How To Make Gnocchi

Wondering about how to make gnocchi? I wondered too…

You see, I have very limited experience with the country of Italy or it’s authentic foods. My grandfather is Italian, but he adopted my father, so I have no Italian blood. I’ve been to Italy once, but only for 3 days on one of those tours where you see 50 different countries in 5 minutes. It’s been 19 years and I still don’t know what some of my pictures are of!

To say that I have limited experience cooking authentic Italian food is an understatement. I had had gnocchi in restaurants years ago, but was always completely unimpressed. There was no actual flavor to it. I might as well have just ordered a bowl of sauce and called it dinner. The gnocchi was just a filler that added nothing to the flavor of the finished dish and left me feeling like I had a couple of bricks in my belly. I find this very sad, especially now that I’ve had the homemade variety! It took me a while, but I finally figured out how to make clean eating gnocchi. And the best part is, it’s filled with great flavor! You just can’t beat homemade…

Gnocchi laying on plate in a small amount of olive oil, cooked and ready to eat resulting from this lesson on how to make clean eating gnocchi

The word gnocchi may derive from the Italian word nocchio, meaning a knot in wood, or from nocca (meaning knuckle). It has been a traditional Italian pasta of probably Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. (Source)

Real, homemade gnocchi is fabulous stuff! It’s light, pillowy and contributes flavor to whatever it’s served with that is unmatched by anything you can ever get in a restaurant.

I will admit that the first time I tried to figure out how to make clean eating gnocchi, it was a very long process. So if you’ve never made it before, just roll up your sleeves and prepare to be in the kitchen for a while. But the good news is, once you’ve done it, every time thereafter will be faster and more efficient. You kinda find your “gnocchi groove”. The steps themselves are not complicated at all. So don’t let the length of the instructions scare you off. It really becomes a rather quick process once you understand how it all works.

And if the time factor really bothers you, you can always cook and mash the potatoes one day (have to mash them while they are hot), and make the gnocchi the next day. Simple!



How To Make Clean Eating Gnocchi

How To Make Gnocchi

If you've ever wanted to try making gnocchi at home, you might feel a little intimidated at first. But I promise, once you get the first few gnocchi made, you figure out the routine real fast and while it still takes some time, it's not difficult at all.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings (Makes approximately 8 cups)
Calories: 316kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley


  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry frlou + extra on reserve as needed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. salt


  • In a large pot, boil the potatoes until they are soft and easily poked with a knife or fork.
  • Prep (when the potatoes are almost done cooking):
  • Set up an ice bath using two pots or bowls. One larger bowl with ice in it, and one smaller bowl, sitting on top of the ice, with cold water in it. This should sit within arms reach of the stove where you are cooking the gnocchi.
  • Next to the ice bath, have a large holding bowl to hold the finished gnocchi.
  • Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes from the hot water and set on a plate.
  • Dump the potato water and (in the same pot) bring some fresh, clean water to a soft boil as you make the dough.
  • Using a thick kitchen towel (so you don't burn yourself!), hold each potato and peel while they are still hot.
  • Put each potato through a potato ricer (pictured here.). If you don't have one, you can use a fork too. But it won't leave the potatoes as light and fluffy (not a huge deal).
    How To Make Clean Eating Gnocchi
  • Spread out the potatoes in the bowl so that they come up the side. The idea is to spread them out so they can cool off. If you can't get them spread out enough in the bowl, you can also spread them out on a cookie sheet. They will cool off pretty quickly that way.
    How To Make Clean Eating Gnocchi
  • Once the potatoes are cool, add the other ingredients into the middle of the bowl and knead. This is a very sticky dough, but it really is best to do it with your hands (at least that's my experience). Keep in mind you may need to add some extra flour to get the dough to the point where it is no longer sticky. You will also have to wash your hands to get the dough off to test if the dough is truly no longer sticky. If you have any on your hands, it will continue to stick, even with more flour.
    How To Make Clean Eating Gnocchi
  • Take a small portion of the dough, and roll it into a long cord so it is approximately 1/2 inch in thickness.
    How To Make Clean Eating Gnocchi
  • Cut the cord into 1/2 inch sections.
    How To Make Clean Eating Gnocchi
  • Holding each little section between your finger, pinch the opposite corners together (as if you were pulling somebody's arms behind their back), pinch to seal. Note that you can skip this step if you like, but I have found that when I do, I end up with a gnocchi that looks more like a large dog kibble that soaked up too much water. So if aesthetics are important to you, pinch, pinch, pinch!
    How To Make Clean Eating Gnocchi
  • Drop into the hot, boiling water (don't get splashed with the water!) It will sink to the bottom at first. The gnocchi is done cooking when it floats all the way to the top. Remember to keep your water at a soft boil. A vigorous boil will make it tough to figure out which of the gnocchi is actually done, and which are just getting tossed around by the boiling water. Watch for any that may stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Remove from the boiling water with a slotted spoon and place immediately in the ice bath water. Let it sit there for about 10 seconds.
    How To Make Clean Eating Gnocchi
  • Using the slotted spoon, transfer the gnocchi to a holding bowl.


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 743mg | Potassium: 949mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 10.5mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 3.4mg

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mindy – You can, BUT…. they will be more coarse and more dense. The pastry version is a finer grind and has less gluten. So there is a difference. But if you don’t mind the difference in texture, it will certainly work just fine. Glad you enjoyed the Masala!

  2. Anonymous says:

    MiasMommy – That’s awesome! And congratulations! Please let me know how it works out for you. I promise, after you’ve made it for the first time, every time thereafter goes much quicker. It’s just a learning curve. You’ll find your gnocchi groove, promise!

  3. Girlofclay says:

    How do you serve gnocchi? What kind of sauces would you serve with it? I think I’ve had it once years ago but can’t remember what kind of dish it was in! This recipe looks amazing, eager to try it!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Girlofclay – It’s very versatile. Treat it just like pasta. Marinara with some veggies mixed in would be fabulous. I have recipes scheduled for my blog using this recipe if that helps. They will post in the coming weeks. But really, if you treat it just like pasta, you can’t go wrong. Hope that helps!

      1. Girlofclay says:

        That does help, thank you!

        1. Anonymous says:

          You’re welcome!

      2. Ryan Jones-Niemy says:

        im looking for a recipie for chicken gnoochi soup, do you have anything similar?

        1. graciouspantry says:

          No, I haven’t done any gnocchi soups yet. But I can certainly put that on my list!

  4. I didn’t know potatoes were allowed. Sweet potato gnocci would be awsome too though maybe not with tomato sauce. A fruit sauce would be good or a savory one with carmelized onions, garlic and roasted red peppers.
    I just dug up my home grown potatoes on labor day to beat the rain. I wonder how blue potato gnocci would be; they’re actually a light purple inside-pretty.

    1. Anonymous says:

      Jodi – It’s a toss up really. Some people eat them (they certainly are not processed!), and some people avoid them because of the effect they have on blood sugar. I don’t eat them often, but I do enjoy them on occasion. They are definitely high in sugar content, no doubt.

      I do have a recipe coming up soon for sweet potato gnocchi. It will post to my blog soon.

      Wow! Blue potato gnocchi would be so fun! I’ll have to try that, thanks!

  5. mamaliciousdc says:

    I’ve also been avoiding regular potatoes, although obviously they’re not processed. I’ve been meaning to make sweet potato gnocchi. I have a recipe here somewhere.

    The toughest dish I’ve ever cooked? Hmmm, I’m not really a fan of complicated food, but Mario Batali’s lasagna recipe with bechamel and bolognese was fairly labor intensive. It was definitely a success, and definitely not clean! 😉

    Love the blog!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Mamalicious – haha! Sounds yummy though!

      I don’t eat many potatoes myself, but I do enjoy them on special occasions. I have a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi coming up soon!

  6. Clarissemiller says:

    how well does this keep in the refrigerator? can it be frozen?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Clarisse – You know, it got eaten to fast for me to find out about freezing. But it will keep in the fridge for about 5 days.

  7. Anonymous says:

    M – I have a clean alfredo sauce here on my blog, and a recipe for sweet potato gnocchi coming very soon!

  8. Anonymous says:

    ZHT – I’ve got a sweet potato gnocchi recipe coming up soon!

  9. Pingback: Clean Eating Recipes | Clean Eating Gnocchi With Chicken And Marinara
  10. Anonymous says:

    Marylou – Thanks! I tried to score mine with a fork, but it didn’t end well. LOL! I’m not sure if it’s the difference in ingredients or if I just lack the technique. Thanks for the tips and info! Much appreciated!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Kristen – I haven’t tried to freeze the gnocchi, but I have a feeling they might freeze okay if you froze them with a sauce. Not sure how they’d do on their own. The truth is, they really are best when fresh.

    You can do it with sweet potatoes, but you’ll have to adjust the flour content to get the consistency of the dough right. Sweet potato gnocchi needs a big more flour.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I haven’t tried to freeze gnocchi, but I do know that it is best when fresh. You can make this recipe with sweet potatoes, but you’ll have to add in a little extra flour at a time until you get the consistency of the dough just right. It will be a little more dense than regular gnocchi when it’s done. Hope that helps.

  13. Pingback: Supposed To vs Reality | sunshadeandleaves
  14. graciouspantry says:

    Olivia – You can, yes. They are best fresh, but if you can’t do it that way, store them in the fridge until ready.

  15. Pingback: Clean Eating Recipes | Clean Eating Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Mushrooms And Sun Dried Tomatoes
  16. graciouspantry says:

    Sophie – Thanks for the tip!

  17. Christine says:

    Have you ever made this with another type of flour, say perhaps, rice flour? I am trying to not eat wheat or white flour due to some health issues. Can you recommend what would be an acceptable substitute?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Christine – I haven’t tried it myself. The gluten is what helps these stick together. But I’m sure there’s a way to make them wheat free. Have you tried Elana’s Pantry or the Gluten Free Goddess? I bet one of those sites would have something for you.

  18. I’m not sure if anyone had the same result but the 1 tbps of salt the recipe called for made the extremly salty. The next time I will reduce or omit the salt until they are cooked. This was an easy recipe to follow.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Kim – It could depend on the salt used, but if it was too much for you, cutting down won’t hurt the recipe at all.

  19. I haven’t had gnocchi in Italy, but Buenos Aires, Argentina has a deeply rooted italian background. Famous for their steaks and pasta! The Gnocchi I had when I was there last month was AMAZING! They add spinach or dried tomatoes to their gnocchi for some added flavor!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Angela – Sounds amazing!!