Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is an even better replica of the restaurant version with a rich, creamy base and soft pillowy gnocchi potato dumplings.
Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
I am an avid soup lover! It’s a whole meal in a bowl. Whenever we go to Olive Garden, I like to order the “soup, salad, and bread sticks” for my meal with the chicken gnocchi soup. My favorite!
Unfortunately, we don’t live all that close to an Olive Garden, so we don’t get there much, so I decided to make my own Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi soup! It’s pretty darn close, if you ask me. Maybe even better.
This copycat Olive Garden chicken gnocchi soup is warm and creamy with juicy chicken, pillowy gnocchi, and fresh spinach.
The secret ingredient in this recipe is thyme. It’s unexpected, but absolutely necessary. You can use fresh thyme or ground, just as long as it’s in there
How to Cook Chicken for Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Baking chicken is probably the simplest way to cook it for your soup.
To do this, arrange chicken in a baking dish or on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350°F for 22-30 minutes, or until cooked through.
Allow chicken to rest, then dice for the soup.
Alternately, you can save some time by buying and chopping a cooked rotisserie chicken. You can also buy pre-cooked frozen chicken to use in this recipe.
What Gnocchi Should I Use?
A plain potato gnocchi works best in this recipe. High quality gnocchi is really important to make sure you get that soft texture with no strange artificial tastes.
The absolute best gnocchi for your soup is the kind you make at home from scratch. This homemade potato gnocchi is soft, fluffy, and the best you’ll ever have.
Just prepare it according to the recipe. Then, when the soup recipe calls for the gnocchi, add it and let it boil for 2 minutes to cook.
What to Serve with Chicken Gnocchi Soup
I like to serve it at home the same way I eat it Olive Garden! With bread and a fresh green salad.
You can bake up some breadsticks, garlic bread, or just a plain warm crusty bread. This soup is so hearty and filling that it doesn’t need much else to make it a meal.
How to Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add celery, carrots, onion, and garlic (photo 1), and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.
When vegetables are tender, stir in flour (photo 2). Allow flour to heat through, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth while stirring to prevent lumps (photo 3). Add chicken (photo 4) and bring mixture to a boil (photo 5). Add gnocchi (photo 6), and cook until done, about 5 minutes (check package instructions for precise time).
Lower heat to medium-low. Add cream, and stir to combine. Heat to steaming, but not boiling. Stir in spinach, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste (photos 7 and 8). Allow spinach to wilt and soup to totally cook through.
More Recipes You’ll Love
- Homemade Potato Gnocchi – soft, pillowy, velvety gnocchi. It’s even better when it’s homemade!
- Authentic Alfredo Sauce – creamy, buttery sauce with Parmesan and garlic.
- Creamy Sausage Pasta – super easy 30 minute meal with zesty sausage and a creamy tomato sauce.
- Copycat Cheddar Bay Biscuits – fluffy, cheesy, garlic biscuits. Goes great with soup!
- Baked Caprese Chicken – a simple, healthy baked chicken topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, and cheese.
Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup celery
- 1 cup carrots shredded or chopped
- 1 medium sweet onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup flour
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1 pound chicken breast cooked and chopped
- 1 package potato gnocchi (16 ounces)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- Salt & pepper to taste
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter.
- Add celery, carrots, onion, and garlic, and saute until tender, about 8 minutes.
- When vegetables are tender, stir in flour. Allow flour to heat through, about 2 minutes.
- Slowly add the chicken broth while stirring to prevent lumps.
- Add chicken and bring mixture to a boil.
- Add gnocchi, and cook until done, about 5 minutes (check package instructions for precise time).
- Lower heat to medium-low. Add cream, and stir to combine. Heat to steaming, but not boiling.
- Stir in spinach, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow spinach to wilt and soup to totally cook through.
- Use fresh spinach for best results. Frozen spinach will be mushy.
- The longer you leave this soup to simmer, the thicker it will be because the gnocchi releases its starches into the soup. That’s why this soup is also amazing as reheated leftovers.
- Love soft velvety gnocchi? Try making your own with the amazing homemade gnocchi recipe.
- Do you have to use cream? I highly recommend using real cream because it really adds to the richness of this soup. However, in a pinch you can substitute half-and-half or whole milk.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To reheat, return to a large stockpot and reheat the remaining soup over medium heat until heated through. To reheat a single serving, place in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through.
- Freezer Directions: Prepare soup according to recipe instructions. Allow soup to come to room temperature, and then transfer to a freezer dish or bag. Freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight to use. Reheat in large pot over medium heat until heated through. For fresher, crisper spinach, add it after freezing while reheating.
UPDATE INFO: This post was originally published in January 2015. It has been updated with new pictures, video, and detailed instructions in January 2020.
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