This soup starts with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I decided to go with breasts because there is enough liquid surrounding the chicken to keep it moist. I also felt that there was enough indulgence in the soup with the half and half and bacon that we didn’t need to add more fat with dark meat chicken. I threw my chicken breasts in frozen and I used 1 3/4 pounds. Which was plenty. I love my kitchen scale and use it all the time. If you don’t have one they are a good little tool and are pretty inexpensive.
Next, chop up some onions, carrots and celery. I actually really liked grated carrots in this soup instead of sliced carrots.
Instead of sauteing on the stovetop we are going to use the microwave. We are going to add in a bit of oil and the spices and microwave it all for about 5 minutes. This gives the veggies a chance to soften up and it blooms the spices at the same time.
Add all of that into the slow cooker along with some chicken broth and a bay leaf and you’re set to cook on low for about 4 hours.
Once the chicken is tender, you’ll add in some half and half and some bacon. I like buying these little packages of bacon because it’s just really easy and convenient. But if you want to fry up some bacon, more power to you!
And don’t forget the best part…the gnocchi. I just like saying that word a lot. Gnocchi! I found mine at Smith’s/Kroger by the pasta. It was $2.50 for a pound. I think you could actually add more than a pound in this soup and it would be awesome. These cook fairly quickly in the hot soup so you’ll be ready to eat in no time!
Don’t forget to add in a pop of green and nutrition with the kale. Make sure to take out the stem when you chop it up. Here is a one minute video that shows how to cute up kale…so helpful!
Finally, you’ll add the finishing touch of a bit of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I promise you’ll love this! Try it soon 🙂
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Slow Cooker Chicken Gnocchi Soup with Kale and Parmesan
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
A cream based soup with tender, moist bites of chicken, bacon crumbles, bright green leafy kale and dumpling-like gnocchi. This soup is a 10 out of 10 at my house. If I start a soup restaurant and can serve only 3 soups this will be one of them.
- 1–2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used about 1 1/2 lbs which I felt was perfect)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 medium carrots, grated or finely diced
- 3 celery stalks, grated or finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 5 cups chicken broth (or you can use water and bouillon)
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 cups half and half
- 3 oz bacon bits
- 1–2 lbs gnocchi (I used one pound)
- 4 kale leaves, roughly chopped (as shown in video above)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, basil, parsley and olive oil. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add concoction to the slow cooker.
- Add in the bay leaf, pepper, salt, and chicken broth. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours, or until chicken is tender. Alternately, you can also cook on HIGH for about 2-3 hours. (I do feel that chicken turns out better in the slow cooker when cooked on low though).
- Remove chicken and place on a cutting board. Turn the slow cooker to high. Mix 3 Tbsp of cornstarch with an equal amount of water and stir together until smooth. Stir into the slow cooker and keep the lid off. Go back to the chicken and slice it into bite size pieces or shred it. Add the chicken back into the slow cooker.
- Warm the half and half (or else it will curdle) and add it into the slow cooker. I always just stick mine in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
- Add the bacon bits, gnocchi and kale into the slow cooker and give a little stir. Let it cook on high for 10 minutes.
- Ladle into serving bowls and top each serving with a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.
I use my 6 quart slow cooker for this recipe.
If you’d like the Instant Pot version of this recipe click here.
Recipe inspired by Pinch of Yum and Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and Olive Garden
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Richard Moore says
Made this soup today and followed recipe to the letter. This is a keeper. My adult daughter and I love it. One of the best soups we have eaten – PERIOD!!!
Wow thanks so much Richard!
We just started the Keto diet a few weeks ago. This recipe is great for keto with only a slight change. We are going to add pearl onions in place of the gnocchi. It looks delicious and can’t wait to try it! Do you have any other suggestions for Keto recipes in the crockpot or Ip? Thank you so much for all your yummy ideas so far! 🙂
Hi Stacey here are my low carb recipes: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/recipes/?fwp_method=instant-pot&fwp_dietary_restrictions=low-carb
Cynthia Idle says
This is one of my favorites, for sure! I love how it comes together and the flavor is superb!
So glad you enjoyed it Cynthia!
Can I half the recipe for just the two of us?
We have a 4 quart slow cooker
yes for sure!
When you remove the crock pot lid in step 4, do you leave it off for the rest of the process or do you return the lid while the gnocchi is cooking?
I just keep it off
I’m not a fan of kale, so spinach it is! Sounds delicious and great for the cold weather coming soon.
Thanks and be well!
Christine Hayes says
This looks amazing. If doing this in a slow cooker, could I use boneless skinless thighs instead of the breasts? And I would rather use spinach. How much would you use and should it be chopped first? Thank you!
Yes on the thighs and I would chop up 2 cups of packed spinach. Sounds great!
Made this soup this evening in my IP using gluten free gnocchi. It was fabulous.
Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.
Just made this for dinner and followed the directions and recipe exactly and it didn’t have much flavor… it was also very bitter, because of the kale we’re guessing, and we just couldn’t eat it. Very disappointed!
Jess MVK says
Hi! I just found your site and am THRILLED!! Your recipes look DEEE-lish and will likely keep me quite busy trying things out for my kiddos and I.
I have the chicken, etc. cooking, and just realized I have frozen tortellini, not gnocchi (could’ve sworn I grabbed gnocchi too, ugh)! Do you think this will work? I have the cheese version.
If so, would you say about the same amount of time, prior to serving? I am actually cooking it now primarily for the week’s lunches (tho will likely sneak a bowl b4 bed, myself.. ). If I refrigerate once done, AND you think the tortellini will be okay, will the tortellini also be ok in the soup/refrigerated the next few days?
Thank you SO much for this… your site/recipe had the BEST directions, simple, straightforward, and covering most all of the questions I had running thru my busy head!! I am a definite new follower!
Hi Jess, glad you found me!
I think tortellini would be just fine. I bet it would take the same amount of time. Yes it will be okay in the fridge. It might get a little bloated but it will still taste great.
My son’s primary food groups are chicken and bacon, but he is allergy to all dairy products. I’ve never bought gnocchi before; does it have cheese in it? I’d like to try this recipe using unsweetened almond milk instead of half and half and Tofutti (non-dairy) parmesan cheese. I really like that this is thickened with cornstarch, not flour, since my cornstarch says it contains calcium—a bonus when allergic to dairy. Anyone else tried using non-dairy substitutes?
Gnocchi is just a pasta made from potatoes. So no it doesn’t have cheese in it. Let me know how the non-dairy version turns out!
Sheila Barry says
I made today. Very good I used light cream instead of half and half. But it was delish and filling.
Can you freez it .it is quite a lot for 1 person.
I’m sure you could freeze it!
Do you know the nutrition info for this?
Hi Tiff, I’m sorry I don’t. If I want to find nutrition info I often plug recipes into here: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php
Can nonfat half & half be substituted?
Oh my goodness! This soup is Ah-mazing! When my husband called and asked what I was making for dinner, he got really quiet. See, he’s not a soup eater. Especially if he knew it was a slow cooker recipe. He thinks things taste weird. Boy did this soup prove him wrong. He kept repeating “this is fantastic”. He told me that I hit it out of the park with this one on the first try. This is a keeper and will be made often.
Denise, what a great comment to receive! I love that your husband was happy to eat soup! Hooray!! Thanks for letting me know 🙂
Katie Smith says
Super excited to try this recipe tonight! I’ve been using your beef stroganoff and quinoa avocado bowls forever and am expanding my crockpot repertoire now that it’s freezing in Michigan. Thanks so much for all the great recipes and pictures! I just used one of your Amazon links to order some items and will make sure I use your referral links in the future too.
Katie, thanks so much for the nice note. I hope you find lots of great recipes!!
Followed the recipe exactly, and wow! What a treat! FULL of flavor. Instant favorite. Thank you!
Thanks so much Holly! Glad you liked it 🙂
What can I replace the chicken with to make the dish vegetarian?
I would just leave it out. I’m not sure what you could use in its place that’s meatless. Maybe mushrooms?
Does this freeze well?
I’ve never tried it! But I bet it would be okay.
Does gnocchi have to be cooked first before putting in slow cooker?
no, just let it cook in the simmering liquid in the slow cooker!
What can I use instead of half & half? I can’t find that anywhere?
you could use whole milk or even heavy cream! It’s not a big deal, it will still taste great.
We enjoyed this with spinach. Good flavor though next time I will add a little red pepper.
How much fresh spinach did you use
Probably 3 cups
What would I do if using fresh (not frozen) chicken?
you can take about an hour off the cooking time!
Jacqueline Lucke says
Looks so good, but I don’t care for Kale, what can I replace it with
Spinach would work well!