How to Make Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

The infamous Trader Joe’s Gnocchi package directions results in soggy gnocchi that nobody wants, so we’re going step-by-step for you on How to Make Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi! It’s a quick weeknight meal on a budget and is a great gluten-free alternative to a classic gnocchi. What has become an almost cult classic, is so good, and we’ve cracked the code on our favorite way to prepare it.

Best way to cook Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi

How to Make Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

If you haven’t heard of the Trader Joe’s cult favorite Cauliflower Gnocchi, let us tell you a little bit about it! It’s inexpensive, sold for under $3, and made gluten-free with a hearty dose of veggie. Traditionally gnocchi is made with cooked potatoes that are bound together with egg and wheat flour. The TJ version is made with cauliflower and cassava flour, and a few other ingredients. To be clear, it’s not necessarily low-carb but it’s a healthier take with a classic flavor. The package directions produce a finished product that is a bit suspect so we’re going to go through step-by-step on How to Make Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi into a quick weeknight Italian dinner!

How do you cook cauliflower gnocchi?

There are a few different ways to cook cauliflower gnocchi. But there is one way not to cook it, and that is do not cook it according to the package directions. We are looking for gnocchi that isn’t mushy and has a nice crispy coating so we’re using cooking methods that do just that!

  1. In the skillet: This is by far the easiest and simplest method (and our favorite)! The main directions in our recipe include the step-by-step for skillet cooking because it is our preferred method for the best tasting gnocchi. It also makes the meal a one-pan dinner which is always a plus.
  2. In the air fryer: This is a simple way to crispy up the gnocchi, but the downside is that this cooking gadget isn’t that common and it still means you have to use other pots and pans to make a complete meal.
  3. In the oven: We offer directions for cooking the gnocchi on a sheet pan, but in all honestly it is our least favorite method. In order to achieve crispy gnocchi it has to have a long cook time, and just isn’t very efficient. But will lend itself to crispy gnocchi if left in there long enough.

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi recipes

What do you serve with Cauliflower Gnocchi:

We serve this recipe with store-bought tomato sauce, spinach and cheese. It makes it a complete meal that is made in one pan and ready in under 30 minutes. Alternatively you could use a homemade tomato saucehomemade meat sauce, a pesto, a pumpkin sauce or really any sauce that tastes good with gnocchi!

The TJ’s cauliflower gnocchi is also a hit when served alone as an appetizer with a dipping sauce!

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi cooking tips

Tips on getting your hands on Cauliflower Gnocchi

Admittedly there is a Cauliflower Gnocchi craze going on, coupled with a delay in getting shipments in to some stores. So we had trouble getting our hands on cauliflower gnocchi for a few weeks. Hopefully they’ll be producing more of this product now that they know it’s a hit. Follow these tips to get your hands on Cauliflower Gnocchi:

  • Call ahead and ask them to set some aside for you.
  • Find out when they get the shipments in, typically late at night before closing or first thing in the morning, so call ahead or plan to be at the store then.
  • Buy in bulk. They are stored in the freezer so if you buy a bunch at a time (who bought 10 bags at once? Ahem… not Lexi….) you won’t have to worry for a few weeks/months when they’ll be getting in another shipment.

Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi how to cook

So jump on the Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi train and get to the store to get yours and make sure to post it to Instagram. Because with this one, if you didn’t post it to Instagram, did it even happen?

If you like this weeknight Italian dinner, check out these others:


How to Make Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi

Prep Time 00:05 Cook Time 00:15 Total Time 00:20 Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 2 - 12 ounce bags Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 heaping cup baby spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup marinara sauce of choice
  • ⅓ cup mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Ignore the package instructions.
  2. Defrost the gnocchi: You can either let thaw out on the counter for an hour or you can microwave the gnocchi on a plate for 2-4 minutes. Once thawed you want to pat dry any condensation. 
  3. In a large non-stick or well-seasoned cast iron skillet heat 2 tablespoon oil until it’s hot add the gnocchi in an even layer. Let the gnocchi sit undisturbed for 3 minutes. Flip the gnocchi and repeat until they are a light brown and crispy.
  4. Add in spinach and stir until it is all wilted.
  5. Add in garlic powder, Italian seasoning, a pinch of red pepper flakes and marinara sauce and toss until combined.
  6. Sprinkle with cheese and cover for 3-5 amount of minutes, or until the cheese and sauce is hot and bubbly.
  7. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  1. Air-fryer instructions to cook the gnocchi:
    1. Pre-heat Air-fryer to 400ºF
    2. Partially defrost the gnocchi, about 2 minutes in the microwave, making sure to break apart any gnocchi stuck together.
    3. Spray the air-fryer basket with avocado spray.
    4. Lay 1/2 the gnocchi from one bag inside the basket and spray it once more.
    5. Cook for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
    6. Repeat with the remaining bag.
  2. Oven Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
    2. Place defrosted gnocchi on the baking sheet and spray with avocado oil spray or cooking spray of choice. Toss to coat.
    3. Bake for 20 minutes, flip, and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the gnocchi is golden brown and crispy on the outside.
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30 comments on “How to Make Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi

  • I’ve never seen a real gnocchi that is crispy so technically the bag directions are accurate. This version just makes it crispy

    Reply
  • Yayyyyy! I just finished Whole 30 and am putting the training wheels on with cheese tomorrow! I’m making this and adding some grilled chicken!!!

    5.0 rating

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  • I wish I would have seen this post before I made my gnocchi. I was curious as to how this would taste so I bought a bag. I ended up boiling the gnocchi like I’ve done in the past which results in a very soft puffy texture. (I like it that way). However this time I wanted to make a whole meal out of it so after I boiled it, I drained the gnocchi, reserving the water, then placed them in a pan with some browned butter to fry up a bit. I then added steamed broccoli, some of the reserved water, grated asiago cheese and cooked crumbled bacon, and let it all heat up and come together. The addition of the cheese and water made a nice gravy consistency. Needless to say, it was very good! I do wish the bag was bigger, as my family all wanted seconds. I think next time I’ll try frying up my gnocchi first.

    5.0 rating

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  • I bought this for the first time yesterday and cooked it according to your instructions – it was fantastic! My husband and I had a Bolognese sauce on it and my daughter had a prepared kale pesto (which I also bought from Trader Joe’s). Both were great! Everyone requested that we have it again as soon as possible – glad I bought six bags!

    5.0 rating

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  • Kali Sekera says:

    funny – i saw these i TJ’s and bought a bag out of curiosity, then saw your post! after reading that, i tried the air-fryer (been using it like it’s going outta style, so why not try it with gnocchi?!?!) But i mist say, classic fry pan in *the way* to go. Air Fryer didn’t do justice this time, to the saute. To that end i would loosely follow the (one variation of) pkg directions; cook from frozen, in a little bit of water – essentially steaming them – and finish with oil/butter/bacon fat saute.
    In any case, it’s a great post; love the conversation! 🙂

    3.0 rating

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  • Marla Primack says:

    Thank you so much for figuring out how to make the cauliflower gnocchi. I followed your directions and they were perfect!!!!!! I had so many failed tries before this.

    Reply
  • Britt Parker says:

    I was also curious about re-heating. I want to make it and eat on it for lunch. I guess I will give it a shot.

    Reply
  • Can anyone compare them to the cauliflower tots from Costco.? Just curious how those are. Don’t want a whole big bag of something that no one will eat.

    Reply
  • I haven’t tried the Costco tots, but the gnocchi bag is pretty small – I eat a whole bag myself (it’s around 300 calories for the whole bag). It’s also under $3, so not a big risk!

    Reply
  • Um not cool, Lexi— you buying ten bags making it impossible for everyone else to buy. I knew that was happening after a whole year went by and i was unable to purchase every single week. I finally got to try some the other day. I now buy 2 bags a time bc the bags are small, but 10?!? Come on. So selfish.

    Reply
    • Lol — I can’t tell if you’re teasing. It’s not a literal number. I just am always stocked. And I never leave the store with them wiped out 🙂 And they always seem to be well stocked lately. We also probably don’t go to the same TJ’s!

      Reply
  • I melt butter in a non stick skillet, turn off the burner. Pour the frozen gnocchi into the pan and cover, let sit for 20-30 minutes while I get other things done. Then I spray the tops of the gnocchi with cooking spray and turn on the burner to medium high, let them go for 3 – 5 minutes and turn over when crispy, repeat for the other side. Serve with parmesean cheese, add sliced basil or simply toss with simple tomato sauce. Easy quick and low calories.

    5.0 rating

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  • What are the other the “few other ingredients? It would be nice to see the back of the package. I have a very strict diet. Thanks

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  • I very rarely leave comments about recipes, but I have to leave one here. This was amazing! Pan frying the thawed gnocchi gave it a perfect texture. I threw in a little garlic towards the end of the pan fry, threw in a little extra spinach and a couple chopped up basil leaves with the marinara, and it was as delicious as it smelled. With all the sauce, seasonings and garlic, I can’t taste the cauliflower (which I wouldn’t have minded – I like cauliflower, but this is worth noting for those who aren’t as enthusiastic about it as I am). I eat a lower carb, veggie focused diet and sometimes that can be bland or unfulfilling. Not this – so much flavor for a reasonable amount of calories and carbs! Thanks for posting this recipe!

    5.0 rating

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  • Bought the cauliflower gnocchi and really had my doubts re taste Followed your recipe and it was delicious!!!!! I’m sold on it
    Thank you

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  • I tried your method tonight, third time trying TJ Cauliflower Gnocchi. Wow! Home run! Totally awesome. . . saving this and never making this any other way! Tender and soft but not soggy at all. Very flavorful and satisfied that pasta craving!

    5.0 rating

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