This dish, also known as Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, consists of fried gnocchi covered with an easy cherry tomato and mozzarella sauce with tons of fresh basil. 30 minutes, tops. Score.

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Eric: Can I get you anything?

Karen: Yes. A chocolate cupcake. Or a brownie will do.

Eric: *Looks in the fridge* Cherry tomatoes! *pops one in mouth* Want one?

Karen, totally offended: NO, I DON’T.

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Probably there is nothing worse than someone trying to feed you vegetables, when all you want is this or this or this.

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and MozzarellaSpeaking of veggie failures recently, the other night I dumped an entire bottle of ranch on my salad. It was a pitifully small salad, too, that I hadn’t even served myself. Eric threw a few pieces of lettuce on my plate (as he often does) in an attempt to help me avoid getting scurvy. I was trying to douse it in ranch, true, but not THAT much. “I stand behind my decision to avoid salad and other disgusting things.” Well said, Leslie Knope.

(Alright, alright, I don’t really hate salad. Proof here, here, and here.)

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

But oh my, check out these beauties. I know I was talking smack about cherry tomatoes earlier but I actually love them when I’m not craving chocolate. Add garlic and basil and crispy fried gnocchi and fresh mozzarella? SOLD. Fried gnocchi, people!!

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and MozzarellaI made this recipe last summer and have been meaning to share it ever since. We always eat it too fast. It is the perfect summer meal. Full of garden goods like basil and tomatoes, and it’s only 30 minutes on the stove top, so you can get back to eating popcicles outside by the pool. (At least that’s what we pretend our lives are like, right??)

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

PS If you don’t know what gnocchi is, that’s okay we can still be friends, as long as you promise to make this like today. Gnocchi is found on the pasta aisle. It’s a little mini dumpling made of mashed potato and flour.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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Caramelized Gnocchi with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
This dish, also known as Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, consists of fried gnocchi covered with an easy cherry tomato and mozzarella sauce with tons of fresh basil. 30 minutes, tops. Score.


  • 16 ounces cherry tomatoes, buy 2 dry pints
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed, fresh, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, fresh, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound potato gnocchi, whole wheat or regular (or homemade, recipe here)
  • 12 ounces marinated baby mozzarella, 1 tub, drained*
  • basil, fresh, to garnish
  • parmesan, freshly grated, to serve (optional)


  • Begin by chopping the tomatoes in half. (You will need about 1 1/2 boxes of tomatoes. No need to measure, just eyeball it.)
  • Clean and de-stem the basil, then chop roughly.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a medium saucepan and set to medium heat. Slice the garlic thinly. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute until it has started to brown lightly, about 1 minute. Add the halved tomatoes (and any juice) and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add most of the basil, reserving a few tablespoons to garnish with.
  • Add the sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat all the way down to low.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add the butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil and turn the heat to medium. When the butter is melted and the oil is hot, add all the gnocchi. Stir with a wooden spoon to cover them with oil, then spread them out evenly so they are in one layer. Season with salt and pepper. Set a timer for 5 minutes and do not stir. You want the gnocchi to caramelize and get nice and brown. After 5 or 6 minutes (whenever they have browned), use a wooden spoon or spatula to flip each gnocchi to brown the other side. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until browned, stirring again if necessary. Remove from heat.
  • Turn off the burner with the tomatoes. Add the drained mozzarella balls and stir. You want to heat up the mozzarella without melting them too much--they should retain their shape. (If the tomatoes are too hot, wait).
  • You can either add the fried gnocchi to the pan with the tomatoes, or spoon the gnocchi onto each plate and top with tomatoes and mozzarella.
  • Serve with a chopped basil leaves and grated Parmesan. Eat this with a big salad and some crusty bread.


*Use the olive oil from the mozzarella balls to fry the garlic and the gnocchi! I always forget to do this!
Source: slightly changed from Divine Cusine


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 670kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 981mg | Potassium: 337mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1621IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 480mg | Iron: 6mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 670
Keyword: Caramelized, Gnocchi, Mozzarella, Tomatoes
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Easy Caramelized Gnocchi with Cherry Tomatoes and MozzarellaYou can use as little or as much basil as you want. I can’t get enough so I pile it on.

Other easy summer dinner ideas:

Grilled Squash, Red Pepper, and Feta Sandwich

Grilled Squash, Red Pepper, and Feta Sandwich

Easy Parmesan Tilapia

Easy Parmesan Tilapia

Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Easy Sausage and Broccoli Kebabs with White Bean Salad

In case you missed it last week: Easy Sausage and Broccoli Kebabs

More gnocchi recipes:

Chicken Gnocchi Soup from The Food Charlatan

Italian Sausage Gnocchi Bake from Simply Gloria

Spinach Ricotta Gnocchi from Simply Recipes

Easy Ricotta Gnocchi from Budget Bytes

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  1. 5 stars
    This is my new favorite way to eat gnocchi! The flavors came together so well, we soaked up every last drop of the sauce from the tomato mixture. I used frozen gnocchi, which worked perfectly after I boiled, rinsed and drained it really well. Then I followed the recipe exactly and both my husband and I loved it! This will definitely go into my rotation of recipes we absolutely love. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hurray Annette, I’m so glad you love it! Thanks for much for taking the time to review and leave a comment – it really means a lot. Happy holidays!

  2. 5 stars
    Karen, you’ve done it again! Another wonderful recipe. Made this last night and there were no leftovers. My darling husband who “can take or leave gnocchi”, looked up halfway through his plate and said “This is delicious!” The quick tomato “sauce”, the fresh mozzarella, the whole thing was a winner. Thanks for you and your site. And PS: Only a guy would offer you a veg when what you want us chocolate. Amiright?!

    1. Right!! Chocolate over veggies ANY day. So glad you loved the gnocchi (and your husband too!). Thanks for commenting!

    1. So happy to hear this Cynthia! I agree, bread is the perfect compliment for this meal. Thanks so much for reviewing!

  3. Never had fried gnocci! So good. We left the mozzarella off since we didn’t have any, and served it on a bed of flash-sauted spinach. Big hit.

    1. Minus the mozzarella plus a bed of spinach sure makes this a lot healthier Cat! Haha! I bet it was really good! I’ll have to try that next time. So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the comment :)

  4. I think I will never boil gnocchi – ever again – after trying this recipe! Very slight modifications, I had grape tomatoes, so I did not slice them in half. I added some pesto and it was just fabulous! I had little mozzarella balls not packed in oil and I cut them in 1/3. Forgot to top with Parmesan because it smelled and looked too good! 5 minutes to cook the gnocchi on med. was perfect for a nice, golden brown. 5 Stars!!

    1. I’m with you Mary, why boil when you can fry! I actually did this with tortellini the other night. It was so good!

  5. Eating this as we speak and YUM! So fresh…love the texture of the gnocchi with the bit of crisp to the outsides and soft on the inside.
    I cut my mozzarella balls in half to stretch them because I was short and they melted too much. They look like blobs – not so pretty. Next time I will toss them in at very end.
    Heading over for another serving!

    1. The outer crispy edge is the best part, right?? And I’ve done the same thing with this dish, melting the mozzarella a bit. Sometimes it’s hard to know how hot that sauce really is! Good thing it’s still delicious either way. I’m so happy you like it, and thank you for taking the time to comment!

  6. This is HEAVEN!!!! Oh, wow, Wow, WOW!!!! You just have the BEST ideas!!!!

    It worked with GF gnocchi, too! SOOOOOO Good! I’m so glad there are leftovers! It will
    make it worth getting up tomorrow!

    1. Haha! Thanks Dana! I’m so happy you liked it! That’s good to know it works with GF gnocchi. And I agree, there’s nothing better than amazing leftovers!!

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