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Perfect Pillowy Potato Gnocchi

Imagine diving into a bowl of perfect potato gnocchi, each pillowy morsel a delightful blend of simplicity and elegance.

Here, we transform humble potatoes into a comforting gourmet homemade pasta dish. These potato gnocchi are so light and tender they’ll practically melt in your mouth! If you love gnocchi, also try my ricotta gnocchi.

Serve with an easy marinara sauce or a slow-cooked pasta sauce.

Potato gnocchi in bowl garnished with basil and cheese.
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Ingredients

The ingredients for potato gnocchi are straightforward – the ratio of ingredients and the technique (not overmixing and testing a few gnocchi before forming them all) are essential for success.

The secret ingredient here that makes this recipe differs from most (all?) others in that it contains cornstarch, which helps keep the gnocchi tender.

Ingredients for potato gnocchi.
  • Use Russet potatoes (ie, Idaho or baking potatoes) for their high starch content.
  • The added cornstarch helps to tenderize the gnocchi dough – a secret that I recently learned from an Italian cooking site, and I am SO happy with the results.
  • Yellow potatoes may also be used.

How To

Mashed potato with flour, cheese and egg on work surface.
Kneading the ingredients for potato gnocchi.

Once your potatoes are cooked until they are very tender, mash them or rice them. Place the mashed potatoes on a clean surface, and drizzle the egg yolks on top of the cooled potatoes; sprinkle the potato/corn starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, salt, and flour on the mashed potatoes.

Dough ball to make potato gnocchi.
Diving the potato gnocchi dough.

Gently knead until a soft, pliable ball forms. The dough should be soft and not sticky. Divide dough into six portions and roll each into a long rope about 1/2 inch thick. Cut the portions into smaller sizes if your ropes get too long. Cut gnocchi from each rope and stage onto a baking pan sprinkled with flour or semolina.

Cutting the potato gnocchi into pieces.

Sprinkle some flour on the gnocchi, place them without overlapping on a large baking sheet, and gently shake back and forth to coat them.

Top Tips:

  • Overcooked potatoes are better than undercooked ones, which are mealy after ricing.
  • Some people warm the mashed potatoes in a large pot to release more water (which means you’d need less flour and theoretically get softer gnocchi).
  • After the dough is kneaded, do not form all the gnocchi, rather, form a few gnocchi and test them to ensure you added enough flour. Less is better than more since we can add flour but not take it away.
  • Knead only until the dough comes together – extended kneading will toughen the gluten matrix.
  • Freeze the gnocchi on sheets before bagging it for extended storage.
  • Cook gnocchi until most of them float and then count to thirty.
  • Add cooked gnocchi directly to the sauce for flavor infusion.
Potato gnocchi on parchment lined baking tray.

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📖 Recipe

Small bowl of potato gnocchi with fork.

Potato Gnocchi

Transform humble potatoes into comforting classic potato gnocchi that are so light and tender they'll practically melt in your mouth!
5 from 1 vote
Author: Marie
Prep Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Resting time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 49 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 332 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 3 lbs potatoes starchy, raw
  • 2 medium egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • cup finely grated cheese Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus extra if needed to get a soft dough, and also more for dusting

Instructions
 

Prepare the Potatoes:

  • Option 1: Microwave Method
  • Rinse, peel, and chop potatoes into small pieces. Place in a microwave steamer and cook for about 15 minutes or until very tender.
  • Option 2: Boiling Method
  • Rinse the potatoes and leave them unpeeled. Boil in a pot of water until very tender. Once warm, peel the potatoes or scoop the flesh out of the skins.

Mash and Cool:

  • Mash the potatoes using a fork or potato masher or a potato ricer. Transfer to a large work surface and spread out to cool slightly.

Mix Ingredients:

  • Drizzle the egg yolks to the top of the cooled potatoes and then sprinkle the potato/corn starch, Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese, salt, and flour to the mashed potatoes and work into the potatoes. I like to use a bench knife but you can use whatever works.

Knead the Dough:

  • Gently knead until a soft, pliable ball forms. The dough should be soft and not sticky. Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.

Test and Shape the Gnocchi:

  • Flour your work surface. Take a small portion of dough and roll it into a rope about ¾ inch (2 cm) in diameter.
  • Cut the rope into 1/2- to 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and test a few by cooking in boiling water to ensure you like the texture. You can add more flour to the remaining dough if they are too soft.
  • If you like the texture, continue to roll and cut ropes of dough to form the gnocchi and store them on a well-floured baking tray.
  • I like to periodically shake the tray to ensure the gnocchi are not sticking and that they are floured enough.
  • If you’d like, you can press and roll each piece against a fork or gnocchi board to create indentations but this is completely optional.

Rest the Gnocchi:

  • Place the gnocchi on a floured plate, ensuring they are not touching. Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Cook the Gnocchi:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, adding a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Cook the gnocchi in batches, stirring gently. Once they float to the surface, count to 30 and then remove immediately with a slotted spoon and transfer to a serving dish with your favorite sauce.

Serve:

  • Top with your favorite pasta sauce and serve immediately.

Notes

  • Overcooked potatoes are better than undercooked ones, which can be mealy after ricing.
  • Some people warm the mashed potatoes in a large pot to release more water (which means you’d need less flour and theoretically get softer gnocchi).
  • After the dough is kneaded, do not form all the gnocchi; instead, test a few gnocchi to ensure you added enough flour. Less is better than more since we can add flour but not take it away.
  • Knead only until the dough comes together – extended kneading will toughen the gluten matrix.
  • Freeze the gnocchi in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets before bagging them for extended storage.
  • Cook gnocchi until most float, then count to thirty.
  • Add cooked gnocchi directly to the sauce for flavor infusion.

Nutrition

Calories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 11gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 987mgPotassium: 1004mgFiber: 6gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 188IUVitamin C: 45mgCalcium: 137mgIron: 3mg
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