Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)

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Olive Garden's Chicken Gnocchi Soup brings your favorite soup right into the comfort of your own home. This one-pot comforting soup is a delight for the senses, boasting succulent, juicy chicken thighs, pillowy soft gnocchi, and a creamy broth infused with garden-fresh herbs and veggies. The whole family is going to love it.

Is there anything better than the feeling of cozying up with a big bowl of warm, hearty soup on a crisp fall day? I don't think so!

And y'all, I am beyond excited to bring all kinds of delicious, warming, comforting soup recipes to your kitchen this year.

There's something about this time of year that just calls for cozy, comforting bowls of goodness - from creamy broccoli cheddar soup to cold-busting chicken noodle soup and everything in between.

overhead view of a bowl of olive garden copycat chicken and gnocchi soup

It's a creamy twist on classic chicken noodle soup, but instead of noodles, we're swapping in tender potato dumplings. Trust me, friends, this soup is the Olive Garden favorite that you never knew you needed in your life. I've been making it since my little guy was just a toddler, and he can't get enough of it.

And the best part? It's a breeze to make! So easy, so comforting, it's like a warm hug on a bad day.

So grab your trusty Dutch oven and your cutest apron, and get ready to tackle any problem that comes your way with a big ol' bowl of soup.

Equipment 

You only need a few simple tools to make this rich and creamy Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup dupe. Here’s what to grab:

  • Large Pot or Large Dutch Oven - While I love the bright color of my enameled cast-iron dutch oven, any large, heavy-bottomed pot will do!
  • Silicone Spatula - For moving the veggies around as you sauté and stirring the pot as you go.
  • Ladle - For serving. Pro Tip: To keep the ladle from spilling as you serve, dip the full ladle halfway back into the pot — the surface tension of the soup in the pot will pull any drips away so you can scoop with no drips!

Ingredients 

Luckily, you only need a quick grocery run to make this one-pan creamy chicken and gnocchi soup recipe but it's made with pretty simple ingredients. Here’s what to grab:

  • Butter - I typically keep salted butter on hand because it has a longer shelf life (salt is a natural preservative!) and it tastes better on bread. Feel free to swap in unsalted and bump up the added salt at the end, to taste.
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs - Unlike boneless skinless chicken breasts, it’s nearly impossible to overcook chicken thighs! That said, feel free to swap in any shredded chicken you have on hand, or grab a rotisserie chicken to cut down on prep work.
  • Carrots, Celery, & Yellow Onion - This classic French trinity is known as mirepoix (pronounced “meer-PWAH”). It is one of the best ways to build depth and complexity in your soups, stews, and sauces, plus all the ingredients are readily available year-round.
  • Fresh Garlic - Fresh is best, it has the best flavor while pre-minced jarred versions aren't as impactful.
  • All-Purpose Flour - For thickening the soup. Gluten-free AP flour blends will also work here!
  • Chicken Broth - When it’s soup season, make sure you have some well-made chicken stock on hand at all times, y'all.
  • Half and Half - Made from a 50/50 mix of whole milk and heavy cream, half-n-half works well here. If you don't have it, either whole milk or heavy cream will work fine.
  • Dried Thyme - For a touch of savory herbaceousness with hints of earthy, floral, lemony flavors.
  • Store-bought Gnocchi - A package of shelf-stable gnocchi in the pantry is perfect for quick weeknight meals. You’re welcome to swap in homemade gnocchi, it's worth the attention.
  • Fresh Spinach - For a pop of color and nutrients to cut through the richness of the soup.
  • Salt and Pepper - For seasoning, to taste. Taste as you go and season each layer of cooking with a little salt for the best results.
  • Cayenne Pepper - Optional, but absolutely fabulous if you like a little oomph.
  • Parmesan Cheese - I use this to garnish for serving but I will say if you have a parmesan rind in the freezer (save your rinds, people!) it would add so much flavor while the soup is simmering.

How To Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup

french mirepoix being sauteed in a dutch oven

Step 1 | Sauté the onions, celery, and carrots in the butter in your dutch oven. Add the garlic and thyme right at the end and cook until fragrant.

a roux being made with flour, butter, and vegetables

Step 2 | add the flour and create a roux, cook for a minute or two to get rid of that raw flour taste.

creamy broth for chicken and gnocchi soup

Step 3 | Add the chicken, half and half, broth, and let simmer to warm up the chicken. Don't boil it, the dairy will separate!

spinach being added to chicken and gnocchi soup

Step 4 | Cook the gnocchi through and add the spinach at the end, we only want it to wilt a little but not become overcooked and dull. And taste for seasoning before serving! You can always add more salt, but it's hard to take it away.

Variations & Substitutions

As much as I love this copycat Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup recipe just as written, there are plenty of ways for you to customize it to your needs and preferences. Here are a few variations to consider:

  • Gluten-Free - Swap in your favorite cup-for-cup GF all-purpose flour blend (preferably one with xanthan gum) as your thickener, and be sure to opt for GF gnocchi. Alternatively, you can make a slurry of 1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch, potato starch, or tapioca starch and some of your cooking liquid (broth or half-n-half), then add it to the pot and cook for a few minutes until visibly thickened.
  • Dairy-Free - Use plant-based butter or olive oil and your favorite unsweetened, unflavored vegan creamer.
  • Vegetarian/Vegan - Skip the chicken and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. You can also add roasted mushrooms to the soup to give it some meaty flavor, or swap in a vegetarian chicken alternative like soy curls. For a vegan soup, also incorporate the DF instructions listed in the bullet point above.
  • Spicy - Feel free to bump up the heat with extra cayenne or even a few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Different Herbs & Greens - If you don't have dried thyme, feel free to use 3x as much fresh. You can also use dried basil, oregano, or parsley for a slightly different take! If you don’t have baby spinach, consider using peppery arugula, mature spinach with any woody stems removed, or even de-stemmed and chopped kale or chard.
  • Pressure Cooker -

Pro-Tips

  • Know your gnocchi! Fresh varieties will cook faster than shelf-stable packaged ones. When they start to float, they’re good to go.
  • Thicken a thin soup with a cornstarch slurry, one part cornstarch, one part cool water.
  • Hold off on adding the spinach until the very end. We want it to wilt, but remain bright green and gorgeous.
  • Season as you go. Rather than waiting to add all the salt at the end, make sure you’re seasoning each element. Add a generous pinch while you’re sautéing the aromatics, use salt to season the chicken as you cook it, and then taste and adjust the seasoning again at the end right before serving.

Serving Suggestions

This copycat Olive Garden gnocchi soup recipe features a heavenly combination of tender chicken, pillowy potato gnocchi, and fresh greens in a rich and velvety broth. In short, it’s built for warming you up from the inside out.  

This creamy gnocchi chicken soup is thick, luscious, and oh-so-satisfying — perfect for a chilly night in or as a starter for a cozy dinner party. Give your guests a restaurant-worthy meal and show off your culinary skills with this easy copycat recipe.

It's the perfect addition to any cool weather occasions like the holidays, dinner parties, family gatherings, or even a weeknight dinner when you want something comforting and delicious. 

Serve it up with crusty no-knead artisan bread, easy Italian cracked pepper focaccia, or whatever hearty bread you love to sop up that savory, satisfying broth that's left over. You won't want to leave one drop, I promise.

If you’re going for a full-on Olive Garden at-home experience, don’t forget the salad and bottomless pasta!

a bowl of olive garden's chicken and gnocchi soup with parmesan cheese

Make-Ahead, Storage, & Reheating

To save any chicken gnocchi soup leftovers, allow the soup to cool to room temperature. Transfer the soup to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Due to the high dairy content of this creamy, dreamy bowl of goodness, it’s not recommended for storing in the freezer.

To reheat, transfer the soup to a pot and place it over medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.

You can also reheat it in the microwave using a microwave-safe bowl and heating it in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval until it's heated through.

If the soup is too thick after reheating, add a splash of chicken broth or milk to thin it out to the desired consistency.

FAQs

What is gnocchi?

They're the little potato dumplings of goodness in this soup, made much like rich egg pasta, but using mostly potatoes instead of only flour to make them, kneaded then cut into little pillows of soft, silken deliciousness. . And homemade gnocchi very easy to put together.

They are then cut into little pillows of soft, silken deliciousness. They are often served up like you would pasta, so if you have gnocchi left over, don't be afraid to coat them in alfredo sauce, tomato sauce, or in my crazily popular gnocchi with bacon cream sauce.

If you're looking for pre-made gnocchi in the grocery store, they can be found in the refrigerated section or dried with other pastas on the dry goods shelves. The dried ones need maybe a minute or two more of cooking to soften just a bit more compared to fresh gnocchi.

Is Olive Garden gnocchi made of potatoes?

Yep! That said, you’re welcome to swap in cauliflower gnocchi if you prefer a lower-carb meal. That’s the beauty of cooking at home — you can make things how you like them!

Can this Olive Garden chicken and gnocchi soup be frozen? 

While it technically *can* be frozen, soups that have dairy bases aren’t great candidates for freezing. Unfortunately, dairy-based soups have a tendency to separate and become grainy upon freezing, which makes the resulting reheated soup less than appetizing.

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📖 Recipe

a bowl of olive garden's chicken and gnocchi soup with parmesan cheese

Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

Eden Westbrook
Olive Garden's Chicken Gnocchi Soup brings your favorite soup right into the comfort of your own home. This comforting soup is a delight for the senses, boasting succulent, juicy chicken thighs, pillowy soft gnocchi, and a creamy broth infused with garden-fresh herbs and veggies. The whole family is going to love it.
4.87 from 45 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings
Calories 569 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup carrots shredded or diced
  • ½ cup celery small dice
  • ½ medium yellow onion small dice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 16 oz packaged gnocchi or 6-8 servings homemade gnocchi
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach use more if you like
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in the onion, onion, celery, and carrots.. Season with about ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the onions are becoming translucent and a little golden, then add the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds to 1 minute).
  • Add flour and stir well for a minute to cook out raw flour. Splash in chicken broth, ½ cup at a time, whisking quickly to ensure there are no lumps.
  • Pour in the rest of your chicken broth, the half and half, shredded chicken, then allow to simmer for five to ten minutes to heat up the shredded chicken. Do not let boil.
  • Add gnocchi to the soup and let cook for as long as the package directs (if using fresh gnocchi, cook for only a minute or two) until gnocchi is cooked through (it will float). Turn heat off, then stir in the fresh spinach at the very end of cooking
  • Season with kosher salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste, then serve.

Notes

Make-Ahead, Storage, & Reheating

To save any chicken gnocchi soup leftovers, allow the soup to cool to room temperature. Transfer the soup to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Due to the high dairy content of this creamy, dreamy bowl of goodness, it’s not recommended for storing in the freezer.
To reheat, transfer the soup to a pot and place it over medium heat. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.
You can also reheat it in the microwave using a microwave-safe bowl and heating it in 30-second intervals, stirring between each interval until it's heated through.
If the soup is too thick after reheating, add a splash of chicken broth or milk to thin it out to the desired consistency.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 569kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 33gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 183mgSodium: 581mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4g
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20 Comments

  1. I made this soup two nights ago, and there wasn't a drop left. We loved it! Followed the recipe exactly and it tasted terrific.

  2. Pingback: Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Panera Bread Copycat) | Sweet Tea and Thyme
  3. Andy Bishop says:

    This is perfect for when my son has colds. Thanks!

  4. Annemarie @ justalittlebitofbacon says:

    Oh, wow that is some creamy comfort food! I love that the soup uses leftover chicken and cooks in just a few minutes. Dinner is sorted.

  5. Amy | The Cook Report says:

    I can't think of anything more comforting than big bowl of this soup! Love it 🙂

  6. What a great soup! I am absolutely going to serve this on the first chilly day.I know my family will love it!

  7. Kelli Kerkman says:

    Yum! This looks amazing - love soup season 🙂

  8. Oh that looks like a big bowl of comfort. It makes such a nice change from chicken noodle soup too.

  9. Lauren Vavala @ DeliciousLittleBites says:

    This soup sounds perfect - tasty and filling! Perfect for this time of year!

  10. gristleandgossip says:

    I am a pure soup junkie. This post is everything! Great work!

    1. Britt Anne says:

      Thank you so much!

  11. Whew! I love a hearty soup and gnocchi is a personal fave. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Britt Anne says:

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. This looks so awesome and beautiful. It seems easy to cook. I will definitely try it.

    1. Britt Anne says:

      Please do! It's really easy and so satisfying!

  13. I’m going to try to make some gnocchi one of these days. It’s so yummy.

    1. Britt Anne says:

      Yes, gnocchi is so good, it's like a whole 'nother experience from pasta!

  14. OrchidsAndSweetTea says:

    Yummy! This looks so rich and good!! ?