This cheesy baked gnocchi recipe is inexpensive comfort food at its best! It has pillowy gnocchi smothered in marinara sauce, fresh basil, and is topped with plenty of mozzarella.
Why it's so good
This cheesy baked gnocchi has maybe become my favorite one pan gnocchi recipe that I've created. It's honest-to-goodness just really tasty and is super simple for any weeknight to throw together when you're not really feeling like cooking (back to school, anyone?), but it ends up being impressive enough that you could serve it for company.
My baked gnocchi recipe is a meatless yet totally satisfying cozy dish with just a few classic Italian-inspired ingredients you'd expect to find in a good pasta bake. Even my sister destroyed this one, and she's not normally big on this kind of food. That's definitely saying something. I'm so excited to share it with all of you as well!
What you'll need
- Butter - for sautéing
- Onion and garlic - our base aromatics. I prefer using Vidalia (sweet) onions, and I recommend using this garlic press to mince the garlic since it doesn't require peeling the cloves first.
- Marinara sauce - quality is key here since it's a main component. I would use one that you know that you love the flavor of already. My go-to is Mezzetta brand if you're looking for a recommendation, though!
- Gnocchi - we're using uncooked potato gnocchi. It's a shelf stable variety that's found in the dry pasta aisle of most grocery stores.
- Fresh basil - it's a classic pairing with mozza and tomatoes
- Mozzarella - for the melty topping
- An ovenproof skillet is a cooking game changer. It's an excellent investment and works for a variety of recipes like this one so that a meal can go seamlessly from the stovetop to the oven. It's designed to work double duty and be totally safe in the oven!
How to make baked gnocchi
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven. In an ovenproof skillet, sauté the onion in the butter until softened and golden. Stir in the garlic. Add the marinara sauce and gnocchi, and let it bubble a little.
Turn off the heat, and stir in the basil. Top with the shredded mozzarella in a uniform layer. Bake for about 15 minutes, uncovered, and then broil carefully until golden. Let it rest for a few minutes, season with salt & pepper if needed, and enjoy.
Do I need to pre-cook the gnocchi?
- Nope! It warms up right in the marinara sauce and finishes cooking in the oven. The starch that's released actually helps thicken up the dish and makes it even richer.
Substitutions and variations
- Add in some crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat. Start with 1/4 teaspoon for a gentle warmth or more if you want it noticeably spicy.
- You could swap the mozzarella for another easy-melting cheese like cheddar, but I love the classic mozzarella-tomato sauce-basil pairing!
- If you don't have any fresh basil, no problem. You can just leave it out, but keep in mind that it adds a pop of freshness and flavor.
- You could sneak in some cooked chicken like shredded rotisserie chicken for a little protein.
What to serve with it
- It's extra delicious served with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and more fresh basil. I have a feeling that no one will complain about more cheese. 😉
- I always make my signature Garlic Bread Recipe for pasta night in my home.
- A side salad would go great to balance the meal out. Try mixed greens with my Easy Homemade Italian Dressing.
- As a side dish, it pairs well with Chicken Milanese or my Easy Baked Pork Tenderloin.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers of this baked gnocchi will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Reheat slowly over a low heat in a covered saucepan or the microwave until warmed through.
- I don't recommend freezing leftovers of this recipe. The texture won't come out right when thawed.
I'd love to hear from you in the comments below if you have any questions or would like to leave a review on this easy gnocchi recipe! You can also find me on Instagram.
Easy Baked Gnocchi
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce
- 1 pound uncooked potato gnocchi
- 1 handful fresh basil torn
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Add the butter and onion to an oven-proof skillet and sauté over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until the onion is softened and lightly browned.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the marinara and gnocchi and give it a good stir. Once it starts to bubble a bit, turn the heat off and stir in the basil.
- Top evenly with the mozzarella and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Broil for a few more minutes to brown the cheese (watch it carefully so it doesn't burn).
- Let it sit for a few minutes prior to serving, then season with salt & pepper if needed and enjoy! It's extra delicious served with some freshly grated parmesan and more fresh basil if you happen to have some left.
- Serves 4 as a main course or 6 as a side.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.