Crispy Gnocchi Recipe

In case you weren't already aware, we're going to let you in on a little chef's secret: Frying foods makes them taste extra amazing. It's true for tofu, it's true for fish filets, and of course, it's true for fries. Heck, you can even fry ice cream, and the list goes on. As it happens, gnocchi already soak up flavors, which easily puts the little dumplings in the category of items that will taste great when fried.

This crispy gnocchi recipe by chef and recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge is great for a number of reasons. First, the flavors are a winning combination, and secondly, the entire process from prep to service takes all of 10 minutes. The longest part? Waiting for the water to boil. This crispy gnocchi dish makes a great lunch or a light dinner, and if you want to turn it into a bigger meal, Olayinka recommends, "pairing [it] with some grilled steak or grilled chicken." Pan-fried tofu would also be a great vegetarian option that keeps with the theme.

Gather your ingredients for crispy gnocchi

Most of the ingredients used in this quick and easy recipe are remarkably shelf- or fridge-stable, assuming you're using jarred pesto and semi-dried Parmesan cheese. To elevate the flavors to the next level, use fresh pesto and freshly-shaved Parmesan. If you want to make this recipe vegan friendly, swap out the Parmesan for nutritional yeast. All told, all you need is a package of gnocchi, olive oil, pesto, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling water

Begin the recipe by bringing a large pot of salted water to a full, rolling boil. You need a large enough pot and sufficient water so that the individual pieces of gnocchi won't be crammed together, as they tend to stick to one another while cooking. Boil the gnocchi in the salted water for about three minutes, or as noted on packaging instructions. Carefully test one to see if the consistency is right, and once cooked, drain the gnocchi in a strainer and set them aside.

Fry the gnocchi in a pan

Get a wide, nonstick frying pan, pour the olive oil in, then place it on a burner at medium to high heat. Once the oil has heated, gently roll the pan to coat it, then add the gnocchi, spreading them out into a flat layer. Let the gnocchi fry for two and a half minutes on one side, then use a spatula to flip all the pieces over and fry them for the same duration on the other side. The dumplings should take on a golden-brown color, but if any pieces start to blacken, cut the heat.

Combine the gnocchi with the pesto and Parmesan and enjoy

After you finish frying the gnocchi, quickly place them into a serving bowl topped with the pesto, pine nuts, and shredded Parmesan cheese and mix everything together. The cheese should melt a bit and coat the gnocchi pieces, helping the pesto to properly stick as well. The dish is now ready to be served! Enjoy it as soon as possible, as leftovers aren't ideal here. "It's best eaten fresh as the gnocchi tends to harden when reheated," Olayinka says.

Crispy Gnocchi Recipe
4.9 from 19 ratings
This crispy gnocchi recipe combines pesto and Parmesan to make a delicious dish that's ready in 10 minutes. Serve it as a main or with a protein on the side.
Prep Time
Cook Time
gnocchi on plate
Total time: 10 minutes
  • 1 (9-ounce) package gnocchi
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4.5 ounces fresh pesto
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Begin by boiling the gnocchi in salted water for 3 minutes or according to the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Then, drain the gnocchi and set them aside.
  3. Pour the olive oil into a frying pan and heat it on the stovetop at medium-high.
  4. Fry the gnocchi for 2 ½ minutes on each side.
  5. After frying the gnocchi, transfer them to a serving bowl.
  6. Add in the pesto, pine nuts, and shredded Parmesan cheese, and mix to combine.
  7. Serve warm.
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