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Baked Gnocchi

A big pan of pillowy gnocchi surrounded by bubbling pools of mozzarella melting into creamy ricotta and tomato sauce—one whiff of this heavenly baked gnocchi is enough to silence the ravenous masses.

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baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and sausage in a black skillet topped with melted mozzarella cheese

Happy Baked Gnocchi Season to You

Instead of calling it something depressing like “back-to-school” season, we propose calling this time of year “baked gnocchi season” instead. Conjuring up images of cozy family dinners around a glowing table, it’s just the antidote our kids need as they stare down the coming year. Whatever stresses their school days may hold—and hopefully they’ll hold excitiments, achievements, and new friends, too—you can at least promise them that each day will end with a warm, relaxed family dinner. And with this super quick and easy baked gnocchi recipe in your repertoire, that’s a new school year promise you can definitely keep.

baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and sausage in a black skillet topped with melted mozzarella cheese

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Quick, Cheesy, Easy Baked Gnocchi is Just a Few Ingredients Away.

A skillet full of melty, bubbly, carb-y comfort is just what the dreary, drizzly weeknights ahead need to perk them up, and our baked gnocchi recipe is all of those things. All you need is:

  • Italian sausage. Typically seasoned with big flavors like garlic, parsley, oregano, and fennel seed, ground Italian sausage is a powerhouse ingredient here—all you have to do is brown it a little before baking the gnocchi. You can use spicy or mild—whatever you prefer.
  • Store-bought gnocchi. Sure, you could make potato gnocchi from scratch. But with good store-bought versions widely available, there’s really no need.
  • Whole-milk ricotta. Creamy, milky ricotta cheese makes this one-pan dinner truly rich and indulgent.
  • Fennel seed. A little extra fennel seed to make this classic Italian-American baked pasta dish taste spot-on.
  • A jar of marinara sauce. Know when to make your own and when to just buy an ingredient! When a short-cut like this is what makes it so we can get a home-cooked dinner on the table rather than resorting to take-out, we say YAY for short cuts.
  • Mozzarella. You can use fresh or grated mozzarella cheese, whatever you prefer. Grated mozzarella is a better melting cheese than fresh, but fresh mozzarella will still get bubbly and delicious—both add a lovely savory, milkyness to the finished dish.
  • Fresh parsley. A sprinkling of fresh herbs brightens up this dish and adds an extra homemade touch to this easy gnocchi recipe.
ingredients in small bowls for baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and sausage
browned italian sausage in a black skillet with a wooden spoon
italian sausage, ricotta, marinara sauce, raw gnocchi and spices in a black skillet
raw gnocchi mixed with ricotta, sausage, marinara and spices in a black skillet
gnocchi mixed with marinara and tomato sauce in a black skillet topped with grated mozzarella cheese
baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and sausage in a black skillet topped with melted mozzarella cheese

A Baked Gnocchi Recipe That’s More Like a “Recipe”.

The best gnocchi recipe ever—which obviously is this gnocchi recipe—is all about keeping it simple. We know that gnocchi gets along really well with tomato sauce and cheese, and we know that baked pasta dishes are always a big hit. All we did was take that knowledge and put it together to make this easy baked gnocchi recipe. We say it’s a “recipe” because it’s really flexible and adaptable. Give it a kick by using hot Italian sausage and a spicy marinara sauce, or keep it mild with sweet Italian sausage and herby marinara sauce.

Once you’ve bought your ingredients, all you really need to do is assemble them in a skillet and bake! Here’s how to make baked gnocchi:

  1. Sauté the Italian sausage until it’s brown, crispy and pretty well cooked through. It’ll bake a little more in the oven, but since it’s pork you don’t want to risk undercooking it.
  2. Assemble! Fill a large, oven-proof skillet with the marinara sauce, dollops of ricotta, gnocchi, cooked sausage, fennel and salt. Stir to combine.
  3. Bake! Top with sliced fresh or grated mozzarella and bake until bubbly, gooey, melty perfection is achieved.
baked gnocchi with tomato sauce and sausage in a black skillet topped with melted mozzarella cheese

Tools You’ll Need

  • This recipe is all about having the right pan—a large, oven-proof skillet is your baked gnocchi BFF.
  • A spoon for sautéing, scooping, stirring and serving.

Other Baked Pasta Recipes To Try:

Because cheesy, baked carbs are the king of comfort foods, and we all need a little edible hug sometimes. Easy to make ahead, and a meal unto themselves, these baked pasta recipes are keepers:

Good Baked Gnocchi? Or Best Baked Gnocchi Ever?

We’re a little partial, but we really do think this recipe checks all the boxes—crowd-pleasing, fast, easy, delicious. If you give it a try, let us know! Snap a photo of your finished baked gnocchi and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Baked Gnocchi

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  35 min
  • Calories: 528

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 2 (16-ounce) packages gnocchi (see Note)
  • 8 ounces whole-milk ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces mozzarella, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center position.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the sausages and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the marinara sauce, uncooked gnocchi, ricotta, fennel seed, and salt. Top with mozzarella and bake until gnocchi is tender and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.

  4. Sprinkle with parsley and serve warm.


Note: Shelf stable, frozen, homemade and fresh (refrigerated) gnocchi all work well in this recipe. Cooked gnocchi should have a light, squishy, texture. It should be tender with a slightly chewy bite to it.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories528
  • Protein24 g
  • Carbohydrates66 g
  • Total Fat19 g
  • Dietary Fiber10 g
  • Cholesterol56 mg
  • sodium698 mg
  • Total Sugars0 g

Baked Gnocchi

Questions & Reviews

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  • Kelly

    Do you drain the pan after cooking the sausage, before adding other ingredients?

    Not necessary but you can if you prefer!

  • Casey

    What veggies would be good to add? Any suggestions? I was thinking zucchini.

    Zucchini would be delicious!

  • Brielle Scott

    This looks great! Do you think it would work to substitute one pound of the gnocchi for a can of large white beans?

    We have never tried but are interested to hear what you think if you try it. We'd recommend making you are using a pound of beans to at least keep the ratios the same.

  • Amita

    Can you use frozen gnocchi? Any change in instructions?

    Definitely! Just fully thaw it first. Hope you enjoy Amita!

  • Emily Adams

    Hi! I do not have a skillet would a regular casserole dish be okay with this recipe?

    Yes after the stove top portion you can transfer it to a casserole dish to bake. Hope you enjoy Emily!

  • Roxanne Davis

    I don't leave reviews generally but this recipe deserves it. I've made it multiple times to rave reviews and it's SO easy. I've made it for vegetarians and just left out the sausage but served it on the side for those who want to add it, and when I made it for my friends their toddler didn't want to eat anything besides gnocchi for the next three days. It's so good.

    Thanks Roxanne, so happy you love it!

  • Jenelle

    This is in regular rotation at our house and I don't make things on a normal basis so tells you how special we think this is! The taste of lasagna without all the work or time. I double the recipe with regards to meat, ricotta and sauce but keep the amount of (gluten free) gnocci the same and actually cut back on the fennel because I'm not a huge fan and it's already in the sausage. Works well as a leftover for lunches (put in my son's thermos for school lunch) and makes for a nice, easy week-night meal. Thank you!

    Thanks Jenelle, we are so happy to hear it's in rotation!

  • Lindsay

    Definitely a keeper recipe for quick and delicious meals. I skipped the extra fennel and parsley but added defrosted spinach. Used a bagged Italian cheese mix on top. Start to finish 45 minutes - 15 minutes prep and 30 minutes baked to perfection. Going in our monthly meal plan rotation!

    Thanks Lindsay! We are so happy you love this recipe! Always nice to hear when something makes rotation!

  • Kendra

    Super good and simple! Used a 28oz jar of Rao's marinara - I think having a good sauce will be critical for this recipe. Topped with fresh mozzarella and some shredded parmesan, and broiled for a few minutes at the end to get some cheese browning. I also mixed some of the fresh basil into the sauce and gnocchi before baking.

    Glad you enjoyed it Kendra!

  • Gina J

    After a neighbor gave me two packs of gnocchi (which I've never had or made before); I of course jumped on Pinterest in search of a simple recipe. I love cooking and experimenting with foods; especially concocting a meal from what is leftover in the frig and pantry. I made this almost to the instructions, but added two cups of spinach, and 50/50 of mozzarella and another Italian blend I had from something else. I didn't have fennel and no one around me had any,so I used Italian and seasoning along with garlic powder, s/p...measuring with love. It was delicious. Since the carbohydrates are high, it's not going to be in our usual rotation (husband is a T1 and only gets 70 carbs a meal). Anyways, it tasty! This would be a great dish for a group dinner!

    Thanks Gina, we are so glad you enjoyed it!