The staggering beauty of mashed potatoes is fleeting: You have to eat as much as you can while they’re hot, knowing that any leftovers simply will not hit as hard. This is why the best uses for leftover taters turn them into something else entirely, like waffles, dips, and dumplings.
I love making dirtbag pierogies with dumpling wrappers and leftover mashed potatoes, but today, I’m talking about the other kind of potato dumpling: Gnocchi. OK, admittedly, these aren’t exactly gnocchi — they’re closest to kopytka, Polish potato dumplings made with fresh or leftover mash — but the vibe is similar. You mix cold mashed potatoes with egg and flour, cut the resulting dough into dumpling-sized pieces, and boil. It’s like making gnocchi, but easier and arguably more delicious: Cold mash makes the dough surprisingly easy to handle, and all that dairy makes the dumplings extra tender and flavorful. (It also means they’re not quite as ethereally light and pillowy as really good gnocchi, but this is a fair trade-off for putting butter and cream inside the dumplings.)
To make them, first bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil. For every two cups of cold mashed potatoes, add one egg and one cup of all-purpose flour and mix gently to combine. Generously flour a cutting board, turn out the dough, and shape it into a roughly inch-wide log (or logs). Cut into pieces as big or small as you like and boil the dumplings until they float, about 3-5 minutes. Drain and serve immediately with a pat of butter, or pan-fry until crispy with the fat of your choice. Any dumplings you don’t eat right away are excellent candidates for the air fryer treatment.
These plump little gnocchi-like morsels are exceptionally versatile, making them the perfect base for all kinds of leftover concoctions. Pan-fry them with turkey and stuffing — and douse with gravy — for a savoury treat, or serve them sweet with butter, cinnamon sugar, and a dollop of cranberry sauce. Honestly, they take so well to so many preparations that you’ll run out of potatoes before you exhaust your dumpling options. If you find yourself swimming in leftovers more than usual this year, at least the potatoes are taken care of.