Katherine C. Parker

Turn four simple ingredients-potatoes, flour, egg yolk and salt-into light and fluffy homemade gnocchi (that's "NYOH-kee"). With these step-by-step instructions, you'll learn how to make gnocchi so you can give the delicious gift of homemade pasta to your family and friends. Buon appetito!

Pictured recipe: Chicken and Gnocchi Dumplings

How To Make Homemade Gnocchi Step-by-Step

Step 1: Scoop the insides out of baked potatoes and press them through a potato ricer fitted with a fine disc onto a clean counter. (If you don't have a ricer, mash the potatoes until smooth.)

You can also use sweet potatoes, like in this recipe.

Tip: Press the potatoes through the ricer while they're still hot.

Step 2: Gather the potato into a mound on the counter, sprinkle with salt and let cool, about 15 minutes. Then, pour egg yolk over the cooled potato and sprinkle with flour.

Step 3: Use a bench knife or metal spatula to gently fold the flour and egg into the potatoes until combined (it will not look like dough at this point).

Step 4: Gently squeeze, knead and pat the dough until it holds together and resembles biscuit dough or cookie dough. The dough will be a little sticky; if it's very sticky, add more flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary. Be careful not to overwork the dough; overworked dough will yield tougher gnocchi.

Tip: Don't add too much flour or the gnocchi will be tough.

Step 5: Pat the dough into a 1-1/2-inch-thick disk and then divide it into 4 equal pieces.

Step 6: Working on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands, roll each portion into a 24- to 26-inch-long "snake," 1/2- to 3/4-inch wide. Start at the center of the dough and roll out using your fingertips and very light pressure; gently pull the dough out as you roll.

Tip: Use a gentle touch when rolling the dough, you want tender gnocchi.

Step 7: Cut the snake into 3/4-inch pieces.

Step 8: Use your fingertip to make an indentation (or "dimple") in the center of each gnocchi. Place the gnocchi on a lightly floured baking sheet as they are made. Cook about one-quarter of the gnocchi at a time in a large pot of boiling water. When they float to the top, transfer to a parchment or wax-paper lined baking sheet. Serve warm tossed with your favorite homemade or jarred sauce, or use them in your favorite recipe.

Tip: A bonus of making potato gnocchi: It's easy to make ahead! Toss cooked gnocchi with olive oil and refrigerate in a single layer for up to 2 days. Or freeze cooked gnocchi in a single layer on a lined baking sheet, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator, then reheat gnocchi in boiling water until they float.

Get the full recipe for Homemade Potato Gnocchi.

Related: All the Healthy Gnocchi Recipes You Need

Pictured recipe: Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter

Gnocchi Topping Ideas

Gnocchi is the perfect base for your favorite flavors. It's a pasta at heart so consider all the ways you might top spaghetti. Here is a starting list.

• Proteins: Turkey sausage, shrimp, chopped chicken, white beans, bacon, crab, chorizo
• Vegetables: Spinach, chopped asparagus, peas, leeks, cherry tomatoes, zucchini ribbons, chard, artichoke, diced carrots, mushrooms, onion
• Cheese: Mozzarella, Parmesan, goat cheese, blue cheese, gorgonzola, feta
• Sauces: Cream, tomato, browned butter, olive oil, lemon juice, pesto, garlic
• Herbs: Crisped sage, chives, basil, rosemary

Watch: Turn your homemade gnocchi into a skillet dinner!