Mashed Potato Gnocchi recipe from Macheesmo

Mashed Potato Gnocchi

Mashed Potato Gnocchi - A perfect use for leftover mashed potatoes is to make this gnocchi recipe. Tender little potato dumplings tossed in a butter sauce.

A quick brainstorm!  Things you could do with leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving:

1) Eat them cold with a spoon.

2) Put them in a bowl and melt cheddar cheese over them in the microwave.

3) Make a mountain out of them.

4) Start a mashed potato fight.

Or you could do the smart thing and make these awesome Mashed Potato Gnocchi!

Mashed Potato Gnocchi recipe from Macheesmo

Mashed Potato Gnocchi

A perfect use for leftover mashed potatoes is to make this gnocchi recipe. Tender little potato dumplings tossed in a butter sauce.
3.73 from 87 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Dishes, Side Dishes
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 Servings


  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour maybe a bit more
  • Pinch of salt

Sage Butter Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage minced
  • 2 tablespoons cooking water from gnocchi
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes opt.


  • Mix together mashed potatoes and yolk with a fork until it’s well combined.
  • Add in flour and mix well until the flour is incorporated. You should be left with a fairly dry dough. It shouldn’t be sticky at all. If it is, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time.
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut it into 4 even pieces.
  • Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough out into a long strand about 1/2 inch wide in diameter. Try to get it as even as possible, but it’s okay if it’s not perfect.
  • Use a dough scraper to chop the strand of dough into 1 inch dumplings.
  • Once your dumplings are chopped, use the back of a fork to gently press into the gnocchi and make some grooves.
  • Once all the gnocchi are made, cook them in simmering salted water. They are done when they float, about 3-4 minutes.
  • For butter sauce, melt butter in a large skillet. Once melted, add cook water, herbs, and spices, and stir well. Toss drained gnocchi with the sauce and serve immediately!


Serving: 1bowlCalories: 625kcalCarbohydrates: 97gProtein: 13gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 75mgPotassium: 758mgFiber: 6gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 737IUVitamin C: 49mgCalcium: 63mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Gnocchi, Mashed Potatoes

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You might think that gnocchi are a lot of work, but the fact that the potatoes are already cooked and everything really cuts down on the prep time.  Start-to-finish, you can have these Mashed Potato Gnocchi on the table in about 30 minutes.

Mashed Potato Gnocchi

The Dough

The tricky part about devising this recipe is that everybody probably has a different mashed potato recipe.  This can be a blessing and a curse.

The blessing is that whatever flavors you put in your mashed potatoes (butter, cheese, garlic, etc) will also be in your gnocchi which is great.

The bad news is that the consistency of your dough might change a bit depending on how creamy your mashed potatoes are.  So this recipe is a starting point.

Measure out exactly two cups of mashed potatoes and add an egg yolk to them.  Easy enough so far!

eggs for Mashed Potato Gnocchi
Just the yolk.

Once that is all mixed together, add a pinch of salt to the dough and stir in about a cup of flour.

The tricky part is that you might need more flour if your mashed potatoes are really creamy.  But start with a cup and see where that gets you.

If, after you stir in the flour, your dough is still sticky, then you need more flour.

At some point you’ll end up with a fairly dry dough that you can scoop out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead this a few times just to make everything is combined well.

dough for Mashed Potato Gnocchi
A starchy dough.

Cutting the Gnocchi

Once you have your dough ready, chop it into four even pieces just to make it easier to work with.

Then use your hands to roll one of the pieces into a long strand of dough.  Try to make it about 1/2 inch in diameter and try to make it an even strand.  It probably won’t be perfect unless you work in an Italian restaurant and make gnocchi every single day of your life.

Once you get the strand rolled, then just chop up the strand into individual dumplings!  I like to use a dough cutter to do this.  It makes quick work of the job.

chopped up - Mashed Potato Gnocchi
This really isn’t hard, people.

Once your gnocchi are chopped up, use a fork to put the signature grooves in each dumpling.  These just help the gnocchi hold on to the sauce.

Plus they are pretty.

forks - Mashed Potato Gnocchi

Once you do one strand, you’ll get fast at this.  You should be able to pop out a plate of gnocchi in no time.

I’m well aware that my gnocchi aren’t 100% perfect or even the same size.

I have to ask though… who cares?!

plate of dumplings - Mashed Potato Gnocchi
Pretty things.

Cooking the Gnocchi

When you’re ready to cook the gnocchi just get a large pot of salted water simmering.  A good ratio is 1 Tablespoon kosher salt for each gallon of water.

It’s really important that your water is just simmering and not boiling.  A rough boil could just rip your soft little gnocchi into bits.

After simmering for a few minutes, the gnocchi should start to rise to the top which means they are done!

These will cook really fast.  Must faster than pasta.

cooking Mashed Potato Gnocchi
Float when they’re done!

The Sauce

These guys are good with almost any sauce you can think of.  If you’re looking for something lighter, you could definitely serve them with a light tomato sauce.  The simple tomato sauce I made for my homemade trial would be a good one.

I made a quick butter sage sauce though because it just seemed like the right thing to do.  I just melted a few tablespoons of butter in a large skillet and then stirred in a few tablespoons of cooking water from the gnocchi.  The salt and starch from the water will help the sauce really come together.  Then I added in some fresh sage and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Once my gnocchi were done, I just tossed everything together!


tossed Mashed Potato Gnocchi
Can’t go wrong with butter and sage.

The Full Story

Ok.  I can’t lie to you guys.  The truth is that the gnocchi that you see above was actually my second attempt to make some sort of dumpling out of leftover mashed potatoes.

At first I thought it would be easier to make a spaetzle, which is similar to gnocchi but smaller.

I failed miserably at this project and made possibly the most unappetizing thing of food ever.

I knew I was onto something though because even though these didn’t look great, they actually tasted pretty solid.

So I just worked on the dough consistency a bit and figured that gnocchi might be easier than spaetzle.

If you have some leftover mashed potatoes after tomorrow, try out some Mashed Potato Gnocchi!

Or make a mountain.  Your call.

32 Responses to “Mashed Potato Gnocchi” Leave a comment

  1. Hmmmm—maybe not a good idea

    My wife and her mother always made their Gnocchi’s using oven baked potatoes: the gnocchi’s need to be “lite” in texture and the dough should never be over worked when mixing the ingredients. You want the gnocch’s to melt in your mouth. Potatoes get beaten to death along with all the other ingredients and end up in a thick paste. There are better ways to use those leftover potatoes.

    My mother would make fried potato cakes which were more than yummy!

    I’m not totally disagreeing with this idea – just not the best way to introduce your readers to gnocchis.

    1. You may be right that the gnocchi won’t end up quite as light as if you make them from scratch.

      Mine turned out okay though and were pretty quick to make.

      You may also be right that there are better and easier ways to use leftover potatoes. See: Shepherds pie or tater tots.

      Just trying to do something creative. ;)

  2. Who has leftover mashed potatoes?!? A sin! But! I hear tator tots could be made out of mashed potatoes.

  3. Maybe the others are right that mashed potato gnocchi don’t hold up to the “real” thing, maybe not. But I’ve never made the real thing cause it looked like a pain. I think my wife has a claim on all leftover potatoes from Thanksgiving, but this is definitely going “on the list.”

  4. Nick–another huge success! This is a great recipe! I just wanted to share what I did with it:

    First, I used one sweet potato and one russet potato. I mashed those up together, and seperated them in to two bowls.

    Then, I added gluten-free flour, which I was worried about b/c it makes for an extremely sticky dough. It was extremely sticky, but I skipped the rolling out step.

    Then, to one bowl, i added cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and a little brown sugar; to the other i added thyme, rosemary, sage, and garlic.

    Next, I used two spoons and made little dumplings. Not pretty, but it avoided the whole rolling out thing.

    I boiled them together–they really do just pop up to the surface!

    For sauces, I added jar vodka sauce and parm to the thyme, rosemary, sage, and garlic ones; and I added a little half and hald, butter, a sprinkle of brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, and salt to the other ones.

    I literally had to walk away from the kitchen to prevent me eating all of them. This is a great basic recipe, and allows for LOTS of creativity. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. Whoa Melissa! Nice work. The sweet potato version sounds amazing.

      Nice simplified way to skip the rolling step also.

      Thanks for the comment and report back!

  5. If I had left over mashed potatoes or creamed ones, it would be a miracle. all riced potatoes are called for breakfast duties when left over. Kids love potato pancakes made of them. Will have to start from scratch which is no big deal…8:o) Have wanted to try these for some time now.

  6. omg this is soooo good. just barely made it tonight. i used instant cheesy mashed potatoes. i was skeptical especially because i was using instant mashed but it worked perfect. my family couldn’t stop eating it!!!

  7. I made them with whole wheat flour and white flour mix and put some chicken gravy over top and they were awesome. Actually I had made chicken and dumplings and ran out of dumplings, these were a great substitute.

  8. I just made some with a mixture of some left over stove top stuffing mixed with the mashed potatoes and a little less flour. pretty good.

  9. I’ve made this recipe twice now and OMG! I will never do anything with left-over mashed potatoes again. My family loves them. Thank you for experimenting and developing this recipe.

    We also bought some fresh, pre-made and cooked them to compare, side by side. We thought the flavor was identical, but the consistency of your recipe was far preferable. No need to spend a fortune for good gnocchi ever again.

    I also wanted to note I made my first batch with smashed potatoes that still had the skin. It worked just fine that way too.

  10. Thank you SOOOO much. Always make too much mashed potatoes and was looking for an easy recipe. This was simple and the kids LOVED it!!

  11. Discovered this recipe from a Toronto Star full page description of how an Italian restaurant prepared gnocchi. I cut it out and folded it. Came to make it with leftover mashed potatoes, skins and all. Missed the yolk part and used whole egg. Worked perfectly the first time and was in the bowl within 20 minutes. Turned the page over the next day and discovered all the care I should have put in it. Ah well.

  12. I
    I married into two different Italian families., AND NEITHER ONE ever served gnocchi, so I thought I would try out the recipe and see if Liked it. It was easy to make but I think mine came a little heavy. I thought previous comment about using riced potato and mixing lightly might make the difference, but it is a dough so it has to be mixed and kneaded. I am confused. I thought these were too heavy in texture.

  13. I’ve been trying to make soft, pillowy homemade gnocchi for years to no avail (using my Italian aunt’s recipe). I finally achieved gnocchi nirvana with this recipe. Amazing!

  14. So good and easy, I covered mine in garlic butter and sprinkled parm cheese on top. Yummy. Thank you for the recipe!

  15. LOVED THESE!!! We had a lot of leftover mashed potatoes so I was on the search for something different. Even my kid who hates mashed potatoes (it’s a sensory/texture thing) ate 3 helpings! The sage butter is key. Made a double batch since I had 4 cups of leftover potatoes and froze (before cooking) the rest for another day. Saving this recipe! Thanks!

    1. I never met my mother-in-law. But my husband‘s memory of spoon noodles. I have tried different techniques. And they don’t come out nice and fluffy. I have never tried potatoes with that thank you for the information

  16. It can be hard to make the right amount of mashed potatoes for two for dinner, so my husband and I usually have leftovers that turn into meh hash browns or get tossed. This recipe was simple, quick and fantastic with clear directions, perfect ratios, and transformed leftover mash into a whole different thing. The gnocchi turned out fluffy and light, way better than store bought. Thank you!

  17. Another trick is to dump your ingredients into a quart Ziploc freezer bag (they are thicker than regular bags) and knead it in the bag. No mess! Then tie a string tightly across the top of your pasta pot from handle to handle. Once the water is boiling, snip the corner off the bag and use the string to “slice” the gnocchi off directly into the water. It works far better than I expected and made this a meal that can be done on weeknights.

  18. I made the gnocchi exactly by the recipe and OMG so amazing. I changed the sauce a bit just cause I didn’t have sage at home. I will definitely be doing the again. It was really quite easy.

  19. I’m of Italian descent and I’ve had my fair share of eating them at restaurants and at my godmother’s house with just simple mashed potatoes. I had leftover creamy mashed butternut potatoes at home and these came out perfetto, but I did have to add equal amount of flour to the amount of mashed butternut potatoes I used. With gentle folding of the dough until it wasn’t sticky, they came out soft and pillowy after boiling so you can make it successfully . Give this a try but be ready to play with your dough consistency.

  20. Do they have to be coming in water or can you deep fry them? If you can deep fry them what would you suggest for temp and time?

    1. I’m not really sure I’ve ever tried deep fried gnocchi like that. Worth a shot though! 350F for a few minutes would work fine!

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