Pan Fried Potato Gnocchi With Lemon

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Anyone who knows me well knows that I love gnocchi. It has to be well prepared, and perfectly cooked, but if I am dining out and it is on the menu, the chances are that I will order it. At home, I make both ricotta and potato gnocchi pretty often.

I love these tender, pillowy dumplings, lightly sauced with a variety of fresh-tasting sauces, and consider them to me the ultimate comfort food. Ricotta gnocchi is so easy to prepare in fact; you could consider them Italian fast food because from start to finish, you can serve a bowl of delicious ricotta gnocchi in under thirty minutes.

Although I have made gnocchi often, I have never made pan fried gnocchi so I wanted to give them a try. Anyone who tests out recipes created in their kitchen will tell you that you rarely end up with a perfect dish on the first try. I did some research and found some recipes that partially boiled their gnocchi before frying them.

Perhaps my gnocchi is simply too tender, but that method did not work out at all, and I ended up with a bowl of mush. I tried frying a batch of ricotta gnocchi but wasn’t completely satisfied with the texture although the gnocchi was much better. My next attempt involved frying a freshly made batch of potato gnocchi in a mixture of oil and butter without boiling them first.

This method turned out to be the way to go, as the gnocchi ended up golden brown and lightly crisp on the outside, and tender and light inside. I found that you needed to fry the gnocchi over medium heat, so they are cooked through because cooking them over high heat simply cooked the outside of the gnocchi too quickly without cooking the tender centers.

I made these pan fried gnocchi with both a batch of plain potato gnocchi as well as with my sausage stuffed gnocchi, and both turned out delicious. Because I wanted to highlight the crisp exterior of the gnocchi, I didn’t want to cover them in sauce, so I tossed them in a light butter and lemon sauce and served them topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

It had taken five batches of gnocchi over two days before I got it right, but the final version was exactly what I was looking for. My husband has asked however that I do not make gnocchi again for at least a few weeks!




Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Pan Fried Potato Gnocchi With Lemon

Pan Fried Potato Gnocchi With Lemon

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 Batch Potato Gnocchi or Sausage Stuffed Potato Gnocchi
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil


  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 4 Fresh Sage Leaves

To Serve:

  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Baby Arugula


  1. Place the oil and butter into a large frying pan and heat over medium heat until bubbly.
  2. Add a batch of gnocchi to the pan and let cook without touching until the bottom is golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Turn the gnocchi over and continue to cook until the other side is golden brown. Remove the gnocchi from the pan, and continue to cook the rest of the gnocchi.
  4. Clean out the pan, then melt the butter, lemon juice and zest, and sage together until bubbly.
  5. Return the gnocchi to the pan and cook a minute or two until warmed through.
  6. Serve the gnocchi in individual bowl topped with a handful of baby arugula and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. I make pan fried gnocchi often. Mine is also too delicate to boil first so I just sauté in a mixture of butter and olive oil until brown. I toss with pistachio pesto and serve with lingonberry preserves and the combination is amazing. 

  2. Thank you, thank you for doing all of the research so I don’t have to!  I’ve tried boiling and then frying and  it is always a mess.  But I wanted the crusty exterior.  You are my hero.  You saved me a lot of headaches!

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