Potato Gnocchi with Butter and Cheese


Bake — not boiled — potatoes are the key to the fluffiest potato gnocchi.

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
4 to 6

The secret to the lightest, most tender potato gnocchi is to bake the potatoes instead of boiling them. A baked potato is dryer than one that has been boiled, which means you avoid having to add more flour to the dough to account for excess moisture, a practice that leads to over-kneaded, tough gnocchi. After baking the potatoes, peel, rice or mash them when they are just cool enough to handle. Then let them release steam and fully cool before preparing the gnocchi dough. 

RELATED: The Best Gnocchi is Super Basic

Prepare the gnocchi dough by mixing one egg yolk with the cooled riced potatoes, followed by the salt and the flour. Gently fold the flour into the potatoes until it is incorporated into the dough, being careful to not knead or overmix the dough, which will make your gnocchi tough or gummy. After rolling the dough, cutting it and boiling the gnocchi, then a simple butter and Parmesan pan sauce is all you need to finish this Italian classic.

RELATED: 6 Steps to Make the Perfect Gnocchi


  • 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4)

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • Salt

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • Freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place potatoes directly on middle rack in preheated oven. Bake until very tender when pierced with a paring knife, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Carefully cut potatoes in half lengthwise; let stand until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Using a paring knife, peel potatoes, and discard skins.

  2. Press potatoes through a potato ricer (or thoroughly mash in a bowl and then place) onto a clean work surface; spread in an even layer. Let cool until almost room temperature, about 8 minutes. Drizzle egg yolk evenly over potatoes. Sprinkle salt and 1/2 cup of the flour evenly over potatoes and egg yolk. Using a bench scraper or a rubber spatula, very gently fold mixture over onto itself several times, gradually folding in remaining 1/2 cup flour just until all flour is incorporated and dough comes together in a mass. Do not knead or overwork.

  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly dust with flour; set aside. Clean work surface, and lightly dust with flour. Divide dough evenly into 4 pieces, about 5 1/4 ounces each. Roll 1 dough piece into a 3/4-inch-thick rope, about 9 inches long. Cut rope crosswise into 3/4-inch-long gnocchi pieces. Roll each piece against tines of a fork to make ridges; transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining 3 dough pieces.

  4. Bring salted water to a boil in a 4-quart stockpot over high. Add half of gnocchi to boiling water, and gently stir once. Cook until gnocchi rise to surface, about 2 minutes, and then gently boil 1 more minute, reducing heat as necessary to maintain a gentle boil. While gnocchi cooks, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked gnocchi to skillet; add 3 tablespoons gnocchi cooking liquid. Cook, stirring constantly, until a creamy and loose butter sauce forms and coats gnocchi, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste; place in 2 serving bowls.

  5. Repeat Step 3 with remaining gnocchi and 3 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle each serving with grated cheese and nutmeg. Serve immediately.

    Potato Gnocchi with Butter and Cheese
    American chefs are busy riffing on this Italian classic. Here, F&W's Grace Parisi shares a traditional recipe with three tasty variations: Carrot-Potato GnocchiRoasted Garlic-Potato Gnocchi and Rye-Potato Gnocchi. © Frances Janisch

Make Ahead

The uncooked gnocchi pieces can be frozen on the prepared baking sheet, then transferred to a resealable plastic bag and frozen for up to 1 month. Boil without defrosting.

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