For a fancy-looking but really easy meal, this creamy chicken and gnocchi pasta with spinach takes the lead. It’s juicy, saucy, rich, and cheesy— just what you need to pack your meal with flavor.
Easy Chicken and Gnocchi Pasta Dish
Served in a creamy sauce, this juicy chicken and gnocchi pasta is everything your weekday meals were missing. Loaded with garlic, butter, and spinach, it’s fancy enough to be made for special occasions but also easy enough to earn a place in your regular meal rotation.
Simmered until the sauce thickens and the parmesan melts, every bite is a saucy, tender, and addictive one that’ll make you wipe the plate clean. With hints of garlic and thyme, you’ll love the wonderful aroma that begins to fill your kitchen as this cooks.
With a bit of lemon juice to brighten things up, there’s an amazing balance of richness, cheesiness, and creaminess. Even if you make some swaps, like Italian seasoning or kale, you probably won’t be cooking chicken and gnocchis any differently from now on.
What You’ll Need
Making this creamy chicken and gnocchi pasta is all about the seasoning and heavy cream. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.
- All-purpose flour
- Garlic powder
- Paprika powder
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – You can also use bone-in thighs for juicier chicken.
- Butter – I prefer unsalted, but feel free to use salted butter instead.
- White onion – Yellow onion is perfect for this too.
- Garlic – Don’t substitute this for garlic powder.
- Fresh thyme – Feel free to use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.
- Low-sodium chicken broth – Veggie stock works too.
- Lemon juice – Don’t use lime juice.
- Heavy cream – Feel free to use half-and-half or evaporated milk. Don’t use regular milk.
- Parmesan cheese
- Baby spinach – Roughly chopped regular spinach works too.
How to Make Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi
This chicken and gnocchi pasta is easier to make than it seems! It’s all about developing different layers of flavor.
- Boil the gnocchi. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a large pot, then add the gnocchi. Cook gnocchi for 3 minutes, drain and set aside. Always look at the package instructions in case your brand requires a longer or shorter cooking time.
- Mix the dry ingredients. While you wait for the gnocchi to cook, whisk together the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, garlic powder, and paprika together in a large plate.
- Dredge the chicken. Coat each piece of chicken with the seasoned flour mixture on all sides.
- Cook the chicken. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the chicken and cook on both sides for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the heat. Set aside on a plate and tent it with foil to keep it warm.
- Cook the onion. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan and then add the onion and sauté until it becomes soft and fragrant.
- Add the garlic. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and cook for another 30 seconds or until it becomes fragrant.
- Add the broth. Pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice. Let it come to a simmer and then let it continue simmering for 10 minutes, or until it has reduced significantly.
- Make it creamy. Pour in the heavy cream and parmesan and use a whisk to continuously stir the sauce until the parmesan is fully melted. The sauce should have slightly thickened.
- Add the gnocchi. Stir in the drained gnocchi and spinach and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until the spinach has cooked down.
- Serve. Place the chicken on top, then serve immediately with extra fresh thyme and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
Tips & Variations
Try these tips and variations with this recipe for the best chicken and gnocchi pasta ever:
- Use Italian seasoning. Subbing the garlic powder and paprika for 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning will give your dish a wonderful flavor.
- Use chicken breasts. You can use boneless, bone-in, skin-on, or skinless chicken breasts. Whichever you’ve got on hand will work.
- Add kale. Swapping spinach for kale is a yummy alternative.
- Reduce the calories. Using evaporated milk instead of heavy cream will instantly reduce the number of calories.
What to Serve With One Pan Chicken and Gnocchi
I love this creamy chicken and gnocchi pasta with salad and a couple of veggie sides. I like to go easy on carbohydrates since this dish already has gnocchi in it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve it with grilled corn, dinner rolls, or mashed potatoes.
For salads, try it with my light Greek Salad. As for sides, pair this recipe with my Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic or these Easy Roasted Mushrooms. Another fun side dish would be my favorite Goat Cheese Garlic Bread to help soak up the extra sauce!
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Once fully cooled, refrigerate this chicken and gnocchi pasta in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To reheat it, pop it into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm. You can also heat it in a pan over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes.
More Easy Chicken Dinners
- Grilled Rosemary Honey Mustard Chicken
- Chicken Tinga (Tinga de Pollo)
- Lemon Pepper Chicken
- Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- Salsa Verde Chicken
- Homemade Chicken and Dumplings
- Pollo Asado
Creamy Chicken and Gnocci
- 1 17.6 oz package gnocchi
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika powder
- 5-6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- ½ white onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a large pot, then add the gnocchi. Cook gnocchi for 3 minutes, drain, and set aside.
- While you wait for the gnocchi to cook, whisk together the flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, garlic powder and paprika together on a large plate.
- Dredge each piece of the chicken in the seasoned flour mixture until coated on both sides.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the chicken and cook on both sides for 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside on a plate and tent it with foil to keep it hot.
- Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan and then add the onion and sauté until it becomes translucent.
- Stir in the garlic, thyme and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and cook for another 30 seconds or until it becomes fragrant.
- Pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice. Let it come to a simmer and then let it continue simmering for 10 minutes, or until it has reduced significantly.
- Pour in the heavy cream and parmesan and use a whisk to continuously stir the sauce until the parmesan is fully melted.
- Stir in the drained gnocchi and spinach and let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes or until the spinach has cooked down.
- Place the chicken on top, then serve immediately with extra fresh thyme and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
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