Classic Italian Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi being pressed with fork
Michael Schinharl/StockFood/Riser/Getty Images
  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 75 mins
  • Cook: 5 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
180 Calories
2g Fat
36g Carbs
4g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 180
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 298mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Protein 4g
Calcium 48mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Gnocchi (pronounced NYO-kee) are fluffy, Italian-style dumplings made of potatoes and flour.

While they originated in Northern Italy, where potatoes grow well in the cooler climate, varieties of gnocchi are found in almost every region of the country. The word gnocchi is believed to derive from the Italian word nocca which translates as "knuckles", not surprisingly.

Every area of Italy has its own version of the dish. With their little nooks and crannies, they absorb sauces well. Gnocchi can be served simply, with melted butter and grated Parmesan cheese, or in a more complex preparation such as tomato sauce, basil, and mozzarella.

The key to making good gnocchi is to use dry, mealy potatoes like russets. Because the goal is to keep the potatoes as dry as possible, it's better to steam them rather than boiling them.


  • 2 pounds whole russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (see note below)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra flour for dusting
  • Kosher salt for the cooking water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Steam the potatoes in a large soup pot with a steamer insert, or steam basket, for 30 to 40 minutes or until they can be pierced with a knife.

  3. Pass the cooked potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer. This method is preferable to mashing them by hand as it achieves a smooth, uniform texture. Avoid putting the potatoes in a food processor as this will make them too gummy.

  4. Turn out the cooked potato mixture onto a lightly floured surface, and add about half the flour. Knead until you have a sticky mass and keep adding flour a little at a time until the dough is smooth. You won't necessarily use all the flour.

  5. Cut the dough into smaller sections, and roll each piece into a long cylinder, about ½ of an inch in diameter.

  6. Cut each cylinder into individual pieces about ¾ of an inch in length.

  7. Fill a large pot with water and generously salt the water with a good handful of Kosher salt. Bring to a boil.

  8. Meanwhile, shape the gnocchi by pressing each piece between your thumb and the tines of a fork, using a slight rolling motion. One side of the gnocchi should have the imprint of the fork and the other side a small indentation from your thumb.​

  9. When the water comes to a boil, drop the gnocchi into the water. In about two minutes, the gnocchi will float to the surface of the water. Let them cook about fifteen seconds more and then skim them out with a slotted spoon.

  10. Drain the gnocchi well and serve immediately tossed in butter and Parmesan cheese, or with any of your favorite pasta or gnocchi sauces.


  • You can boil the potatoes for gnocchi if you don't have a steamer basket or colander. But if you do, boil the potatoes whole, and leave the peels on so that they don't absorb a lot of water. Too much water will make the gnocchi gummy rather than fluffy. Once the potatoes are cooked, let them cool just long enough that you can handle them, and then peel and proceed with Step 2 above.