Classic Italian Potato Gnocchi

Two plates of classic Italian potato gnocchi

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
298 Calories
1g Fat
64g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 298
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1910mg 83%
Total Carbohydrate 64g 23%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 13mg 63%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 877mg 19%
*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," and if you look at these little dumplings, it's not surprising.

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. It also happens to be delicious with sage and winter squash. It's a dumpling you can eat all year round.

The key to making good gnocchi is to use dry, mealy potatoes such as russets. Because the goal is to keep the potatoes as dry as possible, it's better to steam rather than boil them. If you choose to boil the potatoes, wait to peel and cut them until after they're cooked.


  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 1 handful kosher salt, for cooking water

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Classic Italian Potato Gnocchi ingredients

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  2. In a large soup pot of water fitted with a steamer insert or basket, bring the water to boil. Cover and steam the potatoes for 30 to 40 minutes or until they can be pierced with a knife.

    Potatoes steaming in a pot with a steamer insert

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  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.

    Cooked potatoes passed through a potato ricer

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  4. Turn out the cooked potato mixture onto a lightly floured surface, and add about half of the flour.

    Riced potatoes with flour

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  5. Knead until you have a sticky mass.

    Potato and flour mixture kneaded together for gnocchi

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  6. Add more flour, a little at a time, and continue to knead until the dough is smooth. (You won't necessarily use all of the flour.)

    Smooth ball of gnocchi dough

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  7. Cut the dough into smaller sections. Roll each piece into a long cylinder about 1/2-inch in diameter.

    Potato dough cut into pieces and rolled into thin logs

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  8. Cut each cylinder into individual pieces about 3/4-inch in length.

    Small pieces of potato dough for gnocchi

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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

    Large pot of boiling water

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  10. 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.​

    Shaping potato gnocchi with a fork

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  11. When the water comes to a boil, drop the gnocchi into the water.

    Potato gnocchi in a pot with water

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  12. In about 2 minutes, the gnocchi will float to the surface of the water. Let them cook about fifteen seconds more.

    Potato gnocchi floating to the surface of boiling water in a pot

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

  13. Skim the gnocchi out with a slotted spoon and drain well. Serve immediately tossed in butter and Parmesan cheese, or with any of your favorite pasta or gnocchi sauces. Enjoy.

    Classic Italian Potato Gnocchi, pulled from the water with a slotted spoon

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga


  • 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 so you can handle them, and then peel and proceed with the recipe by mashing the potatoes.

How to Store and Freeze Gnocchi

Fresh gnocchi is really best as soon as you make it, but it will keep in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. Keep it covered with a little bit of olive oil or sauce so they don't stick together. You can reheat them in small pot with some sauce or olive oil.

If you would like to freeze this gnocchi before you make it, place the dough on a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze, and then transfer to zip-close freezer bags. Boil as directed in the recipe, allowing for an extra minute or two of cooking time.