Homemade Gnocchi
Made with leftover mashed potatoes.

When I’m making dinner I generally count on one potato per person. Who can’t eat a whole potato? I can eat several potatoes. Fried, mashed, boiled, raw … doesn’t make a difference.

So for Thanksgiving dinner I peeled up 13 potatoes for my 13 guests  then threw in a few more for good luck (and myself). That would make just enough mashed potatoes in my estimation for 13 people to have with their turkey, stuffing, turnip, green beans, rolls, pumpkin soup and tomato salad. And pie. And ice cream.  And a little more stuffing while standing in the kitchen, cleaning up after dinner.  And the other pie.

I may have overestimated everyone else’s ability to eat mashed potatoes until it bursts out of their belly button because I ended up with leftover mashed potatoes.

I had 6 cups of leftover mashed potatoes.

When my sister was helping me clean up she asked if I wanted to keep them.  “YES!  YES!  YES!!  FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YESSSSS I WANT TO KEEP THE MASHED POTATOES!   Who are you??”

At the time I said I’d make potato pancakes with some and give the rest to the chickens.  You may not know this about chickens, but chickens loveeee mashed potatoes.

Then a couple of days later when it came time to deal with the mountain of mashed potatoes, I had a potato epiphany.  It came in the form of a tiny Italian angel who ran up my spine, over my head, down my face and kicked me in the nose.

His name was Gnocchi.

I haven’t made Gnocchi in years because the fella claimed he didn’t like it.  I’m not sure he ever tried it.  I’m positive he’s an idiot, because gnocchi is a food sent from the angels.  Granted, they’re the kind of angels who kick you in the  nose …  but nobody likes a goody goody.

If you aren’t completely familiar with it, I’ll explain what Gnocchi is exactly.   It’s basically a little dumpling that looks like pasta but is actually made with mashed potatoes. (sometimes it’s made with other things, but we’re focusing on potato gnocchi today since it’s the most popular)  There is some flour and egg added in, like a regular pasta, but the base ingredient is potato.

They can be served with tomato sauce,  or browned butter and sage leaves, or butter and parmesan cheese.  Or anything else you can think up.

This is not a “recipe” you need to be too concerned about measurements.

Generally speaking it’s 2 parts mashed potato, 1 part flour and 1 egg per 2 cups of potatoes.

For this batch here I worked with:


2 cups cold mashed potatoes

1 cup flour

1 egg, beaten

3/4 tsp. salt




Dump half of your flour onto your work surface.


Dump your mashed potatoes onto the flour.


Form a well in the potatoes and pour your egg in it.


Add salt.



Pour half the remaining flour (1/2 a cup) on top.


Work the egg, salt and flour into the potatoes using either your hands or a pastry scraper.

Once everything is roughly incorporated, gently knead the dough like you would pasta for a couple of minutes.  Do not over knead. At this point you can incorporate the rest of the flour if you need it.  If the dough is still too sticky to handle or roll out, you need more flour.



Again, be careful not to add too much flour, or your gnocchi will be dense and tough.


Divide your dough into workable pieces.


Roll the dough out until it’s around 3/4 ” in diameter.




Using your pastry cutter or a knife, cut the rope into lengths of 3/4″.


Now you have to decide how you want to shape your gnocchi.  By pressing it with your thumb, or rolling it on a fork.


To get the classic ribs on the gnocchi, roll each piece down the tines of a fork.  It’s takes some practice, but you’ll get the hang of it.

You aren’t just sliding it down the fork, you need to roll it down.  Once you do it right the first time you’ll yell, “ah HAH!”.



And then you’ll run outside to drag someone in to show them.



To make the thumbprint version, just poke your finger into the centre of the gnocchi.  Both versions are fine.  The reason you NEED to do one of these two methods is because it’s the ridges and the indent that helps holds whatever sauce you’re putting on them.


If you’re planning to freeze some gnocchi, lightly flour a baking sheet, place the gnocchi on it and freeze.  Once frozen you can remove them from the pan and immediately put them in baggies or a widemouth mason jar.  These then go back in the freezer. Work as quickly as possible so the gnocchi doesn’t have a chance to thaw out at all (because then they’ll stick to each other).


To cook your gnocchi, drop them in salted, boiling water.  They’re done when they float.  To make them even MORE delicious, pan fry them for a couple of minutes in butter and/or oil.

Then you can either top the gnocchi with any old red sauce you can get your hands on, or you can take it a step further and serve Gnocchi with browned butter and crispy sage leaves.



All this because I made an extra 6 cups of mashed potatoes. I won’t make that mistake again next year. I’ll make sure I have at least 8.

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  1. Shauna says:

    This is so great. I made potato skins for my Halloween party, so I had all the guts of the potatoes leftover and made mashed potatoes. Now, I have a helluva lot of mashed potatoes. Perhaps, I will try this.

  2. Erika says:

    Okay, I know I’m going to get booed for this… But can this be made with instant mashed potatoes? I do buy real potatoes, but I’m asking because I get a food box occasionally, and sometimes there is a really large family-sized bag of seasoned instant potatoes in there, and I’m just one person so it takes me a while to get through it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Erika – I actually LOVE instant mashed potatoes. I really do! But no, you wouldn’t be able to use them for making gnocchi. They just don’t have the right consistency. Sorry. ~ karen!

      • Jenny says:

        I was scrolling through the comments, hoping against hope, that someone asked the instant potato question and that the answer would be YES!


        I can barely make the instant ones… I lack skillz :(

      • gail vento says:

        I have some good news. I have in fact used instant mashed potatoes and it worked just fine. I actually got the recipe from an old Italian woman who got it from an Italian priest. You can always add a little more flour if necessary, but try not to add too much. I have also added instant mashed potatoes to a small amount of leftover fresh mashed to supplement. Play around, this is an easy recipe and forgiving. Just don’t make your instant mashed “too soupy” with too much milk or butter.

        I love the idea of sauteing in a little butter before saucing.

      • Barbara says:

        I make them with instant mashed potatoes all the time

  3. theresa says:

    So my questions has always been about the brown butter and sage sauce is that the act of putting butter and a sage leaf in the pan and then frying the item or is it something else??
    So enjoy your recipes– husband LOVED the jalapeno poppers.

  4. Shel says:

    Every time I have left over mashed potatoes my teenaged daughter eats them for breakfast before I have a chance to do anything with them (and it’s getting pretty close to potato candy season, too). Looks like I’ll have to hide them from her in a place she’ll never find them. Like in the dishwasher. Or on top of the clothes she is supposed to put away.

    • Karen says:

      I know I’ll regret asking but … what’s potato candy season? ~ karen

      • Shel says:

        No regrets!!! My grandma made potato candy but she only made it at Christmas…probably because her granddaughter (my daughter’s mother) kept eating all the left over mashed potatoes!

  5. mimiindublin says:

    gnocci with brown butter and sage leaves…food of the Gods!

    if you have even more mashed potatoes, you could make chocolate potato cake for dessert, it’s yummy!

  6. Kim says:

    I don’t normally peel my potatoes before I mash them but I’ll have to change my ways just so I can make gnocchi with the leftovers. Yum!!!

  7. Rose says:

    Looks delicious. I’m going to try them fried in butter and serve with sour kraut. Love the blue eggs in the background.

  8. Deborah says:

    Love gnocci! thanks for the tutorial and hopefully I can talk the hubby into trying them one day. BUT..there are TWO other great things to do with mashed taters (get your mind outta the gutter), the first ~ Varenyky (that’s Perogie for you non-Ukrainian folk) AND…most important…not only do chickens loooove mashed taters…so do horses (at least the ones in my barn did), oh, they also loved leftover potato salad too ;)

    • Pat says:

      If my grandmother ever had leftover dough (dough that contained mashed potatoes by the way) from making perogies, she would roll it into ropes, cut it into two inch sections and boil them along with the perogie (which were filled with mashed potato, dry cottage cheese, onion, salt and pepper). And then serve the boiled perogie and dough bits with butter fried breadcrumbs poured over top. And then we all covered everything in heaping helpings of sour cream (and not the low-fat gelatinous variety either). YUM! Since I have not carried on this tradition, my husband misses my grandmother very much. Sound like a project for my sister and I to get together and create.

  9. Angie Simonsen says:

    I need these, right now. Unfortunately, I’m at work, which of course means I want to pin this.
    I am a master pinner, but when I try using either the pin it button at the top of this post, OR the Pin It button on my browser bar, all I get is the ad images and header and the like.
    No pictures of pretty, perfect Gnocchi’s! I know how to work around that pesky issue, but thought you’d like to know!
    PS – I’m positive he’s an idiot too.

  10. Kristin says:

    I usually make mashed potatoes with gobs of butter, milk and cream. As in, probably about a stick of butter, half a cup each of cream and milk per pound of potatoes. Will this cause the gnocchi to fall apart? Or do you make equally buttery mashed?

    • Karen says:

      Unless, they’re completely watery they should be fine. Just make sure you refrigerate the leftovers overnight so they can stiffen up. ~ karen!

  11. My Italian grandma used to make gnocchi. I’ve always regretted not paying attention when she was doing it now that she’s gone. Your pictures look exactly like I remember as a kid except she had a move where she pinched the dough in her fingers and twisted it and it came out with a little fold – no fork involved. I think I’ll try it – will have to use your fork method as the pinch and tuck is lost to history.

  12. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    You are amazing! My son and I have been talking about trying this as we have never had them..and we always make to many mashed potatoes..Only one thing I don’t know..How do you pronounce Gnocchi??

  13. Kori says:

    Yum… Gonna try this Gnocchi thing one more time! I have 2 failures in my pocket so far…Love the new work surface! Looks great!

  14. Carole says:

    I love when you post recipies because they are always GREAT. Did you already get your new counters and cabinets? That counter looks new…hum. I don’t remember seeing remodeling pics – just plan pictures. I can’t wait to see your kitchen remodeling posts.

  15. Robin Siegerman says:

    I thought I liked you, but now I realize how wrong I was. I will never forgive you for poking the sleeping giant of my carb craving right in the eye! Now I will NEVER REST until I buy a BUSHEL of freakin’ potatoes to make gnocchi in order to scarf them down with browned butter and sage!! How many hours a day will I have to work out to be able to eat these babies and get as skinny as you?! I’m doomed. Thanks a bunch.

  16. Olga says:

    This is wierdesly weird! Just yesterday I purposely baked extra potatoes with an idea to make gnocchi with the “leftovers”. I wonder if this is like a Gnocchi season and everyone in the world are making Gnocchi now…

  17. NikiDee says:

    All these years I’ve told myself I didn’t like gnocchi. All these years I’ve had no guilt about passing it up with an emphatic and perhaps smug, knowing: “NO”. Now you go and fry it in butter. Good gawd look at what I’ve been missing. So glad your Thanksgiving is before ours…guess who is saying “YES” to gnocchi and making vats of mashed potatoes this year?

  18. Sally A. says:

    So who is taking the pictures while you do that? Is is Idris? Just curious…not trying to get in your business. They look delicious by the way…and I am positive the fella is an idiot too. :o)

  19. Lynne says:

    Mmmmmmm. Gnocchi.

    I honestly have never made them myself – but after reading this I might give it a try – the only problem being that I’m trying to restrict my carb intake to a reasonable level and the presence of a plethora of homemade gnocchi in the house would definitely sabotage that effort.

    My favourite Italian restaurant used to serve gnocchi with a creamy roasted red pepper and gorgonzola sauce. Rich – heck, it was downright decadent – and delicious. I’ve been able to replicate the sauce at home. Now for the gnocchi…

  20. cred says:

    Mmmmmm! those look so good and you do make it look easy.
    I love gnocchi, especially with pesto. But now I know, pan fry with butter.

  21. Ashley says:

    I wish I had of read this last night. I ate my leftover mashed potatoes with cheese melted on top. Gnocchi would have been much more satisfyign.

  22. joanne says:

    Leftover mashed potatoes? Never heard of such a thing. No such animal.
    Must be a Canadian thing. Never happens in this hous e(or any other house I know of).

    I remember taking a girl scout cooking class – one of the recipes was for Shepherd’s pie, using “leftover mashed potatoes”…. even the troop leader agreed that there was no such thing. As a result, I have never made Shepherd’s Pie…. and have only made gnocchi starting with raw potatoes.

    Can I come to your house for leftover mashed potatoes?

  23. Emily says:

    I have never heard of this… but now that I have I will hear/see it 3 times… does that happen to anyone else? I don’t cook that much any more.. but this makes me want to see if I can make them. And BTW, yours is the first blog I have ever subscribed to as well!

    • Karen says:

      Hah! Thanks for letting me know. :) And I know exactly what you mean about the gnocchi. Now you’ll be seeing it and hearing about it everywhere! ~ karen

  24. Tigersmom says:

    Well, I am jazzed about this. I think even a pretty iffy cook such as myself could do this. And I will because store bought gnocchi is tough and chewy. And I love a good gnocchi. And the frying in butter part is right up my alley. Clogged arteries be damned.

    I also love the way you referred to you-know-what as your “work surface.” Your photography and styling are wonderful in their un-staged yet artfully composed way. Love the green egg shell picking up the green of the mixing bowl. And the keeping-it-real inclusion of your diet coke can in one of them.

  25. Su says:

    Excellent! you have raised the ‘art of doing stuff’ to a whole new level :)

  26. Denise says:

    Yum! Have you ever frozen these to cook at a later date?

    • Karen says:

      Yup. That’s the only way to do it! I have baggies and baggie in my freezer right now. That’s why I suggest freezing them on a cookie sheet. :) ~ karen!

  27. JennyW says:

    I made these years ago, they were delish – but it looked like something exploaded in my kitchen! Flour everywhere! I’m gonna try them again and try to be as neat and tidy as you :) Oh and just putting it out there, the fella must be an idiot (Team Karen all the way, all the time).

  28. Kelly says:

    My mom used to make a Ukranian variation, which she called kliutsky (not sure of the spelling there, did it phoenetically). Basically, same idea of potato, flour and egg to bind, then fried in bacon grease with bits of bacon and green onions sprinkled over top. NOT low cal, but YUM!

  29. Bonnie G. says:

    Dani is right on about Italian mothers! Mine was the same – “use a ball of potatoes this big and this much flour” – you get the picture! Oh they are so good and light. My oldest daughter loves gnocchi and we make them around Christmas. They are great with pesto.

  30. michele says:

    Ooh, thank you, I love gnocchi and haven’t made them in years. Do you have a preferred potato variety ie waxy, floury or something in between.

  31. Bre Quantrill says:

    Ah, yes! Gnocchi, the violent brother of Gnocchio. Older brother Gnocchio will just poke you with his long fried dumpling potato nose rather than kick you in yours. The gnocchi before you cut it, that’s Gnocchio’s nose.

  32. Maureen Locke says:

    Oh, these sound so yummy. I’m a bit daft on the rolling them down the fork tines though, however frying anything in butter is a bonus in my book. Yummm

  33. Marion says:

    great recipe, didn’t think it was so easy making them, I usually buy them in the store – we live just 1 1/2 hours away from the italian border, so we have a lot of fresh italian food to buy here! Another thing: did I see the new kitchen island in the photo? When do we get the update from the kitchen remodelling? I can’ wait! Pls hurry!

  34. Barbie says:

    I have been making Gnocchi for about 35yrs now (married into an Italian family) ….and never have I ever pan fried it! OMG….so gonna try that ….sounds decadent!!!

  35. mia pratt says:

    Thanks so much Karen, once again a fabulous recipe made perfect. Gnocchi is true gastro-porn. I don’t smoke but after a dish of gnocchi, I have found myself fantasizing about a good Cuban cigar and a glass of port. A post-carb channeling of some old Italian ancestor, no doubt (I’m Irish). When it comes to the gold standard for calories, it’s butter-pan-fried gnocchi with parmesan flakes followed by a dark chocolate truffle and a glass of Merlot and…well…who needs a man?

  36. Dee says:

    You make this look so easy. I’ve always been a little intimidated to make gnocchi. Such great comfort food for the cold weather to come. Yum. Thanks, Karen.

  37. Karen says:

    Whoever heard of left over mashed potatoes?

  38. Amie Mason says:

    Cold mashed potato makes the best gnocchi! My girlfriend told me her Nonna always makes her gnocchi this way – makes the fluffiest little pillows!

  39. Pam'a says:

    What is it with fellas and gnocchi? Mine maintains he doesn’t like it either, but he LOVES mashed potatoes. I may have to force the issue.

  40. Well thanks for posting that recipe, because the family tradition of amazing delicious gnocchi was heading for a dead end because I CAN’T GET A RECIPE OUT OF MY MOTHER! Impossible. Italian mothers don’t give out recipes. You have to hang out with them for the day, help clean the oven, can some tomatoes, and then eventually help make the actual gnocchi to be able to figure anything out. And you might have to do this a few times because the technique varies depending on the type of potatoes she buys, her mood, and probably the weather. Reading this blog is much easier.

  41. toekneetoni says:

    Mouthwatering now.

  42. Sandy says:

    GAWD Karen!!! I always have leftover mashed potatoes and just end up making stupid potato pancakes for breakfast for the next couple of days, I never thought of making…yes I had to scroll back up to see how to spell it, gnocchi. Thanks doll, another recipe to save from you. PS, you make me sick….lol

  43. Barbara says:

    OK, I think these sound delicious, but do you mean to make them even better we pan fry them a couple of minutes AFTER we have boiled them, or just pan fry them without boiling them? Yummy! Love your blog, I am 65 and I think it is the first one I subscribed to. Keep up the good work.

    • Karen says:

      Pan fry after boiling. It elevates the gnocchi to something else entirely! ~ karen! p.s. That’s quite a compliment Barbara. :)

  44. Diane says:

    Ah my GOD – I LOVE gnocchi (and you, you gnocchi godette)

  45. Edith says:

    Oh my goodness, havn’t had Gnocci in years…but I will soon! Thanks for reminding me of them. I grew up in Germany and my mother would melt butter in a pan and throw in some breadcrumbs until they were a little browned, the she would put in the cooked Gnocci for a quick tossing. Delish!

  46. Tash @ The Dreamhouse Project says:

    OMG! I love this! Gnocci is…actually I don’t think I can even say it better than you did. It’s like food sent from angels! I’m a pasta junkie but there is a very special place in my heart for gnocci. I had NO idea it was that easy to make…or at least you made it look easy. I’ll definitely be trying this out next time I over estimate and cook too much mashed potatoes. Thanks as always Karen!

  47. Jamieson says:

    Woman, you know the way to my heart is through my carb hole and gnocchi is the doughy key that always leaves it gaping wide.

  48. Marti says:

    I’m more convinced now than ever that you have the metabolism of a squirrel. Who runs a lot.

    Why did you have to tell us to fry the gnocchi in butter or oil? All these years, I’d thought gnocchi was sorta bland. Now I know it just needed to be fried in butter. You’ve probably just ruined my life. I hope you wake up at 2am and eat all the rest of your gnocchi as punishment.

    • Karen says:

      I might. ~ karen btw … your life will now be forever changed. Gnocchi lightly browned in oil and butter is … life changing.

    • Anastasia says:

      Bahahaha! I’m trying this recipe right now- I didn’t have much luck with the eggs in the well, but hopefully it’ll turn out okay! DEFINITELY frying it!

  49. Maureen says:

    Got this one pinned!

  50. jainegayer says:

    I’m making tons of mashed potatoes this year for Thanksgiving just so I can make gnocchi.
    You made it look so easy. Thanks, Karen.

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