How to make gnocchi (2024)

Originating in Italy, gnocchi are little dumplings that are most commonly made from potato, and are served in a sauce, like pasta (although they are not part of the pasta family).

Homemade gnocchi is easy to make when you know how – follow our Good Housekeeping guide to making and cooking perfect potato dumplings every time…

Which potatoes make the best gnocchi?

Pick a floury spud that makes a smooth, even, and lump-free mash. Maris pipers and King Edwards are ideal. Avoid waxy, salad or new potatoes – their flesh is too firm and won’t turn into the uniform texture gnocchi needs.

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What’s the best way to cook potatoes for gnocchi?

We boil the whole potatoes in their skins for speed and ease (cooking them after peeling can lead to soggy spuds and wet mashed potato that’s hard to work with). If you’ve got a few hours spare, you could bake the potatoes until tender instead. Shortcuts aren’t an option here though: microwaving potatoes doesn’t have quite the same result. The flesh tends to harden and is a pain to mash.

How do you remove the skin off a hot potato?

Put them on a board, hold the scorching spud steady using tongs, then halve them with a sharp knife and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh into a bowl or pan. If you don’t have tongs, allow the potatoes to cool for a few minutes, then hold each potato in a clean tea towel to protect your hands as you prep them.

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How should I mash potatoes for gnocchi?

For supremely smooth mash, your best friend is a ricer. You can also mash them roughly and push the crushed potato through a sieve if you don’t possess such a gadget, but this does take extra effort. Ultimately, using a run-of-the-mill potato masher by itself is fine – just try and press as many lumps as you can! Tempted to whizz them in a food processor or a blender? Stop! This can make them liquid-like, pasty and unsalvageable.

Potato mashers and ricers

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Joseph Joseph Helix Potato Ricer, John Lewis, £24.99

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John Lewis Nylon Potato Masher (Black), John Lewis, £3

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Lakeland OXO Good Grips Smooth Potato Masher, Lakeland, £13.99

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Chef'n Black Potato Ricer, Dunelm, £28

Should I add butter or oil to my gnocchi dough?

You can add a little to the mash for flavour, but it’s not essential.

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Should I add flour to gnocchi?

Gnocchi needs some extra ingredients to firm it up and plain flour is the most common addition (some people use semolina flour too). Add the flour when the mash is still hot - the heat cooks the starch a little and makes the dough slightly firmer and a joy to handle. You can use gluten-free flour mixes too.

Too much flour in a recipe will make a dense and tasteless dumpling though, so be sparing – add no more than a quarter of the weight of the raw potato in your recipe. Because potatoes can vary in their starchiness, hold some of the flour back at first, work it in, then add in more if the mixture still feels sticky.

Should I add salt to the gnocchi dough?

Salt helps season the dough. You don’t need tonnes – just add as much as you would to season the potatoes well. Mix it in just after mashing, with a little pepper too.

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Should I add egg to the gnocchi dough?

You will see egg-free recipes, but the proteins in egg help to keep the dough together during cooking. Add whilst the mash is warm, so it absorbs more readily. Like flour, you only need enough to help bind it all. Beat the egg in a small jug first, then add a little at a time and stir it in until combined until you have a dough that comes together and isn’t wet or sticky. You can also use just egg yolks, for a richer flavour.

How should I mix gnocchi dough?

Start with a wooden spoon, but as the ingredients begin to meld together, gently knead the mixture in the pan/bowl using your hand. Lift with your fingers then press the mixture back together using the heel of your hand until no streaks of flour or egg remain. Be careful not to overwork it – you don’t want to develop too much gluten, otherwise your gnocchi will be hard and chewy.

Wooden chopping boards

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John Lewis & Partners Large Oak-Wood Chopping Board

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Croft Collection Oak-Wood End Grain Chopping Board

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Joseph Joseph Cut and Carve Bamboo Chopping Board

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Dunelm Large End Grain Chopping Board

What should gnocchi dough feel like?

It should feel smooth, supple, and easy to roll without sticking to anything. If the mixture is too tacky, work in a little more flour.

The dough should be firm enough to hold its shape, but not bouncily so. If it feels especially springy, wrap the dough with cling film, and let it relax for 20min at room temperature.

How do I cut gnocchi?

On a lightly floured work surface, roll portions of the dough into sausages about 3cm (1¼in) thick, then cut into 2cm (¾in) lengths.

How do I make lines in gnocchi?

You can leave the gnocchi line-free, or if you prefer (and have the time and patience!) use a fork to make the ridges. Why? They increase surface area and help sauces to cling to the dumplings.

Put a fork upside down on a work surface. Press a dumpling down on the curve of the fork’s tines, then use your thumb to roll up one of the edges, so it turns the gnocchi over, revealing the underneath whilst forming it into a curved shape at the same time. You should see the ridges on the top of the gnocchi. Repeat with the remaining pieces.

How do I store uncooked gnocchi?

Dust lightly in flour and arrange the gnocchi on a tray in a single layer, ideally without them touching one another. Cover and chill for up to a day or freeze the tray and then transfer the frozen gnocchi to a bag and store for up to a month. The dumplings can be cooked from frozen.

What’s the best way to cook gnocchi?

The easiest and quickest way to cook gnocchi is to boil it. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, then add the gnocchi and cook for 1-2min. If in doubt, the gnocchi will be ready when they float to the surface. Drain carefully – the dumplings are delicate.

You can also fry gnocchi. Heat a generous amount of butter and oil in a large frying pan, then fry the raw dumplings for around 8min until golden, tender and cooked all the way through (no need to parboil).

What’s the best way to serve gnocchi?

Gnocchi are gorgeously versatile. You can cook with them as you would pasta – drizzled with a herby butter, smothered in pesto, in creamy or tomato-based sauces or baked in an oozy gratin. Fried gnocchi can be tossed into salads too or combined with a luscious sauce for a decadent treat, like in our Creamy Fried Gnocchi.

Why did my gnocchi fall apart in the water?

Gnocchi can disintegrate for a few reasons. You might not have added enough flour or egg, or you may have overboiled them.

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Why are my gnocchi tough?

Gnocchi gets tough when gluten develops through over-kneading or too much flour has been added. It can also happen (particularly with fried gnocchi) if the dumplings are undercooked.

Do I have to make gnocchi with potato?

There are other types of gnocchi that aren’t made with potato. Gnocchi alla Romana is made with semolina instead and often baked with cheese as an accompaniment to main meals, or you can try rolling out these ricotta dumplings instead too.

How to make gnocchi

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a starter


  • 600g (1lb 50z) floury potatoes
  • 125g (4oz) plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten


  1. Put unpeeled potatoes in a pan cover with cold water, bring to boil and cook until potatoes are tender, but not falling apart.
  2. Drain, allow to cool slightly, then remove skins by scraping them away with a knife.
  3. Whilst potatoes are still warm, mash with a masher or potato ricer in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper then add flour and mix into potato.
  4. Add half the egg and stir to bring mixture together into a firm dough. Add more egg if mixture seems too dry. It may be easier to use hands to bring dough together.
  5. Turn out dough on to lightly floured work surface. Roughly divide dough into 3 pieces. Using hands, roll out one piece of dough into a long, thin sausage shape, about 3cm (1¼in) thick.
  6. Cut lengths into about 2cm (¾in) pieces. Press on to a fork to make ridges, if desired.
  7. Cook gnocchi in large pan of lightly salted boiling water for 1-2min until the gnocchi rise to top of water.

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