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Air Fried Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Gnocchi

Air frying is one of my favorite ways to cook frozen cauliflower gnocchi. Not only is it quick and easy, it creates a crispy exterior that can add texture to dishes or make gnocchi a great snack on its own.

This recipe takes about 20 minutes from start to finish and uses a seasoning combo from one of my most popular recipes of all time. You’re in for a treat!

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Air Fryer Cauliflower Gnocchi Recipe Walkthrough

This is a super easy recipe, but I’ll run you through everything with example photos. If you’ve made my air fryer carrot fries or garlic parmesan roasted radishes, you’ll be pleased to know this recipe is basically the exact same. No slicing carrots here, though!

You’ll find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. But first, here are a couple things to know:

  1. The recipe calls for Trader Joe’s frozen cauliflower gnocchi but like I mentioned in my chicken sausage and mushroom cauliflower gnocchi recipe, other brands like Green Giant make this product now.
  2. I used a 6.5qt Ninja Foodi for air frying. Different air fryers may require minor temperature and/or time adjustments. You can find all my recommended kitchen tools and ingredients on my Amazon storefront.

Okay, let’s get to it.

Step 1: Add frozen cauliflower gnocchi straight to an air fryer basket and cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. 

frozen trader joe's cauliflower gnocchi in an air fryer basket

If you’re using a smaller air fryer and can’t create a single layer of gnocchi, you may want to shake halfway through air frying. This would also apply if you wanted to double the recipe.

Step 2: Mix olive oil with crushed garlic in one bowl, and grated parmesan with black pepper in another.

partially air fried cauliflower gnocchi beside a bowl of olive oil with crushed garlic and a small bowl of grated parmesan and black pepper

Like I mentioned in my carrot fries recipe, the oil is an important ingredient in the recipe for both flavor and browning. You can experiment with using less oil, but I’d highly encourage you to leave it as-is if possible! The extra calories are worth it.

And if you have the time, you could infuse the oil with the garlic and herbs. Check out my oven roasted cauliflower gnocchi for a how-to.

How to Crush Garlic

Place the flat of your knife on top of a clove of garlic and carefully use a closed fist to smash the top side of the knife. This should get your started, but you can use the blade to mince difficult pieces. Once the garlic is partially smashed, sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt on top and drag the edge of your knife across a cutting board until your create a rough paste.

This doesn’t have to be perfect. And if you’re uncomfortable with crushing garlic, just give it a fine mince and add some salt straight to the oil. No biggie!

Step 3: Toss the partially air fried gnocchi in the olive oil and garlic before coating with grated parmesan.

grated parmesan and black pepper sprinkled on the oil coated gnocchi

I like to add the cheese in 2-3 bouts to evenly coat the gnocchi. If you dump everything on top at once, you might end up with a few clumps here and there.

Ingredient note: If you need a dairy free version, you could try using nutritional yeast in place of the grated parmesan. I’ve not tested this, but you’ll get a similar flavor profile. 

Step 4: Add the seasoned gnocchi back to the air fryer basket.

gnocchi back in the air fryer after tossing in olive oil and grated parmesan

It should be smooth sailing from here on. Pro tip for minimizing clean up: Add the basket back to the air fryer before transferring the gnocchi from the bowl.

Step 5: Air fry for another 10-12 minutes until you have golden brown gnocchi. 

air fried cauliflower gnocchi after 10 additional minutes

Use my time recommendations as a guide. If you’re using different equipment, you may want to check on your gnocchi early or at least keep a nose close by to avoid burning.

Step 6 (optional): Mix ketchup with Trader Joe’s Italian Bomba sauce for dipping. 

ketchup and Italian Bomba pepper sauce for air fried cauliflower gnocchi

If you’re serving your gnocchi as a snack or appetizer on its own, these two ingredients make a great dip option. If you don’t have any of the pepper sauce on hand, you could try sriracha, chili garlic sauce, or something similar.

On the other hand, if you wanted to serve your air fried gnocchi as a meal, you might pair it with my Instant Pot bolognese, use it as a pasta substitute in my Italian veggie pasta bake, or as a side with a protein like air fryer chicken tenders.

I’m curious to see what applications you can come up with. Be sure to let me know!

Okay, you’re ready to get air frying. If you have any additional questions about making cauliflower gnocchi in the air fryer or ingredient modifications, drop a comment below the recipe card. You can also join my free Facebook group to ask the 12k healthy home cooks there!

air fred cauliflower gnocchi on a white plate with a bowl of spicy ketchup

Air Fried Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Gnocchi

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

This recipe transforms frozen cauliflower gnocchi into a crispy golden brown treat in about 20 minutes.


  • 12 oz bag Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi (frozen)
  • 1 Tbsp (16g) Olive Oil
  • 1 clove (5g) Garlic, crushed with a pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp (15g) Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, optional


  1. Add the cauliflower gnocchi to an air fryer basket and cook for 10 minutes at 400F.
  2. While the gnocchi cooks, mix the olive oil and crushed garlic in a large bowl. Mix the grated parmesan and pepper(s) in another bowl. Set aside.
  3. After 10 minutes, toss the gnocchi in the olive oil and garlic mixture before sprinkling the parmesan and pepper over the top. Toss or stir to evenly coat the gnocchi before adding back to the air fryer basket.
  4. Air fry for an additional 10-12 minutes at 400F until the gnocchi is as crispy as you'd like.
  5. Sprinkle dried parsley flakes or freshly chopped parsley over the cooked gnocchi and serve with your favorite dipping sauce*.


*I mixed a bit of Trader Joe's Italian Bomba Pepper Sauce with reduced sugar ketchup.

Each serving has 4 WW SmartPoints (blue plan).

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Servings Serving Size: 1 Serving (about 10 pieces)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 134Total Fat: 6.5gSaturated Fat: 1.5gCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3.8gSugar: 1gProtein: 2.8g

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Thursday 16th of April 2020

Guilty pleasure right here... but I don’t think I should feel guilty since it’s air fried, cauliflower and delicious. If you have an air fryer make this stat! And if you’re not blessed to have a Trader Joe’s bear you, I believe the green giant brand makes cauliflower gnocchi!

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