This Prep Mistake Could Turn Your Gnocchi Into A Gummy Mess

Fluffy, light gnocchi never fails to delight. These bite-sized morsels are delicious with just about any sauce — pair it with a simple olive oil drizzle, creamy Alfredo sauce, or a zesty pesto. Although gnocchi are basically mini-dumplings, they are traditionally used like other types of pasta. While many gnocchi dishes may seem simple, there are so many things that can go wrong in their preparation. While the cooking time for gnocchi can be as short as a couple of minutes, much of the magic happens during the prep work.

When we covered common mistakes while making gnocchi, we found that cooking the potatoes without the skins sometimes yields disappointing results, since more moisture gets into the potatoes. When it comes to moisture, you really have to seek a Goldilocks level: Too dry means dense, stodgy-feeling dumplings, while too moist can create a wet, gummy mess.

If you find your homemade gnocchi is gummier than you prefer, you may enjoy these chef-approved tips for nicely textured gnocchi dumplings.

Baked not boiled

If The French Laundry's Chef Thomas Keller can teach a certain animated rat to make ratatouille, why not try his tips for top-notch gnocchi? Keller uses baked Russet potatoes rather than boiled (per MasterClass). After ricing the baked potatoes, he mixes them with egg yolks. The next part is crucial: When he forms the dough, he doesn't knead it, since that activates the gluten. Over-kneading the gnocchi dough results in a gummy texture instead of light, fluffy dumplings. You will know your gnocchi dumplings are ready when the ball feels soft to the touch but still holds your finger imprint.

Keller isn't the only chef who advocates using baked potatoes. Nigella Lawson tweeted, "I prefer to bake the potatoes for them rather than boil them, as the drier the mixture the less flour you need, and the lighter they'll be."

Reddit has mixed feelings about their preferred way to cook potatoes for gnocchi. One Reddit user indicated they not only bake the potatoes, but they also use 00 flour. Another suggested: "Don't peel the skin off. Scoop the inside out of the intact skin. You can now make potato skins as an appetizer." Another disagrees: "Baking them can work, but honestly you get the same results boiling them with their skins without any funny coloring that can happen when you bake." Try out our potato gnocchi recipe and use both methods — or just trust the experts.