Zeppole – Easy Italian Donuts
Zeppole donuts are rolled in sugar with a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth center. These Italian donut holes are simple to make and always disappear fast.
What is Zeppole?
Zeppole are an Italian pastry similar to Bomboloni and are basically fried donut balls made out of Cream Puff dough. They are very popular during St. Josephs Day in Italy which is also Italian Father’s Day. These fried pastries are traditionally served at Italian carnivals or festivals in simple paper bags, dusted with powdered sugar.
Ingredients for Zeppole
This Zeppole recipe uses the same choux pastry dough as Cream Puffs, Chocolate Eclairs and Churros. Once you master this easy dough, you will be making pastries like a pro
- Milk – we use whole milk, but 2% will work
- Water – we use filtered water
- Unsalted butter – If using salted, omit the extra salt.
- Sugar – you just need 1 tsp for the dough
- Salt – to balance the sweetness
- All-purpose flour – measured correctly
- Eggs – use large eggs, at room temperature
The Best Toppings for Zeppole
You can cover Zeppole in a variety of coatings. Your favorites are:
- Powdered Sugar – dust over the top of fried donuts
- Granulated Sugar – fill a bowl with sugar and roll the hot Zeppole to coat
- Cinnamon Sugar – this will make the donut holes taste like mini churros. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon in a bowl and roll Zeppole as soon as they are done frying.
How to Fry Zeppole
A Pot or Dutch Oven: You can deep fry in a regular pot, just be sure to use a clip-on thermometer to gauge temperature and a wire strainer helps with quickly straining and removing the fried zeppole.
Deep Fryer: This is our favorite method and we love our deep fryer because it automatically adjusts to the correct temperature, drains and filters the oil for you and it has a wire basket for easy transferring of the fried donuts. Also, nearly everything that needs cleaning is dishwasher-friendly.
Pro Tip: Once the Donuts are out of the oil, transfer them to a paper-towel-lined plate to absorb any extra oil.
How to pronounce Zeppole?
Zeppole is pronounced “zeh-po-ley”
I Can bake zeppole?
If you wish to bake the pastry, we suggest following our cream puff tutorial for piping and baking the dough. You can fill the baked pastry if desired like we did our Baked Donuts, or simply dust the top with powdered sugar.
What is the best oil for frying donuts?
Use neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable oil, peanut oil, or canola oil. We use peanut oil in our deep fryer.
Can Zeppole be made ahead?
Once Zeppole are fried, they are best enjoyed fresh the day they are made. You can make the Choux Pastry Dough ahead, just cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. You can also freeze for up to 3 months.
Zeppole are irresistibly good. Walk into a room of kiddos with a bowl of these sweet treats and watch everyone’s eyes light up. I hope this Zeppole recipe becomes a favorite for you and your loved ones.
Zeppole Recipe (Easy Italian Donuts)
Zeppole donuts are rolled in powdered sugar with a fluffy soft center. These Italian donut holes are easy to make and always disappear fast.
- 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
In a medium saucepan, combine water, milk, butter, granulated sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
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.
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.
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.
Heat oil to 375˚F in a dutch oven with a thermometer attached, or in a deep fryer. Once the oil is hot, pipe 1-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.
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.
*Nutrition label is an estimate only as oil content is difficult to gauge.