You’ll love this cheesy gnocchi bake! Melty cheese, rich tomato sauce, and pillow gnocchi make a delicious and filling meal with all the Italian flavors everyone enjoys. 4 ingredients and 10 minutes prep time make this one-pot dish a great weeknight meal!
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What is gnocchi bake?
Gnocchi bake is a simple one-pot dish consisting of soft, pillow gnocchi in a rich tomato sauce baked under a melty blanket of cheese. Comfort food heaven!
My family can’t get enough of this easy gnocchi dinner, and I’m sure yours will love it, too! It’s a delicious and kid-friendly meal and perfect for feeding a crowd. If you’re looking for quick one-pot recipes, this oven gnocchi is a sure win to add to your rotation.
This baked gnocchi recipe was first published in August 2017 and has been updated with fresh photos and new content in October 2021.
Why you’ll love this recipe
This baked gnocchi recipe is about as easy as 30-minute meals can get, and here are all the reasons to love baked gnocchi:
- Delicious + filling: You’re guaranteed clean plates and happy bellies with this vegetarian gnocchi bake.
- 4 simple ingredients that you can find in any supermarket or grocer.
- Under 10 minutes prep make this a quick and easy weeknight night dinner.
- Just one pot for easy cleanup. We layer, bake, and serve this gnocchi dinner recipe all in the same dish.
- Kid-friendly: Baked gnocchi with marinara sauce is great for children. Even picky eaters won’t resist this simple gnocchi casserole.
Baked gnocchi ingredients
- Gnocchi are small dumplings made of potatoes and flour. Refrigerated or frozen gnocchi are best because they have a far better taste and texture than shelf-stable gnocchi.
- Marinara sauce: I usually use homemade marinara sauce. Barilla’s marinara sauce and Rao’s basil tomato sauce are good options, too. If you don’t have this ingredient on hand, try my super quick marinara sauce recipe, which I share in the FAQ section.
- Grape tomatoes add even more tomato flavor. The tomato juices also help to cook the gnocchi to a soft and pillow consistency. Feel free to skip if you don’t have them handy.
- Mozzarella adds richness and complements the tomatoes perfectly. I cut a whole fresh mozzarella into slices. A low-moisture block is fine as well. To save time, use pre-shredded mozzarella.
- Baking dish: I used an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven. A ceramic or glass baking dish will also work well.
How to make gnocchi bake
Oven-baked gnocchi is one of the best gnocchi dishes. And it’s so simple to prepare! Here’s how to bake gnocchi:
Step 1: Preheat oven
- Position a rack in the middle of your oven and preheat to 400°F / 200°C / gas mark 6.
Step 2: Taste and season marinara sauce (optional)
- Give your marinara sauce a taste to ensure it is aromatic and flavorful. If the sauce lacks flavor, season it with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp sugar, and 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil or parsley.
Step 3: Assemble gnocchi bake
- Add a few tablespoons marinara sauce to an oven-safe baking dish and spread out with a spoon to cover the entire bottom.
- Arrange the gnocchi in an even layer.
- Cover with grape tomatoes and the remaining marinara sauce.
- Top with mozzarella slices or grated cheese.
Step 4: Bake it up
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the gnocchi are soft and the cheese looks melted and golden brown.
- To check the doneness of the gnocchi, prick a dumpling with a fork. If the texture is soft, the gnocchi is ready.
Step 5: Serve baked gnocchi
- Serve the baked gnocchi immediately, garnished with fresh basil and salad or a vegetable side dish.
Gnocchi tomato bake is satisfying and filling on its own, but you can always add a few extras to customize the recipe. It’s a great way to use up leftovers from other meals. Try these ideas:
- Vegetables: Spinach or kale, sliced carrots, diced zucchini, chopped onion, peas or corn, bell peppers, small broccoli or cauliflower florets. I recommend sautéing carrots, zucchini, onion, broccoli, and cauliflower first as they won’t cook through otherwise.
- Protein: bacon (fried and chopped), leftover chicken (cubed or shredded), ground beef, cooked sausage, or pulled pork. Again, precooked meat is best as the meat will not thoroughly cook through.
- Creamy gnocchi bake: Stir 1/2 cup ricotta, mascarpone, crème fraiche, or softened cream cheese into the marinara sauce.
Serve your gnocchi meal with:
- roasted vegetables
Caprese baked gnocchi FAQs
Can I double the recipe?
Absolutely! Gnocchi bake is a great recipe for meal prep and stores for up to 5 days.
Can I prepare baked gnocchi in a cast-iron skillet?
Yes! You can bake the gnocchi in one large cast-iron skillet or individually sized skillets.
Do I need to boil the gnocchi first?
No, there’s no need to pre-boil the gnocchi. Baking in the oven is enough to cook them soft and tender.
Can I make this with boiled gnocchi?
Of course. Be sure to reduce the cook time to 10 minutes to avoid overcooked gnocchi.
Can I use frozen gnocchi?
Yes, just thaw the gnocchi in the fridge beforehand.
I don’t have marinara sauce. Can I use tomato puree?
Of course! Try my easy marinara recipe if you only have unflavored tomato sauce/puree, or your marinara tastes bland.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, crushed (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
- 2 cups / 450 g / 16 oz tomato sauce (or boring marina sauce)
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, torn (or 1 tbsp dried basil)
- 1 tsp sugar (granulated or brown sugar)
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper or to taste
And this is what you’ll do:
- In a skillet or non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic. Sauté until translucent and fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, basil, sugar, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Any substitutions for mozzarella?
Sure, you can substitute mozzarella with any other cheese you have and like – as long as it melts, of course! Burrata and provolone are probably the closest mozzarella alternatives. Cheddar, white cheddar, parmesan, asiago, gouda, Swiss cheese, and Monterey Jack will also work.
How to store gnocchi bake
Store leftover baked gnocchi in an airtight food container in the fridge.
How long does gnocchi bake last?
Leftover marinara gnocchi with mozzarella are good for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
How to reheat gnocchi marinara
- Microwave: Rewarm in the microwave set to high in 1-minute bursts until hot.
- Stovetop: Put leftover gnocchi in a non-stick pan or skillet, add a splash of water, and cook over medium heat until warm.
- Oven: Cover the gnocchi with foil and bake in a 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4 oven for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Can you freeze leftover gnocchi bake?
Yes, but it’s not ideal. Cooked, frozen gnocchi tend to become mushy when thawed. If that’s fine with you, let the gnocchi cool completely and transfer them into an airtight, freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months.
When you’re ready to eat, allow the gnocchi recipe to defrost overnight in the refrigerator and see the reheating instructions above.
Can I make oven gnocchi ahead of time?
Yes. Simply layer the gnocchi and tomato sauce in your casserole or baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap/cling film and refrigerate. When it’s time to eat, add the cheese and bake it up.