This super easy zeppole - zeppoli recipe results in perfectly sweet, pillowy Italian donuts. These small fritters are a great snack whenever you want something to satisfy a sweets craving. They are fresh, delicious, and will make you want to never buy store bought donuts again. Your family will beg you to make them over and over again.
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What is Zeppole / What are Zeppoles?
A zeppole or zeppoli is a deep fried Italian donut or fritter. Once fried, you traditionally top it with powdered sugar. In some cases, a person may fill the zeppole with jelly, cannoli filling, or other cream.
In this recipe, we use a deep saucepan to fry the zeppole. We then top them with powdered sugar and some chocolate sauce for a delicious take on this Italian classic.
Ingredients for making easy Zeppole
When you are ready to make pan fried zeppole, here’s what you need to have ready:
- Active dry yeast
- Unbleached all-purpose flour - You could try a gluten-free flour, you may need to adjust the amounts slightly.
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil - This is to fry the donuts, so you want an oil with a high smoke point like vegetable or peanut oil.
- For garnish - You’ll want powdered sugar, caramel sauce, and chocolate sauce.
Step by Step Instructions:
- First, add the yeast, sugar, and salt to the water. Then let it stand for about 2 minutes. Finally, stir to dissolve the yeast.
- Next, combine the flour, yeast mixture, and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then mix it together using the dough hook. Knead until a nice sticky dough forms.
- Once the dough forms, place it in the inner pot of the Instant Pot on the medium yogurt setting for 1 hour. This will proof the yeast.
- When the dough is ready, heat the oil in a deep saucepan until it reaches 375°. Next, use a small ice cream scoop or 1 tablespoon to scoop a small amount of the dough out. Add it to the hot oil and then cook until both sides turn golden brown. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes. As they cook, be sure to turn them often so that they brown on all sides evenly.
- Repeat until you have used all the dough. We recommend only cooking about 4 to 6 at a time in the pan so that they do not become overcrowded and reduce the oil temperature.
- As each zeppola finishes cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate or tray lined with paper towels. Finally, generously sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve to your hungry family and friends.
Pro tips and tricks
Once you are ready to make these zeppole, checkout these great tips and tricks to help you out:
- An instant read thermometer is a great kitchen investment. When you make fried foods, it takes the guesswork out of getting the right temperature in the oil.
- If you are using powdered sugar, apply it after they have cooled slightly but are still warm.
- For more flavors, you can toss them in cinnamon and sugar, top with chocolate sauce, pour on some caramel sauce, serve with ice cream, stuff with your favorite fillings, serve with fresh berries, or whatever makes you happy!
- Make sure to turn the dough frequently as it cooks to help get all sides browned nicely.
- When we make any dough with yeast (like naan or ciabatta), we always use the Instant Pot to proof it. This is because the Instant Pot sets and holds the perfect temperature for yeast to grow and expand the dough.
How to serve zeppole
Zeppole are similar to donut holes in the United States. You can serve them as a breakfast, a snack, or as a dessert after a meal.
When we make these, we love to top them with powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, and caramel sauce. You can serve them in a bowl or in a handheld pouch.
Though you can make these ahead of time, they are best served fresh and still warm. If you serve them the next day, you can gently heat them in the oven set to warm for a few minutes.
When you make these zeppole, we recommend eating them warm and fresh. But if you have left overs, you can easily store them.
Once they have cooled to room temperature, you can place the leftovers in an airtight container. You can store them on the counter for about 5 to 6 days.
When you are ready to eat them again, you can gently warm them in the oven set to warm or use the microwave to heat them for about 5 seconds. Warming them back up helps restore some of the fresh flavor.
Yes! Our recipe does not use eggs, milk, or other animal products so it is vegan friendly.
Yes ! You can make Zeppole dough ahead of time and keep in a refrigerator.
Yes. Zeppole dough can be kept in the refrigerator or frozen and reused multiple times. If you have a sweet tooth, the dough can be made ahead of time and used when you have the cravings to eat zeppole !
Zeppole are known by other names, including Bignè di San Giuseppe (in Rome), St. Joseph's Day cake, and sfinge. Ref - wikipedia
More Delicious Desserts
Let us know what you think
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- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- powdered sugar, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce
- In a small bowl, add the yeast, sugar, and salt to the water. Let stand for, about 2 minutes, and stir to dissolve the yeast.
- Combine the flour, yeast mixture and olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix using the dough hook. Knead until a nice sticky dough form.
- Proof the dough in the Instant Pot on the medium yogurt setting for 1 hour.
- In a deep saucepan, heat up the oil until it reaches 375°
- Using a small ice cream scoop or 1 tablespoons scoop some of the dough out and add it to the hot oil and cook until golden brown and cooked throughout about 5-6 minutes. Be sure to turn then often so that they brown on all sides.
- Repeat until all the dough has been used and only cook 4-6 at a time in the pot so that they do not become overcrowded.
- Drain the zeppole from the oil with the slotted spoon, and transfer to a plate or tray lined with paper towels to drain and generously sprinkle on powdered sugar and serve.
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 313Total Fat 5gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4gCholesterol 0mgSodium 137mgCarbohydrates 62gFiber 1gSugar 15gProtein 5g
All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. We are not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on TheBellyRulesTheMind.net should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though we try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of our ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.