Classic Potato Gnocchi with Browned Butter & Sage Sauce

Prep Time
75 Minutes
Cook Time
10 Minutes
4-6 servings

Homey and satisfying, this classic potato dumpling is a blank canvas for an array of flavorings and sauces – browned butter and sage, pesto, or even just a basic red sauce with some parmesan on top.  YUM!

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  • 3 pounds (about 4-5 large) russet potatoes
  • 1-2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼-1/3 cup packed grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • pinch nutmeg
  • Browned Butter & Sage Sauce
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped


  1. Classic Gnocchi
    Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with at least 2 inches of cool water.  Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until just tender when pierced with a fork (about 30-40 minutes total cooking time) – do not overcook.  Drain water and place over heat for additional 1-2 minutes to evaporate excess moisture.
  2. Using a dish towel to hold the hot potato, carefully peel the skin away with a paring knife.
  3. Working over a large surface or baking sheet, pass the hot potatoes through a potato ricer (you may have to cut them in half).  Repeat with remaining potatoes and spread out riced potatoes in an even layer to cool completely.
  4. Flour a large work surface or board.  Make a mound of potatoes on the counter with a well in the center. Sprinkle 1 cup of flour and cheese over the potatoes.  Add the egg, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the well.  Little by little, mix the egg into the potatoes with your fingertips, incorporating all the liquid, slowly sprinkling more flour as needed to keep from getting too sticky (approximately another ½ cup). Gently knead for a few minutes until dough just comes together as a cohesive mass.  If the mixture is too dry, add another egg yolk or a little water. The dough should be firm yet give under slight pressure.  To test if the dough is the correct consistency, take a piece and roll it with your hands on a well-floured board into a rope 1/2-inch in diameter. If the dough holds together, it is ready. If not, add more flour, fold and press the dough several more times, and test again.
  5. Keeping your work surface and the dough lightly floured, cut the dough into 8 sections. Roll each piece into a rope about ½” in diameter. Cut into ½” long pieces. Lightly flour the gnocchi as you cut them. You can cook these as is or form them into the classic gnocchi shape by rolling against the tines of a large fork turned upside down. Flour the fork and tilt the fork at about a 45 degree angle with one hand. Take each piece with the other hand and squish it lightly with your floured thumb, pressing it against the tines of the fork, allowing it to gently roll away from you – it will be left with ridges on the outer curve and a smooth surface on the inner curve where your thumb was. Shaping them takes some time and dexterity, but the indentation helps hold the sauce and helps gnocchi cook faster.
  6. As you shape the gnocchi, dust them lightly with flour and scatter them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or waxed paper.
  7. At this point, you can cook the Gnocchi (if serving presently). You may also choose to freeze them and cook them at another time.When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the gnocchi and cook for about 90 seconds from the time they rise to the surface. Remove the cooked gnocchi with a skimmer, shake off the excess water, and serve as desired (such as with the brown butter sauce below).
  8. To prepare with Browned Butter & Sage Sauce
    1. Cook butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat just until golden, stirring often, 3 to 4 minutes.
    2. Add chopped sage; stir 1 minute.
    3. Add gnocchi; cook until heated through and coated with butter, 5 to 7 minutes.
    4. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. Transfer to bowl.
    6. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan. Serve with additional Parmesan.
    7. Servings : 4-6

    Cook’s Notes: If you do not have time to shape the gnocchi, you can freeze the dough, defrost it in the refrigerator, and then shape it. To freeze shaped gnocchi, line baking sheets with waxed paper and dust with flour. Spread the gnocchi on the prepared sheets and freeze until hard. Transfer to freezer bags. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month. To cook, drop the frozen gnocchi into boiling salted water. Cook for about 2 minutes after they rise to the surface. When browning/sautéing gnocchi, do not overcrowd in pan (better to do more small batches) in order to brown each one properly and prevent mushiness.