Easy crockpot chicken gnocchi soup (Olive Garden copycat, with pressure cooker)
This crockpot chicken gnocchi soup is a hearty, nutritious, creamy and yet lightened-up soup packed with chicken, gnocchi and vegetables, just like the one you love at Olive Garden! Get the best quality ingredients and you can make a truly delicious meal in your slow cooker or pressure cooker with just 7 main ingredients.
- 1.5 pounds chicken breasts skinless boneless (3 medium to large)
- 1 onion large, chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and sliced
- 4 sticks celery chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and crushed or chopped
- 4.5 cups chicken stock (US=chicken broth)
- 1 tablespoon mixed Italian herbs e.g. basil, thyme, oregano (or Italian seasoning)
- 14 ounces evaporated milk (1 can)
- 3 tablespoons corn flour dissolved in a little water (US=cornstarch)
- 16 ounces gnocchi
- 7 ounces spinach (baby spinach)
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, stock and herbs in the crockpot and cook on low for six hours minimum (or high for four). If you prefer to use an electric pressure cooker/Instant Pot, cook for 10 minutes on high pressure (70kpa), then quick pressure release (either instant or auto quick which takes 5-10 minutes in my pressure cooker).
At the end of the cooking time, shred the chicken in the pot with two forks.
Stir in the evaporated milk, cornstarch/water, and gnocchi (no need to cook it first). Bubble on 'high' until the soup has thickened a little and the gnocchi is cooked (a few minutes). If cooking in a pressure cooker, use the saute function instead.
Wilt the spinach into the pot, grind in plenty of salt and pepper to taste, then serve.
As this recipe only contains a few ingredients, I highly recommend using really good chicken, stock and vegetables. It makes a huge difference, giving the soup much more flavour!
6 hours on low (crockpot) is the minimum. It's fine to leave it longer if you're out all day! It's also fine to keep it on the 'keep warm' setting until you're ready to eat.
Slow cooker or electric pressure cooker?
Yes, you can make this chicken gnocchi soup in your Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker!
Cook for 10 minutes on high pressure (70kpa), then quick pressure release (either instant or auto quick which takes 5-10 minutes in my pressure cooker).
Can you use chicken thighs instead of breasts, and can you use frozen chicken?
Yes to both! If using your crockpot, the cooking instructions don't change. If using your Instant Pot / electric pressure cooker:
For chicken thighs: you can reduce the cook time to 8 minutes if using thighs and a pressure cooker.
For frozen chicken breasts: cook for 14 minutes on high pressure and release pressure for 5 minutes (I use the ‘auto quick’ setting on my electric pressure cooker).
For frozen chicken thighs: cook for 10 minutes on high pressure and then release pressure for 5 minutes.
Can you use frozen spinach?
Yes! Just defrost, then squeeze out any excess water and add to the pot as you would with fresh.
Adjusting the thickness of the soup
After quite a lot of experimenting with this recipe over the years, I finally decided that 3 tablespoons of cornflour gives you the perfect thickness.
If you’d prefer your soup to be more like a hearty chowder or casserole, just add a tablespoon or two more of cornflour.
The soup is lovely heated up the next day, but I sometimes find some of the liquid is soaked up by the gnocchi in the fridge. Simply add a bit of water to thin it out again to your liking.
Can you reheat and/or freeze a chicken gnocchi soup?
Reheat either in the microwave (slowly on 50% heat so that the chicken doesn't get tough) or in a saucepan.
Cool and freeze in glass containers with lids for up to 3 months. When you want to eat, let defrost in the fridge, then reheat as described above.
Add a little more water or milk if the soup seems too thick when reheating (the gnocchi may have absorbed some of the liquid).
Calories: 453kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 38gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 778mgPotassium: 1171mgFiber: 4gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 6824IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 269mgIron: 5mg