Why you shouldn't deep-fry a gnocchi

Ever wonder what happens if you put gnocchi in a deep-fat frier? Steve from WebRestaurantStore discovered, the hard way, that they burst, flinging themselves high in the air in a shower of white-hot, hilarious grease.

Fried Gnocchi (via Making Light)


  1. Haven’t laughed this much in ages. Somehow, the spontaneously exploding gnocchi on the tray really got to me. In fact, I laughed pretty much in sync with that WebRestaurant guy!
    Also, I wonder what happened to that first gnocco, which never came down.

  2. Well folks, that is me in the video. I’m Steve. I just have to say that I am very excited to be on Boing Boing (even for a cooking disaster), as I am a huge fan of this site. If anyone has any questions about what happened, I would be happy to answer. Thanks, Cory!

    1. Steve, you’re probably hesitant to try that again, but how about with home-made gnocci? The traditional northern Italian recipe is just potatoes kneaded with flour, and I don’t see how those would explode any more than chunky fries would explode. It might work, and they’d be soooo tasty….

      1. I do think that pan frying homemade gnocchi would be amazing. I don’t think that made from scratch gnocchi would be as likely to get the seal that the store bought gnocchi did. And it is so much tastier than the store kinds. My intro to gnocchi was when I was a teenager, my best friend’s very Italian mom would have a bunch of us over for gnocchi making parties…that was twenty years ago and I still think about those meals.

        Pan frying would allow some of the steam out. I would probably boil first, then pan fry. And now you made me hungry.

  3. Tray.. exploding.. gnocci… *laughs*

    I’ve never seen this before, this is NUTS :) Steve, you crack me up..

  4. What a brilliant science lesson! When it does not work, increase the energy in the system by turning up the heat!?!
    This is potatoe popcorn: The flower which is added to the potatoe mash in order to transform them into gnocchi and not french fries, leads to an airtight/vapour-tight seal of the outer shell of the gnocchi, when deep fried. Once sealed it is just a matter of water vapour cracking the seal.
    Just magic science!

  5. Thanks for a great start to the morning! I particularly love science experiments (planned or spontaneous) which involve cooking.

    Am I right in assuming that the chemical reaction here is similar to popcorn?

  6. I got a question for ya…why were you prepared to unleash this horror upon the masses without testing it first? You went straight from loose concept to presentation stage.

    I applaud you for your efforts, however, still sounds delicious. Buffalo gnocci, you were gone before we even had a chance to taste thee.

  7. @msw141 it was truly an experiment. In the morning I was thinking about gnocchi, and it struck me that potatoes and pasta both taste good when deep fried, and so gnocchi might be especially delicious with that treatment. I posed the question on the WEBstaurant Twitter page, and several people tweeted back that I should try it. In an effort to a)be responsive b)get out of more difficult work and c) get the WEBstaurantStore to pay for my experiment, I rallied the photo room to do a video that afternoon. What can I say, I am a huge Mythbusters fan too. BUSTED.
    After 10 minutes of insane laughter (I couldn’t stop, and even got yelled at by a grouchy guy from the office next door), I did finally try it. With a little salt, these were freaking delicious. The wing sauce was okay, but mainly because wing sauce is tasty–it really took away from the crispiness of the gnocchi.

    1. Let me guess… you used cheap Gnocci from a bag instead of making your own? In that case, look at the box. Chances are, they’re held together by some means of glue, a few of which will when exposed to heat (above the 350 baseline), rapidly expand.

      They’re so easy to make, try it with homemades next time :)

      1. Joseph, as I have mentioned in a previous post, I have made gnocchi from scratch before and I believe it to be a wonderful comfort food. I love the stuff, too.
        The fact is, the idea for this came to me at 9am on a very busy day, when I had to finish writing and then giving a presentation on walk-in coolers. I had only my lunch break to go to the grocery store to gather supplies. I had to teach about walk-in coolers from 2-3pm. Because our video intern was leaving at 4pm, I then had to go to another building where the photoroom is housed, gather equipment, get miked up, and film this all between 3-4pm. So as much as I would have preferred to show off my home made gnocchi making skills, there was no time for that.
        @wrecked_em there is more to the story on the heat thing, but it is too long. That oil was at 365 when those gnocchi began their attack.

  8. Awesome vid, man. Who’da thunk that “more heat” is not the appropriate counter-move to grease splatter. You must wear more protective gear so you can continue to make such great videos. A follow-up in full body CDC suit would be funny.

  9. Dedzig, try what else one should no fry and write a book :) and I second msw141’s notion that you get a hazard suit … at least some more serious eye-wear.

    Darn, I envy you for that HUGE bottle of wing sauce. We might have great pasta in Italy, but we suck on the wing front.

  10. The laughing at the end was very evil-mad-scientist, which fits perfectly with a tray full of pasta coming to life in an early-morning experiment gone awry.

  11. This is science in action. Hypothesize, “Frying hot sauce gnocci is easy and delicious” set up the apparatus, and based on your conclusions be able to turn your initial assumption upside down. Current hypothesis “frying hot sauce gnocci will generate unpredictable explosive balls of taters, hot oil and pepper spray”. Initial hypothesis “this is an exciting recipe” is still intact. You can now get funding from the military. Kudos Dedzig/Steve, for reacting to it with good humour and grace.

    1. Yes, definitely, try that. Even just one deep jab with a bamboo skewer would probably make all the difference.

  12. This is great basic research for creating a new dish along the lines of saganaki – serve them right out of the hot oil and onto the diner’s plate under some kind of raised glass dome (to deflect the projectiles back down onto the plate). Then when they start bouncing around under the dome, yell “Opa!”.

    The diner then gets to decide when it’s safe to spear the gnocchi with their fork and eat them.

  13. Wow! That is an infectious laugh. I couldn’t stop laughing for about five minutes after this. I sense a “Will it Deep Fry?” video series in your future. I will be a huge fan.

  14. Quasi-frozen and multi-stab-pin-prick points, a reconverted spaetzle tool, with pins near the circle holes, I’ve fried gnocchi many times (among other things), quite safely, and whenever doing fry/oil, always go safety glasses, and I’ve got one of those factory-like thick plastic “cooking bibs”. And it’s not always about the “explosions”, it’s about the random missile-firings from the process itself…

    Quite funny, but then obvious Steve is no frying veteran, not an area into which to venture, could burn house down, and or literally set yourself on fire, or at the very least have serious burns. Safety, and presume everything is airtight-sealed, stab anything repeatedly.

    1. Obvious not an experienced fryer except for the fact that I have sold dozens of commercial fryers over the past 21 years I have worked in food service(16 years as in supply sales), worked in restaurants, and I am an avid cook who has fried turkeys (see boring video on our channel), calamari, blooming onions, apple fritters, coke (again, see video on our channel), spring rolls enclosing bananas (highly recommend, cover in powdered sugar & chocolate sauce–my kids love that I call them “monkey balls”)and dozens of other things–all quite safely. The fact is, I did not have any reason whatsoever to believe that gnocchi would explode. It could have been the fact that they are store bought, it could have been the brand. Who knows?
      Other than frying a turkey and now that I know–gnocchi, I really don’t see the need to wear goggles. I have been in hundreds of commercial kitchens, and I have never seen a fry cook with them on and I never had someone ask for goggles (which I sell) for a fry station. Hey, but maybe after this video, our goggle sales will spike.
      I do agree people at home should be careful at home when frying, and I would recommend a cast iron dutch oven on a grill side burner, if for no other reason in order to keep the smell out of house.

      FWIW, I happened to be at work in this vid, in close proximity to lots of fire extinguishers. We sell those, too.

      1. Well, not experienced from appearances sake, sorry on the history, didn’t mean it testy. The whole thing was quite funny, and gone viral video serious, so all a benefit, no worries.

        I like safety goggles, the fact that fry cooks don’t universally do it, doesn’t make it more correct, errant popping flying hot-oil or random particulate-matter always a factor.

        Confused on thy logic tho. If you have never someone ask for Goggles, YET you sell them, maybe you should inform them? Quite an easy accessory high-profit attachment item. Why sell what has no demand? Might be a case of the salesmenship art of minimizing risk factors. ;)

        Did not have any reason whatsoever to believe of explosional potential? I guess this is where I differ, and must agree to disagree, as I start OUT assuming anything and everything has that ability.

        Goggles and Stab City, just how I roll… :)

        1. I am sorry if I was testy Christoph. Please buy lots of goggles & fire extinguishers from us! I am really all for people being as safe as possible. I kind of like your view of things as far as assuming everything is explosive, as that makes life much more exciting.

          @Anon who made the mp3. Oh my gosh, I am going to be hearing this from all day in the office.

  15. PS – And it’s not only about gnocchi, any number of things you shouldn’t fry without first going thru a ‘basic cooking-science’ process. You can fry anything, if you do it right, and in controlled-conditions, but maybe the whole-turkey thing more left to the skills of Adam, Jamie, Kari, Grant and Tory…

  16. It’s not buzzkill, it’s one of those things filed under “do not EVAR try this at home”. I do insane stuff, but only after insuring I won’t die in the process. ;)

  17. I actually fried up some gnocchi for dinner last night. To be fair these were homemade pumpkin gnocchi, that had been par-boiled and frozen weeks ago. A little spattering from some frost on the outside, but no popcorn effect. Only golden brown deliciousness, served with some brown butter, shallot, walnuts, lardo and sage. Perhaps there is some baking powder in the store-bought kind, or maybe the key is just to boil them before frying?

  18. Most. Infectious. Laugh. Ever. Love it! Steve, please let’s find out what else pops out of the pan when you deep fry it!

  19. If you want deep fried gnocchi, tempura batter it first. And using sweet potato tempura gnocchi is the best.

  20. I just wanted to point out that if your grease is white-hot, you’re doing it wrong. Unless you’re trying to fry solid rock.

  21. I would think turning down the heat so the outside gets a thick crust before the inside gets hot would be more sensible

  22. Oh wow… this guy’s laugh is fantastic! It had me in tears and laughing out loud right along with him! I think the slow build up to the explosion of laughter was perfectly timed too. Oh, thanks… that was great!

  23. My mother owns an italian restaurant and she hand rolls the gnocchi which is the lightest nicest you will ever taste, we always deep fry it for ourselfs, tastes really great

  24. I came back for seconds!!! Was it here on BB where they had the Swiss statesman reading a bill on lunchmeat and just breaking down in hysterical laughter, crying, composing himself, and just busting out again?

    It is as good as this except in Schweitzerdeutsch.

  25. Seriously reminds me of the old David Letterman segment called “Is This Anything?” and of course, this is something! “Can we have a little exploding gnocchi music, Paul?” Bring out the Grinder Girl!

  26. not sure what was in that gnocchi but i’ve fried a lot of gnocchi and never had this happen. kind of wish it did.

  27. Oh my god, the combination of exploding gnocchi and crazy laughter caused me to have tears. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. Thanks! Awesome experiment!

  28. Not sure if anyone mentioned this or not. The reason they were exploding on him is because of the excess water content. If he got store bought ones (especially frozen) they have moisture in them that when released in the heat of the oil…explodes. Think popcorn.

    If you made fresh dry dough gnocchi…wouldn’t be an issue.

  29. Incredibly funny spontaneous events are always cool. *thumbs up*

    Hysterical laughter is always funny. *thumbs up*

    Know it all people need to jump in a frozen lake. Head first. *thumbs down*

  30. Oh. Holy crap. I haven’t laughed that hard in months. I think coffee shot out my nose. And I don’t even drink coffee… I thought the guy was going to hurt himself laughing, and I wasn’t far behind. It’s like the Lethal Joke from Monty Python… And the gnocchi hopping around on the tray for some time afterwards; comedy gold. XD

  31. That was pretty funny, the gnocchi reminded me of popcorn. I think that they could be fried successfully if they were cooked (boiled) first, then fried. Of course, he may have already done that, as we didn’t see how they were prepared.

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