Cinnamon Butter Gnocchi: Recipe from Veneto

Cinnamon Butter Gnocchi: Carnival Recipe from Veneto.

Carnival is fast approaching here in Italy and with it comes some wonderful typical Italian foods, like this unbelievably scrumptious cinnamon butter gnocchi recipe from Veneto, where I live.  

cinnamon butter gnocchi carnival recipe from Veneto

Gnocchi con burro, zucchero e cannella.

Probably the most famous Italian carnival celebrations are held in Venice. I’m lucky enough to live only one hour away. Most years, I go there to not only join in the revelry, but to also take photos. Venice carnival is a fabulous photo opportunity! However, carnival is celebrated throughout Italy! Almost every town and village holds carnival celebrations which often include colourful float parades and costumes. And, of course, stalls selling traditional carnival fare such as this gnocchi carnival recipe.

cinnamon butter gnocchi carnival recipe from Veneto

Carnival in Italy.

Most typical Italian carnival recipes are sweet! Even normally savoury food is sweetened like this cinnamon butter gnocchi. I guess because carnival is traditionally  a period of indulgence immediately prior to Lent.

cinnamon butter gnocchi recipe from Veneto

Although official carnival celebrations start on a Sunday (this year March 3rd). The beginning of carnival is often celebrated on the Thursday before known as ‘Giovedi grasso’, meaning fat Thursday.

cinnamon and butter melting in pan

The last day of carnival is martedi grasso (mardi gras or fat Tuesday.) These 2 days are called ‘fat’ because in the past people ate in abundance, using up all the stocks of foods, such as meat, which was stored at home, before starting a period of fasting.

cooked potato gnocchi in pan with cinnamon and butter

Different versions of cinnamon butter gnocchi.

This recipe for cinnamon butter gnocchi dates back to the Renaissance and is a traditional carnival dish in Veneto. In Italian, it is also known as gnocchi alla Veneta. There are a number of  versions of this recipe in different parts of the region. This one is the simplest.

cinnamon butter gnocchi recipe from Veneto

In many places, they add grated cheese such as Parmigiano Reggiano. In others, they include raisins. I made this dish without either. But, you can add them if you like the idea! There is also a version called gnocchi alla Polesana in which the gnocchi are usually made with sweet potatoes.

cinnamon butter gnocchi recipe from Veneto

I recently ate cinnamon butter gnocchi with a tomato sauce at a friend’s house. This was amazing! Our host, a great cook, gave us some rather thick homemade tomato sauce to mix with the gnocchi once it was plated. Another idea worth trying for yourself! On that occasion, we ate the cinnamon butter gnocchi as a starter (primo in Italian). This is the traditional way, but you can also eat this gnocchi carnival recipe as dessert!

Making this cinnamon butter gnocchi

To make this cinnamon butter gnocchi, you will need potato gnocchi. If you wish to make your own, you can see the recipe here. The sauce is simply melted butter with cinnamon. When you plate the gnocchi you just need to sprinkle on some brown sugar!

cinnamon butter gnocchi recipe from Veneto

Cinnamon butter gnocchi may sound unusual to you, but I promise you it is absolutely Amazing with a capital A! I am sure that if you try it, you will think the same!

If you do try this cinnamon butter gnocchi carnival recipe, I’d love to hear what you think. Please write a comment here on the blog or post a comment on the Pasta Project Facebook page.

Your feedback means a lot to me!

Buon Appetito!

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Cinnamon Butter Gnocchi

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5 from 22 votes
cinnamon butter gnocchi carnival recipe from Veneto
Cinnamon Butter Gnocchi: Carnival Recipe from Veneto
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins

In this traditional carnival recipe from Veneto, Northern Italy, potato gnocchi are tossed in cinnamon butter and sprinkled with brown sugar. Divinely delicious and easy to make!

Course: Dessert, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Northern Italy, Veneto
Keyword: cinnamon, gnocchi, Italian food, potato gnocchi, sweet pasta
Servings: 4
Author: Jacqueline De Bono
  • 400-500 g gnocchi (14-17oz) If you want to make your own see my recipe
  • 120 g butter (4oz)
  • 50 g brown sugar (2oz)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon (flat tablespoon)
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks (used for decoration)
  • 50 g Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana (2oz) optional
  1. If you are making homemade gnocchi you will need to make them first.

  2. Put a pot of water on to boil for the gnocchi. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again.

  3. Melt the butter in a pan that is big enough to hold the cooked gnocchi too. Once the butter has melted add the ground cinnamon and stir until you have a smooth sauce.

  4. Cook the gnocchi in the boiling water (fresh gnocchi take only 2-3 minutes depending on the size) They are ready when they rise to the surface.

  5. Once the gnocchi rise to the surface of the water, drain them with a slotted spoon and place them in the pan with butter and cinnamon. Mix together and plate

  6. Sprinkle with brown sugar just before serving. Add grated cheese if required. I decorated with a piece of cinnamon stick.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can also be made with pumpkin or sweet potato gnocchi. In some parts of Veneto they also add raisins.

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cinnamon butter gnocchi

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  • Avatar
    January 28, 2020 12:29 pm

    my granny make it with cinnamon, tomato sauce and raisin. we wait all year long for that gnocchi

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  • Avatar
    February 25, 2019 10:47 pm

    That is an amazing combination! I am going to introduce that in Belgium, where we also have a lot of carnival 🙂

    • Jacqui
      February 28, 2019 2:21 pm

      Thanks so much Toon! Yes these sweet gnocchi are fabulous! So great that you want to introduce this dish in your country! Am sure everyone will like it!

  • Avatar
    Helen of Fuss Free Flavours
    February 22, 2019 2:17 pm

    Carnival time is an amazing time, and I find the love of food simply amazing. These gnocchi sound delicious, with the lovely cinnamon and perfect with the tomato sauce.

  • Avatar
    February 17, 2019 9:37 pm

    I’ve never had a dessert gnocchi, but I love the idea! The flavors here are great. Thanks so much for such a fun spin on gnocchi!

  • Avatar
    Cindy Gordon
    February 17, 2019 9:24 pm

    Loving the twist on savory gnoochi for this sweet recipe! YUMMMMO

  • Avatar
    February 17, 2019 9:21 pm

    Cinnamon butter gnocchi…where you been all my life? Yummmy! Love this super easy recipe! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Avatar
    February 17, 2019 9:11 pm

    Love this idea for a sweet snack!!!

  • Avatar
    Lisa Bryan
    February 17, 2019 9:01 pm

    Oh yum! I’ve never tried a sweet version of gnocchi before but this sounds delicious!

  • Avatar
    February 15, 2019 11:08 pm

    Sweet gnocci? This looks amazing. I’ve never heard of it, but now I need to try it! Saving this recipe, thanks!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 11:54 am

      Colleen these sweet gnocchi are to-die-for delicious! I’m sure you’ll think the same when you try it!

  • Avatar
    February 15, 2019 10:39 pm

    Amazing! I love gnocchi, can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 11:57 am

      These gnocchi are really special Noelle! I’m sure you’ll love them!

  • Avatar
    Adriana Lopez Martin
    February 15, 2019 10:12 pm

    What a heavenly combination, butter, potatoes and cinnamon, would have never thought of this. Italian cuisine is so vast and diverse.

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 6:59 pm

      Thank you dear Adriana! I agree this is a fabulous combo! Yes there’s so much to discover in Italian cuisine. Not just pasta and gnocchi!

  • Avatar
    Mary Bostow
    February 15, 2019 10:07 pm

    My husband LOVED this recipe! This was sinfully good and super simple to make!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:00 pm

      I’m thrilled you made this dish and your hubby loved it Mary! Yes so easy to make. If you have gnocchi ready it only takes the time you need to boil the water and cook the gnocchi!

  • Avatar
    February 15, 2019 9:27 pm

    I have yet to try a sweet gnocchi. This cinnamon version is such a neat idea since I love all thing cinnamon. 🙂

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:01 pm

      Sweet gnocchi are so good Anita! I hope you’ll try this recipe!

  • Avatar
    February 15, 2019 6:43 pm

    Oh my gosh! This is awesome. My kids would love it. I need to make it asap!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:04 pm

      Kids in Italy love this dish Edyta! It’s sweet and a special carnival treat!

  • Avatar
    February 15, 2019 6:13 pm

    You are such a wealth of information! I love the idea of making gnocchi with sweet potato too! That sounds lovely with the cinnamon butter! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:04 pm

      So happy you like this recipe Beth! I haven’t tried sweet potato gnocchi yet but it’s on my list!

  • Avatar
    Carrie | Clean Eating Kitchen
    February 15, 2019 5:51 pm

    These look so delicious – I’ve never heard of them before! Have fun during the festival!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:06 pm

      Thank you Carrie, I’m looking forward to the start of carnival!! These gnocchi are scrumptious! Def worth trying!

  • Avatar
    Tayler Ross
    February 15, 2019 4:54 pm

    I was sold at “cinnamon!” My whole family loved this and I can’t wait to make it again!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:11 pm

      I’m so happy your family enjoyed these sweet gnocchi, Tayler! They are a great family favourite here in Veneto during carnival!

  • Avatar
    Kelly Anthony
    February 15, 2019 4:42 pm

    The festival sounds amazing! One day I hope to go. This cinnamon butter gnocchi sounds heavenly. I can’t wait to try this!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:13 pm

      Carnival is fabulous in Italy, especially in Venice! I hope you’ll get to see it one day soon Kelly! In the meantime, you can enjoy a taste of Italian carnival with these sweet gnocchi. I’m sure you’ll love them!

  • Avatar
    February 15, 2019 4:38 pm

    This sounds so good! My husband and I love making homemade pasta but we’ve only tried gnocchi once. This is going to be next!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:14 pm

      Grazie Liz! Homemade gnocchi are so good and these cinnamon butter gnocchi are extra special! I’m sure you’ll agree once you try them!

  • Avatar
    February 15, 2019 4:03 pm

    I love it! I’ve been enjoying reading your blog with amazing recipes and the rich Italian culture.
    I would never put gnocchi together with cinnamon and sugar. Now I want to go and buy some to make this recipe. Sounds amazing!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:16 pm

      So happy you like my blog Lizet! These sweet gnocchi ARE amazing! I hope you’ll try them soon!

  • Avatar
    February 15, 2019 3:34 pm

    Oh yum. I have never heard of sweetening gnocchi before but now I’m really curious to try it.

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:17 pm

      I’m sure you will love these cinnamon butter gnocchi Emily!

  • Avatar
    Heidy L. McCallum
    February 15, 2019 3:33 pm

    This is a very interesting recipe and no doubt I would love to try it out. I’m saving it for later to test out when we have a girls night. I can’t wait.

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:18 pm

      Thank you Heidy! I’m certain you and your friends will really enjoy these cinnamon butter gnocchi!

  • Avatar
    Kate Hackworthy
    February 15, 2019 3:19 pm

    Woah, this sounds amazing! I love the idea of sweet cinnamon flavours with the gnocchi. I don’t know what I’d prefer, having it with raisins or in that thick tomato sauce!

    • Jacqui
      February 17, 2019 7:20 pm

      Thank you so much Kate! I haven’t tried this dish with raisins but definitely want to. It’s really amazing with tomato sauce. That I have tried!

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