This Gnocchi Soup is creamy, comforting, all made in one pot and couldn’t be any more scrumptious!
This Gnocchi Soup is one of my all-time favorite soups! It’s loaded with pillowy gnocchi, Italian sausage, garlic, basil and veggies enveloped in a creamy tomato Parmesan broth. It’s easy to make, versatile and pantry friendly – you can swap the sausage for ground beef, turkey or chicken and the veggies for your favs. This gnocchi soup makes a scrumptious, one pot weeknight dinner (but is tasty enough for company!) and reheats beautifully for prep ahead dinner or lunches. Serve your gnocchi soup with breadsticks and roasted asparagus and watch the family go back for seconds and thirds…
(Don’t miss the recipe video below the photo)
Italian soups always boast serious taste bud swag. This latest Gnocchi Soup joins a long list of must-try recipes: Zuppa Toscana, Lasagna Soup, White Chicken Lasagna Soup, Chicken Gnocchi Soup, Minestrone Soup, Tomato Basil Soup, Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup, Italian Wedding Soup and Sausage Tortellini Soup. What’s your favorite?
How to make Gnocchi Soup Recipe Video
gnocchi SOUP recipe
This gnocchi soup recipe is based off of my creamy Italian basil soup which has long been a reader’s favorite. This gnocchi soup version still boasts everything you love about the original including the aromatic Italian garlic, parsley, oregano, basil flavors with sautéed onions, carrots, and celery but in this gnocchi soup version, I’ve swapped the chicken for Italian sausage and the macaroni for gnocchi to create a version I like even more. You simply can’t beat, tender, gnocchi and juicy Italian sausage!
Delicious! This gnocchi soup is elevated even further by stirring Parmesan cheese and fresh basil directly into the broth to create a recipe you simply can’t live without. You will crave this soup, dream about this soup, have to eat this soup! Every spoonful is a warm, savory symphony of flavors and textures swaddled in the in the creamy Parmesan basil broth.
Easy and make ahead friendly. What you’ll especially love about this gnocchi soup, aside from its 5-star deliciousness, is how easy it is (just watch the video!). It’s all made in one pot and most of the time is hands off simmering. Simply brown the sausage with the veggies, add the flour, broth and seasonings, simmer, then stir in the half and half, gnocchi and basil. Done and done! This gnocchi soup can even be prepped ahead or you can make it 100% ahead of time because it tastes just as good, or even better the next day!
Pantry friendly. You’ll also love that the ingredients for this gnocchi soup recipe are pantry friendly -you can even use frozen gnocchi and freeze your Italian sausage until ready to use (exactly what I used for this recipe) or substitute it with ground beef or chicken, although the sausage would definitely be my first choice. The veggies are also flexible as well, just add whatever you have on hand! To that end, I’ve included an entire section on how to customize this recipe – because it’s all about the creamy tomato basil Parmesan broth!
WHAT IS GNOCCHI?
Gnocchi are small dumplings made with a variety of ingredients but for our gnocchi soup recipe, we are going to use potato gnocchi. Potato gnocchi are, in essence, cooked potatoes mashed and combined with flour to create a dough that’s 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. They 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 shelf with other pastas. I recommend fresh gnocchi as my first choice followed by frozen gnocchi. That being said, I have also used dried gnocchi when they were all that was available and they still turned out tasty in this soup – so essentially, any type of gnocchi will work for this recipe!
If using frozen gnocchi, do 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.
gnocchi soup RECIPE INGREDIENTS
This gnocchi soup recipe is made with pantry friendly ingredients that are easy to find at your grocery store but will transport your taste buds to Italy. They key to the exploding flavor is to build layers of flavor by first browning the sausage with the mirepoix and then sautéing the aromatic garlic before adding the broth, then finishing it all off with fresh Parmesan and fresh basil. To make this gnocchi recipe, you will need:
- Gnocchi: are potato dumplings that cook directly in the soup. You can use fresh, frozen or dried.
- Italian sausage: I prefer hot Italian Sausage – it will not make your gnocchi soup spicy, just flavorful. Italian sausage comes seasoned with Italian seasonings, primarily fennel. Fennel is crucial for authentic Italian flavor so if you swap the sausage for beef or turkey, make sure you add some Italian seasonings, fennel and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Parmesan cheese: adds a salty richness. Only use finely, freshly grated – no pre-grated or powdered stuff in this recipe!
- Onion: one diced yellow onion.
- Garlic: 4-6 garlic cloves depending on your garlic love.
- Carrots: chop the carrots small, about ¼-inch cubes.
- Celery: should also be chopped small, about ¼-inch.
- Red bell pepper: adds a subtle sweetness. Don’t chop the bell peppers too small or they’ll get lost.
- Fire roasted diced tomatoes: are tomatoes that have been roasted which gives them a complex smokiness and removes the acidic bite. Fire roasted tomatoes are located next to the traditional diced tomatoes – just make sure you purchase the ones without any added seasonings. You can use plain diced tomatoes if you can’t locate fire roasted.
- Chicken Broth: take care your chicken broth is low sodium otherwise your gnocchi soup will be too salty. Using low sodium broth also allows us to use chicken bouillon which amps up the flavor.
- Chicken bouillon: use bouillon powder, bouillon cubes or better than bouillon. Add to the soup without dissolving in liquid first. If using cubes, you will need 3 which you crush up and then add directly to the broth.
- Half and Half: I often don’t keep half and half on hand, but keep heavy cream on hand. If you’re like me, you can substitute the half and half with half cream and half milk. For a healthier alternative you may substitute the half and half with evaporated milk mixed with 1 additional tablespoon cornstarch.
- Flour: helps thicken the gnocchi soup by creating a roux. You may substitute with gluten free all-purpose flour.
- Cornstarch: also helps thicken the soup which allows us to use lower calorie half and half as opposed to heavy cream.
- Basil: fresh basil infuses the soup with complex notes of sweet and savory, with hints of mint, anise, and pepper.
- Seasonings: dried parsley, dried oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper season our soup to perfection.
- Red pepper flakes: 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes enliven the gnocchi soup. It does not make the soup spicy, but does add a kick. If you know you are sensitive to spice, then start with a pinch and add more to taste.
CAN I USE ALL FRESH HERBS or all dried herbs?
This gnocchi soup recipe boasts a custom blend of Italian herbs. I used a combination of dried herbs and fresh herbs for convenience and to infuse the broth with flavor while really highlighting the fresh basil. You can, however, use all fresh herbs or all dried herbs, whatever is most convenient for you, but please try and use fresh basil one of these times!
- To use fresh herbs, you will need 3x the amount. Always add fresh herbs towards the end of cooking so they stay fresh and flavorful.
- To use dried basil, it’s trickier to convert the loosely packed basil to dried, so I would start with 1 teaspoon then add more to taste. Add dried herbs with the broth so they can simmer and unlock their flavor.
CAN I USE VEGETABLE BROTH INSTEAD?
I do not recommend vegetable broth because it’s not as flavorful as chicken broth. That doesn’t mean you can’t use vegetable broth, but it does mean the soup will not taste as flavorful.
CAN I ADD OTHER VEGETABLES?
Absolutely! I’ve stuck with the basics, but you can add zucchini, mushrooms, green beans, etc. I’ve included all sorts of variations below.
is gnocchi gluten free?
No, gnocchi is traditionally not gluten free. While potatoes are the primary ingredient, flour is typically used as a binder.
CAN I MAKE THE SOUP GLUTEN FREE?
Yes! If you want to make gluten free gnocchi soup, use gluten-free flour and gluten free gnocchi such as Trader Joe’s gnocchi. Trader Joe’s gnocchi is made of about 75% cauliflower and the rest is a mix of cassava flour, (a gluten-free flour made from cassava/yuca root), potato starch, olive oil, and sea salt.
CAN I MAKE THE SOUP VEGAN?
You can make this soup vegan, but it will not taste the same due to may substitutions, still it will be tasty, just different. To make vegan gnocchi soup, omit the sausage, use all olive oil to sauté the vegetables, replace the chicken broth with vegetable broth, replace the half and half with plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk of your choice whisked with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.
WHAT CAN I PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME?
This gnocchi soup recipe is very simple but it does require some prep work as far as chopping vegetables. You can save time by:
- Prep mirepoix: the carrots, onions and celery can all be chopped a couple days ahead of time, the night before dinner or just a few hours before cooking then stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The garlic can also be minced and stored separately.
- Measure Spices: it doesn’t take long to measure out the spices, but you can certainly do it beforehand and store the mix in an airtight bag or container. You can also chop your fresh basil and refrigerate it in an airtight container.
- Parmesan: can be finely freshly grated and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
HOW TO MAKE gnocchi soup
You are going to love how easy this gnocchi soup recipe is! Most of the work involves chopping vegetables and the rest is hands-off simmering. Here are step by step photos showing how to make gnocchi soup or you can also watch the “How to Make Gnocchi Soup” recipe video.
- Brown sausage with mirepoix: Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large soup pot/Dutch oven over medium heat-high. Add sausage, onion, carrots and celery and cook until sausage is cooked through and onions are tender. Don’t drain the drippings afterward because we are going to use the grease instead of adding additional butter to cook the flour. Add red bell pepper, garlic, red pepper (if using) and sauté 30 seconds.
- Cook flour: Sprinkle in flour and cook two additional minutes. The mixture will become quite thick so it’s important to constantly stir so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add remaining ingredients: Whisk cornstarch with ½ cup chicken broth then gradually stir into the soup followed by remaining broth, tomatoes, bouillon, seasonings and bay leaves. When adding the cornstarch, you can whisk it with as little or as much broth as you like, just so it dissolves.
- Simmer until the vegetables are tender. Bring to a boil; cover leaving about a 1-inch opening, and reduce to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally and replacing the lid.
- Add Parmesan, half and half and gnocchi. Stir in Parmesan cheese until smooth followed by half and half. Bring the soup to a simmer then stir in gnocchi and fresh basil. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or just until the gnocchi are cooked.
- Adjust to taste. 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.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR BEST GNOCCHI SOUP RECIPE
This gnocchi soup recipe is pretty straightforward, but here are some helpful tricks and tips for the best gnocchi soup:
- Use hot Italian sausage. This gnocchi soup recipe will work with beef, turkey or chicken, but it doesn’t get any better than juicy, flavorful sausage.
- Alternate ground protein. You can swap the sausage for lean ground beef or turkey seasoned with Italian seasonings, fennel and a pinch of red pepper flakes to mimic Italian sausage.
- Don’t skip mirepoix. This recipe boasts the combination of carrots, onions and celery sautéed in flavorful drippings. They are known as the holy trinity of cooking and provide a richness and depth of flavor that can’t be achieved any other way. Please don’t skip unless you can’t get your hands on these ingredients.
- Customize vegetables. In addition to the mirepoix, you can add whatever veggies you have on hand or mix it up just for fun! Green beans, zucchini, cabbage, bell peppers etc. Just be aware most vegetables only need 10 minutes to cook – see my detailed instructions in the Variations section.
- Red pepper flakes. I only suggest using red pepper flakes if you want a spicier soup because the sausage already will have a little kick. We love heat at our house, so we use both. You may also use mild Italian sausage and add red pepper flakes to taste.
- Scale recipe. You can halve this recipe if you don’t have a large family and don’t want leftovers. If you do love leftovers (raising my hand high), then you will love leftover gnocchi soup for an easy lunch or dinner!
- Consistency. You can make this gnocchi soup more or less “chunky” or more or less creamy. For a less chunky soup, simply add additional broth or half and half at the end of cooking.
HOW DO YOU THICKEN gnocchi SOUP?
This gnocchi soup should already be rich and creamy due to the flour and the half and half. If you would like to thicken the gnocchi soup, you can either:
- Cornstarch: Remove some broth from the soup and whisk in 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch with a fork until smooth then whisk it back into the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Repeat if desired.
- Flour and butter: Mix equal parts flour and softened butter together with a fork so it becomes a thick paste and almost forms a ball. You will want 2-4 tablespoons each, depending on how thick you want the soup. Stir it into the soup and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Repeat if desired.
gnocchi soup RECIPE VARIATIONS
This gnocchi soup recipe boasts a hypnotic, creamy, comforting broth, which means it is a fabulous springboard to make it all your own with all sorts of add-ins or whatever you have on hand:
You can swap the gnocchi for other starchy alternative such as rice or go low carb with cauliflower. Here are some ideas:
- Swap gnocchi for rice. Add 3/4 cup uncooked long-grain white rice and simmer for 8-12 minutes or until rice is cooked. Note that the cooking time may vary depending on how long it takes to bring your soup to a boil so I suggest checking the rice occasionally until done. You can also stir in 2 ½ cups cooked rice at the end of cooking and warm through.
- Swap potatoes for quinoa. For a higher protein option, you can add about ¾ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained and simmer for about 25 minutes.
- Swap potatoes for low carb cauliflower. Use 2 ½ cups cauliflower chopped into bite size pieces. Cauliflower doesn’t take long to cook, so and add the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Canned beans. Cannellini beans add a slight sweetness, creaminess and meaty texture.
Although I am obsessed with Italian sausage in this recipe and don’t think it will be same without it, you can still use other proteins:
- Rotisserie chicken. Rotisserie chicken comes lightly seasoned for an added depth of flavor and is a mix of both light and dark meat. It also comes perfectly tender and ready to slurp up. You will need about 2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken. Add the chicken to the gnocchi soup at the same time as the half and half and heat through.
- Leftover chicken. Add about 2 1/2 cups shredded or chopped leftover chicken to the gnocchi soup with the half and half.
- Chicken thighs or breasts. Chop chicken into bite size pieces, cook just until the outsides are browned and remove from the pot. Sauté the mirepoix and add the chicken back with the broth.
- Ground beef or ground turkey. Season with Italian seasonings, fennel and a pinch of red pepper flakes to mimic the Italian sausage.
- Meatballs: Add mini meatballs to cook directly in the broth like in Italian wedding soup.
I recommend sticking with the carrots and celery but you can also add any other vegetables such as:
- Mushrooms. Cremini/baby bella mushrooms will have the most flavor.
- Butternut squash. Peel, chop into ½-inch pieces.
- Broccoli. Chop into bite size pieces and add the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Zucchini. Slice and quarter zucchini and the last 10 minutes of cooking. Slice zucchini on the thick side, about ¼-inch so it doesn’t get too soft.
- Green beans. Fresh green beans taste far superior than canned. Chop into 2” pieces and add the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- Greens. Add spinach or cabbage at the very end of cooking and cover the pot for 1-2 minutes to wilt.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH gnocchi soup?
This gnocchi soup is a meal-in-one complete with protein, veggies and starch, so you can call dinner done or serve it with any of these additional sides:
- Bread: Mopping up soup with bread is always a win! Serve gnocchi soup with a big loaf of crusty bread, softy and fluffy Dinner Rolls, Parmesan Breadsticks, Garlic Bread or Pesto Pull Apart Bread.
- Salad: This gnocchi soup recipe pairs beautifully with a fresh, crunchy salad such as Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch, Cucumber Tomato Salad, Apple Salad, Fall Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad or Green Bean Salad.
- Fruit: Bright, fresh fruit is always a welcome side to creamy soups. Go as simple as grapes, melon, etc. or you’ll love Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Vinaigrette, Winter Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Poppy Seed Vinaigrette, or Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone.
HOW TO store and REHEAT gnocchi soup
- Storage: let the gnocchi soup cool to room temperature, then cover and store in your Dutch oven or transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- Stove: reheat large batches of gnocchi soup on the stove over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until warm. You may want to add some additional broth or half and half to the soup because the gnocchi will absorb some of the liquid while sitting overnight.
- Microwave: transfer individual servings to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lids or paper towel. Microwave for 90 seconds, stir, then continue to microwave for 20-second intervals, if needed.
CAN YOU FREEZE gnocchi soup?
As a general rule of thumb, creamy soups do not freeze well as the texture can become unpleasantly grainy as the dairy and fat separate. You can still freeze the soup with these expectations, or omit the half and half and Parmesan when freezing, then add the half and half and Parmesan to the soup after thawing. Alternatively, you can swap the half and half for evaporated milk (see tips below).
- Cook: Cook the gnocchi soup according to recipe directions.
- Cool: Allow soup to cool completely before freezing to preserve the integrity of the ingredients and prevent it from entering the “danger zone.”
- Package: Transfer soup to an airtight freezer safe container or freezer bag. You can even use sandwich size plastic bags for individual portions. Squeeze out any excess air to prevent freezer burn and label
- Freeze. Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Thaw/Reheat. When ready to use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator then reheat in the microwave, crockpot or stove according to aforementioned instructions.
TIPS FOR FREEZING creamy soups:
- Omit the half and half and Parmesan if you plan to freeze the gnocchi soup so it won’t become grainy. Once thawed, add the half and half and Parmesan and warm through.
- Regular (not low fat) evaporated milk, or heavy cream freeze much better than half and half – the higher the fat content, the better it freezes. If you think you might freeze this gnocchi soup, then plan on using either of these alternatives.
- If freezing with half and half, reheat the thawed soup very gently over low heat to help incorporate the cream back into the soup.
- If freezing with half and half, add some fresh cream or softened cream cheese to improve the grainy texture
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