5 from 10 votes

The BEST Crispy Pan-fried Gnocchi

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Give these delicious, crispy, yet fluffy fried gnocchi bites a try! They make the perfect cheesy main dish for autumn.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 39 minutes
£1.89
Makes: 5
mains, meal prep
Italian

This fried gnocchi is cheesy, fluffy, crispy, and perfectly cooked, making it a decadent and cosy meal for autumn. It’s paired with kale and butternut squash for a hearty yet healthy meal. Plus, it’s simple to make, so you’ll want to keep this dish in your repertoire.

Browned gnocchi in a frying pan with butternut squash and grated  parmesan with kale.

Why you need this recipe in your life

With the help of an air fryer and a nonstick frying pan, this fried gnocchi dish is ready in less than an hour. Pan-fried gnocchi is an excellent choice when you’re short on time during the week yet want a satisfying homemade dish.

You can keep any uncooked gnocchi in the freezer for a couple of months, so you can easily whip up the recipe anytime.

If you’re wondering how to cook gnocchi, know that frying gnocchi is one of the best options. By frying these pillowy pasta bites, you’ll add a textural intrigue that elevates the dish. Instead of soft, soggy boiled gnocchi, you’re left with golden brown pockets of potato that even picky eaters will enjoy!

As a bonus, you can use the leftover gnocchi for various recipes, including Easy Pesto Gnocchi (in 10 Minutes), One Pot Creamy Tuscan Gnocchi and Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina.

Ingredients

INgredients to make a gnocchi dish laid out on a plae blue back ground and labelled

Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a favourite ingredient for making fall gnocchi recipes. It’s a seasonal ingredient that adds a sweet, creamy flavour to dishes. You can also use other squash, like acorn or delicata, in place of butternut.

If you love butternut squash try these recipes ; Roasted Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad, Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto and Roasted Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad

Gnocchi
Gnocchi is the star of the show in this pan-fried gnocchi recipe. You can use the standard potato option or spice it up with sweet potato gnocchi. Alternatively, you can try your hand at homemade gnocchi if you have extra time.

Parmesan Cheese
Freshly grated parmesan will add a bold and delicious taste to fried gnocchi. However, you can also use the pre-grated variety.

Unsalted Butter
I prefer to use unsalted butter for this gnocchi squash dish, as it allows you to adjust the salt level to your preference. If you use salted butter, you can skip adding salt later.

Garlic
Tasty and aromatic, minced garlic is an easy way to add flavour without including a calorie-dense sauce. You can also add red pepper flakes for extra flavour and a hint of heat.

Kale
This vitamin and mineral-rich ingredient help boost the nutrients in the dish. If you want to avoid removing the middle stem, opt for baby kale.

See the recipe card for full information on all ingredients and quantities.

How to cook gnocchi in a pan

If you’re wondering how to pan-fry gnocchi, this section will ensure your fried gnocchi is cooked to perfection. Ensure you start with a nonstick pan, as this Italian pasta is known for being sticky after it’s boiled. Heat the oil in the pan for a minute (or coat the gnocchi in the oil while in the pan) and allow them to brown. The key to lightly crispy gnocchi is allowing it time to cook in the hot pan before flipping it to the next side.

Adaptations

If you’re vegetarian, vegan, or dairy-free, you can make a few easy swaps for this fried gnocchi dish to make it compatible with your diet. Swap out the parmesan for nutritional yeast or a vegan parmesan option. You’ll also want to swap out the regular butter with vegan butter. Use both ingredients in a 1:1 ratio to create this gnocchi and butternut squash dish.

How to make Crispy Pan-fried Gnocchi

  1. Add the frozen butternut squash into your airfryer for 15 minutes at 200°C (Image 1).
  2. Meanwhile, add gnocchi and stock into a nonstick frying pan over a medium/high heat. Cook until all of the stock is absorbed, this will take around 5 mins (Image 2).
2 step by step photos, the first with butternut squash cubes in a air fryer pan and the second with gnocchi in a large frying pan.

3. Then, for maximum crispiness, remove half of the gnocchi and coat the gnocchi remaining in the pan in ½ tbsp of olive oil. Leave for 5-7 minutes to fry until golden and crispy on one side (Image 3).

4. Set the gnocchi aside and repeat with the other half, adding another ½ tbsp of olive oil (Image 4).

2 step by step photos, the first with gnocchi browned in a pan and the second with the browned gnocchi on a plate.

During this time, your airfryer timer should go off, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper over the butternut squash and cook for another 10 minutes.

5. Now add kale, butter and garlic into the pan to fry for 2 minutes (Image 5).

6. Then add the crispy gnocchi back into the pan, along with the roasted squash. Season with salt and lots of pepper. Sprinkle over a generous amount of parm and top with fresh basil. Dig in! (Image 6).

2 step by step photos, the first with butternut squash cubes, butter and kale in a frying pan and the second with gnocchi added with the vegetables.

Tips for best results

  • You can buy fresh gnocchi in the refrigerated section, but the dried packet version is just as good and often a bit cheaper.
  • Use a non-stick pan to ensure the gnocchi doesn’t stick using a medium heat and ensure you fry the gnocchi on both sides for around 3 to 4 minutes (don’t keep moving or turning the gnocchi over) as this will ensure maximum crispness.
  • Cook the gnocchi in batches and ensure they are evenly distributed across the pan and get nice and crispy on both sides.

Here are some more recipes I made with gnocchi for you to try ; Crispy Roasted Gnocchi with Chorizo and Vegetables, Tomato Mascarpone Gnocchi with Roasted Veg and Walnut Romesco Gnocchi

Browned gnocchi in a frying pan with butternut squash and grated  parmesan with kale next to a chopping board with basil leaves and below pan a bowl of chilli flakes.

FAQs

What is gnocchi?

Gnocchi is an Italian pasta that’s similar to a dumpling. The dough is made from flour, eggs, and potatoes. However, wide varieties are available, including sweet potato, cauliflower, and pumpkin gnocchi. These gnocchi options can also be used for other pan-fried gnocchi recipes, like Homemade Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

 
Is this recipe healthy?

Yes, this recipe is healthy! Sure, you’re using butter/olive oil to create the fried gnocchi. However, it’s only in small quantities, which is okay in moderation. Plus, this dish has plenty of nutrients and micronutrients packed into the squash and kale! Serve with this Halloumi Salad for an extra special meal.

Can you fry gnocchi?

Yes, you can pan-fry gnocchi. For more information, check under the section on how to fry gnocchi. Here, you’ll find details on what to use for perfectly golden gnocchi every time.

Can I reheat this recipe?

Yes, toss your gnocchi and veggies into a nonstick pan and heat until completely warm. Ensure you only make enough gnocchi for two days, as cooked gnocchi does not last longer than this in the fridge.

Can I freeze this recipe?

You can freeze the ingredients separately for this Gnocchi butternut squash dish. Separate the kale, butternut squash, and uncooked gnocchi into containers before freezing. Once the gnocchi is cooked, it becomes sticky quickly and then soggy. Ensure you’re only saving uncooked gnocchi in the freezer for the best outcome.

Close up of browned gnocchi  with butternut squash and grated  parmesan with kale and basil leaves.

If you tried this Crispy Pan-fried Gnocchi recipe, it would be mean so much to me if you could leave a review & a star rating to let me know how you found it! I love hearing about your experiences – it motivates me to keep creating more and more recipes for you guys 💛 Let’s get cooking! – Mimi x

The BEST Crispy Pan-fried Gnocchi

Print
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 39 minutes
£1.89
mains, meal prep
Italian
Servings: 5
Give these delicious, crispy, yet fluffy fried gnocchi bites a try! They make the perfect cheesy main dish for autumn.

Ingredients

  • 700 g butternut squash, frozen & cubed (£1.45)
  • 1 kg 2 packs gnocchi (£1.25x2)=(£2.50)
  • 50 g parmesan (£1.80)
  • 50 g unsalted butter (£2.15)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (£0.39)
  • 150 g kale (£0.60)

Cupboard Essentials

  • 300 ml chicken/vegetable stock
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method

  • Add the frozen butternut squash into your airfryer for 15 minutes at 200°C.
  • Meanwhile, add gnocchi and stock into a nonstick frying pan over a medium/high heat. Cook until all of the stock is absorbed, this will take around 5 mins.
  • Then, for maximum crispiness, remove half of the gnocchi and coat the gnocchi remaining in the pan in ½ tbsp of olive oil. Leave for 5-7 minutes to fry until golden and crispy on one side. Set aside and repeat with the other half, adding another ½ tbsp of olive oil.
  • During this time, your airfryer timer should go off, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper over the butternut squash and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Setting the two batches of crispy gnocchi aside, add kale, butter and garlic into the pan to fry for 2 minutes. Then add the crispy gnocchi back into the pan, along with the roasted squash.
  • Season with salt and lots of pepper. Sprinkle over a generous amount of parm and top with fresh basil. Dig in!

Notes

  • Fresh gnocchi and dried packet gnocchi are both good options, with the dried version often being cheaper.
  • To prevent sticking, use a non-stick pan and fry the gnocchi on both sides for 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat without constantly moving or turning them.
  • Cook the gnocchi in batches, evenly distributing them in the pan to achieve maximum crispness on both sides.

Nutrition

Servings: 5 servings
Fat: 18g
Calories: 463kcal
Carbohydrates: 69g
Protein: 9g

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