I guess everybody is familiar with classic Italian fritters. These are scented with nutmeg and lemon zest. Sure, they are good (as any food fried, to be honest) and incredibly tender. Fried and still warm zeppoli are divided between the lunch bags and then shaken with some icing sugar to coat. This dish should be very popular among kids – everyone gets his own bag of fritters. Isn’t it appealing? But I would serve it in the backyard for sure, not at home.

I don’t cook them often but occasionally I give my boys such a pleasure. To make the fritters a bit “healthier” I always use organic canola oil for frying and dump it as soon as all the batter is fried. I use rather small high-sided saucepan which requires only about 2 cups of oil, so I don’t feel myself as a squanderer. If it still seems like a terrible waste, the oil can be reused once (I would although try to talk you out of using the same oil more than twice). Let the used oil cool, then drain it into an airtight container leaving any sediment behind and store it in the refrigerator until the next use.

The recipe is from Sherry Yard’s latest book “Desserts by the Yard”. If my description isn’t convincing enough, may be mentioning the author’s name will help…

Zeppoli Inside

Makes about 4 dozens


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ¾-1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 6-8 paper lunch bags


In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt to combine well.

Combine the sugar and eggs in another medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the ricotta and whisk to combine well. Add the milk, vanilla, nutmeg, and lemon zest and combine well. Whisk in the flour. Combine well. Cover the batter tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The batter can be made up to 4 hours ahead.

In a deep pot heat about 1 ½-2 inches of oil over medium-high heat until 350F. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Carefully spoon tablespoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil in batches. Cook for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, flipping over every 30 seconds, until golden brown on all sides and puffed. Using a slotted spoon, remove the zeppoli from the oil and drain on the rack.

Divide the zeppoli among the paper lunch bags. Add about 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar to each bag, close up the top, and shake to coat the zeppoli. Serve hot.

Zeppoli collage

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12 Responses to “Zeppoli”

  1. Your photos of them are awesome!! I especially love that you put them in brown paper bags and gave them a generous dusting of icing sugar! These would be perfect for the cold winter we are having down in Australia. I so need a deep fryer…

    PS. I think I have a sound theory about food in general: as long as it’s battered and deep-fried, it’s always going to be good!

  2. Ooooh! Don’t those look just yummy! Several weeks ago at a local festa,& verylong lines at the zeppoli stand.. I went home & made some myself… Pure heaven ;-)

  3. Christy, thanks! You really don’t need a deepfryier. I have one and keep it in the garage. It requires an ocean of oil and takes a lot of counter space! If you don’t plan serving fritters to a large crowd you can use a high-sided saucepan with great results.

    Lucy, I totally agree – pure heaven :)

  4. i think it should be written in stone somewhere: fried dough is good. any dough, any time. these are great! :)

  5. This is a great dessert Vera..I was wondering what to do with my extra ricotta! Thanks for this recipe! :)

  6. Actually, these are new to me. A sort of hole-less doughnut?
    Looking through the recipe I can see they would be delicious and I’m going to make them sometime.

  7. gosh this little ones look so delicious!

  8. Thank you, everybody!

    Grace, wouldn’t it be nice to read somewhere, better yet – in stone, that fried dough is good FOR YOU :)

    Aparna, you are right, they are sort of hole-less, tender donuts.

  9. I’m actually not familiar with these…but they look very delicious and donut-gem like. I’m sure donut gems pale in comparison to these, though. Very lovely picture. So I guess I wouldn’t need a deep fryer to make these? (Using the organic canola oil is a great healthy alternative!)

  10. Sophie, you will not need a deep fryer to make these.
    I always use a high-sided saucepan. It’s nice though to have a thermometer to check oil temperature before proceeding.

  11. This zippoli are delicious and light, I try them at Iatlian friend but she add raisin in the batter…Delisiosos!!!!

  12. You know Christy, I have to TOTALLY agree with you about what is ALWAYS

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