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Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)

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Our boys used to enjoy Olive Garden Chicken and gnocchi soup on the rare occasions we ate out. It didn't seem overly complicated, so I went hunting for recipes and tweaked them until our family loved the results.

I hope you enjoy this comfort food as much as we do.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

Using Leftover Chicken and Mashed Potatoes

I've made this copycat olive garden soup many times, typically the day after we have a chicken dinner with mashed potatoes. (You can use the chicken carcass to make the broth, too).

This dramatically cuts down on the time involved with the soup, since the chicken and potatoes are already precooked. “Creamy chicken and gnocchi soup” goes over much better in my house than “leftover chicken and mashed potatoes”.

I use a cup or two of mashed potatoes – whatever I have handy. Then I add an egg and enough flour to make a stiff dough. These little dumplings are a little more dense than the original gnocchi, but just as tasty.

You can also use leftover grocery store rotisserie chicken, or boneless chicken breast or thighs. Just make sure your chicken is cooked before you add the carrots, celery and spinach.

For Gluten Free Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

To make the soup gluten free, use cornstarch or gluten free flour for thickening instead of wheat flour.

For the gnocchi, you can substitute a gluten free flour blend for all purpose flour, or use a combination of rice and tapioca flour like the recipe below.

Olive Garden Copycat Chicken and Gnocchi Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup butter or olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. chicken cubed or large chunks
  • 1/3 cup flour OR 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2-3 carrots,  shredded or finely chopped
  • 2-3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen spinach or kale, torn in pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1-2 cups whole milk (optional, if you prefer a thinner soup)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • gnocchi, fresh or frozen, about one pound

Directions

If using freshly cooked potatoes to make your gnocchi, steam them before starting the rest of the recipe so they have time to cool.

Melt butter or oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add in the garlic and onions and sauté for five minutes. Add chicken and cook thoroughly.

Sprinkle in flour (or cornstarch gluten free option) and mix well until the flour/cornstarch is cooked into the chicken. 

Next add chicken broth. Mix well, cook for a few minutes, and then add the veggies (Carrots, Celery, and Spinach). Cook for about 5 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, finish preparing the gnocchi of your choice.

Bring the broth to a gentle boil, add gnocchi a handful at a time and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir and then add the next handful of gnocchi. Repeat until all gnocchi have been added.

Reduce heat and add cream, milk, curry and pepper. Mix ingredients well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve hot with a side salad and some freshly baked French bread.

It's been some years since we've eaten chicken and gnocchi soup away from home, but compared to the time I had it, I think this is even better than the Olive Garden recipe.

Here's the basic potato gnocchi recipe.

Basic Potato Gnocchi

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pounds mealy potatoes, peeled
  • About 1/4 cup flour (see note below)
  • 1 egg
  •  A pinch of salt

Directions

Cube and steam your potatoes to cook them.

If you don't have a steamer, put the potatoes in a metal colander, set the colander in a spaghetti pot. Fill the pot with water to just below the colander, and set the pot, covered, to boil.

1 inch chunks cook in about 20 minutes, until you can stick them with a fork but they don't fall apart.

Mash the potatoes while they’re still hot (a potato ricer works very well here). Allow to cool.

Season the potatoes with a pinch of salt and slowly knead in enough flour to obtain a fairly firm, smooth, non-sticky dough — exactly how much flour will depend upon how moist the potatoes are.

Roll the dough out into ropes about as thick as your finger, cut the ropes into 3/4 inch pieces, and gently score the pieces crosswise with a fork, if desired.

Note: Since they're submerged in the soup rather than trying to hold on a sauce, you can skip this step if you like to save time.

Did I mention the boys loved chicken and gnocchi soup?

happy boy eating homemade soup

Gluten Free Gnocchi Recipe

Adapted from Dr. Gourmet

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 Tbsp white rice flour
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Steam potatoes in a similar manner to regular gnocchi. Press through a potato ricer or mash well.

Mix together the rice flour and tapioca flour.

Add 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture to the potatoes with the egg and salt. Mix together using a fork. The mixture will take on a crumbly consistency. Add 2 tablespoons of the remaining flour and blend well.

Knead the dough gently until all the flour is blended in. Stop kneading when the flour is incorporated.

After the dough is smooth, cut it into 4 equal pieces. Place one tablespoon of flour on a cutting board and roll each piece of dough into a rope about as big around as your thumb.

Cut the ropes in 3/4 inch pieces and then roll the dumpling over the tines of a fork to shape the ridges of the gnocchi. Note: Since they're submerged in the soup rather than trying to hold on a sauce, you can skip this step if you like to save time.

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Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)

A rich, creamy soup loaded with chicken, vegetables and homemade gnocchi.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 10 servings 1x
  • Category: Soup

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/3 cup butter or olive oil
  • 23 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lb. chicken cubed or large chunks
  • 1/3 cup flour OR 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 23 carrots, shredded or finely chopped
  • 23 sticks of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen spinach or kale, torn in pieces
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 12 cups whole milk (optional, if you prefer a thinner soup)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • about one pound of gnocchi, fresh or frozen (choose one recipe from below)

Basic Gnocchi

  • 1/4 pound potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • About 1/4 cup flour (see note below)
  • 1 egg
  • A pinch of salt

Gluten Free Gnocchi

  • 10 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 Tbsp white rice flour
  • 3 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. If using freshly cooked potatoes to make your gnocchi, steam them before starting the rest of the recipe so they have time to cool.
  2. Melt butter or oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot. Add in the garlic and onions and sauté for five minutes. Add chicken and cook thoroughly.
  3. Add flour (or cornstarch for gluten free option) and mix well until the flour/cornstarch is cooked into the chicken.
  4. Next add chicken broth. Mix well, cook for a few minutes, and then add the veggies (Carrots, Celery, and Spinach). Cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. While the soup is cooking, finish preparing the gnocchi of your choice.
  6. Bring the broth to a gentle boil, add gnocchi a handful at a time and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir and then add the next handful of gnocchi.  Repeat until all gnocchi have been added.
  7. Reduce heat and add cream, milk, curry and pepper. Mix ingredients well. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot with a side salad and some freshly baked French bread.

For gnocchi

  1. Steam potato chunks around 20 minutes, until fork tender. Mash well or run through a potato ricer. Allow to cool.
  2. Add salt and egg. Gently mix in flour or mix of flours with a fork. Knead dough on counter to finish, adding enough flour/flour mix to make a smooth, non-sticky dough.
  3. Separate dough into four parts. Roll each section into a rope about as thick as your finger. Cut into 3/4 inch slices.

Keywords: gnocchi, cream soup, chicken, comfort food

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Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)


More Made From Scratch Recipes

If you love homemade foods like this chicken and gnocchi soup, I invite you to have a look around the site.

We have over 100 made from scratch recipes, from canning, to main dishes to dessert, all sorted by category on the Recipes and Kitchen Tips page.

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Post first published in 2009, last updated in 2020.

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10 Comments

  1. That looks so yummy; I am borrowing your recipe with no intentions of returning it! Although at this point I will stick with frozen yokey, I recently read a recipe for a bean gnocchi that sounded interesting as well…

  2. i made this tonight and about knocked myself out getting seconds! so good with a few tweaks. I did not have kale so i used finely shredded baby cabbage i got from my dads garden. QUESTION – can i freeze the soup?

  3. questions: do you really only use 1/4 pound of potatoes for the gnocchi? that doesn’t seem like much. do you weigh them before or after steaming? also I’m assuming you add the egg when kneading in the flour?

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