I have recently been digging the pre-packaged gnocchi that you can find in the pasta aisle. It is a great shelf-stable ingredient that can be a base for SO many fast weeknight dinners like this Chicken Gnocchi Skillet.
Not only is it fast to cook, but also has the benefit of only using one skillet for the entire recipe. YES PLEASE!
While you could add some cream to this skillet to make a creamy sauce for the gnocchi, I like to keep it a little lighter and then serve it with a quick basil oil – almost like a pesto but with less ingredients.
This gnocchi skillet is a great example of fast cooking that uses a good mix of homemade items and store-bought items to get dinner on the table smartly.
What kind of Gnocchi works best for this skillet?
I made many variations of gnocchi over the years and homemade gnocchi is truly a wonderful thing to master. (Try my sweet potato gnocchi if you want a starter gnocchi version). But, for this skillet, you need to look no further than your pasta aisle at your grocery store.
Grab a one-pound package of pre-packaged gnocchi and you are good to go! The brand doesn’t matter! The nice thing about this gnocchi is that you don’t have to boil it before adding it to the skillet. A quick sautee in butter will brown up the gnocchi and also make it tender on the inside.
In fact, for this recipe you shouldn’t boil the gnocchi in advance. If you do, it’ll end up too mushy and won’t work well in the skillet. Trust me!
How to prepare the chicken for this skillet dish
The chicken is as easy as the gnocchi to prepare. I slice mine thinly so they cook quickly and season the chicken pieces with salt and Italian seasoning. You could go many other directions when it comes to the chicken for this recipe. You could even roast whole chicken thighs and serve them on top of the gnocchi for a little different twist (although longer prep).
Slicing the chicken fast though and cooking in the same skillet is about as efficient as dinner can get. The chicken will cook in 5-6 minutes and be tender and juicy. Then you can remove it from the skillet, quickly wipe the skillet clean, and start the gnocchi in butter in the same skillet.
How to make the basil sauce
Optionally for this recipe, I like to whip up a quick basil oil sauce. I wouldn’t call this a pesto because it’s missing some really key pesto ingredients and it doesn’t have the texture of pesto. It’s more of a thin sauce but has really bright basil flavors and goes well drizzled on the gnocchi.
I just whip up fresh basil, oil, lemon, and a pinch of salt in a food processor and let it run for almost a minute until the mixture is very smooth.
If you are looking for a step to skip, you could absolutely skip this step and/or just serve this gnocchi skillet with purchased pesto.
Other ingredients for this skillet dish
I tried to keep the ingredient count low in this recipe and added just a few things besides the chicken and gnocchi, but you could absolutely add more items. Here are some ideas!
- Peas. I like adding fresh peas to the skillet which cook quickly and add a nice color pop.
- Garlic. I have a hard time cooking Italian-style skillets like this and not adding a few cloves of garlic.
- Mushrooms. I didn’t add mushrooms this time around, but you could add them in addition to or in place of the chicken like I did for this mushroom gnocchi skillet.
- Peppers. Red and green peppers, sauteed quickly would go well in this skillet.
- Parmesan cheese. A dusting of parmesan cheese for serving would go great on the dish!
What to serve with this gnocchi skillet
This meal is intended to pretty much be a full meal on its own so I wouldn’t worry too much about serving it with something else. That said, a good salad would go well with it like this Ultimate Fall Salad or this Broccoli crunch salad!
Leftovers and reheating the chicken and gnocchi
If you are feeding a family of four, you probably won’t have many leftovers for this skillet, but if you do, it does keep really well for a few days in the fridge.
I wouldn’t microwave it though for reheating if you can avoid it. The gnocchi get really mushy if you microwave them and everything just kind of sticks together. Instead, reheat the gnocchi in a small skillet over medium-low heat with a splash of water or chicken stock.
Easy Chicken Gnocchi Skillet
- 1 pound chicken breast, sliced thin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound gnocchi
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup sweet peas
- 1 cup fresh basil
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- To start chicken, slice it into thin 1/4-inch thick slices and season well with salt and Italian seasoning. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat and once the oil is hot, add chicken, cooking for 3-4 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through and browned well.
- Remove chicken from skillet and wipe clean. Add butter to skillet and return to heat. When butter is melted add pre-packaged gnocchi (do not boil first) and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi is browned and tender.
- Add garlic to skillet and stir together. Then add peas, reserved chicken, and chicken stock and toss together. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until chicken stock mostly evaporates, leaving a thin sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
To make basil sauce:
- Add basil, olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a food processor and process until smooth. Drizzle over gnocchi skillet before serving.