Baked gnocchi made with Italian sausage, creamy ricotta, marinara sauce, gnocchi and fresh mozzarella is delicious comfort food!
This family friendly baked gnocchi recipe is perfect for busy weeknights and delicious enough to serve at your next dinner party! We use our homemade gnocchi recipe and serve it up with some garlic knots and pecan pie balls for dessert!
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Why you’ll love this recipe!
📌 Ready and on the table in just 35 mins.
📌 Amazing Italian flavors with your favorite spaghetti sauce.
📌 Creamy and delicious ricotta topped with fresh mozzarella!
Baked Gnocchi Ingredients
- Gnocchi – Try using our easy homemade gnocchi recipe. You can also use store bought gnocchi.
- Sausage – Ground Italian sausage, sweet or spicy, browned.
- Onion – Yellow onion finely diced.
- Garlic – Fresh minced is best but jarred minced garlic will work too.
- Ricotta – No need to drain before adding.
- Sauce – Use your favorite brand of spaghetti sauce or make your own with our blender marinara sauce or slow cooker spaghetti sauce.
- Mozzarella – Fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces.
- Salt & Pepper – To taste.
- Basil – Fresh basil leaves, chopped.
How do you make baked gnocchi? (step-by-step directions)
⭐ First, cook the Italian sausage, onion and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until sausage is cooked through and onion is translucent.
⭐ Next, add the spaghetti sauce and ricotta cheese and stir until well combined.
⭐ Then, stir in the gnocchi and add salt and pepper to taste.
⭐ Finally, transfer the mixture to a casserole dish and bake in the oven until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle with chopped basil and let rest. Serve and enjoy!
Scroll down to the printable recipe card toward the bottom of this article for ingredient measurements and detailed cooking instructions.
Should I use homemade gnocchi or store-bought gnocchi?
We recommend using our homemade gnocchi recipe for the freshest flavor but store-bought gnocchi will save you time and will work well too.
Do I need to boil/cook the gnocchi before adding to the dish?
No, you can add the gnocchi right out of the bag or directly after rolling homemade gnocchi. It will bake long enough in the sauce to cook through perfectly!
Can I make baked gnocchi ahead of time?
If you want to make this ahead and store in the fridge until baking, we recommend leaving the gnocchi out until just before putting it in the oven. Storing the gnocchi in the sauce in the fridge might cause it to become too soft and soggy.
What kind of spaghetti sauce should I use?
This one is totally up to your preference! Use whatever brand is your favorite OR try making one of our homemade sauces, blender spaghetti sauce or slow cooker spaghetti sauce.
Storage and leftovers
How long does baked gnocchi last?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Can I prepare this dish in advance for a dinner party?
Yes, you can prepare the baked gnocchi ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator until it’s time to bake. Follow the instructions up to transferring the mixture to the casserole dish. Cover it tightly and refrigerate, then bake it just before serving.
Can I freeze baked gnocchi?
This would be a great recipe to freeze prior to baking. Stir in the uncooked gnocchi, transfer to a 9×13 dish, let cool completely and seal in an airtight container for freezing. Freeze up to 2 months.
We don’t recommend freezing leftovers or freezing after baking. The gnocchi will not hold up well after freezing.
Tips and tricks
✅ Use hot Italian sausage or add some red pepper flakes to give it a little spice!
✅ We really recommend using the fresh mozzarella but you could also use shredded mozzarella.
✅ Fresh chopped basil adds the best flavor to this dish, don’t skip it!
✅ Use a large cast iron skillet and transfer straight to the oven to eliminate some dishes.
Frequently asked questions
Can I make this recipe vegetarian or vegan?
Yes, you can easily adapt this recipe to be vegetarian or vegan. To make it vegetarian, you can replace the Italian sausage with plant-based sausage or omit it altogether for a flavorful vegetable-based dish. To make it vegan, use vegan gnocchi, plant-based sausage, and dairy-free alternatives for ricotta and mozzarella.
Can I add vegetables to the baked gnocchi?
Absolutely! Adding vegetables is a great way to enhance the flavor and nutrition of the dish. You can include sautéed mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, bell peppers, or any other vegetables you like. Simply sauté the vegetables before combining them with the sauce and gnocchi.
Can I use a different type of meat?
Yes, if you’re not a fan of Italian sausage, you can use other meats such as ground beef, ground turkey, or even diced chicken to add a protein element to the dish.
How can I make the baked gnocchi less spicy?
If you prefer a milder taste, you can opt for sweet Italian sausage instead of hot Italian sausage. Additionally, reduce or omit the minced garlic and red pepper flakes if you find them too spicy.
What herbs can you use in baked gnocchi?
Absolutely! This recipe is versatile, and you can add your favorite herbs and spices to enhance the taste. Try incorporating oregano, thyme, rosemary, or a pinch of nutmeg for a unique twist.
Can I use frozen gnocchi?
While fresh or store-bought gnocchi is recommended, you can use frozen gnocchi if that’s what you have available. Ensure they are thawed and chopped into bite size pieces before adding them to the sauce.
What to eat with baked gnocchi (serving suggestions)
Bake gnocchi is definitely a house favorite and a go-to recipe in my family. I make it using homemade gnocchi and blender spaghetti sauce and serve it with antipasto salad and orange creamsicle pie.
More delicious baked pasta recipes
Other awesome Italian inspired dishes
- Italian pasta salad
- Italian sausage soup
- Italian beef
- Italian dressing chicken
- Italian chicken stew
- Italian chicken sandwich
- See all our Italian inspired recipes!
Tools we love
- Enameled cast iron – Perfect for these delicious one-pot meals. From stove top to oven!
- Garlic peeler – This works wonders to help with all those pesky garlic peels!
- Glass casserole dish with lid – I love this dish, it can go from freezer to oven!
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How to Make Baked Gnocchi
- 2 pounds gnocchi
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1 small yellow onion finely diced
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 24 ounces spaghetti sauce use your favorite
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella torn into pieces
- fresh basil chopped
- Cook the Italian sausage, onion, and garlic in a skillet over medium high heat until the sausage is cooked through and the onion is tender and translucent.
- Add the ricotta cheese and the spaghetti sauce and stir until well combined.
- Stir in the gnocchi and add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Transfer mixture to a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbly. Sprinkle with chopped basil and let rest about 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
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