This article was updated on 12/07/2023 to incorporate new insights and a new method we tested.
Gnocchi is a delicate dish that’s best served straight after cooking. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare it in advance or keep your leftovers for later.
I’ve experimented with several different gnocchi reheating techniques to find out which one is best at delivering moist, tender gnocchi that’s (nearly) as good as day one.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best way to reheat gnocchi is in a skillet. Heat some oil or butter in a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium heat. Add the gnocchi along with 1-2 tablespoons of water if there’s a sauce. Saute the gnocchi for 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
How I tested reheating gnocchi
I made some gnocchi and then cooked half of it in my famous tomato sauce and left half of it plain. Through this experiment I discovered that making your own gnocchi is actually really easy, I’d say it’s easier than making pasta!
The following day I tested six different ways of reheating the gnocchi.
- A skillet: The best method.
- A microwave: Quick, but slightly chewy gnocchi.
- A steamer: Good, but gnocchi a bit soft.
- An oven: Okay for large amounts.
- A double boiler: Great for gnocchi in a delicate sauce that’s at risk of splitting.
- By boiling: Only suitable for plain gnocchi.
How to reheat gnocchi in a skillet
Time: 2-4 minutes
- Add some butter or oil to a pan and heat it on a medium* heat.
- When the butter is melted and has just started bubbling, add the gnocchi. If the gnocchi is in a sauce or seems dried out, add 1-2 tablespoons of water as well.
- Heat the gnocchi for 2-4 minutes or until it’s warmed through, stirring frequently.
*If you have plain gnocchi or gnocchi that was previously fried, you can use a higher heat to get more of a crispy effect.
The water helps to loosen the sauce and rehydrate the gnocchi. To make the most of the steam it creates, add a lid to the pan for the first 30 seconds after you add it.
I also like to fry some extras in the pan before I add the gnocchi to boost the flavors. Garlic, chili, herbs, or even bacon would be delicious additions.
Note: It’s best to use a heavy-bottomed pan so you have more control over the heat. You don’t want the pan to get too hot because this will overcook the gnocchi.
Results: This was my favorite method and the one I recommend. The plain gnocchi came out of the pan slightly browned, which added a really nice flavor and texture to the dish. And the gnocchi wasn’t mushy or dry, which were the pitfalls of the other methods.
How to reheat gnocchi in the oven
Time: 10-15 minutes
Rating: 6/10 (for sauced gnocchi)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Put the gnocchi in an oven-proof dish along with the sauce and sprinkle over a tablespoon of extra water.
- Cover the gnocchi with foil.
- Heat the gnocchi in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
I only recommend this method for sauced gnocchi because plain gnocchi will dry out too much.
The extra water helps create steam, and the foil traps this steam, which prevents the gnocchi from drying out too much. Towards the end of the reheating, you can remove the foil and sprinkle some cheese over the top of the gnocchi. It will melt into a gooey, creamy topping.
The oven is best for large batches of gnocchi with lots of sauce. The more stuff there is to reheat and the more sauce there is, the less chance there is of the gnocchi drying out.
Results: The oven gnocchi was a tiny bit dry but still tasted delicious. I didn’t add any extra cheese, but this would have made the dish even better. And I’ll repeat this because it’s important! Don’t reheat plain gnocchi in the oven. There’s nothing to keep it moist, so it will just totally dry out.
How to reheat gnocchi in the microwave
Time: 40-60 seconds
- Put the gnocchi in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel.
- Heat the gnocchi in 20 seconds intervals until it’s warmed through, stirring the gnocchi in each break. One portion should take 40-60 seconds to heat.
I also tested sprinkling the gnocchi with water and covering the dish with pierced plastic wrap. This worked fine, but I preferred the texture of the damp paper towel portion – it didn’t seem as mushy.
Twenty seconds intervals seem short, but it’s the best way to ensure you don’t overcook the gnocchi.
Always eat the gnocchi as soon as you can once it comes out of the microwave because as it cools down, it will dry out and turn into cardboard.
Results: The speed and convenience are main positives for the microwave, but the texture of the gnocchi suffered becoming mushy and gummy. It’s okay if you’re in need of a quick lunch, but if you’re serving guests I’d avoid this method.
How to reheat gnocchi in a steamer
Time: 3-4 minutes
- Set up your steamer* and bring the water to a gentler simmer.
- Place your gnocchi in the steamer. If the gnocchi has sauce on, you can put it on a plate in the steamer.
- Heat the gnocchi for 3-4 minutes.
Avoid boiling the water because then the heat will be too aggressive. You want a gentle stream of steam rather than a heavy onslaught. You can also use stock instead of water if you feel the gnocchi is in need of a flavor boost.
*If you don’t have a steamer, you can use a makeshift one by resting a sieve or colander on top of a pan.
Results: The steamer produced really tender gnocchi. The texture was a little soft for me, and the gnocchi didn’t have much bite left. But it wasn’t gummy or chewy like the microwave.
How to reheat gnocchi in a double boiler
Time: 6-7 minutes
Rating: 7/10 (for sauced gnocchi)
- Fill a pan with 2 inches of water.
- Heat the water until it’s simmering.
- Rest a bowl on top of the pan and add the gnocchi.
- Add 1-2 tbsp of water if you’re heating gnocchi in a sauce.
- Heat the gnocchi for 6-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
The double boiler method is great when your gnocchi is in a delicate sauce. The other methods like frying or the microwave can easily split a creamy or oily sauce.
The steam from the water will heat the bowl, which in turn will heat the gnocchi. Because this method uses second-hand heat, it’s very gentle, and there’s little risk of overcooking the gnocchi.
Results: The gnocchi still had some bite to it after being reheated in the double boiler. The texture was good and the sauce was still lovely and thick, but it wasn’t very fast! And would be even slower if you have multiple portions to reheat.
How to reheat gnocchi by boiling it
Time: 30-60 seconds
Rating: 5/10 (for plain gnocchi)
- Bring a pot of water a gentle boil
- Place your gnocchi in a sieve and then dip the sieve in the water for 30-60 seconds before pulling the gnocchi out.
- Add any sauce you want and serve.
This method only works for plain gnocchi, which is why I’ve left it until last to suggest it. If you put sauced or seasoning gnocchi in the water all the flavoring will be washed off.
The sieve is useful for making sure the gnocchi isn’t in the water for too long. Draining the gnocchi can be fiddly and any delays will leave you with overcooked, soggy gnocchi.
Results: The plain gnocchi was okay after being reheating in boiling water but it did feel more overcooked than other methods. And it’s not often you just have plain gnocchi to reheat.
How to store leftover gnocchi
To store leftover gnocchi, transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.
If the gnocchi isn’t in a sauce, toss it lightly with olive oil to stop it sticking together, or separate layers with parchment paper. Sauced gnocchi will become soggy as it absorbs the sauce, so eat it as soon as possible.
I don’t recommend freezing cooked gnocchi because it will become overly mushy, the exception here is if the gnocchi is in a baked dish. Then you can freeze it in an airtight container.
If you want more information to storing and freezing gnocchi, I have a separate guide for that.
And now what you’re all waiting for… the video of the hilarious fried gnocchi fail.
BEST Way To Reheat Gnocchi [Tested Methods]
- 1 portion gnocchi sauced or unsauced
- 1 portion olive oil
- Add some butter or oil to a pan and heat it on a medium heat.
- When the butter is melted and has just started bubbling, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the gnocchi. If the gnocchi is in a sauce, add 1-2 tablespoons of water as well.
- Heat the gnocchi for 2-4 minutes or until it’s warmed through, stirring frequently.
- The water helps to keep the sauce moist and stops it from drying out too much. To make the most of the moisture the steam produces, add a lid to the pan for the first 30 seconds after you add it. This will trap some steam and re-moisturize the gnocchi.