Melt-in-your-mouth, pillowy Italian ricotta gnocchi. You won’t believe how delicious and quick to make they are! You only need 4 ingredients + salt and pepper to make them.
Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.
Here’s what you need to make this easy recipe:
- Ricotta cheese – I used regular supermarket ricotta in a plastic container. Make sure to use full-fat. It gives the gnocchi light and pillowy texture.
- Parmesan cheese – it’s best to buy a block of cheese and grate it yourself. It tastes much better than pre-shredded cheese. How to grate the cheese: Don’t grate in on the microplane but on the small holes of a box grater. Cheese grated on the microplane can clump and not distribute well in the dough.
- An egg – binds the dough together.
- Flour – I used regular all-purpose flour.
- Salt and pepper. Be generous with pepper! Do not add a lot of salt because the Parmesan cheese is already salty.
Ricotta gnocchi are a variation of classic Italian potato gnocchi. They are made with ricotta cheese instead of cooked potatoes.
Another variation of ricotta gnocchi are gnudi. They are made with ricotta cheese and spinach.
How to make ricotta gnocchi step-by-step
STEP 1: Drain the ricotta.
This step is important. Removing excess water from ricotta allows you to add less flour! It results in tender and delicate dumplings.
How to drain ricotta: On a large plate, lay out 2 layers of paper towels, spread the ricotta cheese, and press it carefully with more paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water. Gently pull the paper towel by pulling its edge. Repeat, trying to drain as much moisture as possible. It’s possible to remove even 2 ounces (60g) of water!
You could also leave the cheese overnight on a strainer lined with cheesecloth.
STEP 2: Make the gnocchi dough.
Add the egg to a medium bowl and lightly beat it. Add the remaining ingredients: drained ricotta, grated Parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and pepper.
STEP 3: Mix quickly until the ingredients are combined. Don’t overmix the dough, it doesn’t have to be completely smooth.
STEP 4: Form gnocchi.
Transfer about 1/4 of the dough onto a well-floured wooden board. Gently roll each piece of the dough into a wide cylinder to a thickness of about 1 inch (2.5cm). Brush off excess flour. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into 1-1 1/2 inches (3-4 cm) pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough.
STEP 5: Cook gnocchi.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in 4 batches. When the gnocchi float to the surface, cook them for 2 minutes then transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.
How much flour is enough
You may need to adjust the amount of flour in this recipe because the amount of water in the ricotta cheese may vary. It depends on the brand of the cheese and how thoroughly you have drained the cheese. The dough will be sticky soft and not very firm. Make sure your wooden board is sprinkled well with flour. You should dip your hand in flour and be able to form nice uniform dough logs. The logs should not be too soft and collapse, they should hold their shape. If the dough doesn’t stick at all it means you’ve added too much flour. If the dough sticks to your knife, you can also dip the knife in flour. If the dough is so sticky that you are not able to easily form the logs, just add more flour to it.
How to correctly measure flour: I’m using the “spoon and level method” so 1 cup of flour in my recipes weighs 125g. Fluff the flour by stirring it in the bag/flour container with a spoon. Spoon the flour and sprinkle it into your measuring cup. Sweep off the excess flour with the back of a knife. Too much flour added to the gnocchi dough will result in tough gnocchi. I recommend using a digital scale for perfect and consistent results.
Tips for cooking gnocchi
- Make sure your water is well-salted.
- How many gnocchi should you add at once to the pot: This will depend on the size of the pot – add fewer dumplings into a small pot and more into a bigger (=wider) pot. It’s important to not add too many, or the water temperature will be too low and the gnocchi won’t be cooking and can fall apart. I add about 12 gnocchi at once to a medium/large pot.
- How long to cook them: Be careful not to overcook the gnocchi or they will be tough. The cooking time will depend on how big your gnocchi are, and how high the heat under your pot is, and so on. Very small gnocchi may be ready when they float to the surface, bigger ones may need 1-2 minutes of cooking time. You can cook 1-2 gnocchi first to see how it is working in your kitchen conditions.
- Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.
Top tips on how to make the best ricotta gnocchi you’ve ever had
- Drain the ricotta cheese. Thanks to this step, you can add less flour to the dough and the gnocchi will be more tender. The water content may vary depending on the manufacturer.
- The dough will be sticky, so resist the urge to add more flour. Roll each piece of dough into a wide cylinder on a wooden board, generously sprinkled with flour. This way the flour will be outside the dough and not inside. You can brush off excess flour.
- Don’t overmix the dough, or the gnocchi will be tough. Combine all the ingredients until almost completely combined, but they don’t have to be thoroughly mixed.
- Be careful to not overcook the gnocchi, or they will be tough. If you’re not sure how long to cook your gnocchi (overcooked gnocchi will be tough!) you can cook just 1 gnocchi and if you’re happy will the results, cook the whole batch!
- My favorite way is to serve them is with chanterelle sauce. Chanterelle mushroom season is quite short, so out of the season, you can make a simple mushroom sauce with button or cremini mushroom.
- With simple tomato sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
- Sage butter and Parmesan.
- Pesto sauce or pesto cream sauce (pesto sauce mixed with heavy cream).
- Gorgonzola sauce – either my simple 2-ingredient gorgonzola sauce with spinach and pan-fried fish or gorgonzola walnut sauce.
- You can serve this creamy lemon garlic sauce with chicken and zucchini with gnocchi instead of pasta.
- With this creamy mushroom and butternut squash sauce (instead of potatoes).
- With creamy sun-dried tomato and spinach sauce (instead of pasta) and pan-fried Tuscan chicken.
Storing and freezing instructions
- Storage: Cooked gnocchi will keep in the fridge for about 2-3 days. The next day, you can pan-fry the cooked gnocchi in butter (don’t leave the uncooked dough in the fridge).
- How to freeze gnocchi:
cooked: spread the gnocchi apart on a floured board/tray, freeze and then transfer to zip-lock bags/containers. Cook the frozen gnocchi until they float to the water surface (don’t thaw them).
uncooked: freeze them as described above. Cook like freshly prepared gnocchi BUT add less gnocchi at a time to the pot (they can fall apart due to rapid water temperature drop).
You probably haven’t drained the ricotta properly or you’ve bough very watery ricotta. You could have also not measured the flour and Parmesan cheese correctly.
They haven’t been cooked long enough, cook them just a little bit longer.
Either the dough was not firm enough (you should add more flour) or you’ve added too many gnocchi at once into the water which lowered its temperature too much.
This will depends on what are you serving them with, but I usually take 25 small gnocchi for a vegetarian meal (like with a mushroom sauce) or about 13 gnocchi if I’m serving them as a side to a meat dish.
Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!
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- 15 ounces (425g) ricotta whole-milk, full-fat
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (125g) flour spooned and leveled, + more for working with the dough
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 90g, on the small holes of a box grater
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Drain ricotta: On a large plate, lay out 2 layers of paper towels, spread the ricotta cheese, and press it carefully with more paper towels or a clean kitchen towel to remove excess water. Gently pull the paper towel by pulling its edge. Repeat, trying to drain as much moisture as possible.
- Make gnocchi dough: Add the eggs to a large bowl and lightly beat them. Add the remaining ingredients: drained ricotta, grated Parmesan cheese, flour, salt, and pepper. Mix quickly until the ingredients are combined. Don't overmix the dough, it doesn't have to be completely smooth.
- Form gnocchi: Transfer about 1/4 of the dough onto a well-floured wooden board. Gently roll each piece of the dough into a wide cylinder to a thickness of about 1 inch (2.5cm). Brush off excess flour. Using a sharp knife, cut each log into 1-1 1/2 inches (3-4 cm) pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Cook gnocchi: Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi in 4 batches. When the gnocchi float to the surface, cook them for 2 minutes then transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.
- Cooking time: Very small gnocchi may be ready after 1 minute of cooking time, bigger ones may need 1-2 minutes of cooking time. You may need to adjust the cooking time. The gnocchi should be really tender and pillowy.
- If you’re not sure how long to cook your gnocchi (overcooked gnocchi will be tough!) you can cook just 1 piece and if you’re happy will the results, cook the whole batch!
- Gnocchi are quick enough to shape that you can cook 1 batch of gnocchi while you’re handling the next portion of the dough.
- The amount of flour will depend on how you drained your cheese and how you measured your flour (measuring in cups may result in adding too much flour). Some brands of ricotta are also more watery.
- Storing and freezing tips:
- The next day, you can pan-fry the cooked gnocchi in butter.
- How to freeze gnocchi:
- Cooked: spread the gnocchi apart on a board/tray, freeze, and transfer to zip-lock bags/containers. Cook the frozen gnocchi until they float to the water surface (don’t thaw them).
- Uncooked: Freeze them as described above. Cook like freshly prepared gnocchi BUT add less gnocchi at a time to the pot (they can fall apart due to rapid water temperature drop).
- Top tips:
- Draining ricotta is important (this allows you to add less flour and your gnocchi will be more tender)
- Try not to add more flour to the dough, it will be slightly sticky.
- Don’t overmix the dough.
- Don’t cook the gnocchi for too long, adjust the cooking time to your kitchen conditions.
- How to drain ricotta: as described in the instructions or Leave the cheese overnight on a strainer lined with cheesecloth.
- Calories: 1/2 of the recipe (this is only an estimate).