This website may contain affiliate links and advertising so that we can provide recipes to you. Read my disclosure policy.

Whip up a batch of these delightful zeppole, perfect for a sweet treat anytime! With a light, fluffy texture and a generous coating of powdered or cinnamon sugar, these Italian donuts are sure to please.

If you love pastries as much as I do, then you have to try all of my incredible donut recipes! Try out my favorite Jelly Donuts, these Boston Cream Donuts or these tender, buttery Cruffins for your next brunch.

Overhead shot of a pan of italian donuts. Some are coated in powdered sugar and others in cinnamon and sugar.

Reasons to Love This Recipe

  • A family-favorite treat: Soft, fluffy, and bursting with cinnamon-sugar goodness that melts in your mouth! You’ll want to double the recipe because they’ll disappear fast!
  • So easy to make! Forget rolling out dough like traditional yeasted doughnuts—just scoop and fry with this simple recipe.
  • A unique brunch idea: These fried pastries elevate any breakfast or brunch spread. Irresistibly crisp on the outside and light, pillowy on the inside, you won’t be able to stop at just one!

What is homemade Zeppole?

Try these Zeppole, and prepare to be blown away! This Italian dessert, similar to a donut hole but even better, fries up golden and crispy on the outside while staying light and fluffy on the inside. Roll them in cinnamon and sugar or powdered sugar for a perfectly sweet, melt-in-your-mouth treat!

Ingredients Needed for Zeppole

You’ll love how easy it is to make this zeppole recipe with simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen! These treats look impressive enough for a special occasion or holiday brunch but are easy to whip up anytime. For exact measurements, check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is best for a light, tender crumb.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds sweetness to the dough.
  • Dry Active Yeast: This is what will help the dough rise, so the zeppoles are nice and fluffy.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor.
  • Vanilla Extract: For warm sweetness.
  • Milk: Warm milk is essential to activate the yeast.
  • Warm Water: For extra moisture.
  • Oil: Use a neutral oil like peanut oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil for frying.
  • Sugar for Coating: You can either coat these with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar or do some with each. You could even try honey butter.
Overhead shot of labeled ingredients for zeppoles.

How to Make Zeppole

Don’t be nervous about frying these up—it’s actually easier than you’d think! Just follow these simple, step-by-step instructions, and you’ll have delicious, perfectly fried zeppole in no time. Trust me, you’ve got this!

  1. Mix Ingredients: Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add the water, milk, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  2. Let Rise: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
  3. Heat Oil: When the dough is nearly doubled, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep pot over high heat or a deep fryer until the oil reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Fry: Spray a medium cookie scoop with pan spray and scoop balls of dough into the hot oil and cook for about 4 minutes, until golden brown on all sides. Be careful not to overcrowd the pot, or the temperature of the oil will drop. Use a metal spider to turn the zeppoles frequently while they fry to help them cook evenly all over.
  5. Monitor Temperature: You can use a candy thermometer or an oil thermometer to ensure the oil stays between 375 and 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Remove: Once the zeppoles are fully cooked, use the spider to remove them from the oil to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  7. Coat in Sugar: Carefully transfer the hot zeppole to a paper bag and top with a generous amount of powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. Close the bag and shake until the zeppoles are completely coated in sugar. Serve warm.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Zeppole!

These treats are a favorite for special occasions, but they’re also really fun to make on a lazy weekend. Here are a few tips to help, if you are making these for the first time!

  • Activating the Yeast: Use warm water and warm milk to help your yeast activate! The best temperature is between 105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Any warmer than that can kill the yeast and any cooler, the yeast may stay dormant.
  • Dough not rising? Your yeast could be dead. Test your yeast to see if it’s alive by mixing ¼ cup of warm water with 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and 2 ½  teaspoons of yeast. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. If no foam layer has formed at the top of the mixture after that time, then your yeast is most likely dead and will not rise.
  • Monitor Oil Temperature: Keep the oil hot enough, but not too hot! Use an oil or candy thermometer to monitor the heat of the oil as you cook your zeppole. Adding dough to the oil can cause the temperature to drop rapidly, so try not to add too many zeppoles at once. Keep the oil between 375 and 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Aren’t these just beignets? Nope! The dough for zeppoles is a lot looser than beignet dough, and it is scooped into the oil rather than rolled out and cut into the distinct square or rectangle shape of a beignet.
Side shot of zeppole coated in powdered sugar, one with a bite taken out of it.

Storing Leftovers

  • Enjoy immediately: Zeppoles are best served right after they are fried, but leftovers will keep for 24 hours in an airtight container. If they are stored, the zeppoles will become soft, and the sugar coating will become moist.
  • Don’t Freeze: I don’t recommend making in advance or freezing Zeppoles, as they aren’t shelf-stable.
Side shot of someone dipping a zeppole in to chocolate sauce.

More Delicious Pastry Recipes

Homemade pastries are the best! There is just something so delicious about fried dough. From donuts to croissants, they are always a welcome site for breakfast or brunch. Here are some of our go-to recipes that I know you’re going to LOVE!

Pin this now to find it later

Pin It

Zeppole

By: Alyssa Rivers
Whip up a batch of these delightful zeppole, perfect for a sweet treat anytime! With a light, fluffy texture and a generous coating of powdered or cinnamon sugar, these Italian donuts are sure to please.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Rise Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 15 Zeppole

Ingredients 

Instructions 

  • Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Add the water, milk, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 ½ hours, or until doubled in size.
  • When the dough is nearly doubled, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil in a large, deep pan over high heat or a deep fryer until the oil reaches 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spray a medium cookie scoop with pan spray and scoop balls of dough into the hot oil and cook for about 4 minutes, until golden brown on all sides. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan, or the temperature of the oil will drop. Use a metal spider to turn the zeppoles frequently while they fry to help them cook evenly all over.
  • You can use a candy thermometer or an oil thermometer to make sure you keep the oil between 375 and 380 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once the zeppole are fully cooked, use the spider to remove them from the oil to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  • Carefully transfer the hot zeppole to a paper bag and top with a generous scoop of powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. Close the bag and shake until the zeppole are completely coated in sugar. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 76kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 2gFat: 0.4gSaturated Fat: 0.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 82mgPotassium: 31mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 13IUCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian, Italian American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

More Ideas

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating