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Homemade Italian Zeppole Donuts

Everyone loves zeppoles! These balls of fried dough are dusted with cinnamon and sugar. They’re a great ending to any Italian feast!

This easy Italian zeppole recipe is perfect if you want something quick, simple, and delicious.

A little prep work will get these fried treats ready in no time.

These Italian donuts go great with coffee as a mid-afternoon snack. They are also perfect for surprising your guests with something sweet after dinner.

What is Zeppole?


Zeppole, a Sicilian pastry made with doughnut-like bread or dough, is a delicious and sweet treat that is simple to make at home. It is typically filled with fruit (such as strawberries or raspberries) but can also be filled with other flavors such as chocolate or coconut.

Zeppole are typically served warm in the wintertime but can also be served cold.
They can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are traditionally eaten with tea, coffee, or milk.

How to make zeppole dough:

Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add half a cup of water, half a cup of whole milk, then eight tablespoons of unsalted butter.

If you use softened butter or cut the butter into pieces, it will melt much quicker. Also, add one teaspoon of sugar and just a quarter of salt.

Once the butter is melted, bring it to a boil over medium heat, then remove it from the heat and stir in one cup of flour using a wooden spoon.


Once all of the flour is incorporated, and you don’t see any white flour streaks anymore, you can place that back over medium heat and continue constantly stirring for about one and a half to two minutes to release the excess moisture from the dough, and you also want to cook the flour partially.

You should also see a thin film form on the bottom of the pan, and the dough will come together into one smooth mass.

After a couple of minutes, take it off the heat, and you need to cool the dough slightly.

To quickly cool the dough, transfer it to a large mixing bowl, and use an electric hand mixer to beat the dough for about a minute.

Next, add four large room temperature eggs, adding them one at a time, and let them fully incorporate into the batter before adding the next egg.

Once the eggs are in and incorporated, continue beating for another minute until the dough is smooth and forms a thick ribbon when you pull up on the whisk.

Transfer the batter to a large piping bag with a half-inch opening.

You can also use a large Ziploc bag and cut one of the corners to a half-inch.

You’ll need to use just about half of the batter. Make sure you don’t overfill your bag. You want to have enough room to twist the bag and seal it.

Tips for frying donuts:

Since zeppoles are fried Italian donuts, preheat your oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. You can either use a pot or a Dutch oven with a thermometer clip attached, and I will leave a link to these that I use and love in the notes.

Using a thermometer for frying is important. Otherwise, the doughnuts will absorb too much oil if the oil gets too cold.

And if it’s too hot, they can burn. Also, a food filter will make it easy to collect the fried donuts.

Overview of a deep fryer:

Our deep fryer. It’s easy because you can set the temperature and you don’t have to worry about it. It also automatically filters your oil, so very little maintenance is required, and everything that needs washing is pretty much dishwasher friendly.

You’ll also want to set up a tray lined with paper towels to remove any extra donuts.

Frying zeppole donuts:

Zeppole Recipe- Italian Donuts

Once the oil is preheated to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need your filled piping bag and a pair of kitchen scissors.

Pipe the batter into the hot oil, snipping briskly to ensure you have a clean cut. You’ll want to pipe and cut the dough into about half-inch pieces.

Fry those for about four to five minutes; they should puff up and flip over naturally. But if they don’t, you can use some tongs to flip them over.

Repeat the process with the next batch of doughnuts. It usually takes about three batches to get done.

You don’t want to overcrowd the oil, or you can cool down the oil too quickly. (oil sizzling) Once the donuts are deeply golden in color, you want to remove them from the oil and transfer them to that paper towel-lined platter.

What is the best oil for frying donuts?

When frying donuts at home, many questions come to mind. What oil works best for frying donuts? What is the best oil for frying donuts? Can you fry donuts in olive oil? These are just some common questions when making this popular treat at home.

The oil you use will be important to the taste if you make homemade fried donuts. Some oils are neutral in flavor, while others have a stronger taste.

Neutral oils like canola or vegetable oil and peanut oil won’t add much flavor to your fried donuts, while olive or sesame oil might give them a stronger taste.

How to serve zeppole:

Once all of the donuts are fried, it’s time to serve.

And I love to serve these with a generous coating of powdered sugar. Here are some fun serving ideas.

You can keep it simple and just put them onto a serving platter, dusting them with powdered sugar between layers. And be generous with the powdered sugar.

Remember, there’s only one teaspoon of sugar in the dough.

You can also serve them fancier by making a cone out of parchment paper.

Form the cone, fold the bottom to keep it sealed, and fill it with powdered sugar donuts.

I find this my favorite way to portion control. Otherwise, I end up eating way too many of these zeppole donuts.

Lastly, you can serve them up the traditional way or carnival style.

Fold down the edges of a paper lunch bag and fill the bag with donuts, adding a generous amount of powdered sugar.

All right. How you serve them doesn’t matter because they disappear in five seconds.

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how to make zeppole dough

Zeppole – Easy Italian Donuts

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


This Zeppole Recipe makes the most delicious sugar-topped fried dough. You have got to try these yummy Italian donuts! Every bite is a dream!


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • oil for frying such as peanut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar to dust


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine water, milk, butter, granulated sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup flour all at once using a wooden spoon. Once incorporated, place the saucepan back over medium heat and stir constantly for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes to release extra moisture and partially cook the flour. The dough will look smooth and a thin film will form on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat on medium speed for 1 minute to cool the mixture slightly. Add 4 eggs, adding them 1 at a time and allowing eggs to fully incorporate between each addition. Once all eggs are incorporated, beat another minute until the dough is smooth and forms a thick ribbon when you pull up on the whisk.
  4. Transfer dough to a piping bag with a 1/2-inch opening, or use a large zip bag and cut a 1/2-inch opening at the tip.
  5. Heat oil to 375˚F in a dutch oven with a thermometer attached, or in a deep fryer. Once oil is hot, pipe 1/2-inch lengths into the hot oil, swiftly cutting the dough as you pipe into the oil. Pipe closer to the surface of the oil to avoid oil splashes.
  6. Fry 4-5 minutes total, turning them over halfway if they don’t turn on their own then transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to soak up extra oil then dust with powdered sugar to serve.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Serving Size: 8 people (makes 65-75 zeppole)
  • Calories: 274
  • Sugar: 5
  • Sodium: 113
  • Fat: 21
  • Saturated Fat: 9
  • Trans Fat: 1
  • Carbohydrates: 17
  • Fiber: 1
  • Protein: 5
  • Cholesterol: 113

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