Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup is an Olive Garden Copycat recipe. It's a creamy soup made with fresh spinach, potato gnocchi, tender chicken, and fresh veggies. This comforting soup uses simple ingredients that are big on flavor; it's one that the whole family can enjoy, especially if you love gnocchi! One of the best things about this soup is that it can be made dairy-free using a couple of different alternatives. It's an ideal weeknight dinner because everything is made in one pot with minimal effort. Let's get into exactly how this delicious soup is made!
- Shredded chicken- I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs but raw chicken breasts can be used as well
- Gnocchi-Italian dumplings made largely of potato and flour
- Carrots-this slightly sweet root vegetable adds color, a varied flavor profile, and texture
- Spinach-nutritious leafy green that also adds color and additional texture to this soup
- Plant-based heavy cream alternative- these are sold at many grocery stores in the section where heavy cream can be found oat milk can also be used.
- Chicken Broth or chicken stock- acts as the base of the soup, adding extra flavor
- Aromatics-onions, garlic, fresh thyme, fresh oregano
- Extra virgin olive oil- just a bit is needed to cook the chicken
- Salt and white pepper- breaks down all of the flavors in the soup and melds everything together
The exact measurements and full recipe are listed on my recipe card below
About Creamy Gnocchi Chicken Soup
The order that the elements are added is extremely important for this dish; the ingredients are cooked in stages which allows the flavors to layer during the cooking process. The chicken is added first as it takes the longest amount of time to cook. It's cooked slowly along with the herbs in the beginning. Some of the vegetables are added after a while and a creamy base is created during this stage. In the end, the rest of the ingredients are added and this rich soup is simmered until the soft pillowy gnocchi is cooked through.
There are a few different ways this soup can be made...on the stove (like I did), with a slow cooker, or with an instant pot, I am still in love with the old-school method of slow cooking whenever I can whether that be with a stove or other device so that's what I tend to do.
I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for the soup and I would also recommend skinless chicken thighs with the bone in. Additionally, chicken breast can be used. Using meat with the bone in is a great way to impart some delicious flavor.
- Use a large pot to cook this entire soup on the stove. First things first, you'll want to season the chicken and brown it in a little bit of olive oil using medium heat. After 1-2 minutes, turn the chicken on the opposite side and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Once this is complete, you're ready to add additional ingredients.
- Pour in the chicken broth or stock over the chicken, and add the garlic, thyme, and oregano as well. Cover, and cook on low heat for 1 hour. During this time, make sure that small bubbles can be seen while simmering the liquid. Also, check on the soup every 15 minutes to make sure that the liquid is not reducing rapidly and that the heat level is maintained.
- After the hour has passed, remove the chicken and shred it using two forks or whatever method you'd like before adding it back to the pot. Also, remove the stems of the fresh herbs and discard them. Add the onions, carrots, heavy cream alternative, and salt to taste. Allow the soup to cook for an additional 20 minutes. By this time the carrots should be mostly cooked through.
- The final step is to add the gnocchi and spinach while allowing the soup to cook for an additional 10 minutes.
How to make Creamy Gnocchi Chicken Soup dairy-free
There are a few different ways to make this soup dairy free. What I have used most frequently is a plant-based heavy cream alternative that can be found at most local supermarkets. There are a few different brands that make this type of thing and they are typically found in the same section as other heavy creams. This type of product might also be found in a section specifically made for plant-based alternatives. This gnocchi soup recipe can also be made with oat milk; doing so will not drastically change the flavor. Be sure that you're using plain oat milk without any added sugars should you decide to go this route.
A really fun way to make this olive garden chicken gnocchi soup copycat is to make your own gnocchi. Making your own homemade gnocchi is fairly simple and requires minimal ingredients that can be found at your local grocery store or you may even have the items on hand.
Here's a very helpful guide if you're interested in making it at home but need a bit more assistance
https://www.theclevercarrot.com/2022/03/beginners-guide-to-fresh-homemade-potato-gnocchi-recipe/. I use store-bought gnocchi for this soup but of course, if you are able to make your own I would HIGHLY recommend it because gnocchi really is easy to make and it makes a world of difference.
If you do decide to make your own gnocchi, bear in mind that the cooking time will reduce drastically since it's fresh pasta. I would recommend cooking it for no longer than two minutes.
Shredded rotisserie chicken can be used instead of other chicken pieces that need to be cooked. If using this method, the amount of cook time will be greatly reduced. You can add the liquids, chicken, and aromatics to your soup pot and cook for 30 minutes before adding the spinach and gnocchi to finish off the soup.
A heavy cream alternative is used and that is what makes it dairy-free. If you don't have sensitivities to dairy then you can use regular heavy cream, with the exact same measurements in its place.
If you make this recipe please rate and review it on the recipe card below! Additionally, I would love for you to tag me on Instagram @belovedplatePrint
Dairy-Free Gnocchi Chicken Soup is a creamy hearty soup filled with carrots, spinach, herbs, and big flavor.
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 ½ cups heavy cream alternative
16 oz gnocchi
4 carrots, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
3-4 garlic cloves
4 cups spinach
1 cup onion
1 handful fresh thyme
1 handful fresh oregano
1 ½ teaspoons white pepper
salt to taste
- Season chicken with white pepper and salt. Brown in a large pot with a couple tablespoons of olive oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Pour in chicken stock, cover, and simmer on low-medium heat for 1.5 hours.
- Add carrots, onion, garlic, and heavy cream and simmer on low for an additional 30 minutes. Add gnocchi and allow to cook for about three minutes or according to packaging. If fresh gnocchi is being used, cook time will be significantly reduced. Add spinach, cooking until spinach has just wilted.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Soup
- Method: Boiled
- Cuisine: American, Italian
- Serving Size: 1 bowl
- Calories: 281
- Sugar: 6.5 g
- Sodium: 741.6 mg
- Fat: 10.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 36.1 g
- Protein: 11.1 g
- Cholesterol: 46.5 mg
Keywords: chicken gnocchi soup