Italian Zeppole

5 from 6 reviews

This authentic Zeppole recipe, also known as Italian doughnuts, are made with yeast and other common pantry ingredients.  These fried dough balls are crispy on the outside, soft and airy on the inside, and nearly impossible to resist.  


  • 1 cup warm water (105-110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Sprinkle the yeast into the water and let it sit on the top for about 30-60 seconds. Add the sugar and stir it all together. Let it sit until it becomes foamy and frothy; approximately 7-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile in a large bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Add the water mixture to the flour mixture. Add the oil and using a spatula work the dough for several minutes to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm part of the kitchen. Let it rise until it is double in size. 
  3. Heat 1 inch oil in a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven to 375 degrees. Then using two spoons (one to scoop and one to push it in to the oil) or a small cookie scoop carefully drop six dough balls into the hot oil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until they are golden brown and puffy. Turn the doughnuts halfway through the cooking process. Remove to paper towels and drain. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. For best results serve warm. 


  • Let the yeast sit on the top of the water for about 1 minute. Then stir the sugar in and mix it all together. Let the mixture sit until it is foamy and frothy (this procedure is known as blooming yeast). This usually takes about 10 minutes. If it does not foam than the yeast is no good. Discard the mixture and try again with fresh yeast.
  • Work the dough with a spatula so that gluten develops and the water distributes evenly making the doughnuts airy.
  • Use a neutral frying oil with a high smoking point like vegetable, canola, or corn oil.
  • Work in batches so as not to crowd the fryer.
  • To help maintain oil temperature use a heavy pot (they maintain temperature better) and a clip on thermometer. The oil rises when there is nothing in the pot and drops when you add the batter. Turn the heat up or down to try to maintain a somewhat constant oil temperature.  A little bump up or down works best.
  • Move the fried doughnuts to a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain.
  • Sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar or place the powdered sugar in a bag with several of the balls and shake to coat.
  • Zeppole is best served promptly so plan accordingly. 

Keywords: how to make zeppole, zeppole recipe, Italian zeppole, what is zeppole

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