You can find gnocchi on menus just about everywhere here in Italy — light, tender, toothsome, pillowy potato pasta dumplings! But making homemade gnocchi is incredibly simple and costs next to nothing (which is exactly why you should make your own). To make this potato gnocchi, you only need 3 basic ingredients (plus salt): potatoes, 00 flour, and egg yolks. And while egg yolks are optional, they add delicious fat and flavor to the final dish!
This easy gnocchi recipe ticks off all the right taste and texture boxes and really does taste so much better than any store-bought gnocchi you’ll ever eat. To help get you there, I’ve included all of my best gnocchi-making tips and techniques and a ‘how to make gnocchi video’ to help remove any feelings of intimidation you may have. This is your ultimate guide for how to make homemade gnocchi.
What to Expect From This Potato Gnocchi Recipe
If you’re looking for a store-bought gnocchi recipe this isn’t it because it’s easier to make it from scratch than it is to get ready and go to the grocery store to buy it. Plus, it tastes better. I can assure you this Veneto potato gnocchi recipe tastes just as good as what we order from our local trattorias and restaurants because I wouldn’t waste my time making it otherwise.
Plus, it tastes way better than any store-bought gnocchi which is typically (but not always) made using rehydrated potato flakes, sulfites, and preservatives. It’s a total myth that you have to be an Italian Nonna to make amazing gnocchi.
In fact, if you’ve ever been intimidated (or outright scared) to make gnocchi, don’t be! This recipe gives you all the potato pasta success you’ve been hoping for using all-natural ingredients. And with just about 15 minutes of actual hands-on time, I recommend making extra to freeze for quick and easy Italian dinners throughout the week.
Watch This Short Video To See How To Make Potato Gnocchi Before You Get Started
Overview: Everything You Need To Know About Making Potato Gnocchi
The best gnocchi is light, tender, toothsome (but never chewy), holds on to sauce with a vice-like grip, and never leaves you filling heavy. On the other hand, bad gnocchi can be dense, chewy, pasty, glue-like, falling apart, grainy, or leaving you feeling like you want to sit on the couch for 2 hours. If you’ve ever had gnocchi like this, then you’ve never had really good gnocchi, but you can remedy that by using the tips and techniques to make it below. Here’s what you’ll find in this post:
- Gnocchi Pronunciation
- What is Gnocchi?
- Authentic Italian Gnocchi Photos (From Local Italian Restaurants & Trattorias)
- The Best Flour For Making Gnocchi
- Can I Substitute All-Purpose for Italian 00 Flour in Gnocchi Pasta?
- Is Bread Flour OK for Making Gnocchi?
- The Best Potatoes For Making Gnocchi
- How Do You Cook Potato Gnocchi?
- Overview: Homemade 00 Flour Potato Gnocchi Ingredients
- Overview: How to Make Potato Gnocchi in 5 Easy Steps
- Potato Gnocchi Step-by-Step Recipe Photos
- Gnocchi Pro Tips: 7 Italian Chef Tips for Making the Best Potato Gnocchi
- Best Gnocchi Sauce Recipes
- Best Tools For Making Gnocchi Like a Nonna (including DIY gnocchi board ‘Rigagnocchi’ substitutes)
- FAQs Homemade Potato Gnocchi
You may be wondering ‘how is gnocchi pronounced’? Just remember the ‘g’ in ‘gnocchi’ is silent. In the Italian language ‘gn’ sounds like the ‘ni’ in ‘companion’ or the ‘ny’ in ‘canyon’. Therefore, the gnocchi pronunciation in Italian is ‘N(y)-ah-ki’, ‘Nih-yoki’, or ‘Nih-oh-kee’.
And “gnocchi” is the plural form of a single “gnoccho” like how cannoli is the plural form of a single cannolo. So, if you’re pronouncing the singular ‘gnoccho’ or ‘gnocco’ it sounds like ‘Nih-oh-ko’.
What is Gnocchi?
Gnocchi (also known as gnocchi pasta) is a dumpling-style Italian pasta that has many variations using different ingredients. So much so, that instead of thinking of gnocchi as simply a shape of pasta, it really should be considered its own category or family of pasta. You may have come across recipe posts online that say gnocchi are always made with potatoes but that’s not really true as you can see from all the different styles mentioned below:
Potato gnocchi specifically is said to have originated here in Northern Italy. And while Verona is famous for its annual gnocchi festival and “gnocchi Fridays”, Rome is also known for its baked semolina gnocchi and “gnocchi Thursdays”.
There are 3 main categories of gnocchi here in Italy, but there are lots of different regional styles beyond this. Below are just a few of the gnocchi varieties worth mentioning:
- potato dumplings (can be made with or without cheese in the dough)
- semolina dumplings (aka gnocchi alla Romana)
- knödel gnocchi with German roots (in the border regions in the north with the name ‘knödel’ which means ‘dumpling’)
- malloreddus (Sardinian gnocchi dumplings which are somewhere in between the knödel and semolina gnocchi)
- ricotta gnocchi (uses ricotta cheese instead of potatoes)
All of these gnocchi recipes use simple humble ingredients and are delicious even if the taste and texture are different.
Italian Gnocchi Photos (From Our Favorite Restaurants, and Trattorias)
Making gnocchi is easy! If you’ve got potatoes, 00 flour, and egg yolks, you can make the fluffiest, most tender Italian potato gnocchi. To give you a little inspiration before you get started, I’ve included the gnocchi images above of real-deal Italian gnocchi that we’ve ordered and eaten from some of our favorite restaurants.
And as you can see, these are traditional house-made Italian gnocchi (‘gnocchi fatta in casa’ or ‘gnocchi della casa’) and gnocchetti (smaller gnocchi). Each has a different shape and delicious gnocchi sauce depending on the region and the season it’s being served. Potato gnocchi is extremely versatile and pairs well with just about any kind of sauce depending on how light, creamy, or hearty you like it.
Two of our favorites are gnocchi Bolognese and gnocchi pomodoro but this feather-light summer gnocchi sauce with simple sage and extra virgin olive oil is also delicious and a nice departure from the usual butter and sage gnocchi sauce.
What’s The Best Flour For Making Gnocchi?
If you ask Italians they’ll tell you 00 flour is the best and only flour for making traditional potato gnocchi. Italian 00 flour is a highly refined, finely-milled (almost powdery) super white Italian soft wheat flour. It contains no bran or germ and the most often type of Tipo 00 flour used for gnocchi has a protein content somewhere between 11% – 11.5%. You can learn much more about 00 flour in this pizza dough post over here.
These characteristics of 00 flour mean you can typically use less flour (which is a hallmark for making good gnocchi) and it also has enough protein to give it a nice “bite” without being chewy or glue-like. The moisture from the potatoes and single egg yolk used in this recipe is the perfect amount needed to form a pliable dough that holds together without having to knead it much at all. As you can imagine, this helps to keep the gnocchi dough from being over-kneaded and ending up with chewy, dense final gnocchi.
DO NOT use 00 Flour that’s designated for making pizza (like the Caputo Pizzeria flour shown above) as it has a much higher protein % than that of the 00 flour meant for making pasta or even desserts. In the above photos, you can see the blue bag of Barilla 00 flour “ideale per tutti le preparazione” (for every preparation) and Caputo Pasticceria flour (pink bag) which both have 11% protein and are perfect for making gnocchi!
Can I Substitute All-Purpose Flour for 00 Flour When Making Gnocchi?
If you don’t want to buy it, or you just can’t find 00 flour where you live, simply substitute it with a high-quality unbleached all-purpose flour like King Arthur’s or Hecker’s. It won’t have quite the same texture because 00 flour and all-purpose flour are made with different types of wheat and they’re milled completely differently. Therefore you may need to add more flour when you use all-purpose, but it will still be delicious! We also love to make gnocchi with whole wheat flour — it’s SO delicious!
Is Bread Flour Ok For Making Gnocchi?
The short answer is no, do not use bread flour to make gnocchi. While technically, you could use any flour to make gnocchi, bread flour is not recommended and is never used in Italy (or anywhere that I know of) for good reason. Bread flour usually contains a higher protein % percentage than that of most 00 flours and all-purpose flours and is used when a lot of kneading or longer fermentation time is required allowing the dough to develop a strong gluten network. In short, bread flour is what gives yeast bread and pizza its pleasant bite and chew, but not what you want for making gnocchi.
Gnocchi requires the exact opposite treatment — instead, it’s supposed to be light, airy, and soft with just enough bite which requires it to be folded and shaped as opposed to actually kneading it (or stretching and pulling it). The goal is to avoid activating the gluten too much which will ruin the texture of gnocchi.
What Are The Best Potatoes For Making Gnocchi?
The short answer — there are lots of different potato types that are perfect for making homemade gnocchi. Although it’s not an exact science, you can use these tips to make better choices for exactly which potatoes to choose when you’re confronted at the grocery store with multiple varieties. The best overall advice I can give you for making gnocchi is to use old dirty potatoes. Below is everything I’ve learned about the best potatoes to use for making gnocchi while living in Italy:
Our favorite potatoes for making gnocchi: In Northern Italy we use the most popular potato choice which is old dirty yellow potatoes (old Yukon Gold potatoes work well here). They’re neither too waxy nor too starchy. Instead, they’re semi-waxy (creamier) with better flavor than russets, but still have a good amount of starch in them. I buy them and allow them to rest in the cupboard for a week or two (or even a month or longer sometimes in the cooler months) before using them to further reduce the water content and increase the starch content. Potatoes that are starting to sprout, are perfect for making gnocchi.
Potatoes you should never use to make gnocchi: Do not use young, new potatoes or fingerling potatoes which all contain a lot of water. This can include any new potato variety, but especially young yellow potatoes which contain more water than a young russet potato for instance.
Other potato varieties that make great gnocchi include:
- Russet potatoes (also known as baker, Burbank, and Idaho potatoes): high in starch, low in water, fluffy and dry after cooking
- Majestic potatoes: slightly waxy and excellent flavor and hold up well to boiling
- Kennebec potatoes: starchy with higher sugar content, dense, and firm becoming tender, and fluffy when cooked.
- Red potatoes (aka red bless, red cardinal, redskin potatoes): waxy, hold their shape and remain firm even after cooking
- Purple potatoes: starchy and turn a mostly grey color when cooked so it’s advisable to add some purple carrots to the gnocchi dough to help keep the purple color vibrant
- Sweet potatoes (actually a root vegetable and not a tuber): flesh remains compact and creamy when cooked (perfect for sweet or savory gnocchi)
- Tonda di Napoli (round pumpkin from Naples): it maintains a compact and sweet flesh when cooked making a perfect pumpkin gnocchi
Why Choose Older Potatoes When Making Gnocchi?
It’s best to use older potatoes when making gnocchi because the starches are concentrated and they contain less water which makes the flesh more compact and dry. If the potatoes are too new or have too much water, they can fall apart when cooking and/or give gnocchi a bad texture.
How Do You Cook Gnocchi?
Fresh homemade gnocchi is traditionally cooked in boiling water or homemade Italian meat broth (brodo di carne) just until they float to the top, or about 2 to 3 minutes total. I’ve seen recipes saying they can take up to 5 minutes, but I’ve never had them take this long to cook before. Just watch them and don’t let them cook longer than about 30 seconds after they’ve floated to the top and you’ll be ok.
Gnocchi are also super tasty when baked, broiled, sautéed, or a combination of these methods is used. If you decide to sauté, broil, or bake gnocchi, I recommend first boiling them so they’re tender and fluffy. Then sauté or broil them to create that extra crispy layer on the outside.
Overview: Homemade Potato Gnocchi Ingredients
This Northern Italian potato gnocchi recipe uses basic ingredients: flour, egg yolk, potatoes, and salt. Below is an overview of the ingredients but you can find the full recipe with measurements in the recipe card.
- Flour: 00 Italian flour with 11% -11.5% protein (or in a pinch substitute King Arthur’s unbleached all-purpose flour with 11.7% protein). High-quality flour means better gnocchi. The goal is to use the least amount of flour as possible to keep gnocchi light and tender.
- Yukon Gold Potatoes (or Kennebec potatoes). They’re creamy (semi-waxy) with good starch % and tastier (we think) than russet potatoes.
- Salt: I’ve used Himalayan salt, but sea salt or kosher salt also works just fine.
- Egg yolk: I’ve used a single rich egg yolk for a little extra fat and flavor. Using eggs in potato gnocchi is the regional Veneto way to make potato gnocchi, although if you travel further north to Piedmont, you’ll find they do not add eggs.
- Light Summer Sage Gnocchi Sauce (or sauce of your choice): For this recipe, I’ve used sage, extra virgin olive oil, red onion, garlic, and Grana Padano cheese to make a superiorly light sauce that has so much flavor it’s kind of hard to believe. That’s a testament to the high quality of ingredients I’ve used.
Overview: How to Make Potato Gnocchi in 5 Easy Steps
Here’s an overview of how to make Homemade Potato Gnocchi (you can find the full recipe instructions in the recipe card or watch the ‘making gnocchi video’ that shows just how easy and quick it is!
- Cook the potatoes: Add the potatoes to a medium sauce pot and cover with about 2 inches of water and a little salt to taste if desired and bring to a boil and cook until fork tender (about 25 minutes). Strain the potatoes and remove the peels while they’re still hot. While some people bake potatoes for gnocchi, I have never had anything but success with simply boiling them which uses less energy and takes half the time.
- Make the dough: In a large mixing bowl or on a countertop, mix the flour and salt together, and add riced or grated potatoes into the well while the potatoes are still hot. Using a fork, stir the flour and potatoes together until crumbly looking. Add the egg yolk and stir just to incorporate it.
- Form the dough: Using your hands (and the technique outlined in the full recipe), bring the dough together to form a log and divide it into 4 smaller equal-size logs.
- Let the dough rest: Place the logs under the mixing bowl and allow them to rest for 30 minutes to let the dough relax.
- Cut the gnocchi: Working with one log at a time, roll the logs into long ropes and cut them into gnocchi or gnocchetti using a floured bench scraper or knife. Roll each gnocchi over a gnocchi board, cheese grater, or the tines of a fork while applying gentle pressure to make indentions in the dough. Place the gnocchi onto a lightly floured parchment-lined baking pan and repeat with the remaining logs.
- Cook or freeze the gnocchi: Cook the gnocchi in a pot of boiling salted water or homemade broth just until they float to the top. Remove them using a spatula (instead of dumping them into a strainer) to help them hold their shape. Toss them with your favorite sauce and enjoy. Alternatively, you may freeze them uncovered on the baking tray (leaving room in between them so they don’t touch). After they are frozen solid, drop them into an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Potato Gnocchi Step-by-Step Recipe Photos
Gnocchi Pro Tips: 7 Italian Chef Tips for Making the Best Gnocchi
- Use gram measurements because it’s more consistent and precise than using measuring cups.
- Use old dirty white or yellow potatoes which have less water and more concentrated starch.
- Always boil or steam potatoes with the skins on.
- If baking potatoes instead of boiling or steaming them, bake them directly on the oven rack, or on a baking sheet with salt underneath them, or on a wrack set inside a baking sheet to allow air to circulate. These are all great ways to allow airflow under the potatoes as they cook which helps avoid having hardened, unusable potato flesh from otherwise having direct contact with the pan.
- Do not mash potatoes which can start to overwork the potatoes even before you’ve added the flour. Doing so can cause the gnocchi to become gummy and dense. Also, using a potato masher can also leave bits of the whole potato in the dough which you never want.
- Add the least amount of flour you can while still getting the gnocchi dough to bind together. Basically, don’t incorporate a lot of extra flour when you’re working with the dough to form it or gnocchi will be dense.
- Allow the riced potatoes to sit for 1 to 2 minutes to allow some of the steam to dissipate before incorporating them into the flour. Less steam means less moisture in the dough which in turn means you shouldn’t have to add any (or much at all) extra flour.
- When using eggs or egg yolk (as is the case with this recipe) it’s ok to see streaks of the yolk in the final dough. You never want to fully work the egg or egg yolk into the dough so much that the dough becomes one homogenous even color. This would indicate you’ve overworked the dough to achieve uniformity. It’s ok to see some streaks (*as seen in the photos above).
The Best Gnocchi Sauce Recipes
Looking for the best gnocchi sauce? Gnocchi Bolognese is one of our all-time favorite ways to eat this dish (especially in the fall and winter months with homemade spinach gnocchi). But we also love the simple Pomodoro sauce when we’re in the mood for something a bit lighter. No matter what, gnocchi pairs well with just about any kind of sauce (light, creamy, meaty, tomatoey, etc.). Below are just a few of our favorite sauce recipes we think you may enjoy!
- Authentic Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese Ragù Sauce)
- Simple Italian Pomodoro Sauce (Sugo di Pomodoro)
- The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Beef (Spaghetti con Ragù)
- Northern Italian Beef Ragù
- Italian Duck Ragù (Ragù d’Anatra)
- Creamy Alfredo sauce
- Simple Shrimp and Tomato Sauce
- Spicy Tomato-Alfredo Sauce
- Butter and Sage (simply replace half or all of the extra virgin olive oil in this recipe with butter)
The Best Tools For Making Gnocchi Like A Nonna
Below are my favorite (most useful) tools for making homemade potato gnocchi:
- Gnocchi Board (sub a fork, or cheese grater, or don’t add grooves at all, instead simply dimple it with your thumb to make a little ‘cup’ *see above photo)
- Potato Ricer (sub a fine mesh sieve or strainer, or cheese grater *see photos below. You may also use a tami (fine-mesh drum strainer).
- Non-stick Baking Mat (When making gnocchi, the goal is to use the least amount of flour possible so I use a non-stick baking mat to form and shape the gnocchi dough. This way, I don’t have to add any additional flour to the dough to keep it from sticking to the surface. Use a wooden cutting board, marble, granite, or stainless steel countertop if you don’t have a non-stick baking mat. Just be sure to sprinkle flour only as needed and don’t overdo it.
- Bench Scraper/Dough scraper (A floured bench scraper is perfect for cutting gnocchi quickly, but a floured knife or butter knife also works well)
FAQ: Adding Egg or Not Adding Egg to Potato Gnocchi Dough
Here in the Veneto, it’s typical to add egg to potato gnocchi which adds richness and flavor and makes the gnocchi dough easier to work with. This is an egg yolk gnocchi recipe and contains no egg white The reason for this is that the egg yolk contains most of the fat and flavor while the egg white has a lot of protein which if you’re not careful when forming the gnocchi dough, can make your gnocchi chewy (and not in a good way).
In fact, chewy is not a word any Italian will ever use to describe well-made gnocchi. Instead fluffy, tender, light-as-air, melt-in-your-mouth, toothsome, pillowy, and even sometimes referred to as silky gnocchi is what you’re after. So, by adding the egg yolk only, you get the flavor and binding qualities without the extra unnecessary protein.
FAQ: Can You Make Gnocchi In Advance and Refrigerate it?
Do not make gnocchi in advance and refrigerate it. The dough is delicate and will start to dry out too much. Instead, to make gnocchi in advance, freeze it (see instructions and details below).
FAQ: Can You Freeze Homemade Gnocchi?
Yes, you can (and should) freeze homemade gnocchi! In fact, it works so well, I usually double this recipe and freeze half for easy weeknight potato pasta (see photos above for how to freeze gnocchi).
To freeze gnocchi, add it to a lightly floured, parchment paper-lined baking tray and make sure the gnocchi aren’t touching. Pop the tray into the freezer for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until completely frozen. Add them to an airtight container or freezer bag, seal, and store gnocchi for up to 3 months.
How To Cook Frozen Gnocchi
To cook frozen gnocchi, add them straight from the freezer (do not thaw them first) to boiling salted water or broth and allow them to cook until they float to the top. Keep in mind, frozen gnocchi takes just a few minutes longer to cook than fresh gnocchi. Remove them using a strainer and toss them with your favorite sauce and toss!
FAQ: Can You Reheat Leftover Gnocchi?
We try to cook only as much gnocchi as we know we’ll eat in a particular meal and usually don’t have enough for leftovers, but occasionally we have a leftovers when we’ve served it family style . And since we’d never throw it out here are a few options( including not reheating it and instead using it for pasta salad or ‘pasta freddo’ (cold pasta) you can try.
Here are 5 easy ways to reheat leftover gnocchi:
- Emergency: Place it in a microwave-safe bowl and cook it for 30 seconds to 45 seconds, or until heated through (method not recommended, but sometimes you need gnocchi fast:).
- Skillet: Place gnocchi (with or without sauce) in a skillet with a little EVOO and toss cooking over medium-high heat for about 4 to 6 minutes. If gnocchi doesn’t have a heavy sauce it can ge sautéed until golden brown on one side which is delcious and adds texture!
- Boiling water or broth: This is the most common method for reheating gnocchi that doesn’t have a sauce. It’s easy and warms cold gnocchi beautifully. Just be sure to only leave the gnocchi in the water for a couple of minutes until warmed through so you don’t overcook them.
- Oven Broiler Place the gnocchi in a cast iron skillet or other broiler-safe dish and heat the gnocchi with a little olive oil or sauce under a preheated broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until warmed through.
- Regular Oven: Place gnocchi in a baking dish with sauce covered loosely with foil and add it to a preheated 375°F/190°C for about 6 to 8 minutes.
Let’s get started!Print