Preparing cauliflower gnocchi in the air fryer is one of the easiest methods that results in the perfect crispy texture. Whether it’s Trader Joe’s or any other brand, try this air fryer recipe for the perfect cauliflower gnocchi and enjoy it as an appetizer or main dish.
Who remembers when Trader Joe’s first came out with their cauliflower gnocchi and getting your hands on a package was like winning the lottery?
Man, I don’t miss those days.
I felt like I was on Supermarket Sweep running around the store looking for them. That sentence probably shows my age more than anything I’ve ever said.
I think I went to the store four times (and it’s 40 minutes away from my house) before finally scoring some.
I will say, it was one of the few things that lived up to the hype. A couple years later and I’m still just as obsessed as I was then.
That said, as any true lover of this cauliflower gnocchi knows, boiling it like you would regular gnocchi is just no bueno.
The skillet method on the back of the package is decent and while I do make it that way often (kinda of what I do in this skillet baked cauliflower gnocchi recipe actually), I think I’ve found a new favorite: air fried cauliflower gnocchi.
After just 18 minutes, the air fryer cooks these frozen little nuggets to the perfect golden brown crispy exterior while that soft pillowy interior gnocchi are famous for is maintained on the inside.
The result is similar to a tater tot and who the heck doesn’t love a freakin’ tater tot?!
Cooking the cauliflower gnocchi in the air fryer also gives you options when serving.
Because of that perfectly crispy texture, these can easily be enjoyed like a snack or appetizer. Just grab your favorite condiment and dunk away.
Or, chow down on a big bowl in a more traditional way by tossing with some olive oil, garlic and salt for a satisfying pasta-like meal.
Gotta love options. Both ways are included in the recipe below.
HOW TO COOK CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI IN THE AIR FRYER
The best part of this “recipe” (if you can even call it that) is that it goes straight from the freezer to the air fryer.
No extra prep needed.
Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi is sold frozen and intended to cook from frozen. So just open the bag and spread the gnocchi out in your air fryer!
If using an air fryer like mine with trays, arrange the gnocchi on the tray in a single layer. Make sure there’s space between each one.
For basket model air fryers, add the gnocchi to the basket making sure there’s enough space between them. If not, you’ll want to cook the gnocchi in batches.
Air fry the cauliflower gnocchi at 400°F for 16-18 minutes.
Halfway through the cooking time, flip the gnocchi (or shake the basket) and give them a spritz with an olive oil cooking spray.
The gnocchi are done when the outsides start to turn golden brown and crisp up.
If you’re using a brand other than Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi and it’s vacuum sealed at room temperature (like the ones from Whole Foods), you can still air fry the gnocchi.
The only difference to the directions above are to spray the gnocchi before and halfway through cooking.
You’ll also want to reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.
Keep an eye out starting around the 12 minute mark to make sure the gnocchi don’t burn or dry out.
HOW TO SERVE AIR FRIED CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI
AIR FRIED GNOCCHI AS AN APPETIZER
When the gnocchi are air fried like this, they become a delicious appetizer option!
You could easily serve these in a bowl or plate with an array of condiments.
Honestly, some good ketchup or marinara sauce is perfect alongside these crispy cauliflower gnocchi.
Add some air fried zucchini chips to the spread and make it an air fryer appetizer party!
Think how great these would be for a crowd!
Peace out, pigs in a blanket or fried mozzarella sticks, air fried cauliflower gnocchi is the new kid in town.
AIR FRYER GNOCCHI AS A MAIN DISH
Of course, you can also still enjoy the gnocchi as most gnocchi is often eaten – in a bowl like pasta.
I like to toss the cauliflower gnocchi with some good quality extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder and sea salt straight out of the air fryer.
It’s a bowl of pure comfort food.
Top with some grated cheese if desired and fresh basil for the simplest yet most delicious meal.
MORE WAYS TO EAT CAULIFLOWER GNOCCHI
You could also easily make a sauce to toss the gnocchi with.
My 20 minute tomato sauce is a great option for a classic marinara vibe.
If you want a vegan creamy cheese-like sauce, take a look at my creamy white bean pasta. You can use that sauce for the air fried cauliflower gnocchi.
Throwing in some baby spinach and sun-dried tomatoes like that recipe calls for would also be a great idea.
The pumpkin sauce I made in this creamy pumpkin kale pasta is another great vegetarian/vegan option.
Or, make a pesto!
If you do choose to toss the gnocchi with a sauce, I recommend having the sauce prepared before air frying the cauliflower gnocchi.
Once the gnocchi are out of the air fryer, toss in the sauce and serve immediately to maintain that coveted crispy exterior.
Life’s pretty good when you can get a delicious recipe like these crispy air fryer cauliflower gnocchi in under 20 minutes.
I love the air fryer for stuff like this for a few reasons.
Not only does it produce the best texture, it makes clean up a breeze too.
And, it keeps the stove and oven free for any other cooking you’re doing simultaneously for the meal.
I seriously questioned this appliance when I first got it.
But, as I continue to find “wins” with some of my favorite foods, it’s slowly becoming something I love.
And now cauliflower gnocchi is solidly in that win column.
If you love this recipe, definitely check out my Instant Pot bolognese sauce too. It would be a great accompaniment to the air fried gnocchi.
Or, my lentil bolognese for a vegetarian version.
Hope you enjoy these crispy little nuggets of cauliflower goodness! And don’t forget to check out the air fried cauliflower gnocchi web story too!
Crispy Air Fryer Cauliflower Gnocchi
Air Fried Cauliflower Gnocchi
- 1 package cauliflower gnocchi Trader Joe’s or other brand
- extra virgin olive oil cooking spray
Optional main dish preparation
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Spread frozen cauliflower gnocchi out into a single layer in air fryer trays or basket. (*see notes if gnocchi isn’t frozen)
- Air fry at 400°F for 16-18 minutes. Flip each gnocchi halfway through if using trays or shaking basket if using basket model air fryer and spritz with cooking spray. Continue air frying until starting to turn golden brown around the edges.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.