What Does Gnocchi Taste Like? In-Depth Gnocchi Taste Guide


Italy takes food seriously, that is why it has plenty of national dishes famous all over the world dating back to Roman times. Italian potato dumplings called Gnocchi have a long history. Since the dish is cheap and filling, it was popular among the members of the Roman army. If you have never tried gnocchi and wondering what it tastes like, read our in-depth gnocchi taste guide.

What does gnocchi taste like? Gnocchi has a delicate potatoey flavor and an airy, velvety, soft texture. Gnocchi has a rather bland taste (similar to pasta), that is why it is always eaten with a sauce and different seasonings. Cooked gnocchi acquires the taste of the sauce it is served with (creamy, buttery, mushroom, or tomato-based).

Ultimate Gnocchi Taste Guide – Does Gnocchi Taste Good?

What is gnocchi? Gnocchi is an Italian dumpling made of potato, egg, wheat flour, and breadcrumbs. Gnocchi can also contain herbs, spices, and vegetables. Gnocchi has a bland taste, so it is served with tomato, mushroom, cream sauces with roasted vegetables (zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach), bacon, and cheese.

Gnocchi taste depends on the ingredients. Traditionally, gnocchi is made of potatoes, wheat flour, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt, and pepper. However, gnocchi recipes differ even in various parts of Italy, let alone in the world. Some gnocchi recipes include spinach, cheese, semolina, and herbs. However, gnocchi taste is rather bland and reminds of plain pasta, so it is always served with sauce. Gnocchi goes well with many sauces – you can serve it with bechamel, tomato, or even blue cheese sauce. Gnocchi can also be a side dish served with meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, and cheese.

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Since gnocchi does not have a pronounced taste, it acquires the taste of the sauce it is served with. If you serve gnocchi with mushroom and cream sauce, gnocchi will taste creamy, buttery, and earthy. If you serve gnocchi with a tomato sauce, it will have a sweet and acidic flavor.

Gnocchi is most often made from potatoes, but it can also be made just from wheat flour and water, which again influences the flavor of the dish. Let’s answer the most common gnocchi taste questions below.

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Is Gnocchi Supposed to Be Crunchy?

Gnocchi becomes crunchy on the outside when pan-fried after boiling. Do not overcook gnocchi to preserve its delicate and velvety texture and crispiness on the outside. Remember to add butter, salt, and black pepper to make gnocchi juicy and crunchy.

You do not need to pan-fry gnocchi. It is enough to just boil them for 2-3 minutes. However, if you want to make gnocchi crunchy on the outside, you should pan-fry gnocchi for a few minutes after boiling them. We recommend using olive oil to enhance the flavor of the dish.

Is Gnocchi Supposed to Taste Floury?

Gnocchi cooked with no seasoning or sauce tastes rather bland and floury. To get rid of the floury taste and make gnocchi creamy, buttery, and velvety, add cream-based sauce, butter, salt, black pepper, and your favorite seasonings.

Since gnocchi is always served with sauce, it should not taste floury. Potato gnocchi contains 81% of potatoes, so the flavor is rather starchy than floury. If, however, you make gnocchi just from wheat flour, egg, and water, it will have a floury taste that can be easily hidden with a sauce.

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Gnocchi Texture: Is Gnocchi Supposed to Be Chewy?

Properly cooked gnocchi should not be chewy at all. Instead, gnocchi must be soft, delicate, and have a velvety texture. Gnocchi can be crispy outside if pan-fried, but it must always be soft and silky inside. If your gnocchi is chewy, you overcooked it.

Since gnocchi contains eggs and potatoes, it should not be chewy. If yours are tough and chewy, you overcooked the dish. It is very easy to overcook gnocchi – it only takes 2-3 minutes to boil gnocchi. Properly cooked Italian dumplings have an airy texture and are very velvety and easy to break.

Is Gnocchi Supposed to Be Doughy?

Gnocchi does have a pleasant doughy flavor and texture when cooked properly. However, it should taste rather bland and mild. Gnocchi should taste like potato dumplings, and the flavor will heavily depend on the sauce you serve it with.

Is Gnocchi Supposed to Taste Sour?

Properly cooked gnocchi does not taste sour or bitter – it should taste like light potato dumplings and have an airy and velvety texture. If gnocchi tastes sour, it most likely went bad because of improper storage or it expired.

Gnocchi should never have a bitter or sour taste. Gnocchi by itself is very mild and delicate, so it should not have a pronounced flavor. Before making gnocchi, check the expiration date. Or make gnocchi yourself and boil right away. This way, gnocchi will be soft, velvety, and mild.

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Gnocchi History

Gnocchi is considered to be one of the first pasta varieties because the word “gnocchi” was used interchangeably with ” maccherone” that stood for pasta. According to historians, gnocchi was first invented by Italian peasants who had no money to buy food. That does sound like a legit theory because gnocchi is affordable and filling.

First Italian gnocchi was made of semolina and eggs and was very popular in Lazio and Rome. In the 15th century, In Lombardy (Northern Italy) gnocchi was called “zanzarelli” and was made of milk, cheese, ground almond, and breadcrumbs. Later, gnocchi was also made of breadcrumbs, wheat, and water. Later, in the 18th century, almond was substituted with wheat flour, and water was replaced with eggs.

Interestingly enough, potatoes in gnocchi became the main ingredient only in the 19th century. Over the years, Italians reduced the wheat content and increased the potato content, and now Italian gnocchi is made of 81% potatoes!

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Easy Homemade Gnocchi Without a Recipe Video Guide (3 Ways)

Gnocchi Pairing: What Do You Eat Gnocchi With?

Since gnocchi is rather bland and mild, it is rarely eaten by itself. Most often gnocchi is served with sauces, but it can also go with vegetables, meat, and cheese. Gnocchi can also be added to soups.

What does gnocchi go with? Gnocchi has a bland flavor, so it goes well with almost anything – garlic, cream, tomato sauces, fresh and roasted vegetables (asparagus, zucchini, eggplant, tomato, green beans), cheese (Parmesan, pecorino, mascarpone, blue cheese), fried bacon. Gnocchi also goes with pickled tomatoes and cucumbers.

What do you eat gnocchi with? Here are the best side dishes to eat gnocchi with:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Roasted tomatoes with garlic and parmesan
  • Pecorino cheese and salted butter
  • Roasted asparagus with garlic and parmesan
  • Green beans and alfredo sauce
  • Sage and parmesan
  • Garlic sauce
  • Mushroom sauce and blue cheese
  • Roasted eggplant and salted butter
  • Marinara sauce
  • Green beans
  • Broccoli and cream sauce
  • Spinach and ricotta
  • Courgette and mascarpone
  • Bacon and swiss cheese
  • Roasted zucchini and tomatoes

What kind of sauce goes well with gnocchi? Gnocchi goes best with creamy and tomato sauces. The most common sauces that go well with gnocchi are mushroom cream sauce, tomato sauce with fresh basil, and creamy pink tomato sauce. Gnocchi also goes well with cheese sauces (gorgonzola, mascarpone) and pesto sauce.

Gnocchi can also go well just with butter. Boil gnocchi for 2 minutes. Put 50g of salted butter in a frying pan and add your favorite herbs (we like adding sage or rosemary as they give gnocchi not only earthy and peppery flavor but also a pronounced fresh and citrusy aroma). Fry until melted and add gnocchi to fry for 2 minutes to make it crunchy on the outside and soft and velvety inside.

What kind of meat goes with gnocchi? Gnocchi goes well with fried bacon, pork/beef meatballs in tomato sauce, and stewed beef. Gnocchi also goes well with poultry – try chicken in a mushroom creamy sauce with crispy gnocchi! Gnocchi pairs well with mince and steaks, too. Ensure the meat is juicy and has a lot of sauce to go with gnocchi.

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