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?
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!
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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 😊.
- Customize thickness of soup. If you would like a less “chunky” soup, simply add additional half and half or milk and heat through.
- 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.
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.
IF YOU LOVE THIS CHICKEN GNOCCHI SOUP, YOU WILL LOVE THESE SOUP RECIPES WITH PASTA!
- Creamy White Bean, Ham Tortellini Soup
- Minestrone Soup
- White Chicken Lasagna Soup
- Creamy Basil Parmesan Italian Soup
- Chicken Tortellini Soup
- Lasagna Soup
Looking for more soup recipes?
- Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup
- Tomato Basil Soup
- Chicken Fajita and Rice Soup
- Crock Pot Potato Soup
- New England Clam Chowder
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Chicken Gnocchi Soup
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- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- pinch-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/3 cup flour
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded to an even thickness*
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, pepper
- 2-3 cups half and half
- 1 16 oz. pkg. potato gnocchi**
- 1 cup Matchstick carrots
- 2 1/2 cups packed chopped spinach
- 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.
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