Fluffy Gnocchi or Lazy Pierogies
This gnocchi recipe is my go-to when I want comfort food. Each bite is filled with fluffy, pillowy potato dough seasoned with bits of bacon and caramelized onions. Trust me, this potato gnocchi recipe is to die for!
If you love this gnocchi recipe (and you will!) you will also love these comfort foods with potatoes such as chicken pelmeni recipe, this classic potato pierogies recipe, and these awesome stuffed potato croquettes. Yum!
What is Gnocchi?
Traditionally, gnocchi is a small Italian dumpling made from potato, flour or semolina—or a combination of ingredients. It’s traditionally served as a portion of pasta, with a pasta sauce.
Admittedly, I’m not Italian but I feel like I can answer “what is gnocchi” very well as gnocchi has been snuck into my Ukrainian-rooted diet from when I was a wee baby. For the first couple of years of my life, our family lived at my grandma’s house and was she made these often.
My grandma knew no such word as gnocchi and where I come from we called them Lazy Varenyky or Lazy Pierogi. Essentially, it is the same dish, just two different names in two different countries.
Lazy pierogi is, in a sense, a peasant dish. By that I mean they require simple, inexpensive ingredients and are easy to put together. Perhaps a better name for peasant dish would be the modern equivalent of comfort food (think pot roast, polenta & sausage, baked beans, etc). However you categorize them, this lazy pierogi recipe was very well-loved in our family.
Tips for Making This Easy Gnocchi Recipe
- Measure every ingredient carefully. This is perhaps the most important tip for making an easy gnocchi recipe retain that soft, pillowy goodness rather than a gumball.
- Use yellow potatoes for this recipe. Be sure to boil them with the skin on, as it will retain flavor better and keep your potatoes from falling apart.
- Make sure to mash your potatoes completely. An inexpensive Potato Ricer or Potato Masher is the easiest way to do this.
- Rice or mash your potatoes while warm – it’s much easier to do them this way.
- Do not overmix your potatoes for this easy gnocchi recipe. If you mix it too long, it will make your gnocchi gummy. Just do the minimal amount of mixing to bring everything into a dough-like consistency.
- If you would like to give your gnocchi ripples or groves, run each piece down anything that can make those grooves. The back of a fork will work just as fine, or you can use a Strawberry Slicer. Of course, you can also get yourself an actual Gnocchi Board. The grooves are helpful if you want to serve this easy gnocchi recipe with sauce, as the sauce will sit in the groove’s insets.
- Drop your gnocchi into an ice water bath after cooking. This will help stop the cooking process and give you that perfect gnocchi texture.
- Toss your gnocchi with oil or butter after cooking. This will help keep the gnocchi from sticking to each other.
How to Make Gnocchi
Find the full, more detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
- Gather your gnocchi ingredients. Yellow potatoes produce the best result when you are learning how to make gnocchi.
- Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skin.
- Rice or mash the potatoes with a Potato Ricer or a Potato Masher. Set aside the riced potatoes as you work on the bacon & the caramelized onion.
- Cook the diced onion and bacon, then add your garlic. Discard the fat, then set aside the cooked bacon-onion mixture.
- Now that the potatoes are somewhat cool, add the rest of the ingredients, then mix into a dough consistency.
- Scoop out your dough in a ball shape, then roll into a rope shape. Cut the pieces into 1/2 inch slices.
- If you’d like ridges in your gnocchi, you can do this by pressing the dough pieces with the back of a fork, or into a Strawberry Slicer, as pictured in the images below. Of course, you could also get yourself an actual Gnocchi Board.
- Fill up a large pasta pot with water, and add salt. Bring the water to rolling boil, then cook the dough. Once cooked, scoop them out with a slotted spoon, then place in an ice bath.
- Add the gnocchi into a bowl and toss with the bacon and onion mixture, herbs, and butter or oil.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of black ground pepper, or your favorite pasta sauce. That’s it! You’ve learned how to make gnocchi. Enjoy!
Gnocchi or Lazy Pierogies Recipe
Each bite of this gnocchi recipe is filled with fluffy, pillowy potato dough that's seasoned with bits of bacon and caramelized onions.
For the Gnocchi:
- Potato Ricer or Potato Masher
Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle peel the skin.
Using a potato ricer or a potato masher, rice or mash the potatoes while still warm (it’s much easier to do when the potatoes are warm). You can let the riced potatoes cool as you work on the bacon & the caramelized onion.
Dice or slice the bacon and render the fat until the bacon is crispy. Add diced onions and allow them to golden up as well. If you don’t like the taste of raw garlic add the minced garlic about 30 seconds before the onions are done browning. Now tilt the skillet to one side and bring all bacon and onions to the raised part, letting all fat to collect at the bottom. Remove the fat and discard. Reserve the bacon & onion until needed.
Now that the potatoes are somewhat cool, add the flour, egg, salt and pepper (and Parmesan cheese, if using) and with minimal amount of mixing bring everything into a dough like consistency. Mixing too long will make your gnocchi gummy.
Tear a baseball sized piece, roll into a ball and on a well floured surface roll into 1 inch rope. With a knife, cut the dough rope into 1/2 inch pieces and transfer to a well floured surface. Continue working on the rest of the dough. Use a fork or the gnocchi board to make the groves on each gnocchi if desired.
Fill a large pasta pot with water, salt it liberally until the water is as salty as seawater. Bring it to a rolling boil over high heat. Drop the gnocchi into the water, stir and let them rise to the top. Once they rise to the top, cook for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and remove with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Then quickly transfer to a bowl with some bacon, caramelized onion, parsley or dill (if using) and a dab of butter or a tablespoon or two of olive oil. If you don’t mind the smell of fresh garlic add it to the bowl and toss everything together to prevent gnocchi from sticking to each other.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkling of black ground pepper.