chicken noodle soup being the first! This recipe is ANAZING!! I love how this soup tasted better than the Olive Garden version without a lot of the guilt Thank you for posting such wonderful recipes that make for a great weekday meal

    • Jen says

      Hi Tanvi, thank you so much for making my recipes, I’m so pleased you’re enjoying them! I’m so glad this Chicken Gnocchi Soup was another winner. I hope you continue to find new recipes to love here!

  7. Lee says

    Very tasty! Make sure you use a big pot because it almost went to the top with mine! We added a little bit more garlic than stated in the recipe and that definitely did the trick. I had previously done a different recipe for this same soup and it wasn’t great. This, however, tasted JUST like Olive Garden’s. 10/10.

    • Jen says

      Sorry for the delay Lee as I’m catching up on comments but THANK YOU so much for commenting! I’m honored you gave this Chicken Gnocchi Soup a 10/10 -the ultimate compliment!

  8. Kelli says

    I don’t have a dutch oven! What should I do?

    • Jen says

      You can use a large soup pot – enjoy!

  9. Kelli says

    If I don’t have a Dutch oven, what’s the next best option?

    • Jen says

      Any large soup pot is great!

  10. Lindsey says

    This was SOOO GOOOD!! We just love your recipes! When ever I want to make something different, I always check if you have a recipe for it first! Thanks for sharing

    • Jen says

      YAY! I’m so pleased you loved this Chicken Gnocchi Soup Lindsey and I’m honored you’re loving my recipes! Thanks for making my day!

  11. Hami says

    What I can use instead of corn starch?

    • Jen says

      Cornstarch thickens the soup without having to use heavy cream so you can either replace the half and half with heavy cream or increase the flour by 1/4 cup in the beginning of the recipe. If you increase the flour, you will have to increase the butter by 2 T and the olive oil by 2 T. Hope that helps!

  12. Gayle A VanGessel says

    Have you tried substituting almond milk for the milk and canned coconut milk for the half and half? Trying to make this gluten and dairy free…

    • Jen says

      I haven’t, sorry! I think that should work though.

  13. Kristen says

    Hi! The recipe calls for 3 cups milk, and when it says whisk cornstarch with milk as little as 1cup, is this when I add the 3 cups milk?

    • Jen says

      Yes Kristen. You just need to whisk the cornstarch with some of the milk (as little as one cup or you can whisk it with all of it, if the milk is in a large measuring cup) so it’s fully dissolved before being added to the soup.

  14. Beth says

    I’ve made this soup twice now and it’s a crowd favorite! It’s so delicious. I make my own bone broth and gnocchi and wow. Delicious. Thanks for an amazing recipe ❤️

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Beth! You take it to a whole new level with your homemade broth and gnocchi!

  15. Alex says

    This soup is amazing. So easy, so flavourful! I used rotisserie chicken which worked great. I can’t wait to make it again!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Alex, I’m so pleased you loved it so much! Great swap with the chicken!

  16. Karen says

    Made this on Sunday, followed the recipe except for the gnocchi- substituted cavatelli instead. And it was delicious!!! Leftovers are a bit thick, but I added some chicken broth for lunch and it was great again!!!!!
    Definitely a keeper!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Karen, I love hearing it was a huge hit! Cavatelli sounds delicious too!

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