Creamy Gnocchi Soup with Bacon (Simple Recipe)

Fight the winter blues with Creamy Gnocchi Soup, a heartwarming dish made by simmering gnocchi, veggies, warming spices, and crispy bacon in a divine broth. It’s sure to become a new favorite for soup season!

Soup season has a special place in my heart. There’s nothing a bowl of creamy soup, like tomato bisque or butternut squash bisque, can’t fix! The same is true of this Creamy Gnocchi Soup—a velvety smooth soup that feels like a warm hug.

Another Olive Garden copycat soup, zuppa toscana, is a lot like this recipe. Both are rich and creamy and feature Italian flavors, making them incredibly popular! However, I can’t get enough of the pillowy soft gnocchi in this recipe. It sets it apart from the rest!

Last but not least, this creamy gnocchi soup recipe is super fun to customize. Whether you have an allergy, are vegetarian, or craving a heartier option, this recipe has you covered. Get inspired to make it your own by exploring the many variation options below!

Close up of gnocchi soup in ladle.

Ingredients needed

  • Thick-cut bacon – Because crispy bacon is the ultimate addition to creamy, Italian-inspired soups! It not only adds some crunch here but the leftover grease infuses every bite with rich and addictive flavors.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Soffritto vegetables – Onion, carrots, and celery start the soup off with a savory baseline of flavor.
  • Garlic
  • Italian seasoning – You can use a store-bought blend to keep this recipe simple or make my homemade Italian Seasoning Substitute using dried herbs.
  • Red pepper flakes – Just a pinch adds a subtle warmth to the soup without overpowering it with heat. 
  • Salt and pepper
  • Broth – I used bone broth, but feel free to use regular chicken broth or vegetable stock instead.
  • Potato gnocchi – You can find a few different varieties of gnocchi (more on them below) at almost any well-stocked grocery store. If you’re up for the challenge, try making it yourself! You don’t need any special equipment and it comes together using just 4 simple ingredients.
  • Heavy cream – This is added at the end to give the broth the richest, most decadent consistency.
  • Grated parmesan

The best gnocchi to use for soup

The type of gnocchi you use depends on your preference and what’s available to you. All three of these varieties work well:

  • Fresh: Fresh gnocchi has a soft and delicate texture but comes with a shorter shelf life compared to frozen gnocchi.
  • Frozen: You can keep frozen gnocchi in your freezer for months and pop it into the soup whenever you have a craving. The only downfall is that it isn’t as tender as fresh gnocchi.
  • Homemade: Gnocchi made from scratch has the best texture and flavor out of the three. Yes, it’s time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it’s well worth the effort!

How to make creamy gnocchi soup

First, cook the bacon in a large pot or Dutch oven until crisp. Transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate, then drain all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pot.

Cook the olive oil and onion in the now-empty pot until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the carrots, celery, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Let the veggies cook for a few minutes before pouring the chicken broth and gnocchi into the pot.

Turn up the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Afterward, lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. 

Stir the cream, bacon, and parmesan into the soup. Simmer for a few more minutes so all of the flavors can get to know each other. 

To finish, give the soup a taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!

Bowl of creamy bacon gnocchi soup on counter.

Tips and tricks

  • Overcooked gnocchi is not forgiving, so watch it carefully while it’s simmering in the soup. You’ll know it’s ready when it floats to the surface.
  • Save the bacon fat for later! It’s too good to waste and can be used to add salty, fatty flavors to roasted vegetables, fried eggs, popcorn, and more.
  • I used a little extra broth to thin the soup. Feel free to do the same or keep the measurements as-is if you already like the creamy, slightly thick consistency. 
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings as you go. I find the creaminess can sometimes mellow out the deeper flavors, so don’t be afraid to add an extra pinch of salt or a dash of Italian seasoning/red pepper flakes near the end.
  • Feel free to cook the crispy bacon in the air fryer, then add the bits to the soup just before serving so they stay crispy.

Variations

Put your own spin on this gnocchi-loaded creamy bacon soup with dietary substitutions or extra add-ins, like:  

  • Vegetarian gnocchi soup recipe: Making it meat-free is easy! All you have to do is omit the bacon and use good-quality vegetable stock. Extra veggies are welcome, too, like spinach, kale, diced tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, or mushrooms.
  • Dairy-free gnocchi soup: Substitute heavy cream for a can of full-fat coconut milk.
  • Creamy chicken gnocchi soup: Adding chicken to this soup is a fantastic way to give it a boost of protein. You can use leftover roasted chicken, grilled chicken, or any leftover cooked chicken you have in the fridge. Add it to the soup during the final few minutes of cooking. 
  • Tasty toppings: Make every bowl look mouthwatering by topping them with red pepper flakes, grated parmesan cheese, Italian sausage crumbles, croutons, lemon zest, basil pesto, or fresh herbs.

Serving suggestions

A side of crusty artisan bread is perfect for dipping into the rich broth. I also like serving this soup with a crisp, vibrant green arugula salad or a classic wedge salad to balance the indulgence of the meal. 

Close up of bowl of creamy gnocchi soup with crispy bacon on top.

FAQs 

Can you make this soup in a slow cooker?

It will take more time, but yes! Saute the aromatics and vegetables as normal before adding them to the slow cooker with the gnocchi, seasonings, and broth. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. 
During the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking, stir the heavy cream and parmesan into the soup. Feel free to add in cooked shredded chicken at this point, too (if you’re craving slow cooker chicken gnocchi soup).

Should you cook the gnocchi before adding it to the soup?

No, it isn’t necessary to cook the gnocchi before adding it to the soup. If you’re worried about overcooking it, you can par-boil the gnocchi for a few minutes before adding it to the soup near the end of cooking.

How do you store the leftovers?

It’s best enjoyed fresh and hot but the leftover cooled soup can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. This way, it will stay fresh for up to 4 days. 

Can this soup be frozen?

While this creamy soup can technically be frozen, I wouldn’t recommend it. The texture of the gnocchi may become too soft and mushy, and the creamy broth could become grainy. 

More soup recipes

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Bowl of creamy gnocchi soup with spoon.

Creamy Gnocchi Soup with Bacon

Fight the winter blues with Creamy Gnocchi Soup, a heartwarming dish made by simmering gnocchi, veggies, warming spices, and crispy bacon in a divine broth. It’s sure to become a new favorite for soup season!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook the bacon in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate to drain. Remove all but 1 TBSP bacon fat from the pot.
  • Add the olive oil and onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add the carrots, celery, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add the chicken broth and gnocchi to the pot. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cream, cooked bacon, and parmesan. Stir and cook until heated through. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

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Nutrition

Calories: 774kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 845mg | Potassium: 421mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 9091IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 136mg | Iron: 5mg

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