Gluten-Free Potato Gnocchi

23 Oct

NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

Gnocchi are a type of dumpling most often made with potatoes, and like many Italian dishes, there is a lot of variability to the dish. It’s commonly believed that gnocchi have been around since the Roman times, and that they actually came from the Middle East. It’s unclear whether the word gnocchi comes from nocchio (a knot in wood) or from nocca (knuckle). The addition of potatoes is relatively new, since they came over to Europe in the 15th century; semolina was widely used before then, and still used in some recipes today.

My version of the little dudes is very simple, and similar to many mass-produced variations of the dish. Sure, you could add all sorts of neat stuff like herbs or spinach, but I prefer to leave my gnocchi as a blank canvas for other tastes/sauces.

You’ll Need:
3 potatoes, baked, cooled, and peeled
3/4 cup white rice flour (joshinko)
1/4 cup sweet rice flour (mochiko)
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

Step one: bake some potatoes. Wash them, poke some holes in them with a fork, rub them down with some olive oil, then sprinkle some kosher salt on them. Bake them for an hour at 350 and they should be good. Let them cool for about an hour before they’re ready, but you can take the peel off while they’re still hot.

Next, combine your rice flours. I found that the best consistency came from a combination of sweet rice flour (mochiko) and regular rice flour (joshinko). I should add that you can probably use coconut flour or almond flour and get a pretty good gnocchi as well.

Sprinkle a little of your flour mixture onto a large prep table, or in our case, the dining room table.

Using a potato ricer (a remnant of our baby-food-making days!), rice your peeled potatoes. You can use a cheese grater if you don’t have a potato ricer.

Make a well in the middle of your potatoes. Crack the eggs and put them in the well, then sprinkle the cheese, tapioca starch, nutmeg, salt, and while pepper around the ring of potatoes. With your fingertips, beat the eggs and then slowly mix them into the potatoes in a circular motion.

Add most of the rice flour as you mix everything together, again with just your fingertips.

Once everything is well-mixed, start kneading the dough until you have a nice looking little loaf. Keep adding rice flour as you knead until it has a dough-like consistency.

Divide the dough into six chunks (bet you’d never get to use a pastry scraper again, huh?), then roll each chunk into a nice rope. Cut the rope into small, gnocchi-sized gnocchi. Remember to sprinkle a little flour over everything if it starts to stick.

That’s it! You should now have a ton of gnocchi. Before making a ton of them, test a couple of them in boiling water – if they start to float and hold their shape, they’re perfect. If they fall apart before floating, add more flour.

For best results, place them on a baking sheet with some parchment paper and freeze overnight. Then you can put them in baggies and freeze them for up to six months.

To cook the gnocchi, drop them in some boiling, salted water, and fish them out when once they start floating. It should only take a couple of minutes. Next, drain them and toss them with whatever you’d like – butter, pesto, spaghetti sauce, your pick.

Update, April 2013: After making this a few more times, I’ve come to prefer adding a couple tbsp of tapioca starch to help the gnocchi bind better. I’ve updated the recipe to reflect this addition.

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30 Responses to “Gluten-Free Potato Gnocchi”

  1. Alex October 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Damn these look good! I bet these would be great with my pasta sauce. Yum.

  2. mawarre October 24, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    I will try these. my son who is a coeliac will be sooooo excited because gnocchi was a pre- diagnosis favourite. Thanks

  3. Allison Jones November 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    Yum! Where can one buy sweet rice flour?
    I’m in Australia, so Amazon or similar is out.

    • Jean Benning December 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

      Any Asian grocery should have it too.

  4. Linda Foss (@BetterWays) December 3, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Can’t we do this with yucca flour?

    • Russ Crandall ( December 3, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

      Linda, it’s entirely possible, but the consistency will be more akin to rubbery than the “squishy” consistency in the recipe above.

  5. suzanne December 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    I was so happy to see this recipe. Can not thank you enough.

  6. debuh December 6, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    How about a gluten free all purpose flour?? Once I found King Arthurs All Purpose flour I stopped using the flour blends. Usually it is cup for cup with reg. flour.

  7. irene December 27, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    my gnocchi are falling apart when they hit the water, any advice?

  8. Emilie January 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    I made these gluten free potato gnocchi and then I freeze them. when I went to cook them I boiled the salted water put them in the pot they fell apart to mush What happened. Should I have cooked them before I freeze them?

    • Russ Crandall ( January 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm #

      Hi Emilie, I’m really sorry to hear that this happened. They shouldn’t be boiled before freezing; it sounds to me like when making and kneading the dough there wasn’t enough added flour. I would suggest next time to boil a couple of them before freezing to make sure they hold their shape (that way you can adjust the ratio as you go). I’ll make a note of that in the recipe now.

  9. Melissa Thomson February 5, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    Same thing happened to me Russ, they fell apart in the boiling water. I don’t think there was enough egg to the potato ratio… I’m curious, do you know the weight of the 3 potatoes you used?? I think there was plenty of flour, and the dough seemed to come together nicely. I have half the recipe in the freezer that I didn’t make. I wonder if I can saute them in butter instead of boiling (trying to save the work!).

    • Russ Crandall ( February 6, 2013 at 10:21 am #

      Melissa, I’m not sure what weight the potatoes were, they were of medium size. The next time I make this recipe I’ll take note and add it to this post. You can definitely just saute them to cook them, but you’ll want to saute the for at least five minutes to make sure the flour is cooked through – otherwise it’ll taste too powdery.

    • Teresa I F. March 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

      . When I first tried this recipe, my first tester gnocchi fell apart, I added 2 tsp guar gum to the mixture and the next tester gnocchi were fine, didn’t fall apart. Try adding 2 tsp gar gum to the flour mixture. It worked for me.

      • Teresa I F. March 9, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

        That’s Guar Gum

  10. Teresa I F. March 8, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    Would adding 1 or 2 tsp of guar gum help to hold the dough together. Would it make a difference to the taste of the gnocchi.

    • Russ Crandall ( March 8, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      Teresa, I don’t think it would make a different taste-wise, and it could help to keep them together. Let me know if you try it, and how it works out! I’ve been toying with the idea of using tapioca starch as well to help keep the gnocchi together.

      • Teresa I F. March 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

        Russ, I tried to make these today. I did find that adding 2 tsp of guar gum to the flour mixture helped to keep the gnocchi from falling apart. It did not make a difference to the taste, as you said. I only did a tester today. I froze the rest and hopefully they won’t fall apart after being frozen. Freshly boiled in water, they did not break apart or stick together. Wish me luck tomorrow. Thanks for your input.

  11. jean guarino June 20, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    These turned out perfectly. I made them exactly as written except for the elimination of the nutmeg. They held together nicely and were not dense and heavy. My potatoes weighed 1.2 pounds before cooking. I kneaded in about 80% of the flour and used the rest on the board. I rolled them over a fork to get the ridges. We enjoyed these so much that I’ve purchased a gnocci paddle for the next batch. Many thanks for posting this recipe.

  12. BellaJack July 30, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Could it be that the falling-apart problem is because of boiling your water too vigorously? My “regular” recipe says “slow, rolling boil” or simmer the water. Even a recipe made with gluten flour can fall apart because gnocchi are a very delicate pasta if made correctly.

    Thanks so much for the work and testing you’ve put into making a gluten-free potato gnocchi, Russ! I plan on developing a coconut and/or almond flour version to make it lower carb for my higher carb days. Wish me luck!


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