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This creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup is an easy Olive Garden copycat recipe that you can stir together in the comfort of your own home! Forget dining in a restaurant or ordering takeout, because this wholesome and satisfying meal comes together in less than one hour. Made with smoky bacon, tender chicken, traditional Italian potato dumplings, and plenty of fresh vegetables and herbs, the flavorful Chicken and Gnocchi Soup is perfect when served with a loaf of crusty baguette and a Caesar salad!

Front shot of two bowls of creamy chicken gnocchi soup

Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup Recipe

This soup is very similar to a creamy chicken noodle soup — but instead of noodles, you’ll find plump, tender potato dumplings throughout. These Italian dumplings are called gnocchi, and they add a perfectly satisfying, hearty texture to the rich soup that’s been popularized by the Italian-American restaurant chain, Olive Garden. You’ll love the flavorful combination of bacon and chicken with onion, carrot, garlic and herbs in a creamy broth. It’s a cozy, one-pot meal that everyone at the table can agree on!

Ingredients

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need to prepare a pot of Chicken and Gnocchi Soup. As always, the specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Bacon: gives the soup a rich, smoky, flavorful base and serves as a nice, crispy garnish.
  • Onion, celery and carrot: these aromatic vegetables add tons of flavor and texture to the soup.
  • Garlic: for more flavor!
  • Rosemary, thyme and basil: I prefer fresh herbs when available, but you can substitute with 1 teaspoon each of dried herbs, if necessary.
  • Butter and flour: together they create the roux that thickens the broth.
  • Chicken broth: use homemade broth, if you like. You can also adjust the total amount depending on how thick you like your soup.
  • Chicken: any cooked, shredded chicken will work. Try a rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, boil your own chicken at home, or make your own broth and use the chicken from the pot.
  • Potato gnocchi: I like this store-bought potato gnocchi, but any similar brand should work. I have not tested the recipe with alternative types of gnocchi, such as cauliflower gnocchi.
  • Half-and-half cream: you can sub with heavy cream for richer flavor or use whole milk to keep it a bit lighter.
  • Fresh spinach: just enough for some added fresh green color and extra nutrition. Feel free to use even more, since it shrinks down considerably when it wilts.
  • Parmesan cheese: gives the soup that sharp, cheesy flavor! Freshly-grated from a wedge is best, because it incorporates and melts smoothly into the broth.
  • Kosher salt and pepper: the total amount that you need will depend on personal preference and on how salty your broth is. Adjust accordingly.
Process shot showing how to make the best Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup recipe from scratch

How to Make Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

Whip up your own better-than Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi Soup in about an hour for a fraction of the cost!

  1. Cook bacon until crisp, then remove with a slotted spoon.
  2. Sauté onion, celery, carrot, garlic and herbs in the bacon drippings.
  3. Add butter and flour to create a roux.
  4. Stir in chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to low, add the chicken and gnocchi, and simmer for 5-10 minutes (or until the gnocchi is tender).
  6. Stir in the half-and-half, spinach and Parmesan. Cook over low heat until the spinach wilts.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with reserved bacon and fresh herbs.
Horizontal shot of a bowl of creamy chicken gnocchi soup on a table

What to Serve with Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Just like at the restaurant, this soup pairs nicely with a simple side salad and bread. Try mixed greens dressed in balsamic vinaigrette, a Wedge salad, or a creamy Caesar salad. Don’t forget the bread basket with some fresh homemade focaccia, a loaf of crusty no-knead bread, a French baguette, or this easy garlic bread.

Storage

Allow leftover soup to cool to room temperature. Pack in airtight containers and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Reheat the soup over low on the stovetop just until warmed through (do not let it boil). Alternatively, you can warm individual bowls of soup in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Do not freeze the homemade Chicken Gnocchi Soup. The cream-based broth will “break” when thawed, giving the dish an undesirable look and texture.

Close overhead shot of a spoon in a bowl of the best Chicken Gnocchi Soup recipe

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of chicken, use browned Italian sausage.
  • If you don’t have access to fresh herbs, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon each of dried rosemary, thyme and basil.
  • For a richer broth, use heavy cream instead of half-and-half. For a lighter broth, use whole milk in lieu of the half-and-half.
  • Add more spinach if you’d like more greens in your soup. The spinach wilts down significantly, so you can pack a lot into one pot!
  • Use kale instead of spinach. You’ll need to add the chopped fresh kale to the pot at the same time that you add the gnocchi, since the kale takes longer to soften in the broth than the spinach does.
  • Substitute pancetta for the bacon.

Which Chicken to Use for Creamy Chicken Soup with Gnocchi

This recipe calls for cooked, diced or shredded chicken. I typically use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken for a shortcut, but you can make your own chicken broth at home and use the meat from the broth if you prefer. You can also just boil your own chicken breasts or thighs in advance and use that cooked, shredded meat in the soup. You’ll need a total of about 1 ½ pounds of raw, boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs to equal about 3 cups of cooked, shredded meat.

Spoon lifting a bite of chicken and gnocchi soup from a bowl

Tips for the Best Chicken Gnocchi Soup Recipe

  • When adding the broth to the pot, deglaze the pan by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. This adds so much flavor to the soup!
  • Start with 4 cups of broth and add more towards the end, as necessary, to thin the soup to reach your desired consistency. You might prefer a thicker soup with only 4 cups of broth, or you might like to thin the soup with up to 6 total cups.
  • Use mini gnocchi if you can find it. It’s the perfect size for soup! The mini gnocchi will likely cook faster than the larger gnocchi, so it might only need about 3-5 minutes in the broth.
  • Allow the half-and-half to come to room temperature before stirring it into the soup.
  • Once you add the half-and-half, do not let the soup boil. If you boil the cream, the soup may curdle.
  • Use a wedge of fresh Parmesan cheese that you grate at home, rather than a jar of pre-grated Parmesan. The freshly-grated cheese has better flavor and will melt smoother into the soup.
Two bowls of creamy chicken gnocchi soup on a table in front of a brick wall

More Soup Recipes to Try

Front shot of two bowls of creamy chicken gnocchi soup

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 6 – 8 people
Calories 502 kcal
This creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup is a hearty and delicious Olive Garden copycat recipe that you can easily make at home!

Ingredients
  

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 cups cooked and shredded chicken
  • 1 (16-ounce) package potato gnocchi
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Leave one tablespoon of bacon grease in the pot; drain off the rest.
  • Add the onion, celery, and carrot to the pot. Cook, stirring regularly, until the onion is translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme and basil; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Stir in the butter until it melts. Sprinkle flour over all, and continue cooking and stirring for 1 more minute.
  • Gradually add 4 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low so that the soup is at a simmer. Stir in the chicken and gnocchi and continue simmering for about 5-10 more minutes, or until the gnocchi is tender. Stir in the half-and-half, spinach and Parmesan. Continue cooking and stirring over low heat just until the spinach wilts and the soup is warmed through. Thin with additional broth, if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved bacon and additional fresh herbs, if desired.

Notes

  • When adding the broth to the pot, deglaze the pan by scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. This adds so much flavor to the soup!
  • Start with 4 cups of broth and add more towards the end, as necessary, to thin the soup to reach your desired consistency. You might prefer a thicker soup with only 4 cups of broth, or you might like to thin the soup with up to 6 total cups.
  • Use mini gnocchi if you can find it. It’s the perfect size for soup! The mini gnocchi will likely cook faster than the larger gnocchi, so it might only need about 3-5 minutes in the broth.
  • Allow the half-and-half to come to room temperature before stirring it into the soup.
  • Once you add the half-and-half, do not let the soup boil. If you boil the cream, the soup may curdle.
  • Use a wedge of fresh Parmesan cheese that you grate at home, rather than a jar of pre-grated Parmesan. The freshly-grated cheese has better flavor and will melt smoother into the soup.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 of the soupCalories: 502kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 33gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 1196mgPotassium: 560mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 2715IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 238mgIron: 4mg
Keyword: chicken and gnocchi soup, chicken gnocchi soup, olive garden chicken gnocchi soup
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious! Both my parents and I ate every bit. have *loved* using your recipes.

    Quick and minor question— why did you specify using chopped bacon at the beginning of this recipe? I found it easier to use four whole slices— easier to take out of the cooked slices than tiny pieces, and easy to crumble it all into the soup.

    1. Hi, Laura! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to leave a note!

      I almost always chop the bacon in advance, but you can certainly use the whole slices and chop or crumble them later. Whatever works for you! 🙂