Pillowy gnocchi is always a treat, but homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi is extra special because it’s made with love—and tender, caramelized roasted sweet potatoes. (Which is kind of the same thing, right?) Finish the gnocchi in an easy sage brown butter sauce for a knock-your-socks-off, restaurant-style dinner!
Why You’ll Love This Sweet Potato Gnocchi Recipe
- A Satisfying Project. The hallmark of friendship is honesty and since I consider us friends, dear reader, I’m going to be honest with you—this is not a quick weeknight dinner recipe a la my Sweet Potato Pasta or Italian Sausage Pasta. Homemade sweet potato gnocchi is about enjoying the process. It’s gratifying to make something from scratch that you usually buy at the store!
- Gnocchi Is Irresistible. Whether it’s in Chicken and Gnocchi Soup, One Skillet Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Italian Sausage, or simply browned in today’s sage butter gnocchi sauce, gnocchi checks all the right comfort food boxes: tender, carb-y, and soul-soothing. It’s a pleasure!
- Sweet Potato Brings the Flavor. Traditional potato gnocchi is a blank slate, but sweet potato gnocchi has sweet, earthy flavor of its own. I used Baked Sweet Potatoes, which means you also get notes of caramelization. (Psst—if you can’t get enough sweet potatoes, try my Sweet Potato Cornbread and Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries too.)
- Don’t Forget the Sauce! Brown butter, sage, and sweet potatoes are a classic trio that shines in this homemade gnocchi recipe. Although the ingredients are simple, they create a sophisticated dish that would be right at home in your favorite Italian ristorante.
How to Make Sweet Potato Gnocchi from Scratch
For the Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Sweet Potatoes. I recommend red or orange sweet potatoes, which are the sweetest. This is a sweet potato gnocchi without ricotta. The caramelized flesh of the sweet potatoes makes the gnocchi plenty moist and tender without it.
- Egg Yolk. You can freeze the white for the next time you need to whip up an egg wash, or save a bunch and make an Egg White Frittata.
- Grated Parmesan Cheese. You’ll need some for mixing into the gnocchi dough and some for serving.
- All-Purpose Flour. Reserve some additional flour for your work surface.
- Kosher Salt. My top choice for cooking, but sea salt also works if you have it on hand.
For the Sage Brown Butter Sauce
- Unsalted Butter. Butter is one of those ingredients worth splurging on—especially when you’re using it to make a brown butter sauce for sweet potato gnocchi. (Or Brussels Sprouts Pasta with Brown Butter!)
- Fresh Sage. This is not a recipe where you can swap in dried herbs. You need fresh! Use any extra to make Chicken Saltimbocca—which, now that I think about it, would be a fabulous accompaniment to this gnocchi.
- Kosher Salt. If you only have salted butter on hand, dial back the kosher salt.
- Apple Cider Vinegar. To cut the richness of this dish with some bright acidity.
- Bake the Sweet Potatoes. You want them supremely tender—collapsing on the inside, oozing juices, etc. Let them cool, then peel away the skins.
- Mash. Press the peeled sweet potatoes through a ricer or food mill, or use a fork to mash them. Measure out a cup and let it cool until it’s lukewarm.
- Add the Egg. Create a well in the middle of the mashed sweet potatoes, then mix in the egg yolk.
- Mix the Dry Ingredients. Whisk together the cheese, flour, and salt in a separate bowl.
- Combine Wet and Dry. Be gently and work with a fork.
- Knead the Dough. Form the gnocchi mixture into a rough ball, then turn it out onto a floured counter. It will stick stick to your hands but shouldn’t stick to the worksurface.
- Make the Sauce. Your kitchen will smell like nutty buttered heaven.
- Cut the Gnocchi. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, then roll each into a rope. Cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces and place them on a floured parchment-lined baking sheet. (I skip the gnocchi mold but you do you!)
- Boil. Salt the water and boil half the gnocchi until it floats for 30 seconds.
- Finish. Add the cooked sweet potato gnocchi to the butter sauce. Cook until the gnocchi is browned and seared a bit, then plate and garnish with additional Parmesan. ENJOY!
Why Is My Sweet Potato Gnocchi Mushy?
- The most common reason for mushy sweet potato gnocchi is boiling it too long; once it’s floated for 30 seconds, it should be promptly removed and drained well.
- Make sure when you add the boiled gnocchi to the skillet with the sauce, the pan is hot; this is also important, as it means your gnocchi will be nicely seared rather than sitting in the butter, absorbing it and getting mushy.
- Measure your sweet potato. If you have more than the 1 cup called for in this recipe, your gnocchi will be too most and turn mushy.
- Use Canned Pumpkin. Mashed sweet potato has a very similar texture to canned pumpkin; feel free to swap that in here. (I don’t recommend using homemade roasted pumpkin or winter squash puree, as it can have a higher moisture content that will make the gnocchi dough difficult to work with.)
- Add Some Crunch. Toasted walnuts or hazelnuts would make a fantastic addition to the sweet potato gnocchi and brown butter sauce. The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity, but a little bit of crunch and nutty flavor would work well without taking away from the key players here.
- Try a Different Cheese. Pecorino Romano or Grana Padano would both be easy swaps for the Parmesan. Choose an aged cheese with bold umami flavor and dry, crumbly texture.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover sweet potato gnocchi in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Warm leftovers in a skillet set over medium heat, or reheat the gnocchi in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftover sweet potato gnocchi in an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag for up to 2 months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat according to the instructions above.
Meal Prep Tip
You can also freeze sweet potato gnocchi before boiling it. Freeze them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then once they’re frozen through, transfer them to an airtight container or zip-top freezer bag. Cook them directly from frozen, boiling them until they float for 30 seconds.
What to Serve with Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Brussels Sprouts. I adore sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts together—the sweetness and bitterness play off of each other so well! Try this sweet potato gnocchi with Bacon Brussels Sprouts, Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts, or Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
- Cauliflower. Roasted Cauliflower and Air Fryer Cauliflower both have a nutty flavor that pairs beautifully with this sweet potato gnocchi.
- Salad. If you prefer a lighter meal, serve the gnocchi alongside a fall-inspired salad like Beet Salad Recipe or Apple Walnut Salad.
- Chicken. Add some protein to your dinner with Baked Chicken Breast or Air Fryer Chicken Thighs.
- Bread. For a truly restaurant-style meal, serve your sweet potato gnocchi with a side of Rosemary Olive Oil Bread or No Knead Focaccia.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Potato Ricer. The best tool for mashing potatoes and having them remain light and fluffy.
- Bench Scraper. This inexpensive tool makes it easy to scrape the sweet potato gnocchi dough off of your countertop.
- Slotted Spoon. For removing the gnocchi from the cooking water.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Choose Potatoes That Are Roughly the Same Size and Shape. This ensures that they’ll finish cooking at the same time. Exceptionally large sweet potatoes can take an hour and a half or longer to bake in the oven!
- Grate Your Own Cheese. The “shaky cheese” in the green container will give your sweet potato gnocchi a gritty texture, rather than the smooth, pillowy interior you want in this dish. Use a rasp grater or food processor and buy a block of Parmesan cheese—the firmness of the cheese makes the grating easy!
- Let the Sweet Potatoes Cool. If they’re piping hot when you add the egg yolk, you’ll end up cooking it. This is not what we want!
- Drain Off as Much Water as Possible. Any water that’s added to the sauce will spatter, which makes a mess (and it hurts if it gets on your hands or arms!). Drain the gnocchi well with a slotted spoon, then transfer it to the butter sauce to finish cooking.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
For the Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Bake the sweet potatoes: Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Scrub the sweet potatoes, pat dry, and prick all over with the tines of a fork. Bake on the prepare sheet until the sweet potatoes are very tender, the peels have lightly browned, and bits are beginning to ooze from the holes, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let rest until cool enough to handle. (See How to Bake a Sweet Potato for more tips).
- Remove the sweet potato skins (you can peel away the skin with your fingers, or slice them in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh). Use a potato ricer (the ideal scenario if you have one) to mash the flesh into a medium bowl. If you don’t have a potato ricer, use a fork and mash it gently but throughly—try to keep the potato as fluffy as you can. Measure out 1 cup of mashed sweet potato and place it in a large bowl. Measuring is important so that you have the right ratio of sweet potato to flour; if there’s extra, save it for another use*. Let cool to lukewarm.
- Make a hole in the center of the sweet potatoes. Add the egg yolk and with a fork, break up the egg yolk, then gently stir to combine it with the sweet potatoes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the Parmesan, flour, and salt. Sprinkle over the sweet potato mixture. Use a fork to gently combine, stopping as soon as no dry bits of flour are visible.
- Flour your counter well. Grab a bench scraper if you have one and keep it near by (this will make your life MUCH easer). With your hands, gently form the mixture into rough ball, then transfer it to the counter. Knead gently for 1 minute, until the dough is a sticky ball and a little smoother than before. It will be very sticky and cling to your hands; if it’s clinging to the counter, add a little more flour and use a bench scraper to scoop it back together.
- Bring a large pot of water for cooking the gnocchi to a boil. While that happens, cut the butter into 4 pieces, then place in a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high. Cook, swirling the pan periodically, until butter begins to sputter and foam. Turn off the heat, then whisk up any brown bits that collect on the bottom—this will take about a minute; don’t brown the butter completely because you’ll be heating it up again. The color may not change much, but it should smell a little nutty. Immediately add the sage, salt, and vinegar.
- Let’s get back to the gnocchi—your water should be on its way to boiling. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and dust it with flour. Dust more flour onto your counter.
- With a bench scraper or butter knife, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Gently roll each piece into a long rope that is 3/4-inch thick, adding more flour to your counter as needed so you can roll it out without it sticking. Be as light with your touch as you can. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces, then place the pieces on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Once the water is boiling, salt it generously (about 1 tablespoon). Gently drop half of the gnocchi into the boiling water, spacing them out. The gnocchi will sink to the bottom for a minute or so, then float. Let it float for about 30 seconds, then it’s ready to be removed.
- While the gnocchi boils, return the skillet with the butter sauce to medium-low heat. With a slotted spoon, scoop the cooked gnocchi into the sauce, shaking off excess liquid. Place it in a single layer in the skillet and let it sizzle while you cook the remaining half of the gnocchi. Add the rest of the gnocchi to the skillet. Sizzle a minute or so more, turning the gnocchi so that each piece gets a bit of a sear (adjust the heat as needed). Serve immediately with a sprinkle of additional Parmesan.
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