Our homemade potato gnocchi recipe is perfect for beginners. It is easy to follow and yields light, fluffy gnocchi you will love. Read on for step-by-step photos, make-ahead tips, and our easy-to-follow recipe.
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Related: We also love our ricotta gnocchi which uses ricotta cheese instead of potatoes.
What is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi (pronounced “nyoh-kee”) is a light and fluffy dumpling made with flour, eggs, and cooked potatoes (though it can also be made with other ingredients like squash or ricotta cheese). With roots in northern Italy, it is now enjoyed in many parts of the world. We love gnocchi served with tomato sauce, tossed with pesto, and sautéed with butter, parmesan, and herbs.
Why Our Recipe Makes the Best Gnocchi
- We use the right type of potatoes. Russets are the best gnocchi potatoes because of their high starch and low moisture content.
- Steaming the potatoes helps to prevent the potatoes from absorbing too much water.
- We use a food mill or potato ricer for a smooth, lump-free dough.
- We are careful not to overwork the dough, which can make gnocchi heavy.
- When cooking the gnocchi, we keep our water at a simmer, not a boil. This way, they cook through without falling apart.
Gnocchi Recipe Ingredients
You only need five ingredients to make this recipe. Here’s an explanation and tips:
- Russet potatoes — For the best gnocchi, go for Russet potatoes. They have more starch and less moisture than waxy potatoes like new potatoes and creamers. This starch makes the dough stick together and gives the gnocchi a light and fluffy texture.
- All-purpose flour — Opt for soft wheat flour with low protein content. While many authentic Italian recipes suggest “00” flour, all-purpose flour is an excellent alternative. In fact, we often use standard all-purpose flour in our recipe and achieve exceptional results.
- Olive oil — A bit of olive oil added to the dough adds flavor and contributes some fat that binds the dough.
- Salt — I like using fine sea salt because it dissolves more easily in the dough.
- Egg — We use one whole egg and an egg yolk to bind the dough together, add flavor, and make the gnocchi more tender.
Find the full recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Gnocchi
First, cook your potatoes. We’ve tried this recipe with baked, boiled, and steamed potatoes. Ultimately, we preferred the results when we used steamed potatoes. The potatoes absorbed less water than when we boiled them, and steaming takes much less time than baking.
Peel the potatoes and place them into a steamer basket over simmering water. Cover with a lid and cook until they are fork tender.
While the potatoes are still hot, we need to process them. We recommend using a food mill or potato ricer for the best results. If you don’t have either of those tools, you can use a fork to mash the potatoes individually. Avoid using a potato masher as it can overwork the potatoes. Remember not to over-mash; the goal is to achieve a smooth texture without noticeable lumps. We know it may seem nitpicky, but trust us – it will make all the difference.
Stir the potatoes with the olive oil, salt, egg, and egg yolk. Dust over the flour and mix with a spoon until a rough dough forms. Then, use your hands to work the dough in the bowl until the dough is nice and smooth. After abandoning the spoon, we spend around two minutes working the dough in the bowl.
You have two options to cut your gnocchi dumplings depending on your preference and cooking plan. First, you can roll the dough into long snakes, cut them into 3/4-inch sections, and put them straight into simmering water. This option is the easiest and perfect if you toast the cooked gnocchi in oil or butter before serving. It’s also the one we choose when making gnocchi for ourselves.
Alternatively, you can roll the dough into a snake and cut it into 3/4-inch sections. Then, roll them over a gnocchi board, which leaves little grooves and a little dimple underneath to help the sauce stick. They also look pretty! Using a gnocchi board requires some practice to get right, but give it a few tries and you’ll get the hang of it. If you plan to sear the gnocchi later, I’d skip the gnocchi board since most grooves will be lost when searing in a skillet.
To cook gnocchi, drop them into simmering water. When they begin to float, cook for 1 to 2 minutes, scoop them out with a slotted spoon, and lay them on a foil-lined pan to cool or go straight into some warmed sauce.
If you plan to pan fry the cooked gnocchi in some oil or butter, allow them to cool for a few minutes on the foil-lined pan, and then toss them around a hot skillet until they are heated through and pick up some color.
Make the dough ahead of time: You can make the dough up to 4 hours in advance and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook, simply take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before rolling it out and cutting it into dumplings. Be sure to wrap the dough tightly to prevent it from drying out in the refrigerator.
Poach the gnocchi ahead of time: Simply cook the gnocchi in simmering water until they float to the top. Leave them in the water for 1 to 2 minutes and then transfer them to a foil-lined baking sheet to cool. Once the gnocchi are cool, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to two days.
To freeze them, spread the poached gnocchi on a baking sheet and place it into the freezer until hard (about 30 minutes). Transfer the frozen dumplings to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready to use the frozen gnocchi, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator. Gnocchi can also be cooked directly from frozen; however, they may take a few minutes longer to cook.
Here are some ideas for serving homemade gnocchi:
- With tomato sauce: This is a classic combination. You can use any tomato sauce you love, such as marinara, arrabbiata, or puttanesca sauce. We especially love this red sauce (actually pizza sauce, but it is so good with gnocchi, trust me!).
- With pesto: Pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It pairs well with gnocchi. You can also use a fall-inspired pesto like this kale pesto.
- With butter and herbs: This simple but delicious combination is perfect for a quick weeknight meal. Sauté the cooked gnocchi in a skillet with butter (or olive oil), then toss with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs like chives or sage.
- With a cheese sauce: Cheese sauces are another excellent option for gnocchi. Try the sauce we make for this stovetop mac and cheese.
- Baked in a gratin: Gnocchi can also be baked, think macaroni and cheese, but made with gnocchi.
We created this gnocchi recipe in collaboration with our friend, Chef Richard Hattaway and could not be happier with the results. We hope that you try it soon!!
Perfect Homemade Potato Gnocchi
Our homemade potato gnocchi recipe is perfect for beginners. It is easy to follow and yields light, fluffy gnocchi you will love. A food mill or potato ricer is best. If you do not have one, you can use a fork to mash the potatoes individually. Avoid using a potato masher as it can overwork the potatoes. Remember not to over-mash; the goal is to achieve a smooth texture without noticeable lumps.
A gnocchi board is not required, but it does help add tiny grooves and a small dimple underneath the dumpling. The grooves and dimples help the sauce to stick. See our photos and video showing us using the board. I often don’t use the board and cut my gnocchi into small rectangles instead.
*Note that russet potatoes vary significantly in size, so we highly recommend weighing your potatoes for this recipe.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
1 pound (453 grams) Russet potato, 2 medium-sized potatoes
1 ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons (250 grams) all-purpose flour or Italian “00” flour
1 teaspoon (6 grams) fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
- Make Gnocchi Dough
1Insert a steamer basket in a pot with a lid. Add enough water to come to just beneath the bottom of the basket. Cover with a lid and heat until simmering.
2Peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch-thick slices. When the water is simmering, place the potatoes into the steamer basket. Cover with a lid and steam until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.
3Push the steamed potatoes through a food mill (medium blade) or potato ricer set over a large mixing bowl. See introduction above if you do not have a food mill or potato ricer.
4Use a wooden spoon to stir in the salt, olive oil, egg, and egg yolk until combined. Scatter the flour on top and gently mix with the spoon until a rough dough forms.
5Put down the spoon, and then use your hands to bring the dough together in the bowl, pushing the flour into the dough until it is smooth. This takes 2 to 3 minutes.
6Move onto forming the dumplings or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. When you are ready to form the dumplings, allow it to warm up on the counter for a bit.
- Form Dumplings
1Remove the steamer basket from the pot you steamed the potatoes in. Empty the water, and then refill it with fresh water. Salt it, as you would pasta water, and then bring it to a simmer. Keep it covered with a lid until you are ready to cook the gnocchi.
2Transfer the gnocchi dough to a floured work surface. Knead a few times, and then pat into a rough rectangle. Divide the dough into eight pieces. Keep one piece of dough in the center of your work surface. Move the rest to the side and cover with a dishcloth so it does not dry out.
3Roll the dough into a long snake, about 1/2 inch in diameter. If it is too sticky, lightly dust it with more flour. Cut the snake into 3/4 inch sections (see photos in the article for reference). Repeat with the remaining dough.
4Move on to cooking the gnocchi, or use a gnocchi board to add small grooves to each dumpling.
- Using a Gnocchi Board (Optional)
1This is optional, but a gnocchi board will to add small grooves and dimples. Lightly flour the board and hold it angled down towards the work surface. Place a dumpling at the top of the board, then using your thumb, push the dough down into the grooves while rolling forward all the way off the board at the bottom. After a few tries, you will find the right amount of pressure to use. It takes a little practice, but you will get it. When you’ve rolled all your gnocchi, you can move on to cooking them.
- Cooking Gnocchi
1Depending on the size of pot you are cooking them in, you can poach one or two snakes worth of gnocchi at a time.
2If you are serving with a sauce, heat the sauce in a skillet and keep warm. If you plan on sautéing the gnocchi or saving them for later, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
3If needed, bring the water back to a simmer, and then drop the gnocchi into the water and cook them until they float. When they float, cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. You can test for doneness — they should feel firm and not mushy.
4Transfer poached gnocchi with a slotted spoon to your sauce or the prepared baking sheet to cool. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.
5If you are sautéing the gnocchi, allow them to rest on the pan for a few minutes, then heat butter or oil in a skillet and sauté. Tossing in some shredded cheese and fresh herbs is a lovely idea.
1Refrigerate cooked gnocchi for up to two days. To freeze them, spread the poached gnocchi on a baking sheet and place it into the freezer until hard (about 30 minutes). Transfer the frozen dumplings to a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to three months.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- No steamer? Bake your potatoes instead. Bake in a 400°F (204°C) oven until tender when pierced in the center with a knife, 60 to 70 minutes. Peel the potatoes after baking.
- Gnocchi board: You can buy a gnocchi board online or in kitchen stores, this is the one we used in our photos and video.
- Favorite sauce for gnocchi: As unusual as it sounds, this homemade pizza sauce is our favorite sauce for potato gnocchi. It’s made with fresh tomatoes, lots of garlic, and oregano.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.