Chef John's Sweet Potato Gnocchi


I was careful to work only a little flour into this sweet potato gnocchi recipe so it didn't come out super dense, dry, and doughy. Instead, the pasta stayed nice, moist, and tender. The key here is making the gnocchi nice and small. The earthy, subtle sweetness from the potato works well with the bacon, the little touch of rosemary, and butter, making these a great appetizer, side dish, or main.

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 5 mins


  • 1 large orange sweet potato

  • ¼ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese (Optional)

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, or more as needed

Bacon-Butter Sauce (Optional):

  • 2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

  • salt to taste

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided, or to taste


  1. Prick sweet potato all over with a sharp knife. Microwave until very soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Let sit until cool enough to handle.

  2. Cut potato in half and scoop flesh into a bowl. Mash or blend until smooth. Add ricotta cheese, egg, kosher salt, and cayenne; mix with a spoon until smooth and combined. Stir in flour until mixture comes together into a sticky ball of dough, adding more flour as needed.

  3. Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead gently, adding flour as needed, until no longer sticky. Divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each into a rope, about 1/2-inch thick, using flour as needed. Dust ropes with flour and cut with a bench scraper into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer pieces onto a sheet pan and let dry on the pan for 15 to 20 minutes, or refrigerate until needed.

  4. Make sauce: Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, in a skillet over medium heat until browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Add butter; cook and stir until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in rosemary. Set sauce aside.

  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook gnocchi in boiling water until they float to the top, 3 to 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer gnocchi to sauce in the skillet.

  6. Place the skillet over medium to medium-high heat; coat gnocchi with sauce, season with salt, and cook until heated through. Turn off heat and stir in 1 tablespoon Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

  7. Transfer gnocchi to a warm serving bowl and top with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Chef's Notes:

This recipe yields 8 appetizer-sized portions of gnocchi.

I like to roast my sweet potato in the microwave since it's fast and easy, but you could do this in the oven at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). You can mash the sweet potatoes using a food processor instead of a hand tool, if preferred.

Orange sweet potatoes are sometimes sold as yams in the store. Any variety of sweet potato will work, but these orange ones are the most beautiful and, from what I hear, the most nutritious.

You can use 1 teaspoon fine salt for the gnocchi instead of 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, if preferred.

If you want to fry your gnocchi in its sauce a little more aggressively over higher heat, use a nonstick pan because they can stick.

These gnocchi would also work in your favorite pasta sauce, whether a simple, tomato-based marinara, a rich and decadent Gorgonzola cream sauce, or anything you might serve with regular potato gnocchi.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

237 Calories
7g Fat
36g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 237
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 531mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 60mg 5%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 259mg 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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