Our favorite creamy gnocchi bake recipe with tomato sauce and three kinds of cheese. This cheesy oven-baked gnocchi dish is so good that you won’t be able to stop eating it!
The creamy gnocchi bake with cheese is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for busy weeknights after a long day at work. Fluffy, pillowy gnocchi coated in a creamy-cheesy sauce and baked in the oven. This incredibly delicious and simple recipe is easy to put together, and it’s ready in less than one hour.
No heavy cream is needed; the cream cheese makes a beautiful creamy sauce. And most importantly, this simple meal will make your children happy!
For more creamy gnocchi recipes, check out our Creamy Pesto Gnocchi Recipe or the Simple Gnocchi Gorgonzola.
- Store-bought gnocchi. Homemade gnocchi are also great, but who has the time to make them…
- We use the packed potato gnocchi from the grocery store’s refrigerator section; they are pre-cooked, so you can skip the boiling step when making this creamy gnocchi recipe.
- Uncooked, shelf-stable gnocchi are ok too, but you must cook them according to the package instructions before using them for this recipe. You will probably find them in the pasta aisle of the store.
- Tomatoes: Tomato puree, passata, marinara, or your favorite tomato sauce. You can also use the Italian Tomato Sugo Recipe, Hearty Marinara Sauce, or the Easy Neapolitan Pizza Sauce (blended until smooth).
- Cheese: One ball of mozzarella cheese, freshly grated Parmesan, and cream cheese.
- Vegetables: One large red bell pepper and garlic.
- Other ingredients: Olive oil, dried oregano, fine sea salt or Kosher salt, ground black pepper, and a little butter for greasing the baking dish.
- Instead of oregano, you can use an Italian seasoning mix.
- For a bit of heat, add some cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste.
- Vegetables: Chopped veggies like broccoli or cauliflower florets, peas, corn, fresh spinach, or sun-dried tomatoes.
- Protein: Leftover or cooked shredded chicken breast or thighs, turkey leftovers, cooked and chopped Italian sausage, crispy bacon, diced ham, or salami. A drained can of tuna is delicious as well.
How to make creamy gnocchi in the oven?
- If your gnocchi are uncooked, cook them in boiling, salted water according to the package directions. Drain them well.
- Prepare: Preheat the oven and grease the baking dish. Blend the bell pepper in a small food processor (1).
- Sauce: Sauté the garlic in a large skillet or Dutch oven, add the pepper puree, and cook for another minute. Pour in the tomato puree or sauce, bring to a boil, and simmer for 3-4 minutes (2).
- Add cream cheese and whisk or stir until smooth. Heat the sauce for about 1-2 minutes. Add oregano, a pinch of salt, and pepper to taste (3).
- Assemble: Add pasta and about ½ of the grated Parmesan (4). Toss (5), then transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Arrange the sliced mozzarella on top and sprinkle the gnocchi casserole with the remaining Parmesan cheese (6).
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melty and golden. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley before serving (7).
- Cooked fresh gnocchi from the store’s refrigerator section and frozen and defrosted gnocchi can be used straight away for the gnocchi bake. Uncooked, shelf-stable, dry gnocchi must be cooked in a large pot of salted water according to the package instructions before use. You will only need about ½ lb (250 g) of uncooked gnocchi.
- Baking dish: The one I used was about 10×8 inches/ 25x20cm, and it was packed to the brim. That is why I don’t recommend using a smaller one. A slightly larger one is fine, but not too large, or the bake will spread too much, and it might become dry.
- Parmesan: 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan weighs about 2.5 oz/ 70 g. If using pre-grated Parmesan, you will need less, about ½ to ¾ cup, as it has less volume than freshly grated cheese. However, I strongly recommend using freshly grated cheese from a wedge; it’s so much better.
Yes, grated mozzarella melts very nicely; however, the sliced one is bubblier and looks prettier.
Refrigerate leftover baked gnocchi in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
I don’t recommend freezing; I never like to freeze anything containing potatoes. But if you don’t mind the weird texture, you can freeze the leftovers in a freezer container for 1-2 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.
Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir, and check if the food is heated through.
Reheat in the oven at 350°F/180°C for about 10 minutes or until heated through.
Reheat on the stovetop in a small saucepan. Add a splash of milk to loosen the sauce and stir often.
What to serve with baked gnocchi?
- Crusty bread like Soda Bread without Buttermilk, green salad with yogurt dressing or vinaigrette, roasted or steamed vegetables like carrots, peas, broccoli, Honey Sriracha Brussels Sprouts, and so on. Try our Air Fryer Asparagus when asparagus is in season.
Check out our short story for this recipe: Baked Gnocchi
More Italian-style favorite recipes
- Easy Ricotta Pesto Pasta
- Easy Chicken Pomodoro Recipe
- The Best Lemon Pepper Pasta Recipe
- Creamy Tuna Carbonara
Creamy Gnocchi Bake Recipe
- Food processor
- Baking dish about 10×8 inches/ 25x20cm, Note 1
- 1 lb pre-cooked gnocchi Note 2
- 1 red bell pepper medium to large
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove large, grated
- 2 cups tomato puree or passata 500 g, Note 3
- 1 cup cream cheese 230 g
- 1 ball mozzarella 4.5 oz/ 125 g
- 1 cup Parmesan freshly grated, 2.5 oz/ 75 g, Note 4
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- fine sea salt or Kosher
- ground black pepper
- a little butter for greasing the baking dish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter the baking dish.
- Blend pepper: Clean the bell pepper, remove the seeds, and chop it roughly. Blend it in a food processor (I prefer to use a small food processor). Set it aside.
- Simmer: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the skillet and cook 1 grated garlic clove for about 30 seconds, often stirring. Add the pepper puree and cook for another minute. Pour in the tomato puree, bring to a boil, and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Combine sauce: Add 1 cup of cream cheese and stir well or whisk with an egg whisker until the sauce is smooth. Heat the sauce for about 1-2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of oregano, salt, and pepper to taste (Note 5).
- Add the gnocchi and about ½ of the grated Parmesan (½ cup/ 35 g) to the sauce. Toss to combine. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
- Add cheese: Slice 1 ball of mozzarella and arrange the slices on top of the gnocchi bake. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan (½ cup/ 35 g).
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melty and golden.
- My baking dish was packed to the brim, so I don’t recommend using a smaller one. A slightly larger one should be fine, but not too large.
- Gnocchi: They are sold in bags and are either refrigerated, frozen, or vacuum-packed. I prefer refrigerated ones. Dried gnocchi should be cooked according to the package instructions before using them in this recipe. Should you use dried gnocchi, you will need about ½ lb (250 g).
- Tomato sauce: You can also use marinara sauce or your favorite tomato sauce.
- Parmesan: 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan weighs about 2.5 oz (70 g). If using pre-grated Parmesan, you will need less, about ½ to ¾ cup, as it has less volume than freshly grated cheese. However, I strongly recommend using freshly grated cheese.
- Seasoning: The sauce will need less salt if you use marinara or another tomato sauce. Always taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Tuesday 21st of March 2023
Awesome recipe with great photos! Thank you!
Sunday 19th of February 2023
It looks great, I'm going to try it! Laura