This ultra-cheesy baked gnocchi recipe takes only 20 minutes to make with only FOUR ingredients! It will be your new favorite weeknight dinner that the whole family will devour.
I’ve made this ridiculously easy vegetarian recipe countless times for my family and every time it’s a huge hit. And the BEST PART about it is you only need marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and pre-made gnocchi to make it!
And if I’m being honest, you don’t even really need the fresh basil. Which means you can have all the ingredients on hand for this comforting meal as an awesome backup for any busy weeknight.
Oh- AND you can assemble it in advance to make it even EASIER!
In this post, I’ll explain a little more about what gnocchi actually are (and how to pronounce it correctly), how to assemble this easy super cheesy baked gnocchi, and provide some recommendations for what kind of kind of sauce and cheese to use.
What are gnocchi?
Gnocchi are Italian dumplings made with either potatoes or ricotta cheese, along with some flour, formed into small little oval shapes. They’re similar to pasta in a lot of ways, but a bit more hearty and nutrient-packed because they have the added potatoes or cheese.
Um… how do you pronounce gnocchi?
A “gn” in Italian is similar to an “ñ” in Spanish. The g is kind of silent, but the n is drawn out. Kind of like “nee-OH-kee.” Some people say it more like “nee-AW-kee.”
Can you make your own gnocchi?
You can absolutely make your own gnocchi, and many people do! In fact, here’s a recipe for homemade ricotta gnocchi made with whole wheat flour. It’s a bit easier and faster to make ricotta gnocchi, but you can also make classic potato gnocchi, or even sweet potato gnocchi for a healthier option.
Is it WORTH making my own gnocchi?
That depends on how much you like cooking projects. I view gnocchi similarly to pasta in that, while I COULD make my own, and it may be tastier and more authentic, it’s not worth it to me.
I generally use store bought gnocchi for all my gnocchi needs. DeLallo is a good brand, and you can buy it on amazon! Trader Joe’s also has a low-carb cauliflower gnocchi that people swear by (but I have yet to try it).
How to use gnocchi
Besides using it for this cheesy baked gnocchi, you can use gnocchi in a variety of other ways. Serve it simply with your favorite sauce. Sautè it for crispy pesto gnocchi with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes. Make chicken gnocchi soup, or use them as a shortcut dumpling in Chicken and Dumplings or throw them into Chicken Noodle Soup in place of the noodles. The possibilities (or should I say PASTABILITIES hahaha) are endless!
How to make CHEESY Baked Gnocchi
- Boil the gnocchi in salted water. This is similar to cooking pasta, but it takes WAY less time- only about 2-3 minutes!
- Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a baking dish, casserole pan, or oven safe skillet.
- Top with fresh basil. I like to cut my basil chiffonade, but you can just give it a rough chop or even leave the leaves whole if you want.
- Top with marinara sauce. I recommend a high quality store-bought brand, such as Rao’s, or homemade marinara sauce.
- Top with LOTS of mozzarella cheese. I alternate between using grated whole milk mozzarella cheese, and using fresh mozzarella cheese. You can use either. Just make sure it’s evenly distributed across all the gnocchi.
- Bake! It only takes about 15 minutes, since the gnocchi is already warm, just until the cheese is melty. Cheesy gnocchi goodness awaits.
I love how simple the ingredient list is for this baked gnocchi, but it’s easy to put your own spin on it.
You can add veggies (such as sautéed mushrooms or cooked spinach), or even some added protein, like rotisserie chicken or shrimp.
You can also add other herbs, like oregano and parsley.
Other Easy Meals with around Four Ingredients
- Roasted Eggplant Parmesan Stacks
- Dutch Oven Whole Roast Chicken
- New England Baked Haddock
- Three-Ingredient Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders
- Orzo with Mushrooms, Browned Butter, and Thyme
- 15-Minute Poached Salmon with Chive Butter
- Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
Check out all my 5-ingredient recipes! Give or take :-)
Did you make this Cheesy Baked Gnocchi? Please comment below and Rate this Recipe
Baked Gnocchi with Marinara, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil
- 8x10 baking dish
- Slotted Spoon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook gnocchi by placing carefully into boiling salted water. Remove with a slotted spoon when they float to the top and place into a medium-sized baking dish.
- Sprinkle fresh cut basil (1/2 cup) on top of the gnocchi.
- Spoon marinara sauce (2 cups) evenly on top of the basil.
- Sprinkle cheese (8 oz.) evenly on top of the sauce.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until cheese is completely melted.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with extra basil if desired.
- Make ahead: You can assemble this baked gnocchi ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking. When you bake, cover it in foil for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 (since it will be cold, it will need more time).
- Money saving tip: Make your own gnocchi from scratch to save some money. You can also omit the fresh basil.
- Time saving tip: Don't bother cutting the basil- just add the whole leaves!
- The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.
This recipe originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious in February 2014 as “Baked Gnocchi with Marinara, Mozzarella, and Fresh Basil.” It’s been edited with updated information, improved recipe instructions, and new photos.