Culinary Arts

How to Cook the Perfect Potato Gnocchi With Chef Thomas Keller

Written by MasterClass

Sep 21, 2018 • 2 min read

Potato gnocchi is a dumpling best made with starchy, fluffy, russet potatoes. Like pasta, it can be made ahead of time for convenience. You can make it on a weekday when you’re craving a fresh meal born from your own skills, knowledge, and love. There are different kinds of gnocchi, including French Parisienne gnocchi, which is made from pâte à choux instead of potato.

Chef Thomas Keller makes Italian-style gnocchi from potato, egg, and flour. There are many varieties of Italian gnocchi, each made from different starchy ingredients. This homemade potato gnocchi recipe originates from the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, and is the most common and well-known variety of gnocchi. It is extremely versatile in preparation and saucing.




How to Make the Gnocchi

To prepare the potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pierce the potatoes with a fork to allow moisture to escape while baking. Pour a generous mound of salt onto the center of a baking sheet to stabilize the potatoes and set the potatoes on top. Bake for one hour and use a paring knife to test for doneness. They should be soft and completely cooked. Brush off the excess salt and begin the process for making gnocchi while the potatoes are still hot.

To make the gnocchi:
Scoop the potato flesh out of its jacket while still hot and moist, and push through the potato ricer onto your work surface. Form a well with the riced potato, much as you would for pasta dough, and sprinkle with flour. Add the egg yolks, season with salt, and sprinkle with flour; then use the bench scraper to mix in the ingredients. Begin to form a ball of dough, working gently. Do not knead—this will activate the gluten and make gummy gnocchi. The finished ball of dough should be soft to the touch and hold the imprint of your finger.

Use your fingers, not your palms, to roll and stretch the dough out to a rope the diameter of your preference. Cut the roll into pieces the size that you’d like your gnocchi to be, and then roll each piece into a ball. Gently roll each ball onto the gnocchi paddle to form an ovular-shaped gnocchi with ridges, letting each piece fall from the paddle onto the sheet pan. Bring a large pot of salted water to a simmer and add a gnocchi. Test for texture.

If the gnocchi falls apart, it may need a little more flour and working of the dough. If the gnocchi is heavy and dense, there is not much you can do other than make observations and use this information to prevent this from occurring in subsequent batches.

As with any dumpling, the gnocchi will float to the top when done. Skim the gnocchi into an ice bath then drain on a paper towel–lined sheet pan. If you plan on freezing the gnocchi, transfer them to a parchment-lined sheet pan that has been lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. You can either serve your gnocchi right away, refrigerate and use within two days, or freeze and store in an airtight freezer bag for future use.

Serve with Chef Thomas Keller's pomodoro sauce (recipe here).

Italian Style Potato Style Gnocchi Recipe

  • 2 russet potatoes, approximately 11 ounces each
  • Kosher salt
  • 75–100 grams all-purpose flour
  • 35 grams egg yolks


  • Pasta board
  • 12-quart stockpot, water at a simmer
  • Baking sheet
  • Potato ricer
  • Bench scraper
  • Gnocchi paddle
  • Sheet pan, lined with paper towels
  • Skimmer