Turn your leftover rotisserie chicken into a creamy bowl of Chicken Gnocchi Soup in just 30 minutes! With fresh spinach, potato gnocchi, Italian herbs, and parmesan, this rich soup will warm you up from the first spoonful to the last.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup
It’s safe to say that more often than not, I have some remnants of a roasted or rotisserie chicken in my fridge. During the cold weather months, I roast a chicken once a week or pick up a rotisserie bird when my schedule is short on time.
As a household of two, we always have breast meat leftover. Quick soups, like this rich Chicken Gnocchi Soup, are one of my favorite ways to repurpose it. Not only does it make for convenient prep work, but the creamy broth keeps the meat moist – something that can be tricky when you’re working with leftovers.
While this soup is reminiscent of Olive Garden’s popular recipe, I’ll stop short of billing it as a copycat dish. I add a couple of ingredients that differ from most versions I’ve seen online; namely, white wine and a hefty dose parmesan cheese added directly to the broth. We find that both additions up the soup’s flavor profile significantly.
What You’ll Need to Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Here’s what you’ll need to grab from the pantry and refrigerator:
- Butter and olive oil
- Aromatics: carrots, celery, onion, garlic
- Dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
- AP flour
- Chicken stock
- Half and Half
- Herbs: fresh thyme and dried Italian seasoning
- Potato gnocchi
- Rotisserie chicken breast
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- Fresh spinach leaves
- Ground nutmeg (optional, but recommended)
Heading to the store? Check out my Rotisserie Chicken Pickin’ Guide for tips on choosing the juiciest chicken at the market!
What Kind of Gnocchi Should I Use?
For this soup, I buy a 1-pound package of potato gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings) from the refrigerated pasta case at the grocery store, or the shelf-stable gnocchi in the pasta aisle.
Truth time: Most of the time, I’m not the biggest fan of pre-packaged gnocchi. Compared to homemade, their texture is usually a lot heavier, and the flavor can be bland.
That said, store-bought gnocchi work quite well in Chicken Gnocchi Soup.
First of all, convenience is the theme here (we’re using up a rotisserie chicken on a busy night!). As much as I love homemade, when I’m making a quick dinner at the end of a long day, cutting and and rolling gnocchi myself is typically not in the cards.
Secondly, the heavier texture of refrigerated or shelf-stable gnocchi is actually a benefit here. Lighter, more pillowy gnocchi can easily become gummy and fall apart in the soup.
(For this reason, I also don’t recommend using ricotta gnocchi for this soup, which are significantly lighter than potato.)
How to Make Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup: 30 Minutes to Yum
Like many soups, Chicken Gnocchi Soup starts with a flavorful base of aromatics sautéed in butter and olive oil; in this case, a modified mirepoix. Since this soup is quick-cooking, you’ll want to make sure that your onion, carrots, and celery are sliced or diced in small pieces so they’ll have enough time to soften. (Photo 01)
Once the aromatics are tender and are just starting to brown, add the garlic to the pot and cook just until fragrant. (Photo 02)
Deglaze the pan with white wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the wine simmer until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. (Photo 03)
Make a roux by stirring in flour and letting the mixture cook for just a minute or two. (Photo 04) The flour will thicken the soup base slightly, and the starches from the potato gnocchi will do the rest of the thickening work later.
Slowly whisk in the chicken stock, followed by the half and half and herbs. The mixture might look “gloppy” at first. Keep stirring or whisking as you bring it to a simmer, and the roux will melt into the liquid. (Photo 05)
Cooking the Gnocchi and Finishing the Soup
Add the gnocchi to the pot and simmer until tender. This will take 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the brand. Gnocchi will start to float when they’re cooked. (Photo 06)
When the gnocchi are soft, stir in the rotisserie chicken, spinach leaves, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Simmer for an additional 1-2 minutes, until the chicken is warmed and the spinach is wilted. (Photo 07)
I like to finish the soup with a little bit of freshly-grated nutmeg. It’s a flavor that’s classic to creamy soups and cheesy sauces in Italian cooking. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Photo 08)
Chicken Gnocchi Soup will thicken significantly as it sits and the potato starches mingle with the creamy soup base. For a thinner-textured soup, you’ll want to eat this right away after it’s cooked. For a thicker soup, let it stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
How to Serve Chicken Gnocchi Soup
I like to serve this creamy gnocchi soup with freshly-cracked black pepper on the top and a little more freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano. (Extra parmesan is never something I turn down!)
For the restaurant-style experience, a warm slice of crusty bread, buttery breadsticks, or a side salad can turn this soup into a full meal.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. The soup will become quite thick as the gnocchi continue to absorb liquid. After the soup is warmed, add additional chicken broth or stock to thin the base to your desired consistency.
More Easy Ways to Use a Rotisserie Chicken
- Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad
- Cranberry Chicken Salad with Walnuts
- Harvest Cobb Salad
- Tetrazzini (substitute rotisserie chicken for leftover turkey breast)
- How to Use Your Rotisserie Chicken Leftovers (Bon Appetit)
Rotisserie Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup thinly-sliced or small-diced celery
- 2 large garlic cloves , minced (2-3 teaspoons)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth (use low sodium and season to taste to control salt content)
- 2 cups half and half , warmed
- 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning/"Italian Herbs"
- 1 pound potato gnocchi (refrigerated or shelf-stable)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken breast , shredded or cubed
- 2 cups spinach leaves , roughly torn
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg (optional)
- kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- Heat butter and olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot until foaming subsides. Sauté onion, carrots, and celery with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until softened and just starting to brown. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.⠀
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and simmer until almost all of the liquid is evaporated, 2-3 minutes. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.⠀
- Gradually whisk in chicken stock and simmer to thicken slightly. Whisk in half and half, thyme, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a simmer (not a rolling boil), stirring or whisking.
- Add gnocchi and simmer for 3-5 minutes until tender and cooked through (they'll start to float). Stir in parmesan, shredded chicken, and spinach leaves. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until chicken is hot and spinach is wilted.⠀
- Season to taste with nutmeg (if using), salt, and pepper. The soup will thicken as it sits. For a thinner-textured soup, serve right away. For a thicker soup, let stand 5-10 mins, keeping the soup warm or gently reheating, if needed.
- Serve, topped with additional freshly-grated Parmigiano Reggiano and cracked black pepper, with crusty Italian bread on the side for dipping.