Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi

$8.41 recipe / $2.10 serving
by Monti - Budget Bytes
4.89 from 42 votes
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This velvety Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi recipe is one of my favorite one-pot meals because it’s easy, you can make it in under thirty minutes, it’s filling, and it’s big-time delicious. Like I’m-not-going-to-stop-eating-this-until-it’s-all-done delicious. Pillowy gnocchi drenched in a rich buttery cream sauce, with pops of juicy chicken and earthy spinach? Ummm, yeah. You’re going to love this one!

What Is Gnocchi?

Gnocchi are small two-inch dumplings made with mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs. They are served sauteed with butter, tomato, or cream-based sauce. In this dish, we pair gnocchi with diced chicken thighs in a buttery cream sauce. It’s basically an elevated meat and potatoes dish, with spinach thrown in because Beth says we need to cook more veggies.

What You’ll Need

You won’t need loads of time or pots and pans, that’s for sure. Everything in this dreamy, silky dish comes together in one skillet in under thirty minutes! Here’s what you’ll need to make Creamy Chicken And Gnocchi:

  • Gnocchi – you can find them frozen or fresh, but I prefer the dried ones as they are more economical, plus I have more room in my pantry than I do in my freezer. You’ll find them in the pasta section of your grocery store.
  • Chicken Thighs– You can also use chicken breast, but be careful not to overcook it, as you want juicy chicken, not dry, chicken-flavored cotton balls. In a pinch, sub the thighs with Italian sausage and skip the seasoning.
  • Heavy cream and Butter– this is a cream sauce, so it is dairy-heavy. You need the fat found in these ingredients to create the velvety sauce that brings everything together. You can substitute the heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream and the butter with vegan butter
  • Parmesan– does double duty, adding savory saltiness to the sauce while also thickening it. Asioago or feta make great substitutions. If you can’t do dairy, use a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast, but keep in mind that your sauce will be much looser.
  • Vegetable broth– is used to hydrate the dried gnocchi and helps create the base of our cream sauce. Substitute it with chicken broth or in a pinch, with a cup of water with a tablespoon of tomato sauce mixed in.
  • Onion and Garlic– these aromatics are fried in the chicken thigh fat and help flavor the gnocchi. You can substitute the onion with one tablespoon of onion powder and the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
  • Spinach- brings earthiness and a beautiful color to the dish. You can substitute spinach with kale, though it will take a little longer to soften.
  • Italian seasoning – creates an easy flavor base. If you don’t have Italian seasoning, substitute it with one teaspoon of dried oregano, one teaspoon of dried thyme, and one teaspoon of dried rosemary.
  • Smoked paprika – using this spice is optional, but I use it to add a dank, smoky note that helps round out the sharpness of the Italian seasoning. It also lends a golden hue to the sauce.

What To Serve With Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi

This dish is heavy, so pair it with a Simple Side Salad or Panzanella. You can also lean into the heaviness and make Garlic Bread to sop up all the creamy sauce. (It is AMAZING with garlic bread. And garlic counts as a vegetable!)

Storing and Reheating

Because you make this dish with a cream-based sauce, I don’t recommend freezing it, as the cream gets grainy when it thaws. Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave until steaming.

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Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi

4.89 from 42 votes
This delicious dish is full of pillowy gnocchi drenched in a rich buttery cream sauce, with pops of juicy chicken and earthy spinach. Plus it's so easy, you can make it in under thirty minutes!
Side shot of Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi in a silver skillet with a wooden spoon in it.
Servings 4 servings
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.25 lbs chicken thighs (4 to 5 thighs) ($4.23)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning ($0.30)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.04)
  • 1/4 tsp pepper ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.08)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced ($0.32)
  • 2 garlic cloves ($0.11)
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter, divided ($0.30)
  • 1 lb potato gnocchi (dry) ($1.13)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach ($0.60)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth ($0.08)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream ($0.71)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan ($0.44)

Instructions 

  • Dice the chicken thighs into 2-inch pieces. Add the chicken to a bowl and top it with Italian seasoning, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix until combined.
  • Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the cooking oil. Once it's shimmering, add the chicken and cook undisturbed until well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir and brown on the other side, about 3 more minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan when it's cooked through and leave the fat in the pan.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Saute until the onions have softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes
  • Add the gnocchi and 1 tablespoon salted butter to the skillet and brown for 2 minutes.
  • Add the spinach and the broth to the skillet. Cover the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the spinach has wilted and the gnocchi has hydrated.
  • Add the heavy cream and the remaining 1 tablespoon of salted butter to the skillet. Stir until the butter has melted and the cream is steaming hot but not boiling.
  • Take the skillet off the heat. Add the parmesan to the pan and stir until it melts, creating a velvety sauce.
  • Finally, return the cooked diced chicken to the skillet. Mix gently into the gnocchi and cream sauce. If desired, garnish with parsley.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cupsCalories: 756kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 32gFat: 50gSodium: 1186mgFiber: 4g
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How to Make Creamy Chicken And Gnocchi – Step by Step Photos

Dice 1.25 pounds of chicken thighs (about 4 to 5 thighs) in 2-inch pieces. Add the chicken to a bowl and top it with 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Mix until combined.

Set a large deep skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the chicken and cook undisturbed until well browned, about 3 minutes. Stir and brown on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Remove the chicken from the pan when it’s cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 160°F. Leave the rendered fat in the pan.

Add 1 diced onion and 2 cloves of minced garlic to the skillet. Saute until the onions have softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add 1 pound of dry potato gnocchi and 1 tablespoon of salted butter to the skillet. Brown the gnocchi for 2 minutes.

Add 2 cups of spinach and 1 cup of vegetable broth to the skillet. Cover the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the spinach has wilted and the gnocchi has hydrated.

Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of salted butter to the skillet. Stir until the butter has melted and the cream is steaming hot, but not boiling. You’re about to add cheese to the sauce, and cheese curdles at high temperatures, so make sure it isn’t boiling.

Take the pan off the heat. Add 1/4 cup of parmesan to the pan and stir until it melts, creating a velvety sauce.

Finally, return the cooked diced chicken to the skillet. Mix gently into the gnocchi and cream sauce. If desired, garnish with parsley. Serve this dish piping hot, then sit back and enjoy what took you less than a half hour to make!

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  1. Delicious! The timing was inaccurate for me (chicken took longer) but everything else was on-time.

    Next time, I’ll add more spinach. It really cooked down, and then there weren’t enough greens for me.

    Also I overcooked the gnocchi, so I will be following the timing more closely next time!

    It’s definitely a rich comfort food, so I don’t know if I can add it to my daily rotation. But it’s good in a pinch and super quick if making without chicken :)

  2. Wow! Frying the gnocchi and then simmering them in cream and broth leads to something extraordinary.

  3. This is the most comforting comfort food ever. I used frozen spinach (instead of fresh) and half and half (instead of heavy cream) and I feel like I could eat this at least a couple of times a week for eternity. I love gnocchi and this is such an easy and delicious alternative to a tomato-based pasta sauce–one pan, creamy deliciousness, perfect!

  4. I wanted to love this so much, but somehow it had a very bitter component to it, starting at the chicken and onion phase. What did I do wrong? Did I have a bad onion or cook the onions at too high of a temperature? Did something go wrong with cooking the Italian seasoning? Any suggestions? I’d like to attempt making this again because I think it has so much potential.

    1. That’s quite odd! If I had to guess I would say that the garlic or onion got a bit burnt. Or, like you said, the onion or even the chicken could have been bad. I’d definitely give it another try! I bet the onion and garlic were just a bit scorched because that can definitely give a bitter flavor.

  5. This was a great recipe, but the timing wasn’t very accurate for me. It took longest to cook the chicken. I skipped the onions and added a lot of paprika. Accidentally used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, which made it salty, but the paprika was a great fix for that. Would love some substitutes for the heavy cream and butter to make this healthier. The people who ate this were a fan! Thank you for sharing.

    1. This recipe is what my wife and I call “Definitely do again” We used chicken broth and we used pesto/mozzarella gnocchi….wow! We often modify online recipes to suit our tastes, but this was excellent…just used more garlic.

    2. You should be able to get no salt added chicken broth at the store(we use Campbells).