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Mac and cheese lovers will devour this “mac” and cheese gnocchi recipe! It has pillowy gnocchi smothered in a parmesan, mozzarella, and cheddar sauce.
Why you’ll love it
Say hello to the best mash-up you’ve seen in a looong time. We’re combining gnocchi with all the flavors of homemade mac and cheese. This cheesy gnocchi is baked to golden perfection and is a fun twist on a classic. Is it even better than my Easy Baked Gnocchi? You be the judge.
I like serving this baked gnocchi with mac and cheese vibes as a decadent and cozy side dish when only comfort food will do. It’s like an elevated version of mac and cheese but still easy. The gnocchi cooks right in the sauce. No need to boil it separately!
What you’ll need
- Butter, flour, and whole milk – essentially we’re making a Béchamel sauce, a “mother sauce” of French cuisine. It’s easy, so don’t let that intimidate you ;).
- Garlic powder, mustard powder, and salt – building blocks to infuse savory flavor into the cheesy sauce
- Gnocchi – I think you’ll agree it’s a delicious change from macaroni here. You can find shelf-stable potato gnocchi in the dry pasta aisle.
- Parmesan, cheddar, and mozzarella – our delicious trio to make the three cheese combo
Tools for this recipe
Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!
- I love using my 10.25″ Lodge cast iron skillet for this one. It makes clean-up so much easier since it can go straight from stovetop to oven.
- For grating the parmesan, I use my trusty Zyliss grater.
- This extra wide Microplane grater is perfect for the cheddar cheese.
- I use a wire whisk to make the white sauce.
How to make mac and cheese gnocchi
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 375F. In an oven safe skillet, make a roux with the flour and butter. Whisk in the milk slowly along with the seasonings. Continually whisk until the sauce thickens up.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the parmesan and cheddar. Add in the gnocchi and stir. Spread in a uniform layer.
Sprinkle on the mozzarella. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. To get it melty and golden, broil for a couple of minutes, but watch it carefully. Let cool for a bit, and enjoy!
- Note that the timing to get the white sauce, aka Béchamel, to thicken properly can vary, but you can master it! How cold the milk is, the cookware you’re using, and how fast you added the milk in will factor in, so don’t panic if it seems to be taking longer (or quicker) than predicted. Just keep up that whisking!
- You will have the best results if you grate your own cheeses. The texture, taste, and meltability is superior to the bagged kind.
- I recommend investing in an oven safe skillet as they’re incredibly versatile, but if you don’t own one, you could transfer everything to a baking dish for the oven step.
Substitutions and variations
- You could swap the whole milk for evaporated milk or half-and-half, but keep in mind the white sauce may thicken faster, so keep an eye on it.
- I use a fairly classic flavor blend for my mac and cheese recipes, but if there’s something you typically add, feel free (e.g. a pinch of paprika could work!).
- If you don’t have any mustard powder, Dijon mustard will work.
- You could swap the cheddar for another easy melting cheese like Gruyère.
What to serve with mac and cheese gnocchi
- Since this is a rich dish, I like to serve it as a side for less saucy proteins like my Easy Grilled Pork Chops, Chicken Milanese, and Simple Filet Mignon.
- Add a salad with my Simple Homemade Honey Mustard Dressing and pair with biscuits, a slice of sourdough bread, and a salad for a delicious meal.
Leftovers and storage
- Store leftovers of this gnocchi in the fridge for 3-4 days in a covered container.
- I recommend reheating the same way it was cooked, in the oven. Try 350F, covered with foil, until warmed through. Add a splash of milk if needed. In a saucepan works too over a low heat.
- Freezing leftovers isn’t a good idea.
If the post didn’t answer your questions about this three cheese gnocchi, talk to me in the comments below. I’d love it if you left a review! You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Three Cheese Mac and Cheese Gnocchi
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cheddar shredded
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 pound uncooked potato gnocchi
- 1 cup mozzarella shredded
- Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- Melt the butter in an oven-safe skillet over medium heat, and then stir in the flour. Let it cook, stirring often, until it smells a bit nutty and turns a light golden brown (about 3 minutes).
- Slowly whisk in the milk, and then add in the seasonings (garlic powder, mustard powder, salt). Continue whisking until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon (similar consistency to Alfredo sauce). This should take about 5-7 minutes. Don't stop whisking or the milk will scorch on the bottom of the pan.
- Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the cheddar and parmesan, then stir in the gnocchi.
- Top with the mozzarella and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese (watch it carefully so it doesn't burn).
- Let it cool for 5 minutes prior to serving.
- This dish is quite rich, so I recommend serving it as a side dish, and it serves about 6 depending on portion size.
- There is no need to pre-boil the gnocchi. It’ll cook in the oven.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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