Pan fried gnocchi turns the Italian potato dumplings into crispy, delicate morsels of deliciousness. They're so easy to make with 2 ingredients in just 7 minutes! I've topped them with creamy garlic mushrooms for a very quick and easy midweek meal.
I absolutely love gnocchi - the little potato dumplings are a wonderful vehicle for pasta sauce, pesto, and roasted veggies.
But you know what's even better, no WAY BETTER? Pan fried gnocchi!
Frying the gnocchi in butter in a hot frying pan makes it take on a delicate outer crust, that perfectly complements the soft, fluffy interior.
It's carb heaven. And you only need two ingredients: gnocchi and butter (or oil).
For a while, there was only one way I knew of to cook gnocchi, and that was boiling it in a pan.
Although I love gnocchi no matter what, I found that frying gnocchi is hands down the best way to eat it.
I've served mine with a creamy mushroom sauce. It's a quick, easy and hearty vegetarian dinner!
This recipe was originally posted on February 2, 2018, and republished on February 11, 2022, with new text and images.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
You’ll get perfectly crispy gnocchi in 10 minutes or less.
It's a 2-ingredient recipe that can be served in many ways.
It’s a satisfying vegetarian dinner that tastes like comfort food.
It can be made into a vegan meal (check that your gnocchi is vegan and use vegan butter or oil).
Using shelf stable gnocchi means it's a meal you can whip up any time.
You can add any sauce you enjoy on top!
Ingredients & Tools
- Butter - The perfect oil for frying this dense pasta that gives it a nice crust and buttery flavor. You can swap to vegan butter or oil.
- Gnocchi - You’ll need shelf-stable gnocchi for this recipe.
How to Fry Gnocchi
Some people like to parboil the gnocchi first, but I make this dish a LOT and it's perfect even without boiling - faster too with less dishes to clean!
Pan-fry the gnocchi. Heat the butter in a frying pan, add the shelf-stable gnocchi and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until golden.
Assemble the dish. Divide the gnocchi onto 4 plates and then top with the desired sauce (I used mushroom cream sauce). Garnish with fresh thyme and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and serve hot.
The heat of the pan is crucial when pan-frying the gnocchi. You don’t want it to be too hot so it burns, but you want it to be hot enough to form a crust. Start with medium-low heat and monitor it carefully.
Stir the gnocchi often to make sure it cooks evenly on all sides.
You do not need to pre-boil the gnocchi before sauteing it in the pan.
Serve your fried gnocchi with any of these toppings:
- Butter and parmesan
- Pesto sauce
- Miso mushrooms
- Creamy mushroom sauce
- Bang bang sauce
- Marinara sauce
- Alfredo sauce
- Mushroom ragu
Use this recipe with shelf-stable sweet potato gnocchi for a dinner infused with sweet potato flavor.
Don’t want to use butter? Try using an oil with a high smoke point such as avocado oil. You will not get a buttery flavor this way, so you may want to season it a bit more.
Add some nutrient density by stirring in some of your favorite greens into the cream sauce such as spinach, collard greens, or chopped kale.
Add a kick of your favorite flavors such as curry seasoning, cajun seasoning or Italian seasoning for a great herb taste.
Storing: Cooked and cooled gnocchi and sauce will last in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freezing: The gnocchi can be frozen in an airtight container or sealed bag for up to 3 months.
Ways to eat pan fried gnocchi
There are loads of ways to eat pan fried gnocchi. I may, on occasion, eat them hot straight from the pan (don't judge!). But open your mind and they make a great quick snack, side dish, or carb for the main meal.
1. Instead of fries with ketchup.
2. Topped with pesto or any other pasta sauce.
3. As an hors d'oeuvre with various toppings such as sour cream and chives.
4. As a simple lunchbox filler for kids.
5. On skewers with dipping sauce (try Alabama White Sauce, Cane's Sauce or Zax Sauce).
6. Leave them unboiled, thread onto skewers and cook on the barbecue
It is possible to pan-fry fresh gnocchi, but it may take more butter and a bit more time to cook through. I have not tested this recipe using fresh gnocchi.
I have not tested this, but it is possible that you can pan fry thawed cauliflower gnocchi in butter for the same effect.
You can use this pan-frying method in this recipe, or you can make air fryer gnocchi.
More Pasta Dinners
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how this fried gnocchi recipe turned out for you! Leave a comment and star rating below and share a picture on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #veggiedesserts.
Easy Fried Gnocchi
- 2 cups (500g) shelf stable gnocchi (1 x 15 oz packet of premade gnocchi)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Heat the butter in a frying pan.
- Add the gnocchi and fry for a few minutes, turning often, until golden.
- Divide the gnocchi between plates and serve topped with sauce as desired.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.