Sweet potato gnocchi with maple brown butter takes your Fall dinner game to a whole new level! Step-by-step instructions walk you through the entire process of making these light and fluffy sweet potato gnocchi, and the simplest maple brown butter sauce that pairs perfectly with them!
Editor’s Note: Originally published on September 28, 2021. Updated with expanded information.
There are few things as satisfying as creating homemade gnocchi, whether sweet potato or white potato gnocchi.
And while it may look difficult, it is far easier than you might expect.
This fall-inspired version uses sweet potatoes instead of russets which impart a slightly sweet flavor, and beautiful orange color.
Combine these autumnal gnocchi with a sage brown butter sauce that includes maple syrup and cinnamon, and your set.
I like to serve this as a precursor to our dry brined roast turkey breast, or even a porchetta roast, but they’re perfectly fine served as the main course alongside our spinach salad with warm bacon dressing or some garlicky sauteed spinach.
Table of Contents
Ingredients for the sweet potato gnocchi recipe are shown in the pic below and special notes are made in this bulleted list to assist you.
- Flour. I used all-purpose flour for the sweet potato gnocchi. Only use the amount of flour needed to help bring the gnocchi together to keep them light and fluffy. Too much flour will make tough gnocchi.
- Sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes will be baked in their skins until fork tender, then riced to make the gnocchi.
- Unsalted butter. This is the main component of the sage brown butter sauce.
- Sage. Opt for fresh sage here; the dried version is not recommended.
- Parmigiano Reggiano. For grating at the end. The nutty flavor of Parmigiano Reggiano pairs perfectly with the sweet potato gnocchi.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Begin by baking 3 sweet potatoes (or about 1.5 pounds worth) at 400f for 45 minutes or until fork-tender (Photo #1).
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and once able to handle remove skin and rice them onto a baking sheet or work surface. Let the sweet potatoes sit for at least 30 minutes to cool down and to evaporate some of their water. Placing a fan over them can speed up the process (Photo #2).
- Place the sweet potatoes into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out any excess water. Spread out the potatoes and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 3/4 cups flour, and drizzle the egg. Mix together, then move to a floured work surface (Photo #3).
- Place some flour on your hands and knead the sweet potato gnocchi dough for just a bit (about 20-30 seconds) to form a cohesive mass. If the dough is sticking too much to your hands, add more flour a bit at a time, but try not to use too much. Once satisfied with the dough move it off to the side and prepare a large clean work surface to roll the dough (Photo #4).
- Turn the dough into a loaf and cut off a section (about 1/5 of it). Roll the section with the palms of your hands into a long rope about 1/2-3/4″ in size. Note: Rolling with the palms instead of the fingers is recommended. Fingers tend to compress the rope (Photo #5).
- Once rolled out, cut pieces with a thin sharp knife or a bench scraper into 1″ sections (Photo #6).
- Place the sweet potato gnocchi onto a floured parchment paper-lined baking sheet. (You can use semolina flour here to help prevent sticking but all purpose flour is ok as well). Make sure none of them touch since they will stick to each other almost immediately. Formed gnocchi can be rolled with a paddle tool, fingers, or a fork. I prefer to leave them as is. The sweet potato gnocchi should be cooked immediately or should be frozen for 2 hours on the baking sheet and then place in freezer bags for long-term storage in the freezer (Photo #7).
- You can cook them from either a fresh or frozen state. Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Heat a frying pan to medium-low heat and add the stick of butter. Once the butter bubbles add in the sage. Turn the heat down to low for the butter, then cook the sweet potato gnocchi. Drop the gnocchi into the boiling water (work in batches, don’t cook them all at once) and give them a gentle stir (Photo #8).
- Once they float to the top, wait 10 seconds, then scoop them out with a pasta spider or large slotted spoon. Drop them right into the brown butter mixture. Repeat for the next batch (Photo #9).
- Turn the heat off the frying pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of maple syrup all over the sweet potato gnocchi. Also, sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon onto them. Taste test and make final adjustments to salt and pepper. Plate sweet potato gnocchi and grate the Parmigiano Reggiano on top (Photo #10). Enjoy!
- Use a ricer tool. I cannot say enough good things about ricers! They yield the best mashed potatoes and are an invaluable tool for making any type of gnocchi.
- Don’t overdo the flour or kneading. The amount of flour needed here is minimal. Just use what you need to form the dough ball. Adding too much flour and over-kneading can create a tougher consistency as the process creates gluten, resulting in tough and heavy gnocchi.
- Use real butter and real maple syrup. This is not the time to use margarine or corn syrup. Real butter and maple syrup will yield a superior sweet potato gnocchi sauce.
- Gnocchi paddle? While you definitely can use a gnocchi paddle or rigagnocchi to create ridges, I prefer sweet potato gnocchi to be smooth. It adds to the rustic look and taste of this dish. And don’t worry. The sauce sticks plenty well. If you do use the paddle, be sure to flour it well to prevent sticking.
Frequently Asked Questions
I recommend freezing the sweet potato gnocchi as soon as it’s formed, even if I plan to eat them that evening. I usually place them on cookie sheets in the freezer for about two hours. After that time, they’re easier to handle and to drop into the boiling water. If you don’t plan to make them right away, after two hours of freezing time, place them in sealed freezer bags and store them for up to 3 months.
Green vegetables go particularly well with sweet potato gnocchi and sweet potatoes in general. Sauteed broccoli rabe, garlic sauteed spinach, warm spinach salad with bacon dressing, roasted broccoli, or honey balsamic Brussels sprouts would all be great options.
A sage-brown butter sauce is my #1 pick for a sauce to pair with sweet potato gnocchi. The sauce included in the recipe is a sage brown butter sauce with the addition of maple syrup and cinnamon to amplify the fall flavors and complement the sweet potatoes.
More recipes for Fall
Our Fall recipes are ever-expanding. Here are a few of our tried and true favorites.
- Maple roasted carrots – Simple side dish with roasted carrots caramelized in butter and maple syrup.
- Butternut squash gnocchi – Similar to sweet potato gnocchi, and served with a sage brown butter sauce, topped with grated amaretti cookies, and plenty of Parmigiano Reggiano.
- Sausage and apple stuffed acorn squash – Granny Smith apples, Italian sausage, and sage piled into acorn squash shells.
- Butternut squash soup – With Maple syrup and apples.
- Sweet potato casserole – With brown sugar, marshmallows, and pecans.
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Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Maple Brown Butter
For sweet potato gnocchi
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes about 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg beaten
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano divided, for finishing
- 2 tablespoons semolina flour for dusting, optional
For maple brown butter sauce
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons sage chopped
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- salt and pepper to taste
For sweet potato gnocchi
- Bake sweet potatoes at 400f for 45 minutes or until fork-tender.
- Remove potatoes from the oven and once able to handle remove skin and rice onto a baking sheet. Let the potatoes cool for 30 minutes then place into a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out the water.
- Spread out the potatoes and sprinkle with the kosher salt and flour and drizzle the egg. Mix together, then move to a floured work surface and knead for 30 seconds or just enough to form a mass the isn't too sticky. If needed, use a bit more flour.
- Move the dough to the side, clean the work surface, and dust it with flour. Turn the dough into a loaf and cut off a section (about ⅕ of it). Roll the section with the palms of your hands into a long rope about ½-3/4" in size.
- Once rolled out, cut 1-inch long gnocchi pieces with a sharp knife. Place the gnocchi onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet that has been sprinkled with flour. Repeat for the rest of the dough. The sweet potato gnocchi can be cooked right away or should be frozen for 2 hours, then placed in freezer bags for long-term storage in the freezer.
For finishing in the sauce
- Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons kosher salt) to a boil.
- To make the sauce melt the butter over medium heat until it just foams. Once it foams add in the sage then turn heat to low.
- Drop the sweet potato gnocchi into the boiling water and cook until they float. Don't boil too many together. Once they float, scoop out with a slotted spoon and place into the brown butter. Repeat for subsequent batches.
- Add the maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon to the gnocchi and mix together. Taste test and adjust salt and pepper if required.
- Plate the sweet potato gnocchi and grate the Parmigiano Reggiano onto each plate. Enjoy!
- This recipe makes roughly 1 1/2 pounds of sweet potato gnocchi which is equivalent to 4 large or 6 moderate size servings.
- Removing the excess water from the sweet potatoes with a clean kitchen towel is recommended.
- The exact amount of flour will vary due to moisture and humidity levels. Just use enough to form a cohesive workable dough, but no more than necessary.
- Formed sweet potato gnocchi should be cooked immediately. If not using immediately, freeze on baking sheets for 2 hours then place in freezer bags for long-term freezer storage (up to 3 months).
- Grooves can be made with a gnocchi paddle, finger, or fork but leaving them as is works great.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
This recipe was originally published on September 28, 2021. It was completely updated on September 19, 2023.