Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

By Maria Lichty

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Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Recipe

After I graduated college, I traveled to Italy with my brother and his best friend. I fell in love with the country…and gnocchi. Gnocchi is now one of my all-time favorite meals. We like to make homemade gnocchi at home, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time to make gnocchi from scratch. On busy nights, we like to make Crispy Gnocchi with Pesto, which is a quick and easy meal that still gives me my gnocchi fix. And it is a great recipe for this week because it is green and would be a fantastic dish to serve on St. Patrick’s Day.

Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

First, I made a simple basil pesto sauce to go with our crispy gnocchi. You can also use our Spinach Basil Pesto. Both are great with this recipe!

To make the gnocchi, I used a package of store bought gnocchi. You can find gnocchi in the pasta aisle-we like DeLallo brand. To make the gnocchi crispy, you pan fry it in olive oil until the outsides are golden brown and crispy.

Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

Josh likes to eat the gnocchi plain from the pan. Yes, he burns his fingers and mouth, but he never learns:) I try to keep him out of the pan, but it is hard. The gnocchi is delicious so I don’t blame him. We garnished the Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto with a little Parmesan cheese and served bread on the side. We were in carb heaven!

If you are looking for a simple and tasty meal, give Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto a try. And you probably should add it to your St. Paddy’s Day menu! It is the perfect green dish to serve up!

Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

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Crispy Gnocchi with Basil Pesto

Crispy, pan-fried gnocchi with basil pesto-an easy meal that tastes good any night of the week!
4.58 from 14 votes


To make the basil pesto:

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Gnocchi:


  • Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil and process until smooth. Add the cheese and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  • Cook the gnocchi according to package instructions. Drain completely. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the gnocchi in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden and crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Turn the gnocchi and cook, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in ¼ to ⅓ cup of the pesto. You might have leftover pesto. Serve warm and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Calories: 305kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 9mg, Sodium: 586mg, Potassium: 97mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 731IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 195mg, Iron: 5mg

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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4.58 from 14 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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  1. I could go to town on the basil pesto right now…yum!

    And congrats on your ebook almost being revealed. So exciting!

  2. This looks great Maria! I don’t blame Josh for trying to eat the gnocchi out of the pan πŸ™‚

  3. Ohh. I love gnocchi, but I’ve never thought of frying them like that, it sounds wonderful.

    I know what we’re having for dinner this weekend….

  4. I’ve never been to Italy, but I’d imagine that the pasta is the BEST there. I’ve browned my gnocchi before. I’ll definitely have to give that a try! P.S. I’m so stoked for your cookbook! πŸ˜€

  5. Sometimes I think gnocchi are too mushy and I realize now that I need to do more pan frying! Randy loves gnocchi and I don’t make them nearly often enough.

  6. Making gnocchi from scratch is a lot of work. My kids love gnocchi and I love pesto:) The bonus book cover looks great with sweet Jessica’s cookies!

  7. I love cooking up gnocchi. It may be one of my favorite dishes…. served with just a bit of pesto (have you tried mint pesto yet? It’s amazing!)

  8. I love the idea of frying gnocci to make them crispy – I’ve had them baked but this looks even better. Yum.

  9. I have never thought about crisping gnocci in a pan before adding sauce, brilliant idea, Maria! We love gnocci but rarely take the time to make it from scratch. This looks so good! Can’t wait for all of the cookie excitement!

  10. I had the best experience in Venice over a dinner of gnocchi that involved an Italian waiter kissing my arm from hand to shoulder while serving me dinner. I think gnocchi will always hold a special place in my heart after that! haha πŸ˜‰

  11. We’ve never had gnocchi. I love that you’ve made it green with pesto for St Patricks day πŸ™‚

  12. Look fabolous! I love gnocchi and I rarley ever have it! Love it with the pesto!!

  13. I have never made pesto, but you have totally inspired me to try it. This looks delicious!

  14. What a great idea to crisp up the gnocchi! I am going to have to try this soon for sure, sounds delicious!

  15. I have gnocchi on the menu next week! I never thought about crisping it up like this. Doing it ;). SO excited for the ebook

  16. SWEET!!! I love it, because we are so not corned beef & cabbage people – but I need something festive!!!

  17. That pesto is fantastic. Here in Peru we have a kind of pesto made also with basil, but we add a local cheese, some spinach and pecans (we don’t have pines), but the Italian way is alway my favorite, like the one you made.
    I have to wait for your book until it’s available in Amazon, you know, living outsdide the US, that’s the only way to have one.

    1. You can buy our book on our site next week! It is an E-cookbook so it will be delivered right to your inbox! It is very cool:)

  18. I recently tried gnocchi for the first time, and it was really mushy and soggy..(I hate soggy textures) I was really disappointed! But this crispy way of cooking it sounds great! Ill have to give it another try! Thanks πŸ™‚

  19. Gnoochi and pesto is such a wonderful combination. I, too, had a gnocchi epiphany when I visited Italy in my early 20s and I’ve loved it ever since.

  20. I love gnocchi and I love that this is such a quick solution to such a delicious savory dish. I’m going to have to try it soon.

  21. I’ve only had gnocchi with sweet potatoes and sage, but I need to improve upon that limited repertoire. this looks so delicious!

  22. This is such a fun play on green food for St. Patrick’s day! Can we call it fusion food since it’s at heart Italian?

  23. This will be my first St. Patrick’s day as a vegetarian and I was wondering what I would make. I guess now I know!! πŸ™‚ Looks delish!!

  24. Crispy Gnocchi… basil pesto… SOLD! These look amazing and I’m so excited for your e-cookbook! XO

  25. Congrats once again on the e-book, Maria! How exciting πŸ™‚

    I could eat a few plates of those delicious gnocchi. Just had some a few months ago, for the very first time. I am hooked!

  26. Mmmm I love gnocchi and especially this idea of dressing up store-bought gnocchi by pan-frying it and serving it with delicious pesto. Seems like the ultimate weeknight meal. Congrats on the upcoming cookbook – can’t wait!

  27. i like things with texture so crispy gnocchi is definitely right up my alley since I don’t normally like it boiled.

    great site!

  28. Great idea for gnocchi! I love it in all forms, but never thought to do it this way! Thanks for the lovely idea.

  29. Yeah for the mention of DeLallo’s! I live about 20 minutes from their store (outside of Pittsburgh) and love to shop there on the weekends. I just used DeLallo’s gnocchi to make Gnocchi Mac & Cheese this past weekend. Now I have to try them crispy.

  30. We are big gnocchi fans but CRISPY? Sounds great! Can’t wait for your e-book, either!

  31. I loved the recipe! It was crispy and the pesto sauce was amazing! I did have some leftover pesto, but it does make for a good spinach and pine nut salad. Thanks!

  32. Gnocchi is one of my very favorite foods ever, and I adore crispy, yummy, pan seared gnocchi. SO amazing! Can’t wait to try this!

  33. LOVE Gnocchi…what twist on a classic, never thought of going crispy πŸ™‚ Pan-frying adds a nice substance to store bought Gnocchi which can get a little mushy. And fresh pesto on just about anything is fabulous!

  34. Oh these sound great! I hate when I boil them and they go soggy. No bueno. I bet these are great with a little crispness on the edges.

  35. I made this with some prepared pesto and it was delicious! Definitely the best gnocchi I’ve made at home!

  36. Crispy gnocchi sounds so exciting to me!! I can’t wait to try! Fresh pesto from my garden is my family’s favorite! Thankus for sharing one of your favorite meal ideas. ite

  37. Crispy gnocchi sounds so exciting to me!! I can’t wait to try! Fresh pesto from my garden is my family’s favorite! Thankus for sharing on of your favorite meal ideas.

  38. This looks amazing! I just made a garlic scape pesto and have a lot of leftovers. I’ve been looking for ways to use it up and this sounds perfect! I don’t have a potato ricer so I always buy the premade gnocchi and it always is good, but not great… Maybe the browning us the trick! I’m so excited to try this!! πŸ™‚

  39. I made these last night and it was super easy (I cheated and used Bertolli pesto, which is my favorite) and it was incredibly delicious. I love the crunch on the gnocchi. My husband and I both agreed that this was going to have to become a regular meal in our home. Thanks for sharing!

  40. I made this recipe today! It was delicious. This was my first time making gnocchi and what a great introduction. Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

  41. I’ve just recently started to experience the deliciousness of Gnocchi and been looking for a simple recipe for me to use. This is perfect! not only to satisfy my Gnocchi cravings but also put use to all the sweet basil i have growing in the backyard.

  42. I’m trying this recipe and I just don’t see where you give the amount of garlic that needs to be put into the pesto…has anyone ask you before? I’ve looked through the comment and just don’t see it. Thanks for posting the recipe and I’m just gunna wing it on the garlic-hope to hear back though. Thanks!

  43. Tired this tonight! So good. The hubby loves the crunchy gnocci and was eating it plain, just like your hubby. Thanks for posting!

  44. I accidently crisped my gnoochi the first time I made it for my *now* husband, then boyfriend. I was trying to make a browned butter and sage sauce. He always requests it this way now. I cooked it “the normal way” and he said it was wrong! Great recipe! Excited to try it!

  45. Maria, if I wanted to combine your basil pesto recipe with your spinach pesto recipe so that there are pine nuts and some spinach what proportions of spinach and pine nuts would you recommend?

  46. So basically this should be retitled as a recipe for pesto sauce. Since there is no information on how to make the gnocchi oneself.

  47. omg I made this tonight!! So delicious!! I know this is a vegetarian recipe but I paired it with some chicken breast. I used some pesto and mixed it with some mayo and topped each chicken breast with the pesto mix and some freshly grated parm and baked them. Gnocchi and cucumbers on the side. Yum!!

  48. Wow, this was fantastic!! I have made a lot of gnocchi in my time, mainly following a recipe that I jotted down after watching a lady in Naples Italy make it. Never have I made it this way before, but what a brilliant idea for a delicious meal!! I used pecans instead of pine nuts, but did everything else as you said….well did add a few little garden tomatoes for garnish and color not to mention taste, but this would be devine even without that. Thanks for sharing this fabulous recipe!!

  49. This looks amazing! I’m allergic to all tree nuts (including pine nuts) – can you recommend a substitute, or would it be ok to leave it out? Or should I just stay away from this recipe? Thanks in advance! πŸ™‚

  50. This was delicious! I sometimes don’t care for how chewy gnocchi, but pan frying it gave it a delicious crispy outside.

  51. 5 stars
    After eating this dish, I am seriously considering naming my first-born child Basil Pesto. This was a triumph.

  52. 4 stars
    The pesto was great and the crispy gnocchi was a great addition! We had it with meatballs and a bit of spinach.

  53. Hi!
    Just found your recipe and was wondering how many people it serves?
    I would like to make it for a dinner party for 6 as a side dish.

    Thank you!:)

  54. We loved this! The gnocchi took much longer than four minutes to brown for me for some strange reason, but otherwise the recipe went off without a hitch. I used a commercially prepared pesto, which made for a super easy prep. Thanks so much.

    1. 4 stars
      You need AdBlock Plus. I did not see any pop ups.

      This recipe looks so quick and delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

    2. 5 stars
      Yes, they can be very annoying! Just click on the “View Recipe” tab at the top right of the recipe, then click on the “Print” tab, and you will have a new page with no more wretched ads!

  55. Maria, Have you ever tried this with tortellini? That’s all I have, and my kids are begging for this recipe- we haven’t had in over a year now!
    So good!

  56. Update to my question- I went with the tortellini I had on hand and it worked! Happy kids! Thanks for a yummy recipe!

  57. An ingredient is really missing: the Genoese pesto recipe includes two cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano (or Grana Padano, depending on personal tastes) and grated pecorino FIORE SARDO (which is a sheep’s cheese) which is missing.
    And please, use the pepper only for carbonara and cacio & pepe. Pepper has nothing to do with pesto.

  58. 5 stars
    Delish ! I pulsed the basil last in my blender so it wouldn’t be over-worked
    My 1st time making pesto was a success !!
    Next time I will try it with fresh boiled gnocchi as I found the pan-fried didn’t hold the fresh pesto
    Luved it !