This is a re-make of an old recipe that was inspired by a friend and what I love about this soup is, well, there are several things.
It is wildly similar to the genius and ever-popular gnocchi soup from Olive Garden.
It reminds me a little bit of the chicken wild rice soup in that we just start pretty basic with carrots, celery, onions, chicken, spices, and broth in a crockpot. And you know how I love me some chicken wild rice soup slash any soup in a crockpot. Minnesota represent!
Unlike the wild rice soup, this chicken gnocchi soup is made thick by evaporated milk and a quick cornstarch slurry. So if you’re looking for thick and creamy soup while avoiding the butter/flour/cream route of a roux base, this is your magic.
GNOCCHI. Those tiny dumplings of happy feelings that are mixed in throughout the chicken gnocchi soup make the whole thing come together. Every time I make this soup, Bjork a) raves, and b) talks for at least 5 minutes about how much he loves “the dumplings.” I could almost actually call this Chicken and Dumpling soup except the Chicken and Dumpling soup of my youth (a Herman’s bakery special in Cambridge, MN) had approximately zero vegetables and was practically untouchable in its level of homey perfection, so I will not go there. Let’s just give ourselves a pat on the back for the carrots, celery, and sautéed garlic spinach that are present at this soup party. And the bacon. I always invite the bacon.
You can use something other than evaporated milk, but I found that evaporated milk has the creaminess of half and half or heavy whipping cream without actually needing to use up a bunch of half and half in the soup.
My soup leftovers seem less soupy and more thick. What should I do?
The leftovers soak up a lot of the moisture because of the gnocchi, so you might need to add more evaporated milk depending on how soupy you want it and/or how long you’ll be keeping it around.
Can I make this with dairy-free milk?
It won’t be as creamy with a dairy-free milk, but it should still work. We’d recommend unsweetened almond milk or canned coconut milk and adding an additional tablespoon of cornstarch to the soup.
Can I make this soup in the Instant Pot?
Yes! Add the chicken, mirepoix, basil, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, salt, and broth to the Instant Pot. Cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Let out the steam using quick release. Remove the chicken to shred and then add it back to the pot. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, evaporated milk, and gnocchi. Use the “Saute” function to simmer the soup for another 20 minutes or so to thicken it all up. Add in the bacon and spinach, and stir to combine.
Can you freeze this soup?
Honestly, I’ve never had a ton of luck with freezing soups that have dairy. I’d probably skip freezing this one!
How do you know when the gnocchi is cooked?
The almost one hour of time that it sits in the soup should do the trick, but if you want to be sure, I’d recommend just taking out one of the gnocchi and cutting it down the middle to ensure it’s cooked and tender.
How Do You Make Gnocchi?
To me, crockpot chicken gnocchi soup means something that can be quickly and easily tossed together and tastes best when using good, quality ingredients.
If I don’t just *happen* to have some fresh homemade gnocchi laying around (which hello, like, NEVER HAPPENS, because homemade gnocchi disappears in five seconds flat around here), then store-bought gnocchi it is. Those savory fluffy little bites of airy perfection cook up just right when stirred in at the end of cook time for this soup.
Other Ingredients You’ll Need For This Soup
We’ve already covered the ever-convenient storebought gnocchi, but here’s what else you need to make this soup happen:
Mirepoix (carrots, celery, onion)
Evaporated milk (trust me)
And BACON (yes, yes, yes)
How To Make Chicken Gnocchi Soup
There are only three steps here. THREE. You can do this.
Add it all to the crockpot: Place the chicken, mirepoix, basil, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, salt, and chicken broth in a crockpot or slow cooker to cook. You’ll even shred your chicken right in the crockpot after cooking.
Thicken the soup: Add the evaporated milk, cornstarch, and gnocchi, and stir. This is how you’ll cook your gnocchi – no extra pot needed!
Crisp up your bacon: The BEST PART. Crisp it up, then add the spinach and garlic, and add it to the soup. Stir it all up and your done.
So easy, so good. Serve it with a delicious little green salad and you’re in dinner business.
Perfect For a Meal Delivery
I could totally see this chicken gnocchi soup being a great bring-to-a-new-mom-or-sick-friend type of meal. It’s easy to throw together, it’s got that basic-yummy flavor that families love, there’s some redeeming vegetables in with all that creamy awesomeness, it saves well in the fridge or freezer… win, win, win, all around.
I have brought it to a few friends with a loaf of the Miracle No-Knead Bread and the bread + the chicken gnocchi soup combo get rave reviews every time.
Match made in heaven, I’d say.
This recipe was adapted from Jessica’s version – she introduced me to the genius of using evaporated milk!
This Crockpot Chicken Gnocchi Soup is lusciously cream-free, comforting, and made with lots of vegetables. Perfect with crusty bread and a green salad. ♡
1lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2cupsmirepoix (just a simple mixture of chopped onions, celery, and carrots)
1–2 teaspoons dried basil
1–2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoonpoultry seasoning
3 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
two 12 ounce cans evaporated milk
two 1 lb. packages gnocchi (about 4 cups)
6 slices bacon
2–3 cloves garlic, minced
5ouncesfresh baby spinach
Place the chicken, mirepoix, basil, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, salt, and broth in a crockpot or slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Shred the chicken directly in the crockpot.
Add the cornstarch mixture, evaporated milk, and gnocchi. Stir and replace cover. Cook another 45 minutes – 1 hour until the soup has thickened and the gnocchi has softened.
While the soup is thickening, cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy. Drain on paper towels and wipe most of the bacon grease out of the pan, leaving just a little bit for the spinach/garlic. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the spinach and stir until wilted. Remove from heat. Add the bacon and spinach to the crockpot. Stir to combine.
Add any additional liquid as needed (I added about a cup of water once it started to thicken) and season again with salt and pepper as needed.
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Be sure to taste and adjust with salt/pepper before serving. It may need more depending on the saltiness of your broth.
Instant Pot Instructions: Add the chicken, mirepoix, basil, Italian seasoning, poultry seasoning, salt, and broth to the Instant Pot. Cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Let out the steam using quick release. Remove the chicken to shred, and then add it back to the pot. Stir in the cornstarch mixture, evaporated milk, and gnocchi. Then, use the “Saute” function to simmer the soup for another 20 minutes or so to thicken it all up. Add in the bacon and spinach, and stir to combine.