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Gnocchi fail...help?

My gnocchi tends to fall apart into a thick paste while chewing. What am I doing wrong? I tried putting in more flour, which seemed to help, but also made the gnocchi incredibly heavy.

Am I not kneading the dough enough? Not mixing them together at a hot enough temp in the beginning? Is it just a flour to potato ratio thing?

Speaking of which, what's a good rule of thumb for flour to potato ratio?

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  1. If it falls apart, Id try working the dough more. Gluten holds stuff together. Sorry, can't help with the other stuff.

    1. In general you do not want to knead gnocchi and you want to add just enough flour so as to hold the dough together. To much kneading/flour lead to little pieces of lead. What recipe are you using. I have used Marcella Hazan in the past, and it worked very well. Unfortunately, I do not have access to the recipe right now.

      2 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        No specific recipe. I've been looking at many recipes and videos and checking out the amount of flour (and sometimes egg) is being suggested for a certain amount of potatoes. So far I've seen as little as an eighth of the weight of the potatoes in flour and as much as half. I tried an eighth last night and the dough came together, and they held their shape during boiling, but just sort of fell apart in your mouth. Not in a pleasing, 'melts in your mouth' kind of way, but more in a wallpaper paste kind of way.

        1. re: transducr

          Hmmm. Many recipes will say that the amount of flour to be added depends entirely on the potato being used and how wet or floury they tend to be. One of the things that make gnocchi hard to make is that there is a lot of "feel" involved in getting the dough right. Not to be too trite, but practice makes perfect. Perhaps you need to try again with a different type of potato...

      2. How are you doing the potatoes? You want them nice and light and there's minimal kneading, just enough to make it come together. I like Lydia's recipe here and the directions are easy to follow. I've never mixed it at a hot temperature--shred the hot potato, let cool and then proceed.


        2 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          Boiling the potatoes with the skins on and ricing them after. Mixing egg, flour and salt while they're still warm.

          Seems everyone has a different opinion of what's important to do when. Read a few recipes where it said to mix once the taters were cool and some recipes (and videos) where they stress the importance of doing it while the riced spuds are still warm/hot.

          Sounds like this might be a flour ratio thing?

          1. re: transducr

            There is a wide variety of ratios out there, too, for flour/potato/eggs. It seems (and I'm just guessing) that using flour when the potatoes are warm will warm the whole mixture and the flour would absorb more liquid which might make it more pasty. I recently saw this recipe in a Bon Appetit (I think that's where I first saw it) with half as much flour for the potato and only the egg yolk:


            I'm also thinking too much egg could make it pasty, too, as could overcooking the potatoes and having them absorb too much water. Too much kneading would develop the gluten and cause it to be tough but not fall apart, probably the opposite. It's hard to narrow down w/out knowing the recipe or seeing it as it's being made.

        2. Less kneading. Less flour. All of that actually toughen's the dough. For a lighter gnocchi, ditch the potato and use ricotta cheese.

          1. I am no gnocchi expert, and I'm sure some might disagree with some of what the author has to say, but I found this article very helpful the last time I made it:


            1. I actually use a lot more egg than most recipes call for - it makes the dough easier to work with, but doesn't seem to make it leaden.

              The ratio that works for me is roughly 1 large potato (I use russets, prob 1.5-2 pounds) to 1 cup flour to one egg. I usually only dump in about half of the flour to start and mix with my right hand, adding more flour as I go. When the dough is malleable and and it stops sticking to my hand, I stop. No additional kneading - I think the rolling out and shaping gives it a little extra structure. This yields a pleasantly chewy, but still light, gnocchi.

              1. I whack the heck out of the flour/egg in the stand mixer to develop gluten, then add the potato/spinach or whatever I'm adding. Then I use a piping bag to push out the gnocchi; I *never* over-handle them nor roll them. They're then cooked in *simmering* broth and they always come out quite light without being gummy.

                1. I use a simple 3-2-1 ratio, 3# russets, 2 cups flour and 1 egg and it works well every time. I always bake the potatoes rather than boil them.

                  1. As others have said, proportion, kneading, flour, all beside the point. You have to start with old potatoes, i.e., ones that do not contain much moisture. Otherwise the gnocchi will never come out right. Don't measure the flour. Use just enough to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.