Quick Yeasted Zeppole

published Jan 22, 2022
Zeppole Recipe

This delicious fried dough is best when served warm with dusted cinnamon sugar or dipped in chocolate sauce.

Serves8 to 10


Prep15 minutes

Cook20 minutes

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Zeppole on a plate. (A zeppole is an Italian pastry consisting of a deep-fried dough ball of varying size but typically about 4 inches in diameter. This fritter is usually topped with powdered sugar, and may be filled with custard, jelly, cannoli-style pastry cream).
Credit: Laura Rege

Just like doughnuts, there isn’t just one variation of zeppole, Italy’s absolutely delicious fried dough. Akin in shape, size, and texture to doughnut holes, these zeppole were created to mimic the fried dough served at street festivals in Little Italy in New York City. It’s a quick-yeasted doughnut batter roughly shaped into two-bite rounds. Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar, or dip them into chocolate sauce.

Tips for Making Zeppole Dough

Make sure the milk is warm enough to activate the yeast, but not too warm that it kills it. A temperature of around 110°F is perfect. You also don’t want to skip the rise — it’s essential to making the zeppole light and fluffy. However, if you let the dough rise too long, it’ll become too airy. When the dough has doubled, it’s time to fry. 

Credit: Laura Rege

How to Fry Zeppole

  • Maintain oil temperature around 350°F, lowering or raising the heat as necessary to keep a stable temperature. Too low and the doughnuts will absorb too much oil; too high and they’ll will brown faster than the centers can cook.
  • Work in batches and stir for proper cooking. Overcrowding the pot with zeppole can lower the oil temperature and cause them to stick together and not brown properly. Adding about five at a time will ensure that they brown all over. 

Zeppole Recipe

This delicious fried dough is best when served warm with dusted cinnamon sugar or dipped in chocolate sauce.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 20 minutes

Makes 18

Serves 8 to 10

Nutritional Info


  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 6 tablespoons

    whole milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    active dry yeast

  • 1 3/4 cups

    all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1

    large egg

  • 1

    large egg yolk

  • 4 cups

    vegetable oil, for deep frying, plus more for greasing

  • 2 tablespoons

    powdered sugar


  1. Cut 2 tablespoons unsalted butter into small cubes and let sit room temperature until softened.

  2. Heat 6 tablespoons whole milk in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm but not too hot to touch (110°F to 115°F). Sprinkle 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast over the warm milk and let sit until bubbly and foamy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Place 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk until combined. Add the milk mixture, 1 large egg, and 1 large egg yolk. Beat with the dough hook on medium-low speed until a dough forms, about 3 minutes.

  4. Add the butter and continue to mix on medium-low speed until all the butter is incorporated, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes more.

  5. Lightly coat a medium bowl with vegetable oil and scrape the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let sit in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

  6. Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Place the dough on the flour and roll out until 1/2-inch thick. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut the dough into as many rounds as you can. Gather and reroll the scraps as needed until you have about 18 rounds. Alternatively, use a tablespoon to scoop the dough then lightly roll each piece into a ball.

  7. Heat 4 cups vegetable oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until 350°F. Meanwhile, fit a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet, or cover the baking sheet with paper towels.

  8. Frying in batches of about 5, add the zeppole to the hot oil and fry, stirring with a spider or slotted spoon a few times, until golden-brown and puffed, 3 to 5 minutes. Using the spider or slotted spoon, transfer the zeppole to the baking sheet.

  9. Place 2 tablespoons powdered sugar in a fine-mesh strainer and dust the powdered sugar over the zeppole. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Extra zeppole can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Rewarm in the oven before serving.