Ricotta Gnocchi

Servings: 4 Prep: 30 min Cook: 30 min Total: 24 hrs

Here we have gnocchi (nee-yo-kee). Gnocchi is a favorite of mine, going as far back as childhood. These soft Italian dumplings always hit the spot, tossed simply with marinara and cheese. Within a low-carb way of life, I’d long assumed that gnocchi had vacated my future. Then, without really meaning to, I discovered “ricotta gnocchi”.

Most all gnocchi I had growing up was a mixture of mashed potatoes, flour and eggs. This was formed into a dough, then little dumplings, which were then boiled. Over my career, I’ve seen different flavors and methods employed, including boiling, frying, broiling and the use of sweet potatoes, beets, spinach, nuts, etc. Every variation I’d ever heard of used flour in some way. Flour is a no no within a low-carb lifestyle.

So, what’s this ricotta gnocchi? Interesting! Turns out, it’s basically ricotta mixed with flour and eggs. My shoulder sank. Bummer.

Then, I found a reference to a pure ricotta variety, stemming from the Zuni Café cookbook. (Zuni Café is a famous restaurant in San Francisco … the best hamburger on earth!)

Here’s a link to the recipe I followed. My master plan had been to follow this recipe, but dust the final dumplings with parmesan cheese, rather than flour. This would work and would be significant enough of a change to warrant a new recipe!

Starting with a store bought organic, expensive, high-end ricotta (rather than making my own), I put it in a strainer over a bowl in the fridge and let it drip-dry for 24 hours. I really wanted to follow the recipe to a T. Once the ricotta is dried, the rest is fairly easy to follow along with.

I followed along with the recipe, tweaking, twiddling and twoddling, until I finally had something like a batter. I tried to form dumplings, but … it was too loose. I refrigerated the batter to see if it would firm up. It didn’t. Finally, I decided to see what would happen if I carefully dropped some batter into a pool of very hot, but very still, salted water. Imagine every molecule in the gnocchi being upset with every other molecule. When given the chance to run far far away from everything, they do. This is what adding the batter to the water was like. Everything went every which way, resulting in a pale white water, with nary a gnocchi in sight. I was beyond frustrated!

*light bulb*

Then, I remembered the Instant Mashed Potatoes that had been kicking around my cupboards. LC Foods had mentioned on their Facebook page that they’d send free samples to people willing to try them out. I submitted my info, and they immediately sent me the stuff (also some tasty trail mix!). I was energetic enough to get the free mashed potatoes, but … a good month went by and I never tried them. I had been attacked with a severe bout of laziness.

I dug the potatoes out of my cupboard, measured a cup of it, mixed it in and tested it in water. The outer layer very briefly tried to run away from every other part of the outer layer, but then it all miraculously hung together, sank for a moment, then came bobbing back to the surface after about 1 minute. I let it cook for about 4 more minutes and then pulled it out. It was soft, but … it held its own. I tasted it. YUM!

In the end, I was a little worried about the taste, because I’ve had a bad experience with instant mashed potatoes in the past. However, these were AMAZING. They were light and delicious, with precisely zero of the strange flavors stemming from other low-carb instant potatoes that I’ve had. Well done, LC Foods!

Forming Note: The are a few ways to form these. You can do it by rolling long logs in parmesan cheese, then cutting the logs into smaller dumplings. You can use a spoon and drop each dumpling into grated parmesan. You can also use a very small ice cream scoop for it (chances are, you won’t have this, though). Here’s what I did: I put the dough into a pastry bag, without a tip. I also set up a platter with freshly grated (the finest grate) parmesan cheese. Then, I placed the pastry bag in one hand, with a steak knife in the other. I extruded the dough out of the tip, while using the steak knife to cut the dough-stream every inch. This created a quick succession of small inch long cylinders, each dropping into random spots on the parmesan. I did this until I was out of dough. I tossed it in the parmesan to make sure it was evenly coated, then refrigerated it for about 30 minutes. The rest is in the recipe!

Sauce Note: the gnocchi in the photos are topped with a tomato and roasted pepper cream, but a marinara sauce would be nice, as would just very simply fried in butter, with maybe little sage and topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Ricotta Gnocchi
Net Carbs
1 lb (454g) fresh ricotta cheese, whole milk
2 large (100g) whole eggs, chilled and lightly beaten
1/4 cup (56g) fresh whole butter, divided
1 cup (100g) parmesan cheese, finely grated and divided
1 cup (103.38g) low-carb instant mashed potatoes
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Grand Totals (of 4 servings):
Totals Per Serving:
10.8 g

Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta Gnocchi

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 day
Servings: 4 Servings
Author: DJ Foodie


  • 1 lb fresh ricotta cheese whole milk
  • 2 large whole eggs chilled and lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup fresh whole butter divided
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese finely grated and divided
  • 1 cup low-carb instant mashed potatoes
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  • Make sure your ricotta is dry. Place it in a colander over a bowl, wrapped in plastic wrap to drip-dry over night.
  • The next day, push your ricotta through a fine meshed sieve, to make sure it's smooth. Use the back of a plastic spatula to push it through.
  • Melt 1 tbsp of your butter.
  • Add your eggs, melted butter, a dash of salt, mashed potatoes and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Mix well.
  • Form your dough into small dumplings, using any of the methods listed in the notes. Place the formed dumplings onto a platter coated with the remaining 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese. Make sure the dumplings are well coated with the cheese. Refrigerate the dumplings for 30 minutes up to overnight.
  • Boil a large pot of salted water. Once the water is boiling, turn it down to a very slow simmer.
  • Add your gnocchi to the water, carefully. Don't just dump them in. These are delicate. Carefully pick them up and add them one at a time, or in small batches of 5 or 6. They will sink. Try and add them all over a 60 second period.
  • Once they've all been added, let them cook for 5 minutes. Never let the water boil. It should be very hot, but not boiling. The gnocchi should start floating after about 1 to 2 minutes. Continue to let them cook for 3 or so more minutes, for a total of 5.
  • With a slotted spoon, carefully lift the gnocchi out of the water and place them into a strainer, so they can dry. If you're too aggressive with these, they will fall apart. Be gentle.
  • In a large sauté pan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. The moment any of the butter begin to turn a very light shade of tan, carefully add a few gnocchi. Toss them in the pan to coat them with butter. Add a few more, toss them around. Add a new more, etc. You want them to fry in the butter. You may need to do this in two batches. A little color on the butter can add a nice flavor.
  • Once they are fried, remove them from the pan and serve them! If there is any leftover parmesan on the original gnocchi platter from the fridge, use this as a garnish!

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition …

24 thoughts on “Ricotta Gnocchi”

  1. So, would this work in chicken broth? As you can tell, I’m still on the trail of a good dumpling. I really like the sound of these. I’m not sure I’ve seen any low carb instant potatoes in my area though.

  2. Hi Ethelee, you absolutely could "very slowly simmer" these in chicken stock. It might impart a nice dimension. However, I know you’re looking for a thickish flour based noodle, which you’d roll out, cut and drop into the stock. You’re looking for "chicken and dumplings". These gnocchi were wonderful, light and airy with a nice subtle crispiness to the surface, because of the frying. However, it’s definitely not what you’re looking for. If you dropped these into chicken stock, you’d have a series of VERY light (almost to the point of dissolving) little potato-cheese dumplings. They would taste nice, but it won’t match your expectations. Change your expectations and you’ll LOVE these!

  3. Do you think that potato flour (or, potato starch) would work in place of the instant mashed potatoes? I cannot find the brand that you used, and I don’t trust others.

  4. Hi Ouida. I honestly have no idea! I’ve never worked with either of those ingredients. You can order the mashed potatoes online. There’s a link to an option within the recipe. You can also order from the manufacturer. However, if you’re willing to use straight up potato flour or starch, you may as well just make the real thing! Look for a potato-ricotta gnocchi recipe, cook your potatoes (steaming is a good way to go), then rice them and mix with flour and ricotta. I wish I knew more about potato flour or starch, but I simply don’t and … they are likely to be outside my way of eating … very probably forever! Good luck! 🙂

  5. Wonder if it would work with almond or coconut flour? Have you tried these? Just so I know, before I waste my time. I hate those potatoes. Had them in my pantry forever because I couldn’t get them eaten and recently tossed them out.

  6. Hi Unknown. Did you have the LC Foods potatoes? I’ve tried the Dixie Diner potatoes and just really didn’t like them at all. I clung on to them thinking I’ll need them some day, but … eventually tossed the bag. I was REALLY apprehensive using the LC Foods, assuming it would also be a negative experience. I was wrong! I even wanted to dislike it, but … it was REALLY good! Maybe the other ingredients masked it, but there was no negative taste or drop in quality, at all. In any event … to answer your question … I suspect the almond flour wouldn’t work. However, there stands a good chance that Coconut Flour could work, but I’d really have to play with it. I haven’t tried either, but if you’re in the mood to experiment, I’d bet on the coconut flour as being the better of the two options. If you do give it a shot, please report back and let us know how it turned out (good or bad!). Thank you!

  7. DJ, I want to try your ricotta gnocchi recipe, but have to wait for the low carb mashed potatoes to arrive. But… my brain is not grasping your instructions on drying out the ricotta cheese. Can you please clarify for me exactly where the plastic wrap comes into play with the colander and the cheese? 🙂

    I can’t wait to try this. Thanks!

  8. Hi Argia. Sure! Basically you want to put the cheese in some kind of strainer, so that any excess liquid can drip down, while leaving the actual ricotta behind. I have a fine meshed strainer that I place over a deep bowl. I place the ricotta in the strainer. This will allow liquid to drip and drain into the bowl over night. The plastic wrap is probably more a habit, than anything. We’re trying to dry the cheese out and the plastic wrap holds in moisture. It’s literally just a sheet of plastic wrap covering the whole thing. This is there because I come from the world of restaurants, where things fall and drip and can get into your food. So … it’s more a security measure, than anything. Feel free to ignore the plastic wrap (just don’t let anything fall into your cheese!). I hope this helps! 🙂

  9. I don’t think so. I wonder if you’re at a normal weight. This recipe is NOT low carb by anyone’s estimation. This is just wrong.

  10. 🙂 Yes,that helps a lot! I usually put a plate over the strainer, but plastic wrap makes more since. I was thinking I was missing a step, maybe wrapping the ricotta in plastic while it was in the strainer, lol. Thanks for setting me straight! 🙂

  11. Hi Me Again, the carbs are listed at 11 net carbs per portion. I make no bones about it. The USDA suggests about 300 carbs per day. Most of my recipes, by the overwhelming majority, fall under 10 grams or less. This is one of the highest carb recipes on my website and is fairly clear about why this is and how the recipe came to be. I’d suggest that it’s actually INCREDIBLY low-carb in comparison to most modern diets and even very low-carb within the low-carb landscape. That said, if it’s too high for you, then I suggest moving on. There are hundreds of other recipes available to you.

  12. I wonder if (resistant)potato starch would work. I’m not ready to gag the stuff down straignt, but if it would work in recipes…

  13. Hi Unknown … I wish I could comment, but I’ve never used that ingredient. I have zero idea how it would behave. If you do wind up experimenting with it … please report back! Thanks!

  14. Sorry… I should have looked at the recipe again. You already have eggs in it. I’m.stumped as to why they don’t hold together better.

  15. Hi Lois, I can only assume that the egg isn’t enough. This really needs starch or sugar to create the "clinginess" within, necessary to hold the whole thing together. The potatoes helped, but they were still quite fragile. I should make this again some time … they were tasty!

  16. Hi Sandy, the whole thing was really just a big experiment. Theoretically, the mashers aren’t even a requirement, but … you can see how that turned out for me. The mashers were what fixed it. So … honestly? I’m not sure! Try it and let me know if you were able to get it to work!

  17. The low carb potatoes that you linked to look very interesting. I noticed on their site that their instructions for preparing the potatoes include the mix and butter, cream and cauliflower. One cup prepared was less than 5 net carbs. I wonder if a cup of prepared potatoes (their way) would be enough of a binder? Great looking recipe, thank you for sharing it!

  18. Thanks, KK! You’re correct. I think I broke out the first syllable and a half to emphasize a sound that doesn’t really exist in English. Or not … I often look back and things I’ve written and wonder what I was thinking! ;)</br></br>

    Wendy … honestly, I’m not sure! This recipe turned out by shear luck. I’d say it may be worth trying, but … I can’t guarantee anything. If you try it, let us know how it turned out!

  19. I was wondering if I could make this with cottage cheese drip dried and made smooth?
    —Reply posted by DJ on 7/14/2015
    Hi Angi, boy … I really have no idea. It might, but … I don’t know that I’d be willing to brave it. That’s a lot of time and effort for something that “might” not happen. If you do try it, please report back. Now, I’m curious!

  20. Any way to do these without egg?  My husband is allergic but, per doctor’s orders, has to go low carb. I can always experiment, but I was hoping you might have some ideas
    —Reply posted by DJ on 12/14/2015
    Hi Carolyn, I’m going to say … no. Probably not. I mean, where there’s a will, there’s a way, but this recipe is already pretty persnickety. If you were to remove the binder, it’ll just explode in the water. There are likely other binders you could use, like glucomannan, perhaps, but … it would take some pretty serious tinkering with. It’s not something I could just casually suggest. I’d hate to have you go through all the time and effort, to just wind up with moosh. There are definitely egg alternatives I could recommend in many other recipes, but this one is a tough customer. Sorry! 🙁

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