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Homemade Potato Gnocchi

Homemade Potato Gnocchi are bouncy pasta pillows that gently dissolve as you eat them and the formula is elegantly simple: potatoes, flour, and salt. Pair with pesto or sauce for a low-key fancy meal.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4


  • 500 grams potatoes 1.1 pounds, Russet or Yukon Gold - see note
  • 150 grams all-purpose flour about 1 - 1 1/4 cups, plus up to 1 cup on the side – see note on measurement
  • 1 teaspoon salt see note


Cook and peel the potatoes

  • Prepare a pot, either for steaming or boiling the potatoes, with the appropriate amount of water and heat it over high heat.
  • Cut the potatoes into 1 to 1.5 inch pieces, depending on the size. You don’t need to peel them just yet.
  • Steam or boil the potato chunks until tender, about 15 minutes for boiling or 25 minutes for steaming. You should be able to pierce the potato all the way through with a fork, easily, but they should not be falling apart.
  • Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool enough to handle. Once cool, remove the potato skins by hand. Also remove any tough or brown bits within the potato flesh and discard them with the skins.
  • At this point, you can mash the potatoes and spread them out to speed up the cooling process, though it isn’t required.

Make the dough

  • Prepare a working surface (large cutting board or clean, dry countertop) with a dusting of flour. Also prepare the extra flour on the side (you may not need it all).
  • Stir the salt and flour together in a large bowl until evenly mixed (a whisk is handy here). Once the potatoes are almost down to room temperature, add them to the bowl with the flour. Mash the potatoes (if you haven’t already) and mix well with a spoon or scraper, incorporating the flour and potato and scraping any bits off the inside of the bowl. Continue mixing until it forms a dough.
  • Once the dough can be picked up, transfer it to the working surface and begin to knead it by hand. Pay attention to how sticky the dough is – if it sticks to your hands or to the working surface, you should add more flour. Use a pastry scraper to remove any dough stuck to the surface.
  • Continue to knead, working in flour half a tablespoon or so at a time as long as the dough is sticky, until the dough is relatively smooth and no longer sticky.

Prepare the boiling water

  • Fill a large pot most of the way with water (it can be the same one you used to boil or steam the potatoes) and heat it over high heat. You will work on the gnocchi while this heats, up – if it starts to boil before you are ready to boil the gnocchi, reduce the heat to medium-low.

Cut and form the gnocchi

  • Cut an eighth to a quarter of the dough off (whatever size piece you’re comfortable working with) and put the rest in the mixing bowl and cover it with a damp towel or paper towel to prevent drying out.
  • Roll the dough piece with your hands into a sphere, and then into a long cylinder (“snake”) with roughly even thickness. Dust with flour as needed during this process to prevent sticking.
  • Cut the “snake” into roughly even small-bite-size pieces. You can boil the pieces as they are now (pillow-shape), if you like, or you can shape them into the classic fork-rolled shape.
  • To make the fork-rolled shape, I like to put the dough piece on my finger and roll a fork over it as shown in the process photo above. Alternatively, you can gently roll each dough piece along the back of a fork or down a gnocchi board. You can experiment by kneading in slightly more flour if your dough is sticking too much.
  • Place each completed gnocco onto a cutting board or baking tray, making sure to separate the gnocchi so they don’t stick together.
  • Once you have completed a batch – it can be a quarter of the whole amount, or half – you can start boiling them.

Boil the gnocchi

  • Carefully add the gnocchi into the pot of boiling water. Give it a gentle stir, to separate any stuck-together gnocchi and to release any stuck to the bottom of the pot. Boil until all the gnocchi are floating – about 2-3 minutes. When all the gnocchi are floating, use a slotted spoon or small strainer to fish them out.
  • Cook the rest of the gnocchi in the same way (if any remain).

Dress or saute the gnocchi

  • Once the gnocchi are well-drained, you can either dress them in sauce or pesto or saute them on their own and eat them. See the blog post above for tips on final preparation.
  • If using sauce or pesto, it’s best to saute the gnocchi in the sauce/pesto briefly until everything is heated through.


Russets are easier to work with, but Yukon gold potatoes have a lovely buttery texture and flavor. Yukon golds can be wetter and stickier, which can make it harder to form each piece. If you want to make pretty-looking gnocchi and you’re new to this, go for russets. See the blog post above for more tips on consistency.
You can add any amount up to the amount of salt given here, or less, if you prefer. Salt is more important if you are going to serve the gnocchi sauteed without any sauce or pesto. Remember that you can always add more later.
It’s OK if there are small pieces of potato in your gnocchi – they make for a lovely melty, buttery mouthfeel as you eat them.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a scale – you’ll reach the right ratio by feel as you knead the dough and gradually add flour.