How to Make Gluten-Free Gnocchi or Turning Potatoes Into Pasta is Easy!
Turning on the oven to roast potatoes during the summer seems silly. But summer foods, including pesto, caponata, and fresh tomato sauce, pair so well with potato gnocchi that it’s worth the hour or so of extra kitchen heat.
Without wheat flour to bring stretchy gluten to hold the gnocchi together, starchy potatoes provide the structure that we need. Use russetts or Idaho potatoes for this recipe.
To further ensure the gluten-free gnocchi hold together during cooking, you need to bake, not boil, the potatoes. Baked potatoes not only reward you with a stronger potato flavor, they don’t absorb water during the cooking process. During testing, batch after batch of gnocchi made with baked potatoes used approximately one to one and a half cups of gluten-free flour. The same recipe made with boiled potatoes sometimes required up to two and half cups of flour, leaving the gnocchi heavy and unpleasantly gummy.
Thanks to the starchy, roasted potatoes, we don’t need to use a complex gluten-free flour blend or xanthan gum for this recipe. A simple mix of white rice flour and sweet rice flour does the trick. And the sweet rice flour is important. Made with only white rice flour, the gnocchi were too soft. A half cup of sweet rice flour, which is ground from glutinous, short-grain rice, added a nice bite without making the gnocchi gritty.
After selecting the potatoes and the flour, it’s time to make your gluten-free gnocchi. Are you excited? I’m excited! Let’s get going!
Rice or Grate Cooled Potatoes
Once the potatoes are cooked, allow them to cool. Then go ahead and peel them. I know that some cooks make gnocchi with hot potatoes. However, in my non-scientific tests, I found that the negatives (handling hot potatoes and the possibility of the eggs cooking when they hit the hot potatoes) outweighed any benefits. Once you peel the potatoes, pass them through a potato ricer or food mill. If you don’t have a potato ricer handy, you can grate the potatoes or mash them. (In fact, you can make small batches of gnocchi with cold, leftover mashed potatoes!)
Add Beaten Eggs
Whisk together your eggs. Pour over your shredded potatoes.
Mix Until a Dough Forms
Work the eggs into the shredded potatoes with a bench scrapper or fork. As soon as the eggs are incorporated into the dough, the potato-egg mixture should resemble a very soft dough. Stop mixing at this point.
Add the Gluten-Free Flour
For two pounds of gnocchi, you need about 1 1/2 cups of gluten-free flour. (recipe below.) The few times I used less flour, the gnocchi fell apart while they boiled. Begin by adding 1 cup of flour. Work it into the dough and then go from there.
Knead the Dough
You want the dough firm, not soft and sticky. If the dough seems too soft, add the remaining flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. If you’ve never made gnocchi before and aren’t sure if you’ve added enough flour, you can pinch off a little piece of dough and test it in a small pot of boiling water. The dough should not fall apart, if it does, add more flour.
Divide It Up!
Cut the dough into eighths. Place a damp paper towel over the dough you aren’t working with. This prevents a skin from forming.
Roll Into a Log
Knead the dough a few times before rolling out into a long log. Don’t place too much flour on your counter of the dough will be hard to roll out.
Cut into Pieces
Cut each log into bite-size pieces. Since my dough wasn’t on a cutting board, I used a small icing spatula to cut the dough into pieces. This prevents my knife, and countertop, from damage.
The easiest way to shape gnocchi is to simply press a small indentation into each piece. Place the cut gnocchi onto a lightly floured baking sheet.
or Roll It On a Fork!
Or you can roll the gnocchi over a fork or gnocchi board. This creates ridges which hold onto sauce for serving. Place the cut gnocchi onto a lightly floured baking sheet.
Once all the gnocchi are shaped, boil them, top with your favorite sauce, and enjoy!
How to Make Gluten-Free Gnocchi
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, washed (about 4 medium)
- 1 cup white rice flour (4 ounces; 113 grams)
- 1/2 cup sweet rice flour (2 ounces; 56 grams)
- 2 large eggs
- Kosher salt
Adjust oven rack to center middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Pierce potatoes a few times with a knife and place on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, about one hour. Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool.
Whisk together white rice flour and sweet rice flour. Using the flour mixture, flour your counter. Peel the potatoes and pass through a potato ricer onto the counter. Whisk together eggs and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour over the potatoes. Work the egg mixture into the potatoes with a bench scrapper or fork until potatoes begin to hold together. Mixture will be sticky.
Work one cup of the flour mixture into the potato mixture. Start by working the flour into the potato mixture with a bench scrapper or fork. As soon as a dough begins to form, begin kneading the dough by hand until all the flour is incorporated. The dough should be firm and not sticky. If it is, add the remaining flour mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time. (You can test the gnocchi by boiling a small pot of water and cooking a small piece of dough. The gnocchi should hold together.)
Divide the dough into quarters. Then, as you work with it, cut each quarter in half. Cover remaining dough with a damp paper towel. Roll out each dough eighth into a log. Cut into bite-size pieces. Shape by either pressing a small indentation into each gnocchi or rolling the gnocchi over a fork or gnocchi board.
Transfer shaped gnocchi to a lightly white rice-floured baking sheet. Shaped gnocchi can either be frozen or cooked right away.
To Cook: Boil a large pot of salted water. Cook half the fresh or frozen gnocchi in the boiling water until they float, about four minutes. (Taste one gnocchi to ensure it is cooked through). Remove the gnocchi from the water with a skimmer and transfer to a bowl or pot of sauce. Repeat with remaining gnocchi. If gnocchi must be held for more than a moment, drizzle with oil and toss to prevent sticking.
Interesting recipe- especially the results of baked vs boiled potatoes. Thanks for the info! Have you tried whole grain flours in this recipe, and if so what adaptations would you advise? White rice flour has so little flavor & much less nutrition, so I seldom use it.
Good question! I haven’t tried many different flours in this recipe. I think millet or sorghum would work really well!
Can you use red or yellow potatoes?
I haven’t tested the recipe with different potatoes. Red potatoes have medium to low starch, so I’d avoid those. As for the yellow potatoes, do you mean Yukon Gold? Those are waxy, I’d avoid them. If you mean Yellow Finns, I think those might work!
Great recipe, thanks for sharing! As an Italian-American with a gluten allergy, this was an amazing find. I have actually had good luck freezing the extras (single layer on cookie sheet, transferred to an air-tight container or ziploc bag once frozen.) I think the key to them not falling apart is to cook them from frozen and not let them thaw first. Thanks again!
Oh! Glad to hear that you had success freezing the gnocchi! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂
David Smith says
At the beginning of the recipe there is a note to “NOT freeze these gnocchi.” In step 5 of the instructions it says “shaped gnocchi can either be frozen or cooked right away.”
This was quite frustrating as I didn’t see the “do NOT freeze” note until after freezing the entire batch for use later in the week.
So, which is it?
Sorry about that. The original recipe included a note for freezing. However, some folks had trouble with the gnocchi once they were frozen. So I removed the step and no longer recommend freezing them. I’ve updated the method.
Again, sorry for the confusion this caused.
Tried making these to surprise my wife who can’t have gluten. Followed directions to a T , and yet when i go to roll the dough it falls apart. Did I do something wrong? Very frustrated and now I have to clean dough off the walls and ceiling. (don’t ask)
When you say it falls apart, do you mean it wouldn’t roll or that it was too squishy? The first would mean that the dough might have been a little dry. A splash or two of water should help. If it was too soft to roll, then the dough was too wet. A tablespoon or two of flour should help.
Sorry about the cleaning! That doesn’t sound fun. 🙁
Would this recipe work using all-purpose gluten free flour? My grocery store does’t have the sweet rice flour, and we buy the all-purpose in bulk. Also, what kind of sauce would you recommend for these? Thanks so much!
I think it might. Gluten-free blends vary a lot from brand to brand. Look for one with xanthan gum in the mix.
My daughters and I embarked on this journey with huge fan fare. Although it took a long time 3 hour from prep to clean up, we all had a blast making it and more importantly it tasted great!
Good advice having a small pot for testing the dough readiness.
The sauce we used was pesto, butter,salt
And we added turkey sausage.
We truly appreciate the effort that went in to give explicit instructions
Glad you had fun! And that sauce sounds fabulous!
I am allergic to eggs. Can I make them with using maybe some olive oil?
No, I’m sorry. This recipe won’t work without eggs.
Could I substitute sweet potato for the white potato?
Excellent question! And the answer is…I’m not sure! I haven’t tested it with sweet potato. I believe it would work but can’t guarantee.
Hello! This was a fabulous recipe! Wanted to let you that I was successful with a few small changes. I only had about a pound and a half of potatoes, which worked fine. I ended up using the same amount of flour. I used Pamela’s gf blend and added about a half teaspoon of xanthum gum. The dough is stickier than normal gnocchi dough, which is important to keep in mind. Mine cooked for only about 2 minutes – I removed them from the hot water once they floated. And I cooked them in smaller batches. I’m quite pleased with how they turned out! Thank you!
Melanie M says
I followed the recipe exactly, and the gnocchi turned out great! I did test a few pieces before making the entire batch, and I found that about 1.25 cups of flour worked for me. I served the gnocchi with a homemade basil pesto. I also sauteed my gnocchi in olive oil and caramelized onions and garlic after boiling them. I love the crispy outside on the fresh gnocchi that sauteeing them creates. Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks for a great recipe and especially THANKS FOR NO XANTHAN GUM. I am on a mission to let people know exactly what xanthan gum is and why it shouldn’t be added to everything under the sun. If you check the ingredient labels, it’s in most things now. Why? because it’s cheap and makes a nice ‘mouth feel’. Well, why not? because it’s a bacterial growth on rotting cruciferous vegetables like carrots that let you know it’s time to toss the food. Instead, they dry it, grind it up and put it in everything. It is responsible for infant deaths, but hey – it’s great for us to eat! I have a horrible gut reaction to xanthan gum, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Problem is it is very hard to track down. Thanks for letting me get a little more info out there about xanthan gum. And thanks again for a great recipe!
The Rachel Diet says
I love this recipe so much! I’ve made it multiple times and I’ve never had any problems! I even served it for Christmas dinner and it was Nonna-approved lol! I just wanted to mention it was hard to find sweet rice flour so instead I used the “Perfect Flour blend by Namaste” as my flour and just kept adding flour in parts until the proper consistency was reached. I also had a quick question – I actually did manage to freeze these gnocchi and they surprisingly worked great, so I wanted to ask how long they would stay good in the freezer for until they’d go bad. Thanks!
I’ve had good luck freezing them for up to a month. However, I must say, that several people experienced issues with freezing them. So I am not fully confident about how long they’re good frozen. Sorry!
I made these with my existing gluten free flour blend. Made the gnocchi themselves on Monday night, and left them covered in the fridge until Wednesday night, when I used them in a recipe for crispy gnocchi (pan friend instead of boiled!) with sautéed Brussels sprouts and brown butter. They were fantastic! A hit for both my husband and me. I didn’t cook the whole batch – am looking forward to having the rest tomorrow night.
Can’t wait to make them again!
Gnocchi is a Christmas dinner tradition for our family and this year we have a gluten free guest so I have been trying different recipes. None have had the right texture…until I found this recipe. These are by far the best gluten free gnocchi I have tried. Made them according to the recipe, using gram weight and they turned out perfect. Boiled a few and pan fried a few to test and both were delicious!