Use shop-bought or homemade gnocchi for this easy recipe. If you go with shop-bought, you can have this on the table in 15 minutes! If you’re making your own, we’re still only talking about 30-35 minutes.
Fluffy pillows of gnocchi in a gorgeous garlic and browned-butter sauce with crispy sage leaves and a hint of lemon. Totally dreamy!

Pan fried gnocchi with brown butter and sage in a pan. There is a lemon wedge in the pan.
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Crispy gnocchi is the BEST way to eat it in my opinion. I love the golden crispy exterior, plus those extra crispy bits in the pan.

For this recipe we fry up the gnocchi first, then brown plenty of butter, before adding lots of sage leaves (don’t worry, they mellow during frying, so they won’t overpower the dish), garlic and lemon.
In my testing stage I also tried adding a good helping of parmesan towards the end of cooking, but I found it simply doesn’t need it (not often I say that about cheese).

A little light sprinkle of parmesan before serving works, but there is so much flavour to this dish already that I could miss it out entirely.

📋 What do we need?

Ingredients for gnocchi with brown butter and sage on a wooden table.
  • Gnocchi – use fresh store-bought gnocchi, or homemade gnocchi.
  • Butter – I use unsalted butter, just so I can control the amount of salt in the dish. Also, unsalted butter works best when you’re making brown butter.
  • Sage – lots of fresh sage leaves are needed, they’re so tasty fried in butter!
  • Lemon – I use lemon zest AND juice to cut through the richness of the butter.
  • Garlic, salt and pepper – for extra flavour
  • Oil – for frying the gnocchi
  • Parmesan – this is optional, but I sometimes sprinkle on a little right before serving.

📺 Watch how to make it

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP Use a cast iron pan rather than non-stick for ultimate golden crispness.

I like to serve with a couple of extra lemon wedges.

Gnocchi with brown butter and sage in a bowl. There are two lemon wedges and a fork in the bowl.

🍽️ What to serve it with

Just needed a close-up of that exterior. We’re almost getting into roast potato territory with that golden colour!

Close up of pan-fried gnocchi with brown butter and sage

🍲 More fantastic quick and easy meat-free meals

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4.67 from 3 votes

Gnocchi with brown butter and sage Recipe

Fluffy pillows of gnocchi in a gorgeous garlic and brown butter sauce with crispy sage leaves and a hint of lemon. Totally dreamy!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian


  • 500 g (1.1 lbs) fresh gnocchi homemade or store-bough is fine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
  • 20 fresh sage leaves*
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and very finely sliced
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of ½ lemon

To Serve:

  • grated parmesan or vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese for vegetarian
  • black pepper
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  • Place the gnocchi in a pan of boiling water and boil the gnocchi until it floats.
    500 g (1.1 lbs) fresh gnocchi
  • Remove the gnocchi from the pan with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl.
  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat.
    2 tbsp olive oil
  • Add the gnocchi, plus a pinch of salt and pepper and fry the gnocchi for 5-6 minutes, turning oven, until the gnocchi is brown all over.
    pinch salt and pepper
  • Remove the gnocchi from the pan and place in a bowl. If your pan has a lot of crispy bits in it (this might happen if you're using a non-stick pan), wipe/scrape them out. Don't worry about getting the pan spotless though, a few crispy bits are good.
  • Next, melt the butter in the frying pan over a medium heat. Once melted, continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes, until it starts to go a very light brown and smells a tiny bit nutty.
    75 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
  • Add the fresh sage leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes.
    20 fresh sage leaves*
  • Add the garlic and cook for a further 1 minutes, stirring often.
    2 cloves garlic
  • Add the cooked gnocchi to the pan and sprinkle on the salt and pepper.
    ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Stir together and cook for a further minute.
  • Add the lemon zest and juice and stir together.
    zest of 1 lemon, juice of ½ lemon
  • Divide between bowls and top with a little parmesan and black pepper.
    grated parmesan, black pepper



* 20 sage leaves may seem a lot, and you might be worried that they’ll overpower the dish, but the flavour of the sage mellows as it fries in the butter.
Can I make it ahead/freeze it?
No, for the crisp texture of the sage leaves and gnocchi, I don’t recommend making this dish ahead.
Nutritional information is approximate per serving – based on 4 servings.
The serving size isn’t huge, but gnocchi is quite filling, so you don’t need a lot. If you wanted to serve this recipe to two people (doubling the serving size), then you’l need to double the calorie amount.


Calories: 404kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 40mg | Sodium: 581mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 470IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Beth H says:

    4 stars
    Very tasty! The lemon really gave it s nice touch. My pan was so hot when I put the butter in that it browned immediately. Needless to say, everything cooked way faster because of it. I will make this again.

  2. Lara Evans says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely loved the flavours in this but I couldn’t get the gnocchi to crisp. What am I doing wrong?!

  3. Elsa says:

    Hello, thanks for your recipe, I really liked the addition of garlic and lemon however I found there to be too much lemon juice…I usually really love sour flavours but this was too much even for me. Love the combo of lemon and garlic with the burnt butter and sage though ❤️

  4. Eleanor says:

    5 stars
    I used shop bought for a quick easy dinner. Loved the crispy edges and was the sauce was a hit with the family. I may even try making my own next time😉😋