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The Ultimate Fall Meal – Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Garlic Herb Brown Butter Beurre Blanc!
With a distinct chill in the air & the promise of snow just around the corner here in Minnesota, my favorite time of year is upon us – comfort food season! My current obsession on that front? Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter. Yes, please.
If you’ve never tried making it before, tackling homemade gnocchi is understandably a little intimidating. The good news? It’s honestly not nearly as fussy or difficult as you’d expect! This sweet potato gnocchi recipe is the perfect place to start.
We’re sharing this recipe today with Bob’s Red Mill, my longtime favorite natural food brand. I count on Bob’s for high-quality staples, which is absolutely crucial when you make something like gnocchi. Since it’s made with just a handful of simple ingredients, each plays a big role in the overall flavor & texture of the dish.
Thanks to Bob’s Red Mill Pastry Flour, these Italian-style sweet potato dumplings are perfectly light & pillow-y tender. Plus, they’re surprisingly rich in flavor, due to the interplay of the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes, nutty parmesan cheese, & warming nutmeg. I like pairing them with toasted nuts for texture & a fragrant & flavorful brown butter sauce infused with loads of garlic & fresh herbs like rosemary & sage.
A truly restaurant-worthy dish, this sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter is the kind of thing that’s perfect for a lazy fall or winter Sunday in the kitchen, but it’s special enough for a celebratory occasion like date night in. & might I add…it’s the PERFECT vegetarian-friendly dish for your Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving table!
With the perfect balance of rich flavor & satisfying texture, this sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter recipe will make you feel so special. It’s the perfect cozy fall meal!
Cozy comfort food perfection does not get any better than this! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!
Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi Key Ingredients
One of the best things about homemade gnocchi is that it comes together with very minimal, simple ingredients. For this particular sweet potato gnocchi recipe, you need just 3 simple ingredients, all of which you probably already have on hand in your kitchen!
Note: Full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.
You will need…
- Potatoes – Of course! For maximum flavor & optimal texture, this gnocchi recipe calls for a combination of sweet potatoes & Russet potatoes. I suggest using jewel or garnet sweet potatoes for rich flavor & color. However, since they’re so moist, it’s not a great idea to make sweet potato gnocchi dough solely from sweet potatoes – this is where the Russets come into play. Dry & starchy Russet potatoes help give the sweet potato gnocchi light & fluffy texture.
- Flour – While you can certainly use all-purpose flour if that’s what you have on hand, homemade gnocchi is one of the occasions you’ll see me spring for pastry flour. Since it has less protein than all-purpose flour, pastry flour results in lighter, more delicate gnocchi. I love Bob’s Red Mill White Pastry Flour, which is unbleached & unbromated.
- Egg yolks – A couple of egg yolks add rich flavor & help bind the gnocchi dough together without adding much extra moisture.
- Flavor boosters – While they’re certainly not necessary, freshly grated parmesan & nutmeg are simple additions that really enhance the flavor of the sweet potato gnocchi.
How to Make Sweet Potato Gnocchi From Scratch
While the end result feels so fancy & restaurant-worthy, making homemade sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter sauce is likely more straight-forward than you’d expect! There are a few steps involved, but the process itself isn’t especially difficult or drawn out. Treat it like a kitchen project – pour yourself a glass of wine, roll up your sleeves, & have fun with it!
Quick Pep talk! ⇢ Similar to learning how to make homemade pasta, learning how to make homemade gnocchi is more technique than recipe. It takes practice to get a feel for what fresh gnocchi dough should feel like as you mix it together. Your first attempts may not be 100% perfect, but I’m confident that if you follow the steps & tips below, you’ll create an absolutely delicious batch of homemade sweet potato gnocchi. Approach it with an open mind & have fun with it!
How to Make Sweet Potato Gnocchi Dough
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
* The Golden Rule of Homemade Gnocchi
As you work through the process of preparing your homemade sweet potato gnocchi, it’s really helpful to keep in mind the end goal – creating delicate, light, & fluffy dumplings. With this overarching why in mind, you’ll better understand the hows of each step along the way.
Bake the potatoes. Use a fork to prick the potatoes & pop ’em into the oven. Bake until they’re fork-tender, about 1 hour – you should be able to use a fork to pierce the potatoes with very little resistance. While the potatoes are still hot, carefully cut a long slit down each potato & set them aside to cool slightly. Why? ⇢ By piercing the potatoes with a fork before baking & cutting them open once they’re tender, you allow the potatoes to let out excess moisture in the form of steam, resulting in in lighter, fluffier gnocchi.
Rice the potatoes. While the potatoes are still hot but cool enough to handle, spoon the flesh into a potato ricer or food mill. Rice the potatoes onto a large plate or cutting board. Why? ⇢ A potato ricer extrudes & aerates the potatoes, resulting in completely smooth mashed potatoes with beautiful light & airy texture – just what we want for homemade gnocchi! If you do not have a potato ricer, you can achieve similar results with a box grater – see the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.
Cool the potatoes completely. Transfer the riced potatoes to the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 30 minutes. Why? ⇢ In cooling the potatoes completely before preparing the sweet potato gnocchi, you’re able to use less flour to mix together the dough, resulting in lighter, fluffier dumplings.
Mix the gnocchi dough. Spread the cooled potatoes into a thin, even layer on a clean work surface. Pour the egg yolks over top, then dust with parmesan, nutmeg, salt, & some of the flour. Rather than mixing with your hands, use a bench scraper or pastry blender to cut the flour into the potatoes & create a dough. You’ll know you’ve done your job once the ingredients are completely combined into a soft & supple dough that is not sticky or tacky. Why? ⇢ Similar to making biscuits or scones, the technique of ‘cutting’ the ingredients together helps us create a dough with as little handling as possible. As a result, you avoid overworking the glutens in the flour & the starches in the potatoes, which results in tough gummy gnocchi.
Cut the gnocchi. Divide the gnocchi dough into a few sections. Use your hands to roll each section into a rope with about 1/2-inch diameter. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces – these are your beautiful, fresh sweet potato gnocchi!
Fresh Gnocchi FAQs
Do you have to cook gnocchi right away?
Yes, once it’s prepared, gnocchi should be cooked immediately or frozen for later. If you plan to cook it immediately, I suggest beginning to boil the water just as you begin to prepare the gnocchi dough (after the potatoes are riced & cooled). Once the gnocchi are cut, the water should be boiling – perfect timing!
How to cook fresh gnocchi?
Pretty simple – cooking fresh gnocchi is a lot like cooking pasta! Add the gnocchi to a pot of generously salted boiling water. Gently stir the gnocchi occasionally to prevent them from sticking to each other & the pot as they cook. Once they’re ready, they’ll float up to the surface of the water.
How long does it take for gnocchi to cook?
Not long at all! Depending on the size of your pot (always err on the larger side) & the amount of gnocchi you boil, fresh gnocchi cook up in 3-5 minutes. You’ll know they’re ready because they float up to the surface of the water once they’re done.
Can I freeze gnocchi?
Yes, these sweet potato gnocchi freeze beautifully! This particular sweet potato gnocchi recipe yields a large batch, feeding 4 as a main dish very generously. If you don’t need that much, definitely consider freezing some of your sweet potato gnocchi for later – it’s so simple! Pop your cut gnocchi on a parchment-lined baking sheet or plate & transfer to the freezer. Flash freeze the gnocchi until they’re firm, then transfer to a freezer bag. Frozen gnocchi will keep up to 1 month & you can cook them straight from frozen. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance.
The Ultimate Sweet Potato Gnocchi Sauce – Garlic Herb Brown Butter
Once the gnocchi are cooked to puffy, pillowy perfection, all that’s left to do is pair them with a beautiful sauce. Because there’s no fall pairing more classic than sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter sauce, that’s exactly what we’re making – an epic brown butter sauce infused with garlic & fresh herbs like rosemary sage & thyme. It’s so, so good & so simple to make!
Full Recipe Directions, including step-by-step photos, are included in the Recipe Card, below.
How to Make Garlic Herb Brown Butter:
Toast some nuts. This is a totally optional add-in, but since the dumplings are so tender, I love adding nuts like walnuts or pecans to my sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter for some textural contrast. For maximum flavor, toast them by adding the nuts to a skillet, letting them cook for a few minutes, just until toasty & fragrant. Why? ⇢ Toasting draws out the nuts’ natural oils, making them even more fragrant & flavorful.
Brown the butter. Add butter to a large skillet, melting it over medium-high heat. As the butter melts, it will become foamy & begin to sizzle & pop. Swirling the pan occasionally, continue to cook the butter. The sizzling & popping will slow down as the butter begins to brown & smell nutty – this is exactly what we’re looking for! Tip! ⇢ When making brown butter, it’s best to use a light-colored pan or skillet so you can see the color of the butter change & avoid burning.
Build the sauce. Once the butter is browned, build the brown butter sauce by adding in freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, & finely chopped fresh herbs. The mixture will bubble up immediately, then get super, super fragrant as the fresh herbs & garlic bloom – your kitchen will smell like heaven! Tip! ⇢ Between browning the butter & building the garlic sage brown butter sauce, the process goes really quickly. Set yourself up for success by prepping ahead of time, setting the lemon juice, chopped fresh herbs, & garlic within arm’s reach of the stove.
Finish the gnocchi. As the gnocchi finish cooking & pop up to the surface of the boiling water, use a spider strainer to transfer them directly to the skillet with the garlic herb brown butter sauce. Once all of the gnocchi are in the skillet, add in the toasted nuts, toss to combine, & cook over low heat for just over a few minutes. Why? ⇢ Much like cooking pasta properly, cooked gnocchi should always cook with the sauce for a couple of minutes, marrying the two separate components into one cohesive dish.
Serving Suggestions for Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Brown Butter
& just like that – a mere 10 minutes after you cut the gnocchi – you’re ready to dive into a bowl of homemade sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter bliss.
Serving suggestions ⇢ Having gone through all the effort of making homemade gnocchi, I like to keep serving pretty simple. Portion the sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter into your favorite pasta bowls & finish them off with toppings of choice, like freshly grated parmesan, baby sage leaves, or a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick of heat.
This sweet potato gnocchi recipe generously feeds 4 as a main dish or up to 6 as a side (might I suggest pairing it with my all-time favorite Crispy Parmesan Chicken!?).
I can’t wait for you to try this Homemade Sweet Potato Gnocchi recipe! It’s the ultimate fall comfort food recipe, perfect for special occasions & lazy Sunday dinners alike. I know you’ll love it just as much as we do!
If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! ♡ Happy cooking!
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Festive Fall Flavors
These sweet potato gnocchi are perfectly light, pillowy-tender, & extra flavorful thanks to the addition of freshly grated parmesan & nutmeg. For the perfect fall meal, finish the sweet potato gnocchi with brown butter sauce infused with garlic, fresh sage & rosemary, & chopped walnuts or pecans for extra texture. A seriously impressive yet surprisingly easy meal, perfect for a lazy fall Sunday or a special occasion like Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving!
- 2 medium Russet potatoes (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 medium sweet potato (see Recipe Notes)
- 2 large egg yolks, lightly whisked
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups cups Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White Fine Pastry Flour
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
for the garlic herb brown butter sauce:
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 12–16 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 8–12 sprigs fresh thyme, destemmed
- 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
- kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- Bake the potatoes: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a fork, prick the potatoes, creating holes all over the surface for steam to escape as the potatoes bake. Place the potatoes on a small baking sheet & transfer to the oven. Bake 45 minutes – 1 hour, just until the potatoes are fork-tender (i.e. you can stab the potato with a fork with very little resistance). Remove the potatoes from the oven. Carefully cut a slit lengthwise across each potato to allow steam to escape. Set aside for 5-10 minutes, just until slightly cooled.
- Rice the potatoes: Spoon the flesh of the cooked potatoes into a potato ricer. Rice the potatoes onto a large plate or cutting board, ensuring the riced potatoes are arranged in a thin, even layer. Transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
- Prepare the gnocchi dough: Before you get started, I suggest reading through the 4 steps of this process carefully to get a feel for it. This is also a great time to begin boiling the gnocchi water, as well – see Step 7, below!
- Turn the cooled potatoes onto a clean, sturdy work surface, spreading them into a thin, even layer. Take care to avoid working the potatoes too much or pressing down on them – we want them light & fluffy!
- Drizzle the egg yolks over the potatoes, then sprinkle the grated parmesan, grated nutmeg, & 2 teaspoons kosher salt over top. Starting with 1 1/2 cups, sprinkle the pastry flour over the potato mixture.
- Begin mixing the dough by using a bench scraper or pastry blender to cut the flour into the potato mixture in vertical slicing motions. Once the flour is cut into the potatoes, use the bench scraper to pull the potato mixture into a pile. Again, take care to avoid pressing down on it too much – we want the potatoes light & fluffy! Continue to cut the dough together with the bench scraper. If the surface of the dough feels too wet (it should not be tacky or sticky), sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup flour over top & use the bench scraper to continue to cut it into the potatoes. Once the flour is cut into the potatoes, the mixture should be combined pretty well & a soft & supple dough will begin to form. If it still feels sticky or tacky to the touch, repeat the process of cutting in a little more flour.
- Once the potatoes begin to form a dough, use your hands to carefully & lightly press the dough into a ball. Do not knead the dough, as this works the glutens in the flour & the starches in the potatoes, resulting in tough, gummy gnocchi. The dough ball will be pretty soft, but it should hold its shape. Congratulations – you just made fresh gnocchi dough!
- Cut the gnocchi: Use a clean bench scraper to divide the sweet potato gnocchi dough into 5-6 sections. Dust 1 of the sections with flour. Using your hands, lightly roll the gnocchi dough against the work surface, creating a long rope. Once the rope is about 1/2-inch in diameter, use the bench scraper to cut it into 1-inch pieces. Transfer the cut gnocchi to a parchment-lined baking sheet & set aside. Repeat rolling & cutting the remaining gnocchi dough. Once all the gnocchi are cut, you can proceed with the following steps to serve them immediately, or freeze them for later – see Recipe Notes, below, for freezing instructions.
- Toast the nuts: Add the chopped walnuts or pecans to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, monitoring closely & shaking occasionally to prevent burning, for 3-4 minutes, just until toasty & fragrant. Transfer toasted nuts to a plate & set aside. Carefully wipe out the saucepan & return to medium heat.
- Prepare the garlic herb brown butter sauce: Add the butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the butter is completely melted, it will look foamy & it will begin to sizzle & pop. Swirling the pan occasionally, continue to cook the butter. After 2-3 minutes, the sizzling & popping will slow down as the butter browns. Reduce heat to medium-low as soon as the butter is amber in color & smells nutty. Quickly & carefully add in the lemon juice, fresh herbs, & garlic. The mixture will bubble up immediately. Cook, stirring often, 1-2 minutes longer, until the brown butter sauce is very fragrant. Remove from the heat.
- Boil the sweet potato gnocchi: Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. As the garlic herb brown butter sauce comes together, transfer the prepared sweet potato gnocchi from the sheet pan into the boiling water – I suggest using the parchment paper as a sling, which will prevent excessive splashing. Stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, boil the sweet potato gnocchi. They will float to the top of the pot once they’re ready, about 3-5 minutes. Use a spider strainer to transfer the gnocchi from the boiling water to the skillet with the prepared garlic herb brown butter sauce You don’t have to be too careful about draining the gnocchi really well before transferring to the sauce – the starchy gnocchi water helps the dish come together! If you do not have a spider strainer, you can drain the gnocchi into a colander, reserving 1 cup of the starchy water before draining.
- Finish the gnocchi in the garlic herb brown butter sauce Return the skillet with the sweet potato gnocchi & garlic herb brown butter sauce to medium-low heat. Add in the toasted nuts. Stir gently to combine, coating the gnocchi in the brown butter sauce well. Cook 1-2 minutes, just to bring everything together. Taste & season with additional kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired.
- Serve the sweet potato gnocchi immediately, topped with grated parmesan & chopped fresh herbs as desired. Enjoy!
- Potatoes: Between the Russet potatoes & sweet potato, you’ll want 2.25- 2.5 pounds total – in my experience, this typically amounts to 2 medium Russet potatoes & 1 medium sweet potato. Try to use potatoes that are pretty uniform in size so they bake evenly.
- Special Equipment: There are 2 tools that make homemade gnocchi prep much easier – a potato ricer & a bench scraper. My preferred ricer & bench scraper are linked below.
- Potato ricer alternative: If you do not have a potato ricer, you can use a box grater in its place – carefully peel the potatoes & grate the flesh against the side with smaller holes.
- Bench scraper alternative: If you do not have a bench scraper, a pastry blender works really well to cut the dough together. If you have neither, use a sharp knife & work carefully.
- Storage & Reheating: While they’re best enjoyed fresh, leftover sweet potato gnocchi in brown butter sauce will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.
- Freezing Sweet Potato Gnocchi: This sweet potato gnocchi recipe yields a large batch, feeding 4 as a main dish very generously. If you don’t need that much gnocchi, fresh gnocchi freezes very well! To freeze, prepare the gnocchi according to Steps 1-4 of Recipe Directions, above. Transfer the cut gnocchi to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flash freeze for at least 1 hour, until the gnocchi are firm, then transfer the gnocchi to a freezer bag. Freeze up to 1 month. Cook the sweet potato gnocchi directly from the freezer in boiling salted water, adding a couple minutes of cook time since they’re frozen.
Keywords: sweet potato gnocchi, herb brown butter sauce, homemade gnocchi, fall, winter, date night, girls night, thanksgiving, friendsgiving, vegetarian
Recipe & Food Styling by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Rachel Cook, Half Acre House.