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White bowl filled with gnocchi in a pesto sauce, topped with parmesan cheese.

Creamy Pesto Gnocchi

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 6 reviews
  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This easy, creamy pesto gnocchi is ready in just 20 minutes with store-bought gnocchi, pesto, and heavy cream!




  • 1 pound gnocchi (16 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup pesto (we like basil or arugula pesto!)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 1/3 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest


  1. Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Add pesto and cream to a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk to combine and cook, whisking occasionally, for 3-5 minutes until sauce has thickened slightly and is just beginning to simmer.
  3. Add cooked gnocchi to sauce and stir to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if necessary.
  4. Garnish gnocchi with shaved parmesan and a sprinkle of lemon zest. Serve and enjoy!


What kind of gnocchi should I use? Any gnocchi is fine! We typically use store-bought here (you can usually find some shelf-stable gnocchi in the pasta aisle, or some refrigerated fresh gnocchi near the cheese or deli section with other fresh pastas) but you can use homemade gnocchi if you have it (fresh or from the freezer!)

Additions and Substitutions. Use half and half or Magic Cauliflower Cream instead of heavy cream here if you like. We don't recommend using plain milk as it can sometimes result in a thinner or broken sauce. Add your favorite veggies or protein to make this a bit heartier. No gnocchi? Use any kind of pasta you like! We topped the gnocchi in these photos with shaved parmesan and some lemon zest. Be sure to read the post above for a full list of our favorite riffs and substitutions!

If your sauce is too thick to coat the gnocchi evenly, add a splash of water, cream, or chicken/vegetable stock to thin it out a bit. If your sauce is too thin, let it simmer an additional minute or two, stirring frequently, until it begins to thicken. 

Taste and season before you serve. Because there are so few ingredients here, and because pesto can vary so much from recipe to recipe or brand to brand, it's extra important to taste! Sneak a bite of your gnocchi once it's tossed with the sauce and add salt if the flavors don't quite "pop" yet.

Strict vegetarians should look for parmesan cheese made without rennet. To make this recipe vegan and dairy-free, buy (or make) vegan gnocchi and vegan pesto, and swap the heavy cream for Magic Cauliflower Cream.