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How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi

I’ve been making gnocchi for almost 30 years. Let me show you how easy and delicious it is. Learn how to make ricotta gnocchi with a few hacks that will make you feel like a pro.

Close up of the gnocchi with sausage and butter sage sauce on a plate with broccoli rabe

This truly is a delicious ricotta gnocchi recipe. It contains only four ingredients, and that includes salt. It is a quick and easy meal I serve regularly with various sauces or just plain old garlic and oil. Yum.

Below are the two questions I’m asked the most often about ricotta gnocchi.

Can I roll out the gnocchi before I’m ready to cook them?

You sure can! I usually make mine a few hours before I’m going to cook them. After I cut the gnocchi, I place them on a jelly roll pan and stick it in the fridge, covered with a clean kitchen towel. Easy peasy.

Can I freeze gnocchi?

You can indeed! I used to freeze freshly rolled and cut ricotta gnocchi all the time. I’d use 2 pounds of ricotta cheese to make them, then I’d freeze half of the pillows of happiness in a gallon freezer bag. Say you have unexpected guests for dinner; it’s so easy to reach in the freezer and pull out the bag, through the gnocchi into a large pot of boiling water and you can have the meal on the table within minutes! And they taste just as fresh as if you’d just rolled them.

These days, I usually use 1 pound of ricotta cheese for my dough. But if I’m cooking for company, I’ll double the batch and freeze whatever gnocchi I don’t cook.

I have perfected this ricotta gnocchi recipe over the years. My first memory of having gnocchi is when Christopher and I were first married and living in California. I ordered these delicious, squishy cuties in a nice cream sauce and I was in seventh heaven. I love all kinds of gnocchi, but I prefer the ones made with ricotta over the ones made with potatoes.

Helpful tips

  • After you roll the dough in snakes and then cut the gnocchi into squares, don’t stress if they aren’t uniform in size.
  • Some people roll their gnocchi and/or flip them over with their thumb, but I have found that it is not necessary. It’s a cosmetic preference. I say why do extra work when you don’t need to?
  • Don’t overcook your gnocchi; as soon as they float to the top of the water, fish them out.
  • You can roll and cut your gnocchi ahead of time. I place them in the fridge until I’m ready to cook them.
  • Raw gnocchi freezes well and can be put in directly into boiling water.

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How to make ricotta gnocchi

Pre-step

Put water in a large pot, salt it, turn the heat to medium-high heat and bring it to a boil.

Step one

Gather the ingredients – ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt and all purpose flour. (1)

Step two

Get a big bowl and add the ricotta to it. Then add flour, parmesan cheese and salt. (2)

Ricotta, flour, cheese, salt in a bowl and mixed, and rolled in a snake

Step three

You can either use a spatula to mix the gnocchi dough or your hands, as I do. I like to feel the texture. You want your dough to be slightly sticky as it will absorb some of the flour you have to put on your work surface to roll it out. (3)

Step four

Sprinkle flour on pastry board. (4)

Step five

Take a ball of dough with your hands and roll it into a snake or thick ropes. You can see the size ball I use and the snake in the photo above. (5)

Step six

Use a butter knife or a bench scraper and cut the snake of gnocchi into little squares. (1-below)

Step seven

As you cut the gnocchi, place them on a medium jelly roll pan or baking sheet. You can either cook them now or place the pan in the fridge to cook them later (read tips above). (2-below)

Gnocchi cut and put on a pan. Gnocchi floating in the water and in a bowl

Step eight

If the water is boiling, add the gnocchi three at a time into the water until all the gnocchi is in the water at the same time. Once the gnocchi floats (it takes around 5 minutes), take a slotted spoon, wire strainer, or skimmer to fish the ricotta gnocchi out of the water. (3-above)

Step nine

Place them into a serving dish. (4-above)

Little pillows of happiness

Aren’t they cute? Makes me want to pop a few in my mouth right now. They are squishy little pillows of happiness. Hey, that’s what I should call them from now on!

Me: “Christopher, do you want squishy little pillows of happiness for dinner?”

Him: “Huh?”

All done and ready for some topping like red gravy, oil and garlic or just plain butter. When I first published this recipe, I put vodka pasta sauce on my gnocchi. Yum.

Ricotta gnocchi with red gravy, sausage and spinach  on a plate

But for this updated version, I prepared my gnocchi with sage sauce recipe.

A plate of gnocchi with sausage and a sauce with a wok in the background

I hope you enjoyed this ricotta gnocchi recipe!

Please leave me a comment. How do you like to eat your gnocchi, and do you prefer ricotta or potato gnocchi?

And as always, may all your dishes be delish!

If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on the blog, I’d love the hear what you thought about it in the comments below. I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more of my delicious food and delightful cocktails!

Ricotta gnocchi on a plate with a sausage and spinach

How to Make Ricotta Gnocchi

This easy 4 ingredient ricotta gnocchi recipe is a people pleaser! Gnocchi anyone?
5 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: ricotta gnocchi
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 100 gnocchi
Calories: 254kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ricotta cheese I used full fat
  • 1 cup all purpose flour and more for sprinkling on the board
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Fill a medium stockpot half way with water, salt it and boil on high heat.
  • In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, flour, parmesan cheese and salt
    1 pound ricotta cheese, 1 cup all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • With either a spoon or your hands, mix ingredients well. Dough should be a little sticky and not dry.
  • Sprinkle flour on a pastry board or counter. Be sure to add enough so you can roll the gnocchi dough into snakes without trouble.
  • Break off a small ball of dough and roll the ball into snake and, using a knife, cut snake into 1 inch pieces.
  • Repeat until all dough is used up.
  • Place cut gnocchi on jelly roll pan to freeze or refrigerate until you are ready to cook them.
  • Put gnocchi in three at a time until all the gnocchi are in the boiling water together and stir once.
  • Stand there and fish gnocchi out as they float to top of the water (3 – 5 minutes).
  • Place cooked gnocchi in bowl.
  • Serve right away with a sauce or butter or olive oil.
  • Enjoy the squishy little pillows of happiness.
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Notes

Helpful tips
  • When you cut the gnocchi into squares, don’t stress if they aren’t uniform in size
  • Some people roll their gnocchi and flip them with their thumb, but it is not needed. It’s a cosmetic preference. I say why do extra work when you don’t need to?
  • Don’t over cook your gnocchi, as soon as they float to the top of the water, fish them out
  • You can roll and cut your gnocchi dough ahead of time. I place them in the fridge until I’m ready to cook them
  • Raw gnocchi freezes well and can be put in directly in boiling water

Nutrition

Serving: 20gnocchi | Calories: 254kcal
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From lighting up stages with her BA in theater to food journalist, Elaine Benoit's journey is a testament to passion's transformative power. As the CEO of Dishes Delish, she offers a blend of healthy, comforting recipes and exquisitely crafted cocktails. Beyond the kitchen, Elaine voiced her culinary adventures on her podcast, "Dishing," and co-owns Food Blogger Help, extending her expertise to guide budding food bloggers to success. Whether it's for a heartwarming dish or insights into food blogging, Elaine's diverse experiences make her a beacon in the culinary digital landscape.

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72 Comments

  1. I am a big fan of gnocchi, I had even tried making it at home once, but it was a failure. May be I should give it another try by following your recipe

    1. I hope you do! It is a tried and true recipe. Just make sure you take the gnocchi out of the water as soon as it floats. It makes it so soft and delicious, let me know if you do make it!

      Elaine

  2. Oh I just absolutely love gnocchi!! I love that you made it all with your hands and you make it seem so easy to make! I’ve never done it but your step by step makes me more confident. And with ricotta, I mean that really sounds delicious!

    1. Linda,

      Thank you! It is super easy and fun. It always takes me back to playing with playdoh! I hope you do try it. Once people see how easy it is, they start putting it in their dinner rotation.

      Elaine

  3. I’m so excited to try making gnocchi! And I don’t think I’ve ever had ricotta gnocchi. It seems a little less time intensive than making it with potatoes?

    1. Megan,

      It definitely is. The thing that takes the most time is the rolling out the snakes and cutting them. But that’s fun!!

      Elaine

  4. I’m very impressed that you have gone to the effort of making gnocchi from scratch. It looks really simple to make though.

  5. There is something about homemade gnocchi….or pasta for that matter. It is so rewarding….and delicious. This recipe sounds amazing….and I would love some for dinner tonight. Nothing beats a great homemade pasta dish.

  6. What an easy recipe. I had no idea that making homemade gnocchi was so simple. This is definitely a recipe keeper. YUM.

  7. We make ricotta gnocchi often and like them better than the potato ones, finding them lighter and softer. Good tips on making them. They look nice, even without the ridges (that help making the sauce stick).

  8. I’ve always wanted to make gnocchi but have been a little afraid. This looks so easy! Thanks for sharing, Elaine!

  9. I totally have to make these! Eric will love them! I have always been intimidated by making gnocchi but you make it look so easy!

  10. omg- I’ve never made homemade pasta, but you make it look so easy! I need to try this- gnocchi is SO GOOD! And I love ricotta too- soooo yeah. Definitely need to try!

  11. I make traditional gnocchi all of the time but I only started making ricotta gnocchi last spring and fell in love with them straight away. So simple and light and much less risk of failure than there traditional bretheren. Yours look superb!

  12. I’ve never had ricotta gnocchi and I’m glad I found your step by step recipe, so helpful! I’m going to buy me some ricotta and make them a.s.a.p. I completely agree with you about gnocchi and restaurants, I never order gnocchi in restaurants, they just don’t have time to remain in front of the pot like we do and collect the “floaties” right away ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. they are indeed pillows of happiness! i have yet to try with ricotta, thank you for this idea.

  14. Gnocchi is one of those dishes that is se good fresh and takes little time to bring the dough together. I can’t wait to try you ricotta version! Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  15. These gnocchi look amazing. Iโ€™ve never tried making them at home but your recipe is soooo inspiring. I owe it to my kids as they absolutely love them. Using ricotta cheese will make them even better. I bet theyโ€™re the best gnocchi out there. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe Elaine. ????????

    1. Thanks Ramona!! I love this recipe and make it all the time. Thankfully hubby loves gnocchi as much as I do and is happy to eat it! Kids love these Gnocchi since they are squishy but not a weird texture! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy Ramona and thank you for your comment!

  16. Such a great dish! I’ve never made homemade gnocchi, thanks for the step by steps!

  17. I love ricotta gnocchi but never made them like yours. I use a recipe with spinach in the mix. Some people call the gnudi, I know them as Brutti ma Buoni, as they are very ugly. Not pretty like your. I love both old and new pictures. Great step by step illustration and I like the idea of vodka sauce for gnocchi. I never used it for gnocchi but now I have to

  18. I have only made potato gnocchi, but after seeing how easy this recipe is and how fluffy the gnocchi is- I can not wait to try it! I love how you can make it ahead of time, that is so important when you are having guests over for dinner. Being able to double the recipe is great too, because we have a big family. Anything that freezes well is my best friend. I am all about doubling everything I make and freezing for easy meals. Thank you for this recipe! My family will love it.

    1. Thank you Jennifer. I bet they will. I truthfully have never met anyone that didn’t like this gnocchi. Even one particularly picky child. I just kept calling them “pillows” and he gobbled them right up! And yes, I love food that freezes well! Especially when it’s something like these gnocchi that cook in 5 minutes!

  19. That looks amazing!!! I love making gnocchi at home and this one looks so flavorful. ill try soon.

  20. You totally took the intimidation factor out of making gnocchi at home. I LOVE gnocchi but haven’t made it myself, I just order it while we’re out, but I’m SO making this for the family. I love the soft little pillows dressed in a delicious tomato sauce, pesto or garlic butter sauce. YUM!

    1. Thanks so much Megan. They really are a game changer. And serve it at your next dinner party, they’ll think you slaved over the stove all day!

  21. Pillowy perfection! I love good gnocchi, and these look amazing. I honestly don’t make gnocchi often enough, and I’ve never done ricotta gnocchi, so now I’m getting the itch. Thanks for mentioning freezing as an option. I haven’t really thought much about making big batches and freezing them for later but that sounds like an ideal way to go. Cheers!

    1. Thank you Sean! I appreciate your comment. I love freezing them and whipping them out at a moments notice and having a delicious meal within minutes!

  22. I am MAD at myself for having never made gnocchi before. These look oh-so-pillowy and delicious! I love that you’ve used ricotta, too. Such simple ingredients! It’s also nice that these are freezer-friendly. I would’ve assumed that the gnocchi would love it’s pillow-y softness, but I’m glad it doesn’t!

    1. Hehe Dana! Thank you! And don’t be mad, you can make them now that you know how easy they are! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Stacey, I hope you enjoy it! It’s so yummy and easy! And I love gnocchi too, but you already knew that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Thanks Anna. It truly is. I could eat gnocchi ever single week but I try to space it out a bit so hubby doesn’t get sick of it!

  23. My half-Italian fiance love gnocchi!) I’ve never tried to make them myself, but I would love to try your recipe) looks delicious)

  24. This looks like you’re playing with play-doh with that rolled out snake! My kids would enjoy getting in the kitchen with me making Gnocchi. We’ve never had it before though but are always willing to try things we can cook together.

    1. It’s perfect to make with kids. It’s fun to roll out into the snakes and cut with the butter knife! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you Brrandy

  25. I love homemade gnocchi and really must make a batch. I think the last time was for the Daring Cooks way back in the early days of food blogging. Looking forward to the sage butter sauce.

  26. Remember “discovering” gnocchi at Biba in Sacramento?? I love that you’ve been making these yourself for so long. You’re an excellent cook and you’ve made this recipe your own.

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