Gnocco Fritto

  • by Guido Pedrelli September 28, 2020
  • |
  • Last Updated on July 10, 2023
italian gnocco fritto recipe

What is gnocco fritto?

Gnocco fritto is a delicious appetizer typical of Emilia-Romagna cuisine. It is a fried bread made from flour, water, yeast, and lard and usually accompanied by cold cuts or cheeses or served plain. 

Soft, puffy, and tasty, this fried dumpling is a specialty with unmatched goodness. It seems to have been handed down to the Emilians by the Lombards during their domination, and depending on the area of the Emilia region, it takes on a different name: In the Modena and Reggio-Emilia areas, it is simply called gnocco fritto (al gnòc frétt, in dialect); in the Bologna area, it takes the name of crescentina; in the province of Ferrara, pinzino; in Parma, torta fritta; and in Piacentino, chisulén.

italian gnocco fritto recipe

How to prepare gnocco fritto

Like with any traditional recipe, there are several versions of gnocco fritto. Some prepare gnocco fritto without lard, and others even prefer baked gnocco for a lighter version.

The recipe below is the original Emilian gnocco fritto recipe as tradition dictates. It is a very easy preparation kneaded by hand without any use of a mixer. Just prepare a pre-dough batter and let it rise, which will result in a light and digestible product, then knead in additional flour and the lard. If you prefer a lighter version, you can replace the lard with butter or extra-virgin olive oil. After the dough has risen a second time, roll it out, cut the gnocchi into rhombuses or squares, and then fry them.

How to serve gnocco fritto

Perfect as an appetizer, gnocco fritto is usually stuffed with Italian cheeses and cold cuts. It is usually served with the delicious cured meats of its area of origin, such as prosciutto crudo di Parma, salame Felino, coppa Piacentina, and the delicious Culatello di Zibello, just to name a few.

But it is also perfect to serve instead of baked bread, a bit like the Neapolitan zeppole di pasta cresciuta.

italian gnocco fritto with prosciutto and wine

Try other Italian street food:

gnocco fritto

Gnocco fritto

A traditional recipe from Emilia-Romagna, particularly from the Emilia area of the region. A delicious way to accompany cold meats as well as cheese.
4.75 from 16 votes
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Course: Antipasto
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 50 pieces
Calories: 38kcal


  • 500 grams all-purpose flour
  • 200 grams water
  • 1 teaspoon dry yeast
  • 70 grams lard or butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 12 grams salt
  • oil or lard for frying


How to make fried dumplings

  • Make a batter by mixing 60 grams of the flour with the dry yeast, the sugar, and 50-60 grams of the water.
  • Cover with plastic film and let rise at room temperature or, if the weather is too cool, inside the oven, until it doubles and many bubbles form on the surface, usually about 1 hour.
  • Then add the rest of the flour and water.
  • Knead by hand until all the liquids are absorbed. If the dough is too hard and there is still flour around the bowl, add another tablespoon of water, just enough to combine everything.
  • Gradually add the lard: add a piece, knead, then add another piece of lard.
  • The dough should be smooth and soft. Add the salt, then knead again.
  • Form a ball and cur a cross in the top.
  • Cover with plastic film and let rise in a warm place (about 80°F) until it triples in volume, about 2 hours.

How to cook gnocco fritto

  • Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, sprinkling with a pinch of flour above and below.
  • Form a rectangle about 3 millimeters thick.
  • Cut into 2-inch-wide strips, then cut them diagonally, so as to obtain rhombuses.
  • Heat a saucepan with plenty of oil.
  • When the oil reaches frying temperature, dip one or two pieces at a time, wait for the dumplings to swell, and turn them. Cook for a minute, then drain on a paper towel and place on the serving plate.
  • Serve hot or cold, perhaps with a sprinkling of flaked salt and accompanied by or stuffed with cold cuts and Italian cheeses.
Serving: 100g | Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 94mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
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6 Responses to “Gnocco Fritto”

  1. Amin Oteifa says:

    What do you mean when you say “stuff them with cold cuts or cheese”? I’m not sure how you open a fried piece of dough. Thank you.

    • Nonna Box says:

      Ciao Amin, you would slice them in the middle and place the cold cuts or cheese in between. When it’s not possible, you would place the cold cut or cheese on top of it.

  2. Julie says:

    Hello, how long will these keep for?

  3. Marge says:

    We just made these on the other night. They are very crisp and light right out of the fryer but by the next morning, very soft(but still pretty delicous).

    • Nonna Box says:

      That’s great! Yes, gnocco fritto is better to be eaten right away as it’s fried, but still pretty delicious even the day after.

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