This Instant Pot chicken gnocchi soup is packed with juicy, flavorful shredded chicken, pillowy soft Italian potato dumplings aka gnocchi, and veggies in a thick, savory, and creamy broth. Inspired by Olive Garden, this pressure cooker version is so easy to make at home and is just as great!
Who doesn’t love Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi soup? I bet we all do! Minestrone soup, Pasta e Fagioli, Zuppa Toscana, lasagna fritta, and chicken marsala are some of my Olive Garden favorites.
Since I’ve moved out of the US, obviously going to Olive Garden is not an option. But thankfully, I can make one of our favorite restaurant dishes at home and enjoy a comforting bowl of this yummy soup whenever we desire!
This pressure cooker creamy chicken gnocchi soup is an indulgent and decadent version of my Instant Pot chicken noodle soup. I’ve swapped the noodles with gnocchi and use heavy cream to add a creaminess and richness to the soup. Along with that, I’ve also used cornstarch to thicken and add body to the soup.
Would you believe me if I said I’ve already made this soup three times last month? My family thinks this is literally the best chicken gnocchi soup they’ve ever had 😀
Table of Contents
Why must you make this soup?
- Flavorful, hearty, and comforting
- One-pot meal
- If you are bored with the classic chicken noodle soup and are looking to switch things up.
- If this is one of your favorite restaurant foods, you just have to try it! It is much more economical, makes a large pot, and leftovers are tasty too.
- If it a fall/winter ergo the perfect season to enjoy a warm bowl of soup.
- If you are just a soup person like me, then make it and enjoy it frequently all year round!
- It is a simple recipe that comes together in few steps once you have all your ingredients prepped up.
- This soup is a crowd-pleaser! It is ideal for potlucks and get-togethers.
To make this easy and delicious Instant Pot chicken gnocchi soup you will need,
- Chicken: I’ve used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You can also use chicken thighs or a mix of both. You can also use bone-in chicken. It definitely adds more flavor to the soup. For rotisserie chicken, please refer FAQs below.
- Gnocchi: Gnocchi is a variety of pasta made of mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs. I’ve used the premade, shelf-stable potato gnocchi (gnocchi di patate) easily found in the pasta aisle in most grocery stores. You can also use frozen ones (more on that in FAQs). Have time to spare? Then make your own gnocchi, nothing beats fresh pasta after all! You can also use sweet potato, cauliflower gnocchi for a change.
- Olive oil + unsalted butter: Adding a little bit of oil prevents the butter from burning.
- Mirepoix: Diced onion, carrots, and celery. I’ve used a white onion, but you can also use yellow onion. You can also use shredded or julienned carrots instead of dicing them. I prefer to keep them thick since the soup is pressure cooked for 10 minutes, and we don’t like mushy carrots.
- Garlic: Use freshly minced preferably!
- Chicken stock: I’ve used better than bouillon chicken stock base. Use low-sodium broth or stock preferably.
- Seasoning mix: I’ve used a mix of dried herbs like thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and freshly cracked pepper. I have also used nutmeg to add some finishing touches to the soup. Nutmeg enhances the creamy flavors. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some kick. You can add whatever seasoning you prefer!
- Parmesan: Freshly grated always! The other stuff might not melt well due to all the additives, and that can make the soup gloppy.
- Cornstarch: To thicken the soup!
- Baby spinach: You may also add baby kale or skip the greens altogether.
- Heavy cream: I love the richness that heavy cream adds to the soup. You can substitute it with half-and-half or evaporated milk for a lighter version. I don’t suggest using milk as it will lack that creaminess and the soup won’t be as thick either.
How to make Instant Pot Chicken Gnocchi Soup – Step by step process
Step 1: Saute the aromatics and herbs
Press the ‘SAUTE’ button, and set it to ‘NORMAL’. Once it displays ‘HOT’, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, let the butter melt. (Photo 1)
Add 1 cup each of diced onions, carrot, and celery along with 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. (Photo 2)
Saute until the onions turn translucent. Make sure you scrape off all the browned bits stuck at the bottom of the pot, to avoid getting a ‘BURN’ error. (Photo 3)
Add the seasoning mix (1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon each of dried parsley, dried basil, and Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper), mix well, and saute for another 30 seconds or until the herbs are fragrant. (Photos 4 and 5)
Step 2: Add stock, bay leaves, and chicken
Pour in 5 cups of low-sodium stock, give everything a good mix. Throw in 2 bay leaves. (Photos 6 and 7)
Place 1.5 pounds of boneless, skineless chicken in the broth. (Photo 8)
Step 3: Pressure cook
Press cancel, close the lid of the Instant Pot with the valve on sealing position. Press the manual or pressure cook button and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes, about 15 minutes for thicker pieces. It will take some time for the pressure to build up (about 15 minutes), after which the timer will start. (Photos 9 and 10)
Step 4: Natural pressure release (NPR) for 10 minutes
Once the cooking cycle is complete, let it depressurize for at least 10 minutes, then do a quick release of leftover pressure following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the float valve (silver pin) drops, open the lid. (Photo 11)
Step 5: Shred the chicken
Discard the bay leaves (Photo 12)
Remove the chicken using tongs, shred using two forks or cut into small cubes. (Photos 13 to 15)
Step 6: Add the remaining ingredients
Press the ‘SAUTE’ button and bring the soup to a boil. Add 1 pound of gnocchi, cover the Instant Pot with a lid, cook until the gnocchi floats to the top, about 2-3 minutes. (Photos 16 to 19)
In the meanwhile, whisk 2 tablespoons each of cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Once the gnocchi is cooked through, pour in the cornstarch slurry, stir continuously until it thickens. (Photos 20 and 21)
Add 1 cup of warmed cream or half and half, mix well and simmer for a minute. Press ‘CANCEL’ to turn off the Instant Pot. (Photos 22 and 23)
Add 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, stir continuously until it has melted, and blended well into the soup. (Photos 24 and 25)
Add3 cups of roughly chopped baby spinach, mix well, until the spinach wilts. (Photos 26 and 27)
Return the shredded chicken back to the Instant Pot. Add about 1/8 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, mix well (Photos 28 to 32)
Check for seasonings, and adjust with more salt and pepper as needed. Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving. Dish out, sprinkle some freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.
Since this Instant Pot chicken gnocchi soup is so rich and filling, it is substantial enough to be served on its own. You can enjoy it as such or pair it with;
- Crusty artisan bread or garlic bread.
- Breadsticks, crackers, French baguette
- And/or a fresh chopped salad.
Storage and reheating
To store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
To reheat: The soup will thicken because of the starch released from the gnocchi. The gnocchi also absorbs some of the liquid. Transfer the soup to a heavy-bottomed pot, add a splash of stock to thin it out. Heat on low until warmed through.
A few tips and variations…
Dairy: Always add the heavy cream after the pressure cooking process. Also, warm it to prevent it from curdling and splitting. Or else temper the cream by adding about 1/2 cup of the hot broth gradually to the cold cream, stirring continuously. Then add the cream mixture into the soup.
Parmesan rinds: If you have parmesan rinds, I suggest throwing in a rind just before pressure cooking. It will infuse a richer flavor to the soup.
Salt: Be mindful of the salt you use in this recipe, as there’s sodium in the stock, gnocchi, and parmesan cheese. If you are unsure, hold off the salt and add it in the end when you check for seasoning.
Seasoning: Adjust the seasoning as per desired taste.
Use a good-quality broth or stock: The stock adds a great deal of flavor to this soup, so make sure you use a good one. I use better than bouillon stock base, and I think it is fantastic.
Adjust the consistency: This soup is thick and gets thicker as it sits. If you prefer a thinner soup consistency, simply add another cup of stock, and heat it through.
Gluten-free: Make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free gnocchi and gluten-free cornstarch.
More veggies: You can add more veggies like zucchini, peas, bell peppers, etc along with the gnocchi. They will be tender-crisp and have the perfect texture when added after pressure cooking.
More gnocchi: If you prefer to add more gnocchi, feel free to double it. You may need to add extra broth or stock to account for the added gnocchi.
Italian sausage: You can brown a pound of sweet or hot Italian sausage, followed by mirepoix, garlic, and seasoning mix. The sausage adds another layer of deliciousness that’s quite similar to the sausage tortellini soup sans the tomatoes.
Frequently asked questions
How to make a vegetarian version of this recipe?
Skip the chicken. Dump in the rest of the ingredients including the gnocchi, and pressure cook on ‘HIGH’ for 1 minute followed by a quick release. Thicken with cornstarch, then add cream, vegan parmesan cheese, and chopped spinach.
Honestly, without the chicken, this soup would be much quicker to prepare on the stovetop. But if you are traveling somewhere or have no access to a stovetop, you can most certainly make this soup as stated above.
You can also substitute the chicken with some cubed tofu.
Can I use rotisserie or canned chicken?
Yes, you can! Simply follow the same steps mentioned above for the vegetarian version, and add the cubed or shredded rotisserie chicken in the end after the spinach has wilted, Cover the pot with a lid and let it sit for 10 minutes so that the chicken is heated through.
Can I skip the dairy?
You can skip the cream and swap it with coconut cream if you are okay with that flavor. Cashewnut cream is another great alternative. Also, use vegan parmesan cheese and use more olive oil or vegan butter.
Does this soup freeze well?
I don’t suggest freezing this soup as cooked gnocchi doesn’t hold up well in the freezer. The texture of the gnocchi will change after thawing, it will turn mushy. Additionally, there is dairy in this recipe, which will separate on thawing and reheating.
Can I use frozen gnocchi?
Yes, you can. Use them in the recipe without thawing and cook until they float to the top. Thawing frozen gnocchi will make them soggy.
More Instant Pot Soup recipes
★ Did you enjoy this easy pressure cooker chicken gnocchi soup recipe? If you try it out, I would love to hear from you! I’d appreciate it if you could rate and leave a review below in the comments. Your reviews help others know the recipe better too. Thanks so much 🙂
Instant Pot Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup diced white onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 5 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
- 1.5 pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb potato gnocchi regular or mini size
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 cup heavy cream or half and half, warmed
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups roughly chopped baby spinach, about 3.5 oz
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper, or to taste
- Press 'SAUTE' button, and set it to 'NORMAL'. Once it displays 'HOT', add olive oil and unsalted butter, let the butter melt.)
- Add diced onions, carrot, and celery along with minced garlic.
- Saute until the onions turn translucent. Make sure you scrape off all the browned bits stuck at the bottom of the pot, to avoid getting a 'BURN' error.
- Add the seasoning mix, mix well, and saute for another 30 seconds or until the herbs are fragrant.
- Add stock and give everything a good mix. Add the bay leaves and chicken.
- Press cancel, close the lid of the Instant Pot with the valve on sealing position. Press the manual or pressure cook button and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes, about 15 minutes for thicker pieces. It will take some time for the pressure to build up, after which the timer will start.
- Once the cooking cycle is complete, let it depressurize for at least 10 minutes, then do a quick release of leftover pressure following the manufacturer's instructions. Once the float valve (silver pin) drops, open the lid.
- Discard the bay leaves.
- Remove the chicken using tongs, shred using two forks or cut into small cubes.
- Press the 'SAUTE' button and bring the soup to a boil. Add gnocchi, cover the Instant Pot with a lid, cook until the gnocchi floats to the top, about 2-3 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, whisk cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Once the gnocchi is cooked through, pour in the cornstarch slurry, stir continuously until it thickens.
- Add the warmed cream or half and half, mix well and simmer for a minute. Press ‘CANCEL’ to turn off the Instant Pot.
- Add grated parmesan cheese, stir continuously until it has melted, and blended well into the soup.
- Add the spinach, mix well, until the spinach wilts.
- Return the shredded chicken back to the Instant pot and mix well.
- Add nutmeg, mix well.
- Check for seasonings, and adjust with more salt and pepper as needed. Cover and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
- Dish out, sprinkle some fresh grated parmesan cheese if desired.