How to Make Homemade Gnocchi

By Mr Negroni  •   5 minute read

How to Make Homemade Gnocchi

How to Make Homemade Gnocchi: A Step-by-Step Guide

Homemade gnocchi, those soft, pillowy dumplings, are a true delight and a testament to the beauty of Italian cuisine. Making gnocchi from scratch might seem intimidating, but with a bit of practice and the right technique, you'll be able to create these delicious morsels in your own kitchen. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the process of making perfect homemade gnocchi, from selecting the right ingredients to cooking and serving them.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


  1. Delicious and Authentic: Homemade gnocchi have a tender texture and delicate flavor that store-bought versions can't match.
  2. Versatile: Pair them with a variety of sauces and toppings for endless meal possibilities.
  3. Satisfying: Making gnocchi from scratch is a rewarding culinary project.
  4. Customizable: Adjust the ingredients to create different flavors and textures.


For the Gnocchi:

  • 2 pounds russet potatoes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 to 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Optional: 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Step 1: Prepare the Potatoes

  1. Choose the Right Potatoes: Use russet potatoes for the best texture. Their high starch content helps create light and fluffy gnocchi.
  2. Boil the Potatoes: Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Drain and Cool: Drain the potatoes and let them cool slightly. Peel the potatoes while they are still warm.

Step 2: Mash the Potatoes

  1. Rice or Mash the Potatoes: Use a potato ricer or a fine grater to mash the potatoes into a smooth consistency. Avoid using a food processor, as it can make the potatoes gummy.
  2. Spread Out to Cool: Spread the mashed potatoes on a clean surface and let them cool completely. This step helps to dry out the potatoes, which is crucial for light gnocchi.

Step 3: Make the Dough

  1. Form a Well: Gather the cooled potatoes into a mound and make a well in the center.
  2. Add Egg and Salt: Pour the beaten egg into the well and sprinkle the salt over the potatoes.
  3. Incorporate Flour: Gradually add the flour, starting with 1 cup, and gently mix it into the potatoes with your hands. Add more flour as needed to form a soft, cohesive dough. The dough should be slightly sticky but hold together.

Step 4: Shape the Gnocchi

  1. Knead the Dough: Lightly knead the dough just until it comes together. Avoid overworking it, as this can make the gnocchi tough.
  2. Divide and Roll: Divide the dough into 4 portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a long rope about 3/4 inch in diameter.
  3. Cut into Pieces: Using a bench scraper or knife, cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces.
  4. Shape the Gnocchi: To create the classic gnocchi ridges, gently roll each piece over the tines of a fork or a gnocchi board. This step is optional but helps the sauce cling to the gnocchi.

Step 5: Cook the Gnocchi

  1. Bring Water to a Boil: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add a generous amount of salt.
  2. Cook in Batches: Carefully add the gnocchi to the boiling water in batches. Stir gently to prevent sticking.
  3. Watch for Doneness: The gnocchi are done when they float to the surface, which should take about 2-3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a serving dish.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Toss with Sauce: Gnocchi are best served immediately with your favorite sauce. Toss them gently in the sauce to coat evenly.
  2. Garnish: Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, chopped herbs, or a drizzle of olive oil.

Tips for Perfect Gnocchi

1. Use Starchy Potatoes

  • Russet Potatoes: Their high starch content and low moisture make russet potatoes ideal for gnocchi.

2. Dry Out the Potatoes

  • Cool Completely: Allow the mashed potatoes to cool completely to dry out, which helps create light and fluffy gnocchi.

3. Handle the Dough Gently

  • Minimal Kneading: Knead the dough just enough to bring it together. Overworking the dough can result in tough gnocchi.

4. Cook Immediately

  • Fresh Gnocchi: Cook the gnocchi immediately after shaping for the best texture.

Customizing Your Gnocchi


  • Ricotta Gnocchi: Substitute half of the potatoes with ricotta cheese for a softer texture.
  • Herbed Gnocchi: Add finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, basil, or chives to the dough for added flavor.
  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi: Use sweet potatoes instead of russet potatoes for a sweeter, colorful variation.


  • Classic Tomato Sauce: A simple tomato sauce with garlic and basil is a traditional pairing.
  • Brown Butter and Sage: Toss the gnocchi in brown butter with fresh sage leaves for a rich, aromatic dish.
  • Pesto: Mix with homemade pesto for a fresh and vibrant flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Side Dishes:

  • Salad: A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette pairs well with gnocchi.
  • Garlic Bread: Serve with garlic bread or a crusty baguette for a complete meal.


  • White Wine: A crisp white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc complements the delicate flavors of gnocchi.
  • Red Wine: A light red wine like Chianti or Pinot Noir pairs well with heartier sauces.

Storing and Reheating


  • Refrigerate: Store leftover gnocchi in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Freeze: To freeze, arrange the gnocchi in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer to a freezer-safe bag and store for up to 2 months. Cook from frozen without thawing.


  • Stovetop: Reheat gnocchi in a skillet with a bit of sauce over medium heat until warmed through.
  • Microwave: Heat individual portions in the microwave, covered, until hot.


Making homemade gnocchi is a rewarding culinary experience that yields delicious results. With its tender texture and delicate flavor, homemade gnocchi can elevate any meal. Whether you’re serving it with a classic tomato sauce, a rich brown butter and sage sauce, or a vibrant pesto, homemade gnocchi is sure to impress. Enjoy the satisfaction of creating this Italian classic from scratch!

Did you try this recipe? Share your experience and any customizations you made in the comments below!

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