A 15 minute air fryer dinner that you’ll love! The crispy finish of pan fried or roasted gnocchi is achieved so quickly and easily in the air fryer, you may never make it any other way. Topped with cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of pesto, it’s a perfect weeknight meal that feels like a treat.
For those who didn’t already know it, your air fryer is so much more than a vessel for fries and can cook you some really tasty, impressive dinners! This is one of those recipes that makes me super excited to share because not only does gnocchi work in the air fryer, it works really well. It saves a lot of time compared to roasting, and a lot of effort compared to pan frying.
This is a very minimal recipe, using raw cherry tomatoes for contrasting juicy sweet flavor, and a generous drizzle of pesto. It’s complete as it is, but you can also consider it a base to build upon. Add any extras you like, cook your tomatoes if you wish, add cheese, add greens of some kind… just take the idea and run with it.
Air Frying Gnocchi – What You Need to Know
- This recipe is for packaged, shelf stable gnocchi.
- There is no need to pre-boil your gnocchi! It goes straight into the air fryer from the package.
- We coat it lightly with oil, which is essential for the perfect crispy finish, but since it doesn’t sit in the oil (excess oil will drip out of the air fryer basket) it won’t be oily or heavy (and also means the calories are a little reduced if that’s important to you). It could however feel dry, if you’re not serving it with something moist – the addition of juicy raw baby tomatoes in this recipe combats that.
- We cook it directly in the air fryer basket, and ideally we wouldn’t use a liner. A liner that is solid on the bottom won’t allow for even air flow, and won’t allow the oil to run off. This isn’t a deal breaker – it would come out more like oven roasted gnocchi which is still delicious – you just lose some of the benefit of air frying.
This is a 3 Ingredient Dinner!
Turning our air fryer gnocchi into a meal is very simple. We just add
- Baby tomatoes: Ideally room temperature, we simply halve the tomatoes, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt (optional – you don’t even need to bother doing this to peak summer tomatoes). The contrast of the crispy dense gnocchi and the juicy tomatoes is perfection.
- Pesto: I’m using a ready made deli pesto sauce for this recipe, but this is also a great way to use some leftover homemade pesto from another meal (meal planners, take note). If you are not concerned about this being a 15 minute meal, and you want to make pesto from scratch, I have a truly epic pesto recipe for vegetarians. If you to make this meal vegan, I highly recommend the avocado pesto in this recipe!
The way I’ve showed this in the photos, it is plated up with each ingredient going into the bowl separately. We add the gnocchi, spoon the tomatoes on top, and drizzle the pesto over it all. I personally prefer this, because every bite can end up a little different and the gnocchi stays crispier when it’s not been tossed through the sauce and tomato juices. But it’s up to you – tossing it all together still works just fine.
Alternatively, plate it up as an Easy Appetizer or Side Dish for sharing
Put the whole batch into one bowl, with the pesto on the side for self serving, to make an impressive side dish or party food!
Air Fryer Gnocchi with Pesto
- 18 oz (500 g) gnocchi, the dry, shelf stable kind
- ½ cup (125 g) pesto
- 1.5 cups (250 g) baby tomatoes, halved or quartered
- olive oil, for cooking
- Preheat the air fryer to 200C / 400F.
- Toss your gnocchi with just enough olive oil to give it a light coating. Add salt and pepper.
- Once the air fryer is ready, pour the gnocchi in and cook for 10-12 minutes until crisp and golden to your taste. Give the basket a shake one or twice while it's cooking, to help it cook evenly.
- While the gnocchi is cooking, prepare your cherry tomatoes. Place in a large mixing bowl, and drizzle with couple of teaspoons of olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Once the gnocchi is ready, plate it all up. Add the gnocchi to a bowl, top with the tomatoes and drizzle the pesto on top.