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Pillowy Soft (Easy!) Potato Gnocchi Recipe

Updated on October 28, 2018
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Jillian is a food-allergic adult and mama with years of personal experience to share with the greater food-allergic community.

5 stars from 1 rating of Pillowy Soft (Easy!) Potato Gnocchi Recipe

You'll never want to buy those packaged, shelf stable, vacuum sealed, heavy potato gnocchi at the supermarket again! Making potato gnocchi from scratch is much easier than you think. Even better, this recipe is vegan, so homemade gnocchi are within reach for many with restricted diets also.


Potato gnocchi are basically mashed potatoes with flour added to stiffen them into a dough. They require only a few simple ingredients:

  • Red potatoes (which are naturally more creamy than any other potato, and lend well to dairy-free recipes; do not substitute with other potatoes)
  • A little leftover water from boiling, or if you prefer, milk substitute such as coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk etc.
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter substitute, such as Earth Balance spread (totally optional!)
  • All purpose flour

I also use the following, but these are up to your own personal preferences:

  • Salt, onion powder, and black pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh chopped basil leaves
  • Whatever sauce you prefer (I used homemade tomato sauce)


I have not provided amounts because they vary heavily based on how many people you are serving and how much the potatoes break down during boiling (some is lost in the water, especially given how tender red potatoes are).

Prepare mashed potatoes as you normally would, using the same amount of potatoes you typically do when you prepare them for your family as a side dish. (Adding flour to form the gnocchi increases the serving size to a main dish.) I usually peel and chop 8 medium-sized red potatoes for my family of 4. Boil the potatoes for 18 minutes or until tender. Drain them, leaving a little water behind, like below. (If you are using a milk substitute instead, drain all of the water and add that now, following a similar ratio or potatoes to liquid like shown below.)

Add the butter alternative. Then run your mixer to gauge whether there is a good ratio of water to potatoes. Ideally, it will look something like below. If there is too much water, drain some out. If there is not enough, you can add a little bit at a time to get your desired consistency.

Add whatever seasonings you like to add to mashed potatoes. I like onion powder, sometimes I add a little parsley or garlic. Finish whipping the potatoes right in the pot until creamy and smooth, ensuring there are no lumps, like this:

Next add flour to the pot, in increments, gently folding it in with a large spoon:

Continue this until the potatoes become a stiffer dough. Place it onto a floured surface to avoid sticking. Use your hands to gently bring the mixture together into a mound. Be careful not to overwork it, and don’t use too much flour that it becomes heavy. Use just enough until it is no longer sticky and can be formed into gnocchi.

Divide the dough into workable sections:

Further cut them into thinner sections. Take one section and roll it across the counter into a thin snake, which then will be cut into the gnocchi:

Using a fork, gently make indentations, which provide texture and also "grab" the sauce:

If making the indentations flattens them too much, squeeze the gnocchi gently from both ends. Transfer the formed gnocchi to a large sheet of floured parchment paper to rest while you work through and finish the remaining dough.

Set a large pot of water to boil, with a little salt added to help prevent sticking. Once the water is fully boiling, gently grab handfuls of gnocchi and add them to the water. Add just enough gnocchi that when they rise to the top, they will be a single layer. Adding too many gnocchi at once will prevent some from rising to the surface of the water, and they may overcook and become too mushy.

Once the gnocchi have risen to the surface of the water, allow them to boil briefly, about 10 seconds, and then drain from the water with a slotted spoon. I drain mine directly into a dish or pot that has hot tomato sauce at the bottom.

Add a little hot tomato sauce on top to keep them from getting too sticky. This also keeps them warm while you work through the rest of the batch. You can keep layering them as long as there is moisture between the layers. Do not stir. Always handle them very gently.

Alternatively, toss them gently with melted dairy-free "butter" or olive oil and fresh garlic, or whatever other sauce and seasonings you like.

Some other ideas for sauces/dishes include safe pesto, carmelized onions, butternut squash and sage, marsala, in soups, with bacon, sausage, sauteed vegetables. The possibilities are endless!

I love them with black pepper and fresh basil leaves that I add at the end. Serve immediately and enjoy!

© 2018 Jillian Erin


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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      2 years ago from Sunny Florida

      They do sound easier to make than I though they would be. I can't wait to try them.


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