Gnocchi is a type of doughy dumpling with ridged edges to hold the sauce. Usually eaten as a substitute for pasta noodles, gnocchi is made with semolina flour and served as a first-course meal. That said, it can be used to make side dishes. Do you love gnocchi and would like to store the leftovers for later? Can you freeze gnocchi?

Whether fresh or store-bought, gnocchi can be frozen for future cooking. If you’re making gnocchi from scratch, it’s best to freeze gnocchi uncooked as soon as they are shaped. Cooked gnocchi has a relatively short shelf life, it will only last for a week in the fridge. But when stored in the freezer, the gnocchi will keep for at least 2 months.

Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca T. Caro

Now, the issue with storing gnocchi in the fridge or freezer is the dumplings tend to disintegrate once boiled in water. The fact is, gnocchi has to be cooked immediately or frozen uncooked. But let’s face it, sometimes you have leftover gnocchi that you cannot finish. When the conditions are not right, we will teach you how to prep and reheat the dumplings properly so the defrosted gnocchi remains perfect once reheated. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze gnocchi:

How to Freeze Gnocchi?

How you freeze the gnocchi will depend on the state of the dumplings. Are you freezing uncooked or cooked/leftover gnocchi?

Freezing Cooked Gnocchi

Gnocchi is best frozen uncooked because the dumplings have the tendency to soften too much once reheated. But if you have excess cooked gnocchi, you can still freeze the dumplings. If you made too much gnocchi than you can handle, separate the dumplings that you need to freeze and hold off the sauce. You can add the sauce after thawing and reheating the dumplings.

Sprinkle a little flour and toss the gnocchi before spooning the dumplings into a resealable plastic container. The flour will prevent the dumplings from sticking together. Squeeze the air out before sealing then write the storage date with a marker. Finally, stick in the freezer. If you have a vacuum sealer, use it to lock in the freshness.

Image used under Creative Commons from Rebecca T. Caro

Freezing Leftover Gnocchi

If say, you have some leftover gnocchi (sauce and all), it’ll be hard to freeze the dumplings without changing the texture. Because the gnocchi has been cooked completely, reheating will turn the dumplings mushy. If that’s fine with you, just spoon the leftover gnocchi into an airtight container, close the lid, write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Freezing Uncooked Gnocchi

This is the ideal way to preserve and maintain the chewy consistency of gnocchi after freezing. Start by making the gnocchi from scratch, placing each dumpling in a floured, parchment-lined baking pan. Once you’re done, leave the gnocchi to air dry at room temperature for an hour up to four hours. This step is important because it helps retain the chewiness of the gnocchi once defrosted.

Once air-drying is done, stick the pan in the freezer and leave the gnocchi to freeze for 2 to 3 hours. When the dumplings are frozen solid, take the tray out of the freezer. With a resealable plastic bag, place the gnocchi one by one. When the plastic bag is filled with gnocchi, squeeze out as much air as you can, seal, then stick in the freezer.

How to Defrost and Reheat Frozen Gnocchi?

To defrost gnocchi, simply transfer the dumplings from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the gnocchi to thaw for several hours to overnight. It is important that the dumplings be completely thawed before reheating or cooking. Now let’s take a look at how to reheat frozen gnocchi properly:

Image used under Creative Commons from Marco Fedele

Reheating Leftovers Using the Microwave

For leftover sauced gnocchi, you can reheat the dish in the microwave. Transfer the dumplings to a microwave-safe bowl, stick in the microwave and nuke on high at 10 seconds intervals or until gnocchi is reheated thoroughly.

Reheating Leftovers Using the Stove

Pour the leftover, sauced gnocchi into a skillet and simmer on low until the dumplings are heated through. You can add a little more of the sauce if the dish becomes too dry. At this point, you can also add your favorite mix-ins, such as parmesan cheese, olive oil, etc. When the gnocchi is cooked through, serve immediately.

Cooking Thawed Cooked Gnocchi

Cook the gnocchi as directed in the recipe. Prep the defrosted gnocchi the same way as fresh gnocchi.

Cooking Thawed Uncooked Gnocchi

For defrosted, uncooked gnocchi, boil a pot of water then drop the thawed gnocchi one by one. Since the gnocchi has been defrosted, it will take some time before each one floats, which takes 2 minutes or so. When the gnocchi floats, it is done cooking. Just scoop all the floating gnocchi and cook as directed in the recipe.

Summary

As you can see, there are so many steps to take when freezing and defrosting gnocchi. But the effort is worth it once you whip up your favorite gnocchi-based dish. Now that you know how can you freeze gnocchi, extending the shelf life of these yummy dumplings will be a piece of cake.