You're in for a treat with these incredible sweet potato gnocchi! They're delightfully light, pillowy, and melt in your mouth. Not only are they egg-free, but they're also much simpler to make than you might imagine. The result is an incredibly flavorful homemade dish that’s perfect for the fall season.
Sweet potato gnocchi is a delightful twist on the traditional Italian dish, packed with flavor and a beautiful orange hue that's sure to impress. These soft dumplings are made with fresh, whole sweet potatoes, offering a sweet and earthy taste that is simply irresistible.
Combined with the savory note of parmesan cheese and the gentle warmth of ground nutmeg and cinnamon, each bite is a comforting taste of autumn. (Try my sweet PEA gnocchi for a taste of spring!).
If you've ever been intimidated by the thought of making your own gnocchi, this recipe will show you it's easier than you think.
Traditional potato gnocchi is tough to master, but sweet potato gnocchi is much easier to pull off. Since sweet potatoes don't get gluey after being worked like regular potatoes can, they're much more forgiving and result in a smoother, more tender dough.
This restaurant-worthy recipe for melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi is everything I want them to be - light, pillowy, silky and flavorful!
Why this recipe works
- Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and flavorful, so they add a delicious fall twist to this Italian classic.
- Making your own gnocchi from scratch is surprisingly easy and can be done with minimal time or effort. Cooked in just 2 minutes!
- This recipe only requires a few simple seasonal ingredients that are easy to find in any local grocery store.
- Sweet potato gnocchi makes a great side or light meal when served with your favorite sauce.
- These gnocchi can be made ahead of time and stored for months in the freezer for quick and easy meals.
- Sweet Potatoes - This is the star ingredient of this gnocchi recipe and gives it a unique, sweet flavor. Using fresh, whole sweet potatoes is best during the fall season. If you can't find any sweet potatoes, you can substitute yams instead.
- Parmesan Cheese - Freshly grated parmesan cheese adds an extra layer of flavor and is highly recommended in this recipe. I recommend using Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano as they are two popular, high quality Italian cheeses with a bold and nutty flavor.
- Nutmeg - Nutmeg is the perfect pairing for sweet potatoes and adds a subtle warmth to the dish. If using ground nutmeg, make sure it is fresh (no more than two years old), or for best results, buy whole nutmeg and grate it fresh yourself.
*Full ingredient list with quantities is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Baking Sheet - When cooking the sweet potatoes in the oven, you'll need a baking sheet covered in parchment paper to keep the potatoes from sticking, which makes them easier to remove when ready. Plus, there's no need to clean the baking sheet! You'll also need it to prep the rolled-out gnocchi pieces.
- Immersion Blender - An immersion blender is the easiest way to mash or puree the cooked sweet potatoes. If you don't have one on hand, you can use a potato masher, a potato ricer, a food mill or even a fork to mash the cooked sweet potatoes.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons - For accuracy, be sure to use measuring cups and spoons when adding the ingredients for this sweet potato gnocchi dough.
- Bench Scraper - A bench scraper is an invaluable tool when it comes to this recipe. It helps to cut the rolled-out dough into small gnocchi pieces and also makes it easy to transfer them from the counter onto your baking sheet.
- Microplane Grater - a fine grater like a microplane is perfect for freshly grating ingredients like nutmeg and parmesan cheese.
After preheating the oven to 375°F, place the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake them until they're fork-tender (about 45 minutes to one hour).
Once the sweet potatoes have cooled, remove the skins and mash them in a large bowl with an immersion blender or potato masher.
Add in the parmesan cheese, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and salt.
Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and gently knead it until it forms a nice ball.
Grab a small piece of dough and roll it out into a long, thin snake. Cut it into small pieces about the size of a dime using a bench scraper. Then, transfer them to a sheet pan that's been covered in parchment paper and dusted with flour. Repeat this until all the dough is used up.
You have two options now: either cook the sweet potato gnocchi right away or freeze them for later.
If you choose to freeze them, just place the sheet pans into the freezer. Once the gnocchi are frozen on the sheet pan, you can transfer them to a zip-top bag and store them for up to 6 months.
When you're ready to cook the gnocchi, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi, give them a gentle stir, and cook until they float to the top. This usually takes about 2 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the water and add them to your favorite sauce.
Tips for success
- Don't want to use an oven? You can peel and dice the sweet potatoes and microwave them until they're tender.
- Always use freshly grated, good quality parmesan cheese in this recipe.
- If the gnocchi dough seems a bit wet, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time, until it's not too sticky. We want to use as little flour as possible, or the gnocchi could become too dense.
- Be careful not to over-knead the dough, as it'll make the gnocchi tough.
- When cooking frozen gnocchi, do not defrost first. Place frozen gnocchi straight from the freezer into boiling water.
- Don't add oil to the water when boiling the gnocchi. The starch from the potatoes is enough to keep them from sticking together, and oil will prevent the gnocchi from clinging to the sauce.
- Don't overcrowd the pot when boiling the gnocchi, as this can also cause them to stick together or cook unevenly. Work in batches if making more than 4 servings at a time.
A traditional way to serve these delicious little pillows of sweet potato goodness is with melted brown butter with some type of herb and some type of chopped, toasted nuts. I love sage and toasted walnuts or rosemary and hazelnuts, which is what you see in the photos.
Another great way to enjoy these is with a cream (or cheese) sauce, like a creamy gorgonzola sauce or a parmesan cream sauce.
Always save reserve some of the gnocchi cooking water to add to the sauce to help it thicken and cling to the gnocchi.
If you're looking for an easy weeknight dinner option, try boiling the gnocchi and serving them with some roasted vegetables like broccoli rabe, crispy brussel sprouts, sauteed parmesan spinach, and roasted cauliflower.
For a heartier meal, you can always top these with your favorite protein like pork chops, Italian beef braciole or some sort of chicken recipe (my favorites are chicken cacciatore and whole roasted herb chicken).
And don't forget to finish the meal with a sweet treat, like Italian pignoli cookies!
No, but it does take a bit of time. As long as you plan ahead and enjoy the process, you'll have no problems at all. Rolling and cutting the dough can be a really fun process that's great for doing with kids, friends, or as a couple.
Yes! In fact, this recipe doesn't contain any eggs at all. Unlike traditional potato gnocchi, eggs are not necessary here.
The best kind of gnocchi should be very tender with a slight chew. They should melt in your mouth and the slight chewiness is part of what makes them so enjoyable! If your gnocchi are too mushy, you may have not added enough flour to the mixture. If your gnocchi are dense and tough, you may have added too much flour or kneaded too long.
Yes, this gnocchi recipe is great for making in advance and freezing to use later.
This recipe yields a large amount, so whenever I have time, I like to make a batch and then freeze it to eat later. I always have a bag of sweet potato gnocchi stocked in my freezer for quick and easy dinners. It makes the effort totally worth it!
Simply follow the instructions up until step 7, and arrange the cut raw gnocchi on a sheet pan that's been lined with parchment paper and dusted with flour. Then freeze the unbaked gnocchi on a baking sheet for an hour before transferring into a freezer bag or container.
Storing this way will ensure they freeze individually and don't all clump together. These will last for about 6 months!
When you are ready to cook your homemade sweet potato gnocchi, simply add them to a pot of boiling water straight from the freezer. You don't need to thaw the frozen gnocchi first - they will cook through in about 2 minutes.
Yes, you can substitute all-purpose gluten free flour blend (recommended: Cup4Cup) with good results.
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