Learn how to make crispy fried gnocchi in the pan. If you already like the boiled potato dumplings, you will go crazy for this pan-fried recipe.
Have you ever tried frying gnocchi? If not, you should definitely do so! I mean, boiled dumplings are already delicious, but fried ones are even better! Trust me! They are nice, soft, and fluffy on the inside, wonderfully crispy and golden on the outside. And more flavorful, the frying process ensures that. They lose some of their stodginess, they are lighter, less dense.
And if you like potato dumplings as much as we do, try these Simple Gnocchi Gorgonzola.
What are gnocchi?
Famous Italian dumplings made with boiled, mashed potatoes, flour, and eggs. I always think of them as potato pasta. Although the classic ones are made with potatoes, there are many ways of making them.
You can add ricotta for airy, fluffy ones. You can make them with pumpkin or butternut squash instead of potatoes, with beetroot, parsnips, or other root veggies. You can add spinach to the mixture, or you can make them with semolina. These last ones are completely different from a regular gnoccho, but so delicious!
But today we are not talking much about homemade recipes. This one is for fried gnocchi that come from a bag. Fast, convenient, always available, and super tasty!
Why love pan seared gnocchi?
- Taste: great! Frying imparts them so much extra flavor. So much, you can snack on them after adding just a little salt and pepper;
- Texture: fluffy and comforting on the inside and crispy on the outside;
- Fast: it takes about 5 minutes to pan-fry a bag of potato dumplings;
- Versatile: you can serve them as they are, as a quick meal or snack. You can add a sauce, like pesto, tomato sauce, brown butter and sage, whatever you like. All quick and easy to make sauces. Or you can serve them as a side dish for chicken, fish, meat, stews, vegetable stews, and so on.
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What do you need?
Only one main ingredient: the gnocchi.
- I use a large bag (600 g/1.3 lbs.) of dumplings found in the refrigerator section of the supermarket.
- You can use frozen gnocchi as well. There is no need to defrost them. Separate them if they stick together and fry them as instructed. Add 1-2 minutes of cooking time if necessary. They should be deeply golden and crispy on the outside, and hot and fluffy on the inside.
- Vacuum-packed pre-boiled ones are fine as well, but I prefer the refrigerated ones, I think they taste and feel better. However, the advantage of the vacuum-packed ones is that you can always keep them in the cupboard for a quick and delicious meal.
- Don’t use dried potato dumplings, from the dried pasta section of the supermarket. If you use those, you will have to pre-boil them.
- 1-2 tablespoons butter, salt, and pepper. One tablespoon of butter should do it if you are watching the calories, but 2 tablespoons make the dish taste even better.
- Olive oil is good as well, but I prefer butter, I think it has more flavor.
How to pan fry gnocchi?
- You will need a large nonstick pan or a large cast-iron skillet, they both work perfectly.
- Heat the skillet on high heat.
- Add butter and let foam shortly.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add the dumplings.
- Pan fry gently, stirring a few times in between, to make sure that they get golden and crispy on both sides.
- They should be firm and crispy on the outside but remain fluffy and soft on the inside. If you cook them for too long, they will lose the fluffiness on the inside, so don’t overcook them.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Frequently asked questions:
What kind of gnocchi to fry?
- As mentioned above, either refrigerated ones, frozen or vacuum-packed.
Should I pre-boil them?
- No, there is no need for that.
Can I fry homemade potato dumplings?
- Sure. I normally pre-boil the homemade ones, pre-boiling makes them firmer. Drain well and let them air dry shortly. Sear in the pan or skillet as instructed above.
Can I reheat them?
- Yes. They are best when served immediately, but leftovers can be reheated in the pan. Heat the pan, add more butter or oil and reheat for a few minutes making sure that you turn them on both sides.
What can I add?
- How about some bacon cubes? Fry them in the pan together with the pasta. Use less butter or oil in this case as the bacon will render enough fat.
- Garlic: slice thinly and add to the pan during the last couple of minutes of the cooking time.
- Cheese: I love to sprinkle them with some grated cheese right at the end and stir them in the pan for one extra minute until the cheese melts slightly. Or sprinkle them with freshly grated Parmesan just before serving.
- Peas: cook about 1 cup of frozen peas for a couple of minutes. Drain and combine with the potato dumplings.
- Spinach: roughly chop a handful or so of spinach, add to the skillet about 2 minutes before the dumplings are done, and let wilt.
- Fresh herbs: chop finely and add to the pan once the pasta is ready.
How many servings?
- One bag of approximately 500-600 g/ 1.1-1.3. lbs. dumplings served with a simple sauce (like pesto, tomato sauce, or butter) should be enough for 2 people with a good appetite (3 at the most). Most recipes will claim that the amount is enough for 4, but really… that would be about a handful per person, not even my kids would be satisfied with that…
- When serving as a side dish or appetizer, the amount should be enough for 4 people.
- If they are served as a snack, they should be enough for about 6-8 people.
How to serve?
- Serve on their own sprinkled with salt, pepper, and some parsley.
- Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.
- Serve as a side dish for chicken, fish, meat, or vegetable stews.
- Try Pesto Gnocchi, mix them with Carbonara sauce, with brown butter and sage.
- Make our Hearty Marinara and serve it with the dumplings.
More fast pasta recipes:
Most of the sauces are suitable for the fried gnocchi as well.
Simple Fried Gnocchi Recipe
- 1.2 lb gnocchi about 500-600 g/ 1.1-1.2 lbs. (1 bag), Note
- 1 1/2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt or Kosher, more to taste
- 1 tbsp chopped parsley optional
- Heat a large nonstick pan or cast-iron skillet on high heat.
- Add butter and let foam shortly.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add the gnocchi. Pan fry gently, stirring a few times in between, to make sure that they get golden and crispy on both sides. They should remain fluffy on the inside, so don’t overcook them.
- Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.