Making Gnocchi yourself, Basic Recipe with Variation Sage Butter

Gnocchi with sage butter recipe picture
Gnocchi with butter and sage arranged on the plate.

Hi, I am a German Chef and Food Photographer. The imparting of cooking knowledge is my great passion. Everyone can cook for himself and with this website I would like to contribute to its success. Cooking questions I answer you gladly at the end of the articles. Have fun and good luck!

I would like to introduce my Gnocchi basic recipe to you here. In addition I show you the simple supplement with sage butter. This is how an idea ready to eat is put on the plate in an article 🙂

I am a big fan of these little Italian cams. They are healthy, because they are mainly made of potatoes and above all they are delicious!

The small dumplings are a great hors d’oeuvre for your menu. As a main course they harmonize with various sauces.

The best information at the end: Gnocchi are very easy to make according to my basic recipe. You can do that in no time at all!

So, now I wish you lots of fun in the kitchen and good luck!

gnocchi with cream sauce in a deep dish
Spinach gnocchi I show you in another post. © Food Photographer Thomas Sixt

1. How to make the Gnocchi yourself

Let me make one thing clear:

Homemade makes you proud and happy while eating! You know what’s in it: Good ingredients and lots of love in the preparation!

My basic ingredients are:

  1. Floury potatoes
  2. One quarter to one third flour as a proportion
  3. One egg (optional)
  4. A little bit of salt
  5. Freshly grated nutmeg

If you are short on time, you can find quite passable pre-produced goods on the shelves of the supermarkets. This is definitely possible for a quick variation.

Gnocchi with sage butter served on the plate
Gnocchi with sage butter is a classic of Italian cuisine.
Frying the sage makes crispy sage chips. This gives you a potato flavour and crunchy feeling on the palate. © Thomas Sixt Foodphotographer

1.1. Boil potatoes

Boiled mealy potatoes are our main ingredient. You can cook with or without peel, I leave that to you. I tend to cook in the skin, it gives more starch.

Use a floury potato variety like Afra, Agria, Bintje, Lilly, Finka…

I recommend that you cook the potatoes a day earlier and only prepare them in the dough the next day. If you only have a shorter lead time, you should make sure that your cooked potatoes are already cooled down before you process them further.

My Chef Tip: Boil your potatoes at best 1 day before preparation.

Now we have removed the skin from our potatoes and want to make them doughy. There are several ways to get the tubers into the dough:

I tend to use the grater. There’s nothing Italian about it, my grandmother used to grate potatoes for finger pasta with the grater.

I have adopted this method and have remained true to it. After all, the cooked potatoes get a little more love when they are carefully grated by hand.

Boiled potato and grater
Potato grater and boiled potatoes. Grated by hand is easy and fast.

1.2. Prepare the Dough

Once the potatoes are grated, you can use them to prepare the dough. A picture says more than 1000 words…

Prepare the potato dough
Prepare potato dough with boiled potatoes, flour, salt, nutmeg and egg.© Thomas Sixt Foodphotgrapher I Kamera Canon EOS RP

1.3 Shape Dough

After kneading the dough briefly, form even rolls on a floured large board.

Gnocchi dough roll
Form potato dough into rolls. Here, manual labor is the order of the day. © Thomas Sixt Foodphotographer

Cut off the dumplings with a knife and give them their final shape with a fork or gnocchi board.

Shape the gnocchi with a fork
Homemade Italian cams: Di.e Gabel makes the typical pattern here
Homemade Italian cams: The fork or a special board makes the typical pattern here. © Thomas Sixt Food Photographer

What do you put the grooves in the potato gnocchi for? So the sauce sticks better!

1.4. Cooking the Gnocchi

Do not cook your cams until your sage butter or sauce is ready.

The sauce is always ready waiting for the gnocchi.

You need boiling water, plenty of salt. The boiling water should taste like sea water!

When are your potato gnocchi ready?

When the potato gnocchi float up, you can serve!

Boil the gnocchi floating in salted water
Cook gnocchi in salted water, gnocchi floating on the surface are ready!

Always cook your gnocchi in an open pot without a lid, it’s quick, after only 2-3 minutes you’re ready to serve!

2. Gnocchi with Sage Butter

Gnocchi with sage butter served on the plate
Gnocchi with sage butter is a classic of Italian cuisine.
Gnocchi with sage butter is a classic of the Italian kitchen.

This simple and delicious dish is made one, two, three. For a perfect result with an appealing appearance, I always proceed this way:

First, I deep-fry fresh sage leaves separately from the butter in hot oil. In doing so, they should be preserved as whole leaves.

Whole fresh sage leaves deep-fried
Crispy fried fresh sage leaves are always fried in the oil and come to the dish later.
Crispy fried fresh sage leaves are always fried in oil and come later to the dish.

I fish the leaves out of the pan and lay them out to drain on kitchen paper. I season the leaves with a pinch of salt.

In the second step I heat the butter in a pan and brown the butter at a high temperature. Then I pour the butter through a fine stainless steel hair sieve into a small bowl. This way I remove the brown residue from the butter.

brown butter on spoon
Clear, browned butter, after heating, the nut butter must pass through a heat-resistant sieve.

Now I take our ready cooked potato gnocchi out of the pot with the skimmer, drain them well and add them to the hot butter in the pan.

In the third step I toss my gnocchi in the pan with the butter and can immediately place them on warm plates. I place the sage leaves on the plate with the gnocchi and garnish with finely grated parmesan.

3. Recipe

Gnocchi Basic Recipe

Quickly make your own potato gnocchi. The successful preparation plus recipe for sage butter in single steps, easy and with photos explained by chef Thomas Sixt.

Servings 2 Persons
Calories 538
Total Time 50 Min.
Basic recipe for homemade gnocchi. Easy and quick to recook. With a recipe suggestion for gnocchi with sage butter step by step with photos shown by Thomas Sixt.

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Gnocchi with sage butter recipe picture
Gnocchi with butter and sage arranged on the plate.


Preparation Time

30 Min.

Cook Time

20 Min.


Gnocchi Basisrezept

500 g floury potatoes (e.g. Ackersegen or Bintje)
150 g Flour (This is also available gluten-free.)
1 pc egg
3 pinches Salt
3 pinches nutmeg


10 pc leaves of sage (fresh sage)
2 tbs oil (for deep-frying sage)
80 g clarified butter
1-2 pinches Salt (I use primal salt or Himalayan salt.)
1 pinch Pepper
1 pinch nutmeg


50 g grated parmesan


Gnocchi basic recipe

Boiled potato and grater

To make the gnocchi dough, cook floury potatoes as jacket potatoes for about 20 minutes. Pour off the cooked potatoes, let them evaporate and let them rest over night.

The next day, remove the skin from the tubers and place a suitable high saucepan on the stove with about 2 litres of water and add 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to the boil.

Grate the potato

Now grate the cold potatoes with a tower grater or put them through a potato press.

Grated potato

Pick up the potato mixture with the dough scraper and place in a mixing bowl.

Gnocchi dough - the ingredients - in the bowl

Add the grated potatoes with flour and egg. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Gnocchi dough

Quickly knead the mixture with your floured hands and form a dough ball.

Gnocchi dough roll

Sprinkle some flour on a large wooden board and roll sausages as thick as a man's thumb out of the dough.

Cut the gnocchi dough

From the dough sausages now cut off approx. 1 cm large pieces with a sharp knife.

Shape the gnocchi with a fork
Homemade Italian cams: Di.e Gabel makes the typical pattern here

Either press in the gnocchi pattern with a long fork or roll the dough buttons over the back of the fork.

Boil the gnocchi floating in salted water

Put the noodles into the boiling water and let them steep for about 2-3 minutes.

Lift the gnocchi out of the salted water with the skimmer
I will show you how to make the gnocchi yourself, step by step, elsewhere. © Thomas Sixt Food Photographer

Scoop the small dumplings out of the water with a skimmer.

Sage butter for gnocchi

Whole fresh sage leaves deep-fried
Sage crispy in the pan, you can also prepare parsley or basil in this way.

Heat some oil in a pan. Put fresh sage leaves in the hot pan and deep-fry them, remove the fried leaves from the pan, put them on a kitchen towel to drain and season with salt.

brown butter on spoon

Heat and brown the butter, then pass it through a stainless steel hair sieve into a bowl.

Brown butter or nut butter

Allow the brown butter to cool slightly for final preparation.

Dressing and serving

Finely grated parmesan
Parmesan or pecorino go well together.

Grate Parmasan finely.

Gnocchi with sage butter served on the plate
Gnocchi with sage butter is a classic of Italian cuisine.

Add freshly cooked gnocchi to the nut butter in the pan and toss. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg and use a tablespoon to lift the dumplings out of the gnocchi pan and place on the plate. Garnish with the fried sage leaves. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

4. Calories and Nutritional Values at a Glance

5. Frequently asked Questions

Can gnocchi be made without flour?

Use maize starch instead of flour, gluten-free flour is a good choice for a gluten-free diet.

How do I know that gnocchi are cooked to perfection?

Place the potato gnocchi in boiling salted water, then let them simmer slightly. The gnocchi are ready when they float to the surface.

How can I make gnocchi vegan?

Do not use egg and increase the proportion of flour or starch. Form a sample dumpling and place it in the boiling water. If the dumpling does not fall apart, you can form the whole dough, otherwise increase the starch content by adding cornflour.

How can I prepare gnocchi without a potato press?

Grate the cooled potatoes with the fine kitchen grater and then prepare a gnocchi dough.

Can I freeze gnocchi?

You can freeze shaped gnocchi on a baking tray. Use more flour when shaping the gnocchi so that the dough pieces do not stick to the baking tray when shock frozen. You can put the frozen gnocchi in a bag and then cook them directly in boiling water as needed.

6. More Gnocchi Recipes

7. Great Spaghetti Recipes

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