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Simple Potato Gnocchi and 3 Topping Ideas

(As Featured in Mar2014 Nourish Magazine) These Simple Potato Gnocchi are easy to make and taste great with a variety of sweet and savoury toppings. Made with only 3 basic ingredients.

Whenever I go to an Italian restaurant I check if they have gnocchi on the menu, because they remind me of a childhood favourite called kopytka – a Polish version of these potato dumplings of sorts that my Mum used to make. And I always make sure to ask if they are pan-fried as well, because that’s when they become irresistible.

I sincerely believe they taste better in bite-size pieces and twice cooked: boiled in water, then quickly pan-fried in butter and olive oil. Their skin turns golden brown and crispy, while the centre stays soft and spongy. Great for mopping up savoury or sweet toppings and sauces!

The quickest Gnocchi shape to make is the pillow shape. Simply roll out a log of dough and cut into bite-sized pieces with a knife. To get a slightly more fancy, ribbed look, press your pillow Gnocchi down with a fork gently. Or, if you are feeling more adventurous, go for the more traditional round shape with a thumbprint in the middle.

My favourite way of serving Gnocchi, no matter what shape, is with a spring vegetable carbonara sauce. It takes a few minutes to prepare and is incredibly moreish. And isn’t it pretty? Plus kids love them too! Other toppings you might like to try is a Chorizo Bolognaise, Pine Mushrooms + Asparagus and these sweet options as well…

Sweet cinnamon crumb topping:

Combine 1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix well. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a pan. Add cinnamon breadcrumbs and fry over low heat until golden and crunchy. Drizzle over your gnocchi and sprinkle with a little sugar if you like.

Blueberries, lemon sugar and pepper topping:

Sprinkle gnocchi with a handful of blueberries, a little sugar and a good squeeze of lemon juice.  Season with freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

And there you have it, perfect little pillows of goodness. You can keep cooked gnocchi in the fridge for 3 to 4 days without spoiling. Reheat in a fry pan.

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5 from 4 votes

Simple Potato Gnocchi and 3 Topping Ideas

These Simple Potato Gnocchi are easy to make and taste great with a variety of sweet and savoury toppings. Made with only 3 basic ingredients. You can serve them without frying, and they keep best in the fridge that way - you can then fry them up for serving later or the next day. Use latex gloves for working with the dough.
Servings: 4


For the Potato Gnocchi:

  • 750 g potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • extra flour for dusting

For cooking the Potato Gnocchi:

  • 2 litre water
  • pinch salt
  • olive oil

For the Spring Carbonara Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly shelled peas or snap frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup broadbeans shelled, frozen
  • 185 g (1 small) can corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup fresh cream
  • 1 tsp pepper

To serve, optional:

  • grated Parmesan cheese


To make the Potato Gnocchi:

  • Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes or until soft.
  • Drain, toss in the pot and place back on low heat for a moment to get rid of excess moisture. Mash using a potato masher.
  • Set aside to cool down.
  • Once the potatoes are at room temperature, mix in the egg, then sift in the flour.
  • Mix well with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are combined and you can't see any flour lumps.
  • Dust a cutting board with some flour.
  • Take a handful of the dough and roll into a 2 cm thick log.
  • Flatten gently then cut on an angle into bite-sized pieces and set aside on another tray.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough.

To cook the Potato Gnocchi:

  • Place water and a pinch of salt in a large stockpot and bring to a rapid boil.
  • Drop handfuls of gnocchi into the water in batches and boil for a minute, or until they float to the surface.
  • Remove from pot with a slotted spoon onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Spread out and drizzle with a little olive oil.
  • Cool down slightly.

To fry the Potato Gnocchi:

  • Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat.
  • Fry gnocchi until golden brown then turn over using tongs.
  • Serve with your choice of topping.

To make the Spring Carbonara Sauce:

  • Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add peas, broadbeans, corn, cream and pepper. Add fried gnocchi.
  • Simmer gently for about 2 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly and for the gnocchi to warm through.

To serve:

  • Serve potato gnocchi with the sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.


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Kerry Anne July 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I was stuck for dinner ideas for tonight… so making this, thank you thank you!

ROBYN LITTLE July 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Hi Martyna,

First I want to say how much I love your blog, which I recently discovered. Your gnocchi recipe and all its variations is absolutely mouth watering. And I say that as I sit here suffering badly from a very severe chest infection that has left me with no appetite whatsoever. When I saw the pictures I wanted to eat all three bowls of gnocchi! Love the idea of pan frying. Never thought you could improve gnocchi, but you have shown me how. Kindest regards, Robyn.

Miss Piggy July 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Wow, that is easy. I’ve been wanting to make gnocchi since we had a delicious version at The Fern…so now I’m going to give it a try.

Raymund July 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Sweet gnocchi, Wow I never had tried those. I am amazed with your recipes like this.

Nami | Just One Cookbook July 25, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I have never made potato gnocchi at home, but this is such a fun post! I love your 3 topping ideas. They all equally look delicious!!!

Anna @The Littlest Anchovy July 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm

Great post! I am still yet to make gnocchi from scratch and you have inspired me to give it a go. I love all 3 toppings but I am really interested in what the blueberry one will be like!

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook July 26, 2012 at 5:42 am

Have fun with it Anna, toppings can be as versatile as you wish too… :-) PS I like making mine from scratch not only because I know what goes in, but also because the ready-made ones have a “funny” flavour and don’t fry anywhere as well.

Jennifer @ Delicieux July 26, 2012 at 10:30 am

It’s been such a long time since I’ve had gnocchi, you’ve given me the biggest craving for it now. I love all of your topping ideas too, especially the lemon and blueberry one, sounds so different.

Adrian (Food Rehab) July 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Who knew you can do both sweet and savoury with gnocchi – this is fantastic! Love the presentation of each variation too.

Courtney July 27, 2012 at 8:37 am

I adore the idea of a dessert style gnocchi!

Maureen @ Orgasmic Chef July 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Gnocchi with sweety bits?? I’m in love with you. How clever is this. I dearly love gnocchi and even gnudi but sweet? wow :)

Sissi July 28, 2012 at 2:59 am

I love potato gnocchi, especially when fried and crunchy. What a creative choice of toppings! I also find the different shapes really cute.

SandyK13 April 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Great ideas for gnocchi and toppings and I have one more for dessert. Make the dough into a circle about the size of your palm. Place one or two teaspoons of plum or apricot jam in the middle and roll the dough into a ball so the jam is in the middle. Cook in boiling water till they rise to the top. Use the same breadcrumb recipe and method as above. Finishing off with sprinkled sugar is a must. TO DIE FOR!!!!! Enjoy.

Annemarie April 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

Can the gnocchi be frozen? If so at what stage would you freeze it? Before or after you cook it? Thanks!

Martyna @ Wholesome Cook April 24, 2014 at 2:46 pm

Hi Annemarie, you can freeze them! Best way to do it is by following the recipe up until the boiling point, which you skip. Freeze gnocchi in flat zip lock bags or in a container, dividing layers with non-stick baking paper. To cook, make sure your water has come to a rolling (rapid) boil and cook for a couple of minutes longer from frozen.

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