Homemade Gnocchi. Made with leftover mashed potatoes.

Turn bland, icky, solidified leftover mashed potatoes into delicious, pillowy gnocchi.  By just adding an egg yolk and some flour to that mound of mashed you’ll create a pasta like dough that tastes delicious and comes together quickly.  Eat them right away or freeze them for a 10 minute meal later!

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.

 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.  

What’s Gnocchi?

Gnocchi’s 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 butter and parmesan cheese.  Or anything else you can think up. Dousing gnocchi with browned butter and fried sage leaves is one of my favourite ways to make it.

This is not a recipe that you need to be too concerned about measurements. In fact, making gnocchi is more about the feel of it than the exact measurements. Like any dough!

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

That ratio of 2 cups potato to 1 cup flour to 1 egg

is the same as

1 lb potatoes to 1 cup flour to 1 egg



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.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←



  1. 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!

  2. 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).

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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!

  9. 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!!!

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. Karen says:

    Whoever heard of left over mashed potatoes?

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. toekneetoni says:

    Mouthwatering now.

  17. 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

  18. 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. :)

  19. Diane says:

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

  20. 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!

  21. 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!

  22. 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.

  23. 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!

  24. Maureen says:

    Got this one pinned!

  25. 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.

Leave a Reply

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