The ultimate flavor-packed one-pan family-friendly meal, this lemon and garlic chicken and gnocchi recipe will have the entire family satisfied. Comfort food at its best, this meal comes together easily and leftovers can be packed for lunch the next day and simply reheated. Trying to eat lower in carbs? Cauliflower gnocchi is becoming more and more accessible in the stores and makes a great lower in carbs option.
I have developed a new love for cauliflower gnocchi since it has become more available at the store, next time why not try this Pizza Seasoned Cauliflower Gnocchi In The Air Fryer next?
Lemon and Garlic Chicken and Gnocchi
Need a one-pan dish that is just bursting with flavor?
This lemon and garlic chicken and gnocchi recipe is just that! Little bites of gnocchi are surrounded by a lemon and cream sauce with lots and lots of garlic, slices of perfectly cooked chicken breast, and a healthy handful of baby spinach to get some extra veggies in there.
You will need:
- boneless skinless chicken breasts: you can sub in chicken thighs if that is what you prefer, however, I think chicken breasts work best in this recipe;
- Cajun seasoning: you can also use Old Bay seasoning or another seasoning blend of choice that goes well with garlic, cream, and lemon if preferred such as Italian seasoning;
- olive oil or other cooking oil of choice;
- butter or ghee;
- garlic cloves: as always, fresh is best, however, prepared garlic can be used in a pinch. Garlic powder will work as well, but the flavor will not be as good;
- chicken broth or chicken stock: double-check the salt content before purchasing;
- lemon juice: fresh is best but prepared lemon juice can be used in a pinch;
- heavy cream: you can sub in some milk of choice instead if preferred, just add a little extra parmesan to thicken up the sauce;
- uncooked gnocchi: the best gnocchi for this recipe is shelf-stable potato or cauliflower gnocchi as it holds together well when everything is added to the pan. This can be found at most local grocery stores near the pasta section. Frozen gnocchi can be used as well, however, you may have to adjust the cooking time a little. If you would prefer to use your own homemade gnocchi just be sure to boil it in water before adding to the sauce to prevent it from falling apart;
- Parmesan cheese: freshly grated parmesan is better as the pre-grated stuff tends to have preservatives added that can give the sauce a grainy texture, which is the last thing you want in a creamy sauce;
- baby spinach or baby kale: fresh spinach is best, although frozen spinach can be used in a pinch if the excess moisture has been removed before adding it to the pan.
I have a bunch of add-ins that I like to use to switch things up so be sure to check them out below under the Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions heading.
Scroll to the end to find the recipe card and the full recipe.
How To Make This One Pan Meal
I love this meal not only just for the flavor, but also for how easy it is to make and for the fact that it comes together in one skillet, which means fewer dishes. Plus the kids always come back for seconds, which is always a huge plus.
Use a large skillet for this meal so that everything can fit in together.
We are simply going to season chicken breasts and cook for about 5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Chicken breasts are cooked through when they reach an internal temperature of 165F or 75C.
Remove the tender chicken from the pan and set aside until needed. As the chicken cools, it will create a nice juice underneath it, be sure to catch that juice as it will add so much flavor to the sauce.
Once the chicken is ready we are going to make creamy garlic and lemon gnocchi. Add the butter and garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat. Use the chicken broth and lemon to deglaze the pan.
Tip: use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan to incorporate into the sauce. There is so much flavor in these bits.
Then it is simply a matter of adding the cream, seasoning, gnocchi, and parmesan and cooking until cooked through. We then add in the baby spinach and the chicken.
You can add the chicken whole or sliced. I am usually serving up to the family so I like to have it sliced for easy serving, but if you are just serving two people and plan to have a whole breast each then add it back in whole.
Done and done.
Storing and Freezing Leftovers
Leftovers should be allowed to cook completely to room temperature before being stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat simply pop it into a microwave-safe dish and microwave for about 90 seconds. Alternatively, you could reheat it in a saucepan on the stovetop, however, you will likely need to add a little water or more cream to loosen up the sauce.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days if stored correctly. Do not freeze cooked gnocchi as it can become mushy.
I would not recommend freezing cooked chicken and gnocchi as it can cause the gnocchi to become mushy.
Tips, Tricks, and Substitutions
Want to change things up?
This recipe is super versatile and lends itself well to substitutions, why not try one or a couple of these add-ins:
- Using leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken or chicken tenders instead of chicken breasts
- Bacon cooked and chopped
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Jarred artichokes
- Antipasto mixture - eggplant, artichokes, and sundried tomatoes in oil
As the gnocchi cooks it will release starch into the cream sauce. If it becomes too thick simply add some more stock to loosen things up a little. If you find the opposite to be true, and your sauce is too runny then make a cornstarch slurry with some of the stock and add it back into the dish.
No gnocchi? No worries, simply sub some cooked pasta and you are good to go.
Tip: if you would prefer to turn this into a creamy chicken gnocchi soup with a nice creamy broth (a bit like the olive garden chicken gnocchi soup) then simply chop up the cooked chicken into smaller pieces before adding back into the dish, and add extra chicken broth and cream. Such a comforting soup.
This lemon and garlic chicken and gnocchi is the perfect meal as is, however, if you like to serve meals with more veggies why not try serving a side of:
- Lemon and Garlic Air Fryer Broccoli
- Garlic Pepper Skillet Green Beans
- Honey, Lemon, and Sea Salt Air Fryer Asparagus
- a simple side salad or a large handful of extra baby spinach
- steamed vegetables
- with a sprinkle of fresh thyme or fresh parsley
If you love carbs then serving this with a side of crispy baguette or crusty bread for mopping up the sauce is just amazing!
Oh and red pepper flakes go perfectly on top.
Need More One-Pan Recipes?
A good one pan and one skillet recipe can be the saving grace of a busy week.
Try one of these popular recipes next:
- One Pan Creamy Garlic Chicken with Potatoes and Garden Herbs
- One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Garlic Butter Veggies
- The Perfect Slow Cooker Ratatouille Recipe
- One-Skillet Honey Pomegranate Balsamic Glazed Chicken Thighs
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. However, you may need to add a little more cooking time to ensure it is cooked through.
Shelf-stable gnocchi is better as it tends to be sturdier. Fresh pillowy gnocchi can be used, however, there is a chance of it falling apart if it is very tender.
I do not recommend freezing cooked gnocchi as it can become soggy.
Has this ultimate comfort food made it to your regular dinner rotation? Be sure to leave a star rating or a comment below if this has become one of your household's popular recipes.
One Pan Lemon Garlic Chicken and Gnocchi
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- 1 lb (500g) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons seasoning blend (Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, or Italian seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 lemon juiced
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lb (500g) uncooked potato gnocchi
- 1.5 cups baby spinach or baby kale
- Season the chicken breasts with salt, black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of seasoning blend.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the chicken and cook for about 5-7 minutes. Flip the chicken breasts and add the butter to the pan and continue to cook for another 7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- Use the chicken broth and lemon to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you go.
- Add the heavy cream, remainder of the seasoning blend, and the grated parmesan and stir well to combine until the parmesan has melted.
- Add the gnocchi and continue to cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn the heat off and add in the baby spinach. Stir until just wilted before adding the chicken back into the skillet and serving immediately.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.