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Quick and Easy Chicken Pesto Gnocchi

Chicken pesto gnocchi is a wonderfully quick & easy meal, and it is the perfect way to make the most of some store-bought potato gnocchi.

When I say quick, this dish will go from your fridge to your table in under 30 minutes, and that includes making homemade pesto!

Overhead garlic chicken and basil pesto gnocchi served with cheesy garlic bread.

Quick and Easy Chicken Gnocchi

Pesto is a glorious ingredient to sit at the heart of a quick dinner, it is easy to find ready-made, but the homemade pesto is also easy to make and tastes superb.

It sits at the heart of many of my quicker recipes, everything from my simple prawn pesto pasta to my pesto pasta with goats cheese and peas recipe.

Here it takes a break from pasta and a classic basil pesto is joined by some quickly sautéed chicken thighs, loads of garlic and some potato gnocchi.

Close-up garlic chicken and basil pesto gnocchi served with cheesy garlic bread.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to make homemade pesto?

No not at all, you can make this dish with any store-bought pesto.

If I am buying ready-made pesto I usually look in the fridge aisles in the supermarket and avoid the stuff in jars. I do this because I usually find that it is of a much better quality.

Why do you transfer your pesto from a blender to a pestle and mortar?

A mini blender will cut the garlic and basil whereas a pestle and mortar will bruise them and get the oils flowing.

However, a mini blender does a great job of getting a pesto started, it saves time and a bit of “faff”.

Can I make my own gnocchi?

Yes, homemade potato gnocchi is easy (if time-consuming) to make and it works perfectly in this recipe.

What should I look for in store-bought gnocchi?

Just like pesto, I tend to look for ready-made gnocchi in the fridge aisle of the supermarket. I find the stuff that comes in a block in the pasta aisle is always a little stodgy and disappointing.

Can I use chicken breast?

Yes, it will have a little less flavour and will require a little less cooking (maybe 30-60 seconds) but it will be just fine.

Overhead close-up garlic chicken and basil pesto gnocchi served with cheesy garlic bread.

Serving Suggestions

This garlicky pesto chicken gnocchi is designed to be a simple one-plate light meal. As a result, I rarely go to great lengths to serve it with anything else, it’s full-on lazy time!

However, I do usually serve it with some really simple garlic baguette, or some cheesy garlic bread slices.

If I can’t be bothered putting in that much effort then I’ll toast off some store-bought ciabatta or focaccia.

Occasionally I’ll add some salad leaves on the side, rocket works well, or even a simple nicely dressed green salad.

In much the same way that I use pesto as a quick option for dinner, gnocchi is a stalwart in my kitchen.

It takes a couple of minutes to cook in boiling salted water, then let it drain for a minute before frying it with whatever you are serving it with.

I use a similar technique in my pan-fried gnocchi with bacon and my chorizo gnocchi recipes. It’s both simple and stupidly simple!

Garlic chicken and basil pesto gnocchi served with cheesy garlic bread.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Colander.
  • Stirring and serving spoons.
  • Mini blender and or a pestle and mortar (only required if you are making homemade pesto).
  • Grater.
  • A combination of weighing scales, measuring jug, cups and spoons.
Chicken pesto gnocchi garnished with parmesan and basil served with cheesy garlic bread.
Yield: 2 Servings

Garlic Chicken Pesto Gnocchi Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Garlicky chicken thighs and a quick and easy homemade basil pesto sit at the heart of this delicious and really easy gnocchi recipe, oh yeah it's quick too and will go from your fridge to your table in under 30 minutes!


  • 275g (10oz) Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 400g (14oz) Potato Gnocchi
  • ½ Tsp Coarse Sea Salt (Plus extra salt for boiling the gnocchi)
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper
  • Fresh Basil Leaves to Garnish
  • More Parmesan to Garnish

For Homemade Pesto:

  • 15g (2 Tbsp) Pine Nuts
  • 25g (1 Cup) Basil Leaves
  • 15g (3 Tbsp) Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Olive Oil


  1. If you are making your own pesto, toast the pine nuts in a small (20cm or 8") frying pan.
  2. Transfer them to a mini blender or pestle and mortar, add the remaining ingredients and blitz until you are happy with the texture. I usually begin a pesto in a mini blender, then transfer it to a pestle and mortar to finish it off.
  3. Bring a 20cm or 8" pan of well-salted (I use 1 teaspoon in a pan this size) to a boil.
  4. Peel and dice the garlic cloves for the gnocchi and dice them as finely as you can.
  5. Cut the chicken into a 1.5-2cm (½-¾") dice.
  6. Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a high heat and when it is hot add the olive oil followed by the diced chicken, black pepper and coarse sea salt and saute it for 4 minutes.
  7. When the chicken has had 2 minutes add the gnocchi to the water and boil it for 2 minutes then drain it and allow it to steam dry for 1 minute.
  8. Add the chopped garlic to the chicken and cook for a further minute.
  9. By now the gnocchi should have sat for a minute, add it to the pan and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat, stir through the pesto and serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1018Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 39gCholesterol: 246mgSodium: 1094mgCarbohydrates: 87gFiber: 5gSugar: 2gProtein: 53g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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