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This Italian-style chicken gnocchi soup is one of my family’s most requested soup recipes. A variation of a basic homemade chicken noodle soup, it’s hearty and super-comforting. Made without cream, milk or butter, it’s a meal-in-a-bowl, full of tender pieces of chicken, chunky vegetables and potato gnocchi dumplings in a tangy, lemon-kissed chicken broth laced with plenty of Parmesan cheese.
One-pot dinner recipes like this one sneak their way onto our dinner menu at least once a week.
The comfortable combination of chicken, fluffy pillows of gnocchi, and savory broth is really the definition of “homeyness.”
Why we LOVE chicken gnocchi soup
- Boneless, skinless chicken: Use your choice of chicken breasts or chicken thighs. The cooking time for chicken breasts will be slightly less.
- Potato gnocchi: Conveniently packaged potato gnocchi is widely available in grocery stores. If you’re feeling ambitious, make a batch of my homemade potato gnocchi to take this soup to the next level! Fresh or frozen gnocchi can be used in this recipe.
- Vegetables: A classic soffrito, which is a combo of chopped carrots, celery and onion, forms the base of the soup and enriches the broth.
- Chicken broth: Homemade chicken broth is an ideal option if you have some stocked in the fridge or freezer. Otherwise, a good prepared broth is perfect for this soup.
- Parmesan cheese: As a garnish, grated fresh Parmesan melts into the broth and boosts the all-around savoriness. To double-down on its rich, nutty flavor, throw a Parmesan rind into the soup. It will melt and dissolve into the broth as it cooks.
- Lemon: Whole slices of lemon simmer right in the pot. The flesh breaks down during the cooking process, releasing tangy juices into the broth.
- Herbs: Freshly chopped parsley and thyme finish the soup with a fresh, herbal note.
Recipe steps at a glance
Lemon-Parmesan Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 4 (350 g) carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced ½-inch thick
- 4-5 stalks (170 g) celery, sliced ½-inch thick
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound (450 g) boneless, skinless chicken, thighs or breasts, cut into 2-inch chunks
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 thin slices fresh lemon, seeds removed
- 4 cups (950 ml) chicken broth, regular or low-sodium
- 1 Parmesan rind, optional
- 1 pound (450 g) potato gnocchi
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- Pour the olive oil into a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot and place over medium-high heat. Stir in the carrots, celery, onions and a large pinch of salt. Cover the pot and cook 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Covering the pot helps to steam and soften the vegetables quickly.
- Add the chicken to the pot. Cook until the surface of the chicken is no longer pink, stirring it around frequently.
- Add the garlic, cayenne, lemon slices, chicken broth, Parmesan rind, 1-½ teaspoons salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer. Cook 10-20 minutes until the chicken is tender (chicken breasts will cook in about 10 minutes). Adjust the heat level as needed to maintain a simmer — boiling the broth will toughen the chicken.
- Stir in the gnocchi. Bring the soup back to a slow simmer and cook 5-7 minutes, until the gnocchi are softened and tender and the broth thickens slightly from the starch.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Pick out and remove the Parmesan rind and lemon slices and discard. Stir in the grated Parmesan, parsley and thyme. Serve the soup in bowls, with additional grated cheese sprinkled over.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Fresh, shelf-stable or frozen gnocchi can be used for the soup. Frozen gnocchi doesn’t need to be defrosted before going into the soup pot, but the liquid may take a few extra minutes to return to a simmer.
- Keep in mind that the consistency of the soup will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Refrigerate the soup 3-5 days or freeze up to 1 month.