Ready in 30 minutes and picky-eater approved, this Creamy Sausage Gnocchi recipe has a rich, creamy sauce that perfectly complements the soft, pillowy gnocchi and the spicy, savory bite of Italian sausage! Perfect for any day of the week, this dish combines simple ingredients with rich Italian flavors to create a meal that's a huge hit with the whole family!

An image of a skillet full of creamy sausage gnocchi.

Table of Contents
  1. Why We Love This Recipe
  2. What You'll Need
  3. How to Make Creamy Gnocchi with Sausage Recipe
  4. Recipe FAQ's
  5. Tips for Success
  6. What To Serve With Creamy Sausage Gnocchi
  7. Substitutions and Variations
  8. More Italian Pasta Dinner Recipes
  9. Creamy Sausage Gnocchi Recipe Recipe

Gnocchi, those pillowy Italian dumplings, have a rich history that dates back to ancient times, becoming a staple in Italian cuisine. This particular Creamy Sausage Gnocchi recipe is a modern take on classic Italian cooking, utilizing ingredients like Italian sausage and heavy cream to create a dish that's both comforting and satisfying.

This easy dinner recipe is a favorite for its ability to all-but transform your dining room into an Italian restaurant, making it a go-to for those evenings when you crave something special without too much fuss.

If you love delicious recipes that showcase flavorful Italian sausage, check out my recipes for Tortellini Soup with Italian SausageEasy Minestrone SoupItalian Sausage Stuffing with Cranberries & ApplesZuppa Toscana Soup, and Sausage Rigatoni Pasta!

Why We Love This Recipe

  • With just one pan needed and a total cooking time of around 20 minutes (plus 10 minutes prep), it's the epitome of a quick and easy weeknight meal that doesn't sacrifice taste for speed.
  • The dish remains delicious whether you opt for hot Italian sausages to add some kick, mild ones for a gentler flavor, or vegetarian sausages for a plant-based alternative, ensuring everyone can enjoy this delightful dish.
  • With protein-packed sausage, carbs from the gnocchi, and a good dose of greens from the spinach, this well-rounded meal is as nutritional as it is tasty.

What You'll Need

Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient list with quantities and full instructions.

  • Olive Oil - A must for sautéing, olive oil adds a subtle flavor that complements the Italian sausage and garlic.
  • Italian Sausage - Italian sausage infuses the meal with savory richness. You can use either mild or spicy Italian sausage, depending on your preference.
  • Onion - Adds sweetness and depth to the dish as it cooks down and caramelizes.
  • Garlic Cloves - Essential for adding that quintessential Italian aroma and taste.
  • Uncooked Potato Gnocchi - These soft, pillowy dumplings that absorb the sauce beautifully.
  • Chicken Broth - Helps to deglaze the pan and adds a layer of flavor to the sauce.
  • Heavy Cream - The key to the creamy texture of the sauce. It balances the spices and enriches the dish.
  • Italian Seasoning - A blend of herbs that enhances the Italian flavor profile of the dish.
  • Red Pepper Flakes - Adds a touch of heat. Adjust according to your spice tolerance.
  • Crushed Tomatoes - Provides acidity and body to the sauce. You can substitute with tomato puree for a smoother texture.
  • Fresh Spinach - Adds color, nutrition, and a slightly earthy flavor to the dish. It wilts down and integrates seamlessly into the sauce.
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper - For seasoning, adjust to taste.
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese - Adds a nutty, salty flavor and helps thicken the sauce.
  • Fresh Basil - A fragrant finish that brightens the dish.
Sausage gnocchi ingredients on a marble surface.

How to Make Creamy Gnocchi with Sausage Recipe

  1. Brown sausage and onion. The first step begins by heating the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is simmering, add the sausage and onion, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon. You're aiming for a nice, even browning of the sausage meat, which should take about 6-8 minutes.
  2. Add garlic. Next, add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook it for about 30 seconds. Garlic cooks quickly, so this brief sauté is enough to release its aromatic flavors without risking it burning, which could introduce a bitter taste.
  1. Stir in the gnocchi, broth, cream, and seasoning. After sautéing the garlic, stir in the uncooked gnocchi, chicken broth, heavy cream, and Italian seasoning. Bring the cream sauce mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Covering the skillet, allow the gnocchi to cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes until combined.
  1. Stir in the spinach. Add the spinach to the creamy tomato sauce and stir until it is wilted.
  2. Season and serve. Season the dish with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Just before serving, sprinkle the freshly grated parmesan cheese and basil over the top for an extra layer of flavor and a touch of freshness.
Pasta bowls of creamy sausage gnocchi in front of a pan of gnocchi in tomato sauce.

Recipe FAQ's

Can I use store-bought gnocchi for this recipe?

Yes, store-bought gnocchi works perfectly in this recipe and is a great time-saver. If you have more time, homemade gnocchi can also be used for an even more authentic taste.

Is it possible to make this dish gluten-free?

Absolutely! Simply substitute regular gnocchi with a gluten-free variety (or make homemade gnocchi using a gluten-free flour substitute) to make this dish gluten-free. Ensure that the sausage and other ingredients are also gluten-free.

What if I don't have heavy cream?

You can use full-fat coconut milk as a dairy-free alternative, or a mixture of milk and a tablespoon of butter as a substitute if you're not dairy-free. The texture and taste will slightly vary, but the dish will still be delicious.

Can I make this recipe vegetarian?

Yes, you can easily make this vegetarian by using a plant-based sausage alternative and vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. The rest of the ingredients are already vegetarian-friendly.

Can I freeze creamy sausage gnocchi?

While you can freeze the dish, the creamy sauce may separate or change texture upon reheating. For best results, enjoy it fresh or store it in the refrigerator for a few days.

How do I store leftover creamy sausage gnocchi?

​Allow the dish to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Properly stored, it can last in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When reheating, you may need to add a little broth or water to loosen up the sauce, as it tends to thicken when chilled.

Tips for Success

  • The type of Italian sausage you choose can significantly affect the dish's flavor. For a spicier kick, opt for hot Italian sausage. If you prefer something milder, mild Italian sausage is your best bet. You can even mix the two for a balanced flavor profile. Quality matters, so select high-quality sausage for the best taste. I usually use the sweet Italian sausage for my kids, but personally I like it spicy.
  • To ensure your gnocchi turns out perfectly pillowy and not mushy, pay attention to the cooking time once you add them to the sauce. They should be tender but still hold their shape. If using store-bought gnocchi, follow the package instructions as a guideline but start checking for doneness a couple of minutes early to prevent overcooking.
  • The key to a successful creamy sauce is balance. You want it rich but not overwhelming. One way to achieve this is by adjusting the amount of heavy cream based on your preference. Start with the recipe's recommended amount, but feel free to tweak it. If the sauce is too thick, a little extra chicken broth can help thin it out without diluting the flavor.
  • Don't forget to season your dish carefully. The sausage, chicken broth, and Parmesan cheese all add saltiness, so you may want to wait until these ingredients have been added and cooked before adjusting the salt level. Always taste your sauce before serving and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes as needed.

What To Serve With Creamy Sausage Gnocchi

Serve your creamy sausage gnocchi with slices of crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce. Whether it's a rustic Italian loaf or a baguette, the bread acts as the perfect vehicle for ensuring not a drop of sauce goes to waste. For those who can never have too much garlic, garlic bread is a fantastic accompaniment.

For a lighter side, consider serving steamed vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or asparagus alongside your gnocchi. The vegetables' natural flavors will be a nice, subtle addition that doesn't overpower the main dish but instead adds a healthy component to your meal.

And a simple green salad dressed with olive oil and lemon juice or a light vinaigrette complements the richness of the creamy sausage gnocchi beautifully. The freshness and crunch of the salad offer a delightful contrast, making it a balanced and complete meal.

A bowl of creamy sausage gnocchi with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Substitutions and Variations

  • If you'd like your pasta dish to have less sauce, you can use one 14.5-ounce can of crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes instead of the larger 28-ounce can without adjusting any other ingredients.
  • If you're not a fan of spinach or simply don't have it on hand, kale, Swiss chard, or even arugula can provide a similar nutritional boost and color contrast to the dish.
  • If you don't have Parmesan available or you're looking to experiment, asiago cheese or Pecorino Romano can offer a slightly different flavor profile.
  • Tomato puree or even diced tomatoes can work instead of crushed tomatoes if you prefer a different texture in your sauce. Sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped, can also add a burst of flavor.
  • Chicken stock or vegetable broth are easy substitutes for chicken broth, and for an extra layer of flavor and complexity, try using a splash of pinot grigio or another dry white wine in addition to or in place of some of the broth.

More Italian Pasta Dinner Recipes

Creamy Sausage Gnocchi Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Amy Nash
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 servings
Creamy Sausage Gnocchi has a rich, creamy sauce that perfectly complements the soft, pillowy gnocchi and the spicy, savory bite of Italian sausage! Perfect for any day of the week, this dish combines simple ingredients with rich Italian flavors to create a meal that's a huge hit with the whole family!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 16 ounces uncooked potato gnocchi
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and onion. Cook, breaking up the sausage, until browned, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add gnocchi, chicken broth, cream, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then cover and cook for 5 minutes to cook the gnocchi.
  • Add crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine. Add spinach and stir until it is wilted.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Just before serving, sprinkle the freshly grated parmesan cheese and basil over the top.


  • Store: Cool, transfer to an airtight container, and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You may need to add a little broth or water to loosen up the sauce when reheating, as it tends to thicken when chilled.
  • Freeze: For best results, enjoy fresh or store it in the refrigerator for a few days. If you require to freeze leftovers, place the cooled dish in a freezer-safe container or bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating on the stove or microwave, adding liquid if necessary to achieve the desired consistency.
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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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