Zeppole, Ricotta Doughnuts


These zeppole are so incredibly light… sweet and crunchy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. As an added bonus, they are simply a snap to make at home.

Zeppole are traditionally eaten during the Festa di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph’s Day) , which is celebrated every March 19. They are also known by other names such as Sfinge, but in my family they were always called castagnole fritte (deep-fried sweet pastry balls). My mom would make sweet fritters for Easter and savory fritters filled with anchovies for New Year’s Day.

I love these doughnuts dusted with icing sugar but you can just as easily fill them with jelly, custard or even nutella. Whichever way you make them, they are sure to be a crowd-pleaser!  Just pile them high on a serving platter and serve them while they are still hot!


  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • salflower, canola or vegetable oil for deep frying
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Sift the flour into a large bowl and stir in the baking powder, pinch of salt and the 3 tablespoons of sugar then set aside.

In a stand mixer or a hand held mixer, beat the eggs with the ricotta cheese until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.

In a large heavy pot or a dutch oven, pour in your oil, enough to reach 2 inches and heat to 375*. A candy thermometer comes in handy in order to get the right temperature and ensuring the oil does not drop under 350*, while you are frying between batches. If the oil is not hot enough the doughnuts will be too soggy and if it is too hot then the outside will darken quickly leaving the inside under cooked.


Use a 1 1/2 inch scoop or 2 small spoons to drop bits of dough into the hot oil.


Fry the zeppole for about 2 to 3 minutes, turning often until they are puffed, fluffy and golden brown. Larger sized doughnuts will need an extra minute or so. Use a slotted spoon to remove the zeppole from the pan and drain them on paper towels. Repeat until you have used up all the batter.


Dust with icing sugar and serve while they are still warm. Yummy!


Fair warning, these doughnuts are highly addictive and will disappear in a flash!!!



This recipe was adapted from, Cafe Italia cookbook by Liz Franklin

Yields 20 doughnuts.


  1. mmmmm! looks delicious i personally would like them with ricotta!!!!!tku and enjoy them!

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