How To Make the Absolute Best Gnocchi from Scratch

updated Sep 3, 2022
How to Make the Easiest Gnocchi from Scratch

Homemade potato gnocchi is easier than you think — here is how to make it step-by-step.

Serves4 to 6

Prep50 minutes to 1 hour

Cook30 minutes to 40 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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Gnocchi plated with brown butter and sage.
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

A box of store-bought gnocchi is great in a pinch for a weeknight meal, but have you ever had homemade gnocchi? The difference is substantial: When done well, from-scratch gnocchi are so airy and light that they basically melt in your mouth. No packaged gnocchi will ever give you that thrill.

If you’re intimidated by the process, know that this recipe, which I’ve come up with after many years of gnocchi-making, will set you up for success every time. It requires just three ingredients (potatoes, flour, and salt) and no fancy equipment. In fact, I see homemade gnocchi in your future tonight.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

The Best Potatoes for Homemade Gnocchi

An all-purpose potato variety such as Yukon Gold (or the Désirée) is great for making gnocchi, as it has the right kind of starchiness to make them fluffy, and waxy enough to have them hold their shape.

As for the best way to cook them, I switch between boiling and roasting depending on how much time I have on hand. Roasting your spuds produces fluffy potato flakes that need very little flour to come together.

However, boiling the potatoes whole, skin on, and then drying them in a hot frying pan produces flakes that are just as light. And because this method is more time- and energy-efficient, it’s the one I generally go for. It’s also the one I’ve recommended in the recipe below.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Preventing Chewy Gnocchi

After the potatoes have cooled, you’ll peel them, rice them, and knead them with the flour. Before you start, know this: The biggest culprit to chewy homemade gnocchi is too much flour. When used in excess, flour leads to chewy gnocchi, which is easily the worst thing that can happen to them — other than falling apart in boiling water. You’re looking for a soft and pliable (but not sticky) ball of dough.

Perhaps the most controversial note on making gnocchi is the use of eggs in the dough. Eggs help gnocchi hold their shape and keep them from falling apart when in boiling water. However, they also tend to produce slightly more tenacious gnocchi (eggs acting as a binder for all the starch) — a result that’s often frowned upon by purists. The recipe I’m sharing below is so foolproof that I believe it doesn’t need an egg.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Forming and Cooking Gnocchi

After making the gnocchi dough, you’ll roll each piece into ropes, cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces, then roll each piece out on a grooved surface (such as a gnocchi board), or gently roll along the back of the fork with your thumb. (Grooves help them trap in more sauce.)

You’ll then cook the gnocchi in a pot of heavily salted water. You’ll know they’re done when they float to the surface, which takes just about two minutes.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

How to Serve Gnocchi

Gnocchi are delicious tossed with any sort of pesto (basil, arugula), but also with tomato sauce and mozzarella (alla Sorrentina). One can never go wrong with a good ol’ brown butter and sage sauce, enriched with crushed walnuts for crunch, if that’s something you might enjoy.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
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Here's how to make the very best gnocchi from scratch.

How to Make the Easiest Gnocchi from Scratch

Homemade potato gnocchi is easier than you think — here is how to make it step-by-step.

Prep time 50 minutes to 1 hour

Cook time 30 minutes to 40 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds

    Yukon Gold potatoes (choose ones that are roughly the same size)

  • 1 2/3 to 2 cups

    all-purpose or ‘00’ flour, divided, plus more as needed

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, plus more for boiling

  • Sauce for topping, such as brown butter and sage, pesto, tomato, or meat

  • Potato ricer or fine-mesh strainer

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Fork

  • Large pot

  • Slotted spoon

  • Rimmed baking sheet

  • Large frying pan

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes. Scrub 2 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes and place in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and simmer until the potatoes are knife tender and cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size. Start heating a large frying pan over medium heat when the potatoes are almost ready.

  2. Drain and dry the potatoes. Drain the potatoes. Transfer to the hot pan and cook, turning them occasionally, until the skin and any exposed flesh is dry on all sides (do not let the skin brown), about 2 minutes.

  3. Let the potatoes cool slightly, then peel. Set the potatoes aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes while still warm.

  4. Make the gnocchi dough. Place 1 1/3 cups of the all-purpose or ‘00’ flour and 2 teaspoons kosher salt on a work surface. Process the potato flesh through a ricer or a fine-mesh strainer onto the flour. Work and knead the potatoes into the flour, adding in 1/3 cup more of the flour a little at a time, until a soft and pliable but not sticky ball of dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, knead in more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed.

  5. Roll the dough out into ropes. Dust the work surface with more flour and divide the dough into 8 portions. Working with one piece at a time, use your hands and roll it out from the center into a rope that is about 1/2-inch wide.

  6. Cut the ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into 1-inch pieces, then transfer them to a floured rimmed baking sheet.

  7. Form the gnocchi. Roll each piece out on a grooved surface (such as a gnocchi board), or gently roll along the back of the fork with your thumb. (Grooves help them trap in more sauce.) Return to the baking sheet.

  8. Boil the gnocchi. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add half the gnocchi and stir. Boil until they float to the surface and are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a serving platter. Repeat cooking the remaining gnocchi.

  9. Top with sauce and serve. Top with sauce if desired and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The uncooked gnocchi can be frozen solid on the baking sheet, then transferred to a zip-top bag and frozen for up to 2 months. Boil from frozen, they will take about 3 minutes to cook.

Storage: Cooked gnocchi can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.

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