Our homemade gnocchi recipe makes soft and delicious potato pillows with three simple ingredients and a fork.

Serve the gnocchi with your favorite pesto, marinara sauce, or lentil bolognese.

homemade potato gnocchi

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Gnocchi, pronounced “NYOKEE,” is a popular Italian dish that is often made from potatoes and flour, and sometimes with eggs.

It’s generally served with a simple tomato sauce, meat-based sauce, or butter sage sauce.

Here we’ll show you how to make gnocchi with three simple ingredients and shape them with a fork. Our recipe is the original Italian one for without eggs.

You can make a big batch ahead of time, freeze it, and cook it in a few minutes when you need it for a quick lunch or dinner.

Homemade gnocchi might be slightly different from the store-bought ones we are used to eating outside Italy.

They are soft, silky, and delicate; when you put them in your mouth, they should almost melt.

Our favorite sauces to go with them are:

gnocchi alla sorrentina
Gnocchi alla Sorrentina.

Ingredients

ingredients for homemade gnocchi recipe

Potatoes

In the United States, the best potato variety to make gnocchi is medium-sized Russet potatoes. However, red potatoes are also great if you don’t live in the US or can’t find Russet potatoes.

Also, old potatoes are excellent because they contain more starch and less moisture.

Avoid new potatoes, as they contain too much moisture and absorb too much flour.

It will be hard to make Italian gnocchi if you don’t find russet, red, or really old potatoes. You can, however, make a more “international” type of gnocchi with any potato.

To do that, double the amount of flour that we use. Also, double the kneading time. This way, you’ll get potato dumplings that are easier to shape, with more bite and that feels more like pasta than a soft and fluffy potato pillow.

Flour

Regular all-purpose flour works well. However, to make them even lighter, you can try to find Italian “00” flour.

To make gnocchi gluten-free, you can use all-purpose gluten-free flour or rice flour.

Salt

We use sea salt or kosher salt.

Equipment

You only need a clean surface and a fork to mash the potatoes and shape them.

You can also use a ricer to mash the potatoes and a gnocchi board to shape the dumpling.

homemade gnocchi with tomato sauce

Instructions

Make the gnocchi dough

Add the potatoes, whole and with the skin on, to a large pot full of cold water.

Bring to boil and cook until fork tender. Depending on the size of the potatoes, they can take between 20 and 50 minutes to cook.

Tip: try to use potatoes that are similar in size so that they’ll require the same cooking time.

red potatoes in cold water

Drain the potatoes and peel them while still hot.

Hold them with a cloth in your left hand, and remove the peel with a small paring knife with your right.

peeling boiled potatoes

To a large bowl, add the peeled potatoes and mash them with a fork until they are completely mashed.

Tip: if you use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes, you won’t need to peel them. Cut them in half instead, put them in the ricer with the cut side facing down, and mash. The peel will stay in the ricer.

mashing the potatoes with a fork

Now add the flour and salt, and knead until the potatoes absorb all the flour and you get a compact but soft gnocchi dough.

gnocchi dough

Transfer the potato and flour mixture to a lightly floured surface and knead for a few more seconds until the flour is fully incorporated.

Depending on the type of potato, you might need to add more flour. However, gnocchi dough should be very soft, so try not to add too much flour and don’t over-knead it.

For more info, see the “tips” chapter below.

gnocchi dough

Shape gnocchi

Sprinkle your worktop with flour. Divide the dough into four pieces. Take one part and roll it into long ropes, about ¾ inch or 2 cm thick.

Now cut each rope into ½ inch or 1.5 cm bits. Use a knife or dough scraper to cut the gnocchi.

how to cut shape and cut homemade gnocchi

Now, you have three options to shape the gnocchi.

First, you can leave them as they are, looking like small cute pillows.

pillow shaped gnocchi

Second, you can roll them on the tines of a fork by applying gentle pressure with your thumb, creating small ridges that will make the gnocchi look very pretty. The ridges will also grab more sauce.

gnocchi shaped with the tines of a fork

Third, you can use a gnocchi board that you can find online for a few dollars. It’s faster to do gnocchi with a gnocchi board than with a fork.

making gnocchi with a gnocchi board

Once shaped, put your gnocchi on a baking sheet lined with a kitchen cloth.

gnocchi on a baking sheet line with kitchen cloth

Cook gnocchi

Add the gnocchi, one by one, to a large pot of gently boiling and salted water.

They are pretty delicate, so you should only cook one to two portions at a time without overcrowding the pot.

scooping out the gnocchi from the water

When they float to the top, they are ready. It should take about 1 minute. Scoop the gnocchi out of the water with a slotted spoon and add them directly to the pan with the sauce.

Since gnocchi are very soft, they might lose their shape if you drain them in a strainer.

gnocchi mixed in the tomato sauce

Serving suggestions

Once your gnocchi is shaped, they are quite an easy dinner since they cook in one minute. Then, all you have to do is pick your favorite sauce:

For something light and simple, toss them in our marinara sauce, a zucchini pesto, or delicious basil pesto.

potato gnocchi with pesto

If you feel like something more nutritious and earthy, try our lentil bolognese, mushroom bolognese, or tempeh bolognese.

homemade gnocchi recipe with bolognese

To make something special, for dinner with family and friends, make gnocchi alla sorrentina. They are gnocchi tossed in a tomato basil sauce, then baked in the oven with melty mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Out of this world!

PSST! Gnocchi are also delicious, tossed in a simple butter and sage sauce.

spoonful of gnocchi alla sorrentina

What to serve gnocchi with?

We recommend eating gnocchi as your main dish for lunch or dinner. Serve them with a side of veggies such as:

Variations

Sweet potato gnocchi

butter and sage sweet potato gnocchi on a plate

Our favorite variation, sweet potato gnocchi are super easy to make with microwaved sweet potatoes. You can serve them with a simple butter and sage sauce or a creamy mushroom sauce.

Check out our sweet potato gnocchi recipe to learn how to make them.

Ricotta gnocchi

To make gnocchi with ricotta, you either use store-bought ricotta or make our dairy-free ricotta home from soy milk.

Replace the potatoes with ricotta, and follow the recipe. Depending on how wet your ricotta is, you might want to add two to three tablespoons of additional flour.

Gluten-free gnocchi

gluten-free gnocchi

You can make gnocchi with gluten-free flour, such as rice flour or a gluten-free mix.

When you make gluten-free gnocchi, you don’t have to worry about over-kneading as there’s no gluten.

Storage

It would be best if you cooked gnocchi within a couple of hours of making them or freeze them.

You can store leftover cooked gnocchi in the refrigerator for up to a day. Then, jump them on a large skillet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and black pepper to reheat them. Or bake them in the oven with some cheese (or dairy-free cheese) on top.

Can you make homemade gnocchi ahead of time?

Yes, you can make gnocchi ahead of time if you follow some simple tips for storing them. The best way to store homemade gnocchi is to freeze them straight after you have shaped them.

Can homemade gnocchi be frozen?

Yes. To freeze homemade gnocchi, put them on a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Freeze them on the tray; then, after an hour or so, when they are hard, you can transfer them to a freezer bag to save space in your freezer. Keep for up to six months.

How to cook them from frozen?

To cook vegan gnocchi from frozen, add them to salted boiling water and cook till they float on top.

how to freeze homemade gnocchi

Tips

  • Use the right potatoes: the best potatoes for making homemade gnocchi are floury, rich in starch, and low in water content.

    They will make for a dry, fluffy dough. The best variety is Russet potatoes, red potatoes, and most types of very old potatoes.

    If your potatoes are really watery, you can boil them, cut them in half, and bake them in the oven at 180C (360F) for 20 minutes to dry them up.
  • Cook potatoes with peel: this is necessary to prevent water from entering the potato. Do not cut the potatoes before cooking them.
  • Peel and mash the potatoes while hot: be careful and do not burn yourself. To prevent myself from burning, I take a cloth in my left hand, put the potato in it, and peel it with my right hand. Alternatively, I stick a fork in it to hold the potato.

    Potatoes should be mashed while hot because as they cool down, the starches will undergo a process called retrogradation, making the potatoes sticky and hard to work with.
  • Don’t over-knead: over-kneading will activate the gluten network in the flour, making the gnocchi gummy and chewy.
  • Cook immediately (or freeze): gnocchi should be cooked straight after you make them because when they sit around, they lose their texture and shape. However, if you want to make them in advance, it’s best to freeze them.
homemade gnocchi made with a fork

Questions

Do you have to use russet potato for gnocchi?

The russet potato is excellent for gnocchi because it contains more starch and less water than regular potatoes.

However, you can use red or old potatoes if you can’t find Russet potatoes. In any case, try to avoid new potatoes.

Why is my gnocchi mushy?

Probably because there is too much water in the potatoes and, as a result, in the gnocchi dough.

This happens either because you cooked the potatoes without their peel or chopped. It can also occur if you use the wrong type of potato.

How can I fix mushy gnocchi?

Do not add flour directly to the dough. Instead, transfer the gnocchi to a clean worktop, dust the worktop with flour, and gently work the dough there.

Do more of a rolling, compacting movement than kneading.

Is gnocchi the same as dumplings?

Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling and is different from other types of pasta. Traditional pasta is made from wheat flour mixed with water (and sometimes eggs), and since gnocchi consists primarily of potatoes, it can be categorized as a dumpling.

How is gnocchi traditionally eaten?

In Italy, gnocchi is traditionally eaten as a “primo piatto,” or first course. That’s after a small starter and before the main dish. They fall in the same category as pasta, risotto, and ravioli.

It is common to eat gnocchi with a simple tomato basil sauce, with a meat-based sauce, or with a simple butter and sage sauce.

More Italian Recipes

If you love Italian food, have a go at one of these quick and easy plant-forward Italian recipes:

homemade potato gnocchi

Homemade Gnocchi Recipe

By: Nico Pallotta
4.90 from 19 votes
Our homemade gnocchi recipe makes soft and delicious potato pillows with three simple ingredients and a fork.
Serve the gnocchi with your favorite pestomarinara sauce, or lentil bolognese.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 minute
Boiling potatoes: 30 minutes
Total Time: 46 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Course: First Course, Main
Cuisine: Italian

Equipment

  • To mash the potatoes you'll need a fork, or a potato ricer, or a rotary vegetable mill.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds potatoes Russet or red potatoes.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour this can vary greatly based on the type of potato so be ready to add more.
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 1½ tablespoons for the water to cook the gnocchi.

Instructions 

MAKE THE GNOCCHI DOUGH

  • Add the potatoes, whole and with the skin on, to a large pot full of cold water.
    Bring to boil and cook until fork tender (20 to 50 mins depending on size).
    red potatoes in cold water
  • Drain the potatoes and peel them while still hot.
    Hold them with a cloth in your left hand, and remove the peel with a small paring knife with your right.
    peeling boiled potatoes
  • In a large bowl, mash potatoes with a fork or potato ricer.
    mashing the potatoes with a fork
  • Add flour and salt, and knead until you get a compact but soft gnocchi dough.
    gnocchi dough
  • Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few more seconds until the flour is fully incorporated.
    gnocchi dough

SHAPE GNOCCHI

  • Sprinkle your worktop with flour. Divide the dough into four pieces. Take one part and roll it into long ropes, about ¾ inch or 2 cm thick.
    Cut each rope into ½ inch or 1.5 cm bits. Use a knife or dough scraper to cut the gnocchi.
    how to cut shape and cut homemade gnocchi
  • Now, you have three options to shape the gnocchi.
    First, you can leave them as they are, looking like small cute pillows.
    pillow shaped gnocchi
  • Second, you can roll them on the tines of a fork by applying gentle pressure with your thumb, creating small ridges that will make the gnocchi look very pretty. The ridges will also grab more sauce.
    gnocchi shaped with the tines of a fork
  • Third, you can use a gnocchi board that you can find online for a few dollars. It's faster to do gnocchi with a gnocchi board than with a fork.
    making gnocchi with a gnocchi board
  • Once shaped, put your gnocchi on a baking tray lined with a kitchen cloth.
    gnocchi on a baking sheet line with kitchen cloth

COOK GNOCCHI

  • Add the gnocchi, one by one, to a large pot of gently boiling and salted water.
    They are pretty delicate, so you should only cook one to two portions at a time without overcrowding the pot.
    scooping out the gnocchi from the water
  • When they float to the top, they are ready. It should take about 1 minute. 
    Scoop the gnocchi out of the water with a slotted spoon and add them directly to the pan your the sauce.
    gnocchi mixed in the tomato sauce

Video

Homemade Potato Gnocchi | I'll show you 3 ways to shape them!

Notes

Nutrition information is for 1 portion of gnocchi out of 6 portions.
This recipe can serve between 4 to 6 people. If eaten as a main meal, then it serves about 4 people. If used as a first course, then you can serve about 6 smaller portions.
Serve with:

Nutrition

Calories: 268kcal, Carbohydrates: 58g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 681mg, Dietary Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 3IU, Vitamin B6: 0.5mg, Vitamin C: 30mg, Vitamin E: 0.04mg, Vitamin K: 3µg, Calcium: 25mg, Folate: 100µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 44mg, Zinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Leave a comment below or mention @theplantbasedschool on Instagram. We are also on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok.

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Serve the gnocchi with your favorite pesto, marinara sauce, or lentil bolognese.” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

4.90 from 19 votes (13 ratings without comment)

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14 Comments

    1. Hi Nancy, Yes they can be frozen. To freeze the gnocchi, put them on a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Freeze them on the tray; then, after an hour or so, when they are hard, you can transfer them to a freezer bag to save space in your freezer. Keep for up to six months.
      When you need to cook them from frozen: add them to salted boiling water and cook till they float on top. I hope that helps! Cheers, Louise

    1. Hi Bonnie,

      I haven’t tried whole wheat flour, so I can’t say for sure. I think it’ll work, but I’d start with less flour than in our recipe (like 1.5 cups) and add more if needed.

      Hope this helps.

    1. Hi Diane! Yes they can – you can make them with gluten-free flour such as rice flour or a gluten-free flour mix.

      When you make gluten-free gnocchi you don’t have to worry about over-kneading as there’s no gluten. Cheers, Nico

  1. 5 stars
    These are the tastiest and softest gnocchis I’ve made so far, so easy to make too. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe 🙏🧡

  2. 5 stars
    These were the tastiest and softest gnocchis I’ve made so far. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe 🧡

    1. Thank you Joana, I’m so happy you are cooking my recipes! Thanks for taking time to comment! Cheers, Nico