Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is a creamy, lightened-up copycat recipe of the famous classic, made easy thanks to the crockpot!

Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup with text overlay.


If you enjoy slow cooker soups, you'll also love Beef Stroganoff Soup, Ham & Bean Soup, and Slow Cooker Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Last week I threw up a little poll on my Instagram Stories and, I have to admit, I was honestly surprised by the results! I asked my IG peeps if -- given the choice -- they would prefer to see slow cooker (Crockpot) recipes or pressure cooker (Instant Pot) recipes. And not only did the slow cooker option get the most votes, but it actually "won" by a 70% to 30% margin!

I was not expecting those numbers. But I was also okay with them, because I had actually already made and photographed this Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup. And that means that I'm totally justified in sharing it with y'all today -- ha.

Crockpot full of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup.

Better than the Original

Have you had this Olive Garden classic before? Well, I think my copycat version of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is even better for a few very important reasons...

  1. It's made in the slow cooker! Because what's easier than tossing ingredients into your crockpot early in the day, well ahead of that pre-dinner witching hour when cooking can be rather challenging...between juggling after-school activities, helping with homework, and/or dealing with hungry/tired child meltdowns. (*Please note: this recipe is also great for lazy weekends and make-ahead lunches.)
    Aerial view of Chicken Gnocchi Soup in bowl.
  2. You can make homemade soup healthier and lighten it up! Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is known for its thick, creamy consistency. And guess what? Odds are that consistency is achieved (at least in part) by using heavy cream. This copycat recipe, on the other hand, achieves its silky creaminess from just 1 cup of half-and-half and a quick cornstarch slurry. Divided between eight or so servings, that amount of half-and-half doesn't end up being overly decadent. And if you wish, you can even substitute fat-free half-and-half or whole milk.
  3. You can tweak the ingredients to your liking! I included garlic, carrots, and spinach in my version of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup. But if you're a fan of onions and/or celery, feel free to throw those in as well. In the same way, you can use fresh herbs (instead of dried) if you've got 'em.
Ladle of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup.

The other bonus of making soup in the slow cooker is that it's just, well, cozy. On a cool fall day (which we'll hopefully have a chance to experience by, ohhhh, November or so), what's better than coming home to a bubbling crockpot of warm, comforting soup? The house will smell heavenly, 'tis true. But even better, after just a few quick steps to finish up the soup, dinner will be ready!

Spinach going into crockpot.

How to Enjoy It

I also love that this Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is pretty much a complete meal on its own. Of course you could serve it with a crisp green salad and a loaf of crusty bread.

But you don't have to! It's already brimming with meat, carbs, and veggies, between chunks of plump chicken, soft potato gnocchi, tender carrots, and fresh spinach.

What Kind of Gnocchi to Use

Speaking of which, are you already familiar with those little pillows of Italian potato dumpling goodness known as gnocchi? I've long been a fan of gnocchi in just about any preparation, but Olive Garden really knew what they were doing with this particular combo of ingredients.

And better yet, you can use whatever type of gnocchi best works for you, whether homemade, fresh, packaged, or frozen.

Two bowls on table with spoons and bread.

My whole family loved this Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup. Particular offspring of mine may have picked around particularly large pieces of spinach, but overall, everyone happily scarfed it down. The middle child and the hubby even went for second and third helpings, and I've already been asked when I can make it again! So I'd say that's a winner winner of a chicken soup dinner...

So what do y'all think? Did you get to participate in my IG poll? Do you align with the majority in loving your Crockpot more than your Instant Pot? Or would you have voted the other way?

Rest assured that I'll continue to bring you alllll kinds of dinner (and non-dinner!) recipes, from slow cooker to pressure cooker to plain ol' stovetop and oven. Because variety is the spice of life, right?? But just know that you're always free to let me know if you have requests for a specific or a certain type of recipe. I aim to please, y'all!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this slow cooker copycat of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup!

(And if you enjoy homemade "better than Olive Garden" recipes, you'll also want to check out my popular Italian Dressing and easy Minestrone Soup!)

Aerial view of ladle of Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup.

Helpful Tips, Tricks, & Equipment

  • When making slow cooker recipes, please keep in mind that not all slow cookers are created equal. What I mean by that is older models of slow cookers really do cook slow. Newer, modern-day slow cookers, however, have a higher wattage and run “hotter” than they used to, in order to meet current USDA food safety guidelines. Therefore, you need to be familiar with how your slow cooker cooks and, if necessary, adjust the cooking time in slow cooker recipes accordingly.
  • Of the four different slow cookers that I own (and after using them to write an entire slow cooker cookbook), my favorite model of current slow cookers is this one. I love that it doesn’t get as hot as my other newer-model slow cookers. It still runs hotter than my trusty 15-year-old slow cooker, mind you…but on the other hand, it’s not boiling after an hour like one of the other new/modern slow cookers that I own. In fact, out of all of my slow cookers, it gives the most consistent results and is the least likely to burn or overcook.
  • Use fat-free half-and-half or whole milk for an even lighter soup. Or use heavy cream to make it more decadent!
Close-up of bowl of soup with spoon.
  • Feel free to use frozen gnocchi instead of fresh or packaged. You just may need to bump up the cooking time at the end until it's cooked through.
  • When I don't have chicken broth or stock on hand, I use water plus Organic Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base (which I always keep in my fridge). But since it's salty, I taste the recipe and stir in additional salt at the end, only if needed. This is preferable to adding a pre-measured amount of salt while the dish is cooking.
  • You may add an additional tablespoon of cornstarch if you prefer an even thicker soup. Just don't stir cornstarch directly into the hot soup or it will clump up! You should always whisk cornstarch into a small amount of cool liquid (water, broth, milk) until dissolved. Then stir the resulting slurry into your hot soup before allowing it time to thicken.
Slow Cooker Chicken Gnocchi Soup in white bowl.

More Comforting Chicken Soups

Slow Cooker Chicken Gnocchi Soup ~ a creamy, lightened-up copycat recipe of the famous Olive Garden classic, made easy thanks to the crockpot! |

Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Slow Cooker Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is a creamy, lightened-up copycat recipe of the famous classic, made easy thanks to the crockpot!
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 335kcal
Print Pin Rate


  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds chicken breasts, 3 to 4 large chicken breasts
  • 1 ½ cups shredded carrots
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 (16-ounce) package potato gnocchi
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach


  • Arrange chicken breasts in the bottom of a large (6-quart) slow cooker. Add carrots and garlic on top, then sprinkle with parsley, basil, celery salt, nutmeg, and bay leaf. Season with ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt (depending on the saltiness of your chicken broth) and freshly ground black pepper. Pour chicken stock/broth over ingredients in slow cooker, cover with lid, and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or until the chicken is tender.
  • At the end of the cooking time, remove the chicken to a cutting board and discard the bay leaf. Using a fork, whisk the cornstarch into the half-and-half until dissolved and then stir the slurry into the soup, along with the gnocchi. Cover the slow cooker and increase the heat to HIGH.
  • Chop or pull the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Stir it back into the slow cooker, cover, and continue to cook for 15 to 30 more minutes, until the gnocchi is cooked through and the soup is thickened. Just before serving, stir in the chopped spinach and cover for a few more minutes until wilted. Adjust the seasonings, to taste, with additional salt and pepper (if needed) and serve immediately.



  • For a lighter soup, use fat-free half-and-half or whole milk. On the other hand, you may use heavy cream to make it more decadent.
  • You may use frozen gnocchi instead of fresh or packaged. Just be prepared to slightly increase the cooking time at the end until it's cooked through.
  • You may add an additional tablespoon of cornstarch if you prefer an even thicker soup. Do not stir cornstarch directly into the hot soup or it will clump up. Instead, whisk cornstarch into a small amount of cool liquid (water, broth, milk) until dissolved. Then gradually stir the resulting slurry into your hot soup before allowing it time to thicken.


Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 716mg | Potassium: 718mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 4500IU | Vitamin C: 4.8mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 3mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Post originally published on September 4, 2018.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I use the frozen gnucci and I’m so disappointed. They turn into pure mush like very, very gross, consistency mush. Tastes like flower blobs. What should I have done differently?

    1. 4 stars
      Frozen gnocchi would definitely turn to mush. Use the "fresh" potato gnocchi (in the same aisle as the dry pasta). I also used chicken thighs (which is what they use at Olive Garden). Came out delicious! Hope this helps.

  2. 5 stars
    Super hit with the hubby!! I altered the recipe a lil by using 2 cups of half and half and 4.5 cups of broth and all purpose flour instead of cornstarch which made it more like stew. Also, I used all dry seasonings and added garlic and onion powder. 😋😊

  3. 1 star
    This did not work for me at all. Too herby tasting. Not creamy at all.
    I can describe it as too many flavors that didn’t go together well.

  4. Has anyone used a dairy alternative instead of cream or milk? I wondered if canned coconut milk or soymilk would work.

    1. Hi Lynn! This recipe should work with any dairy-free milk that you like! Just keep in mind that the soup will turn out a little less creamy if using a non-dairy milk substitute. And if you use something like canned coconut milk, there may be a slight undertone of coconut flavor. 🙂

    1. I haven't tried it, Kami, but I don't see why you couldn't make that substitution as long as you're prepared for a slightly different flavor/consistency of your soup.

        1. Hi Sara! Make sure you're looking at the recipe card for full recipe's at the bottom of the post, or there's a button at the very top of the post that will allow you to jump directly to it. In step 2, you stir the gnocchi into the soup at the same time as the cornstarch slurry. In step 3, you stir the spinach into the soup just before serving. Hope that helps! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    This soup was pure perfection! I cooked the chicken on high the entire time so my soup was ready in about 4 1/2 hours. Even my kids loved it and they are extremely picky! 10/10, definitely making again!

    1. Hi Lorr! I don't have exact stovetop instructions already written out for this recipe, but I'd probably just modify this slow cooker recipe using the Chicken BBQ Soup stovetop directions >>> I'd start by cooking the chicken, carrots, garlic, and spices in the chicken broth in a pot on the stove. You will probably have to add a couple extra cups of chicken stock/broth to allow for evaporation (which doesn't occur in a slow cooker). Then after removing the chicken to shred it once cooked, I would add the gnocchi to the simmering broth and cook it per the package directions. Then I'd stir in the half-and-half cornstarch slurry and add back the shredded chicken, letting it simmer until just thickened. Finally, I'd stir in the spinach and let it wilt. Hope that help (and makes sense)!

  6. 3 stars
    I made this soup for my father who just got out of the hospital and has some new dietary restrictions. I used whole milk instead of half and half, along with 3.5 tbs of cornstarch. Although it taste great, my soup did not thicken up 🙁

    1. This soup is not intended to get overly thick, Jessica, but I'm sorry that it didn't get thick enough for your liking. If you left the lid off your slow cooker for awhile and it cooled down too much, the liquid may not have gotten hot enough to trigger the cornstarch to thicken. You can always turn the heat up to HIGH for a bit to try to get it to thicken further/faster. 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve always been obsessed with this soup and I didn’t feel confident enough to make my own until I saw your recipe !! I could not find celery salt anywhere so I used fresh finely chopped celery.. WOW!!! Everything is amazing !! Thank you so much for sharing it ! I put bread with butter, garlic salt and parsley in the oven to go with the soup and my family loved it so much , there weren’t any left overs!

      1. Using frozen spinach is just fine, Jessie! I'd probably use whole leaf frozen spinach if I could find it, but chopped should work, long as you don't mind all of the tiny pieces. 😉

  8. 5 stars
    I made this and it was delicious. I added chopped onions and garlic salt but it came out really well and can’t wait to make it again!! Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Sure! Any milk you prefer would's just going to affect the "creaminess" accordingly. 🙂