How To Fry Gnocchi (and why you should want to!)

This blog post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

A simple guide to how to fry gnocchi, to make light and fluffy dumplings with crispy edges. They’re so much better than boiled!

If you’ve only ever had boiled gnocchi, you must learn how to fry gnocchi. It ends up like an entirely different food! No more dense, stodgy dumplings – fried gnocchi is crispy on the outside, and light and fluffy in the middle. Plus it’s really easy to do!

Crispy fried gnocchi in a frying pan.

What is gnocchi?

Just in case you’re wondering what I’m on about, I’ll quickly explain what gnocchi is!

Gnocchi are little dumplings made from mashed potato, with a bit of flour added to hold it together. As you might expect, gnocchi don’t have a huge amount of flavour on their own, so just like pasta, they’re perfect for serving in a tasty sauce.

Packet of Napolina potato gnocchi.

Boiled vs fried gnocchi

I always used to find gnocchi a bit disappointing – I never order it at a restaurant because I find it’s usually been boiled, which I don’t particularly enjoy. But then I discovered that it’s so much better when it’s fried / sautéed!

Perhaps I’m just a gnocchi snob, but the difference between boiled gnocchi and sautéed gnocchi is pretty amazing. Boiled gnocchi can be a bit stodgy, a bit slimy, a bit heavy… fried gnocchi is perfectly crispy and fluffy and light and toasty and all sorts of other lovely adjectives.

Underside of a packet of Napolina potato gnocchi.

What type of gnocchi can you fry?

This is the type of gnocchi I use – just your bog standard packet of potato gnocchi (gnocchi di patate).

The photos show the brand I happened to have in the cupboard, but you can use any brand you like – it doesn’t need to be anything fancy (honestly I usually just buy the cheapest one I can find).

Usually this type of gnocchi comes either vacuum-packed, or just loose in a plastic packet like this one. I almost always keep a pack of gnocchi in the cupboard, as it’s usually got a pretty long date on it (this one had about 9 months from the time I bought it!), and it makes a nice change from pasta.

Uncooked potato gnocchi on a plate.

How to fry gnocchi

There’s not much that needs to be said really – just cook the gnocchi in a frying pan with a bit of oil and / or butter (I like to use a bit of both!).

That’s all there is to it. Easy peasy.

Just cook it in the pan, stirring occasionally, until the gnocchi ends up nice and golden brown all over. It will be beautifully crispy – the noise it makes when you stir it around the pan is pretty amazing.

Collage showing the stages of frying gnocchi in a pan.

Do you need to pre-boil the gnocchi?

Nope!

The cooking instructions on the packet actually say you should boil the gnocchi, but I always ignore this like the rebel I am, and just skip straight to sautéing the gnocchi in a frying pan.

Close up of cooking instructions on a packet of potato gnocchi.

It does take a little longer (15ish minutes to fry, compared to just a couple of minutes to boil), but believe me, the extra time is well worth it.

Fried gnocchi in a pan.

Can you fry homemade gnocchi?

If you don’t have any shop-bought gnocchi in your kitchen, it’s really easy to make your own!

Homemade gnocchi only needs a few staple ingredients, so you can probably make it with what you already have at home. If you make it from scratch, it’s not particularly quick to make, but I always make my gnocchi using frozen mashed potato, which cuts down the prep time dramatically (don’t ever say I’m not there for you with a top tip to help you be more lazy).

If you prefer a potato-free version, ricotta gnocchi is even easier to make, and can be on the table in no time!

Homemade gnocchi can absolutely be fried, just like you can with the shop-bought stuff. I’ve always boiled my homemade gnocchi first, then sautéed it afterwards – it’s a bit more delicate than shop-bought, and boiling helps to firm up the dumplings a bit. You could definitely try skipping this step though, if you’re short on time (let me know how you get on!).

Fried gnocchi in a creamy sauce with garlic bread.

Sauces for gnocchi

Even though it’s less stodgy when it’s fried, gnocchi is still a hearty, filling dish, so you don’t want to add any sauce that’s too thick or heavy.

Quite a thin sauce is perfect – just something to nicely coat the dumplings without being too much. A few of my favourites:

  • cream cheese (just melt it over the gnocchi in the pan, with a dash of water to thin it out)
  • pesto (especially homemade!)
  • a light tomato sauce (or even just some chopped fresh tomatoes)
  • a creamy tomato and mascarpone sauce
  • garlic mushrooms cooked in butter

Don’t forget to add some veggies too, to lighten things up further (this time I used frozen veg because #quarantinelife) – gnocchi primavera is one of my favourites. And definitely don’t forget how to fry gnocchi – you’ll never want it boiled again!

Gnocchi and vegetables in a creamy sauce with garlic bread.

How to Fry Gnocchi

A simple guide to how to fry gnocchi, to make light and fluffy dumplings with crispy edges. They're so much better than boiled!

If you’ve cooked this recipe, don’t forget to leave a star rating!

4.99 from 60 votes
Print Pin Comment
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 419kcal
Author: Becca Heyes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 500 g (~ 1 lb) potato gnocchi

Instructions

  • Gently heat the oil and butter in a frying pan until the butter has melted. Add the gnocchi. Don’t overcrowd the pan – you want the gnocchi to be spread out in a single layer across the bottom of the pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring every few minutes, until crisped up to your liking (around 10-15 minutes).
  • Serve the sautéed gnocchi with a light sauce (see the blog post for some ideas).

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How to Fry Gnocchi
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 419 Calories from Fat 116
% Daily Value*
Fat 12.9g20%
Saturated Fat 4.5g23%
Cholesterol 15mg5%
Sodium 41mg2%
Potassium 2mg0%
Carbohydrates 68.8g23%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 7.7g15%
Calcium 2mg0%
Iron 0mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

Tried this Recipe? Leave a Comment!Comments and star ratings really help support the site – thank you!

Don’t forget, homemade gnocchi is easy to make, especially this super quick ricotta gnocchi!

Save This Recipe (New)

💾 Save this recipe! Enter your email and I'll send the recipe straight to your inbox, so you'll never lose it again. Plus, you'll receive 1-2 emails per week with new recipes, and a FREE e-cookbook!

4.99 from 60 votes (42 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




66 Comments

  1. I fried my store bought gnocchi last night. I had some defrosted homemade pasta sauce to which I added crushed garlic and chilli. I chose parmesan

    cheese grated on top.
    I’m having the rest tonight.
    I winged it with the amount of oil and butter and probably had twice as much as what the recipe stated.

  2. Thanks for sharing this idea. I was starting to think I didn’t know how to properly cook gnocchi. This will be my go-to method from now on.5 stars

  3. I never leave comments when I try recipes but oh my, this time I have to !
    this is so simple yet with a bunch of spices and a nice sauce it’s so yummy for lazy/quick dinners.
    I don’t know why I never tried roasting instead of boiling before. Never going back.
    Thank you from France :)5 stars

  4. Oh my – I tried this right now because the whole family was hungry and I wanted to make something quick. I had a thought – ” Can I fry the gnocchi?” I googled, it brought me here – I did everything you recommended and man oh man – I love your “recipe” – I will never eat gnocchi any other way.
    Thank you from South Africa.5 stars

  5. So tonight I’m boiling gnocci for the 3,000th time lol. As those little devils start coming to the surface I say to myself, I bet you could fry these after all they’re merely potatoes. Run to my computer and voila found this recipe/site. Run back to the kitchen, remove the already cooked gnocci from the boiling water, put them in the frying pan with some olive oil and fresh garlic, they browned nicely and I added a small bit of tomato gravy at the end. I’ve cooked for decades and I love recipes that are outside the box! Next time they go right into the frying pan. Happy! Thank you!5 stars

      1. Becca, thanks for your reply! Well lo and behold the next night I couldn’t wait to try again. Only this time straight into the frying pan lol. I minced a bunch of broccoli florets and along with some freshly minced garlic almost like a pesto. Sauteed it mixed with the gnocchi with a little more olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of water. So delicious! You’re so right…crisp on the outside and heavenly soft inside. I’m so glad I found your site!5 stars

  6. I must admit I was very skeptical about skipping the boiling and going straight to frying the gnocchi. I thought I would fry three of them as a test but then decided to go all in and did the whole package. They are delicious! After they fired I removed them from the skillet and added butter, sliced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and sauteed them for a few minutes. Then I added the fried gnocchi back to the pan and tossed in a few chopped walnuts. Finished them off with some Parmesan cheese and a bit of chopped parsley. They’re make great leftovers the next day. Just warm them in the microwave for a few minutes.5 stars