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Often called Italian doughnuts, Zeppole di Ricotta are light and crispy, fried pastries made with ricotta cheese and sprinkled with powdered sugar…

Overhead view of Zeppole di Ricotta donuts dusted with powdered sugar and scattered across a metal tray

Are you familiar with Zeppole? They’re sometimes known as Italian doughnuts and they’re delightful balls of crispy, fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar. The version of Zeppole I love to make is made with creamy ricotta cheese and is always a sweet ending to any savory meal.

What I found to be a good idea was to lightly sprinkle the Zeppole with powdered sugar so they only had a light dusting of sugar over the tops. I used a mesh strainer to achieve this result.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Zeppole di Ricotta is very easy to make!
  • These Zeppole remind me of little fried cheesecakes. They’re soft in the center with a delicate crispy “crust”. They almost melt in your mouth.
  • There’s no yeast needed and no rolling of the dough. Just mix, fry, and enjoy!
  • They taste wonderful!

Ingredient Notes

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • Flour: Use all-purpose (plain) flour.
  • Sugar: Use granulated sugar for the Zeppole and powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) to dust them.
  • Baking powder: Helps to give lift to the Zeppole.
  • Salt: For flavor.
  • Ricotta cheese: Ricotta gives the Zeppole a soft and airy texture. See below for ways to use up extra ricotta.
  • Eggs: For structure.
  • Vanilla extract: We use a small amount of vanilla which adds a wonderful flavor to the Zeppole. You might like use a touch of almond extract instead.
  • Oil of frying: We recommend using canola or vegetable oil.

How To Make This Recipe

  1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Add the ricotta, eggs, and vanilla; stir well to combine. Set aside.
  3. Pour enough oil into a large, deep pot to reach a depth of 2-inches. Heat oil on medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.
  4. Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls into hot oil, a few at a time. Fry until golden-brown, 3-4 minutes per batch.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer Zeppole to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.
An overhead view of Zeppole di Ricotta donuts dusted with powdered sugar in a cone-shaped dessert dish

Expert Tips

  • Do Not Use A Small Pot: You want to use a pot that is deep enough.
  • Use A Thermometer: You want the oil to heat to 350 degrees F and using a thermometer is the best way to know you’ve got the right temperature. Alternatively, you could try this trick for testing the temperature of the oil for donut frying – Drop a tiny bit of dough into the oil as it is heating. When the dough sizzles and floats to the top of the oil, the oil is hot enough to use.
  • Drain The Zeppole Properly: Use a slotted spoon to remove the Zeppole from the oil. Make sure all of the oil drains through the holes of the spoon; then place the Zeppoles on a paper towel-lined plate.
  • Although we enjoy these simply, you could even drizzle a chocolate sauce or a raspberry coulis.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Store Zeppoles?

Zeppoles are best eaten shortly after making them. If you want to save a few to enjoy later, store them in an airtight container so they don’t dry out. They will last 2 days at room temperature, and 1 week in the refrigerator.

What Should I Do With Leftover Ricotta?

Ricotta Cookies

Spinach Manicotti 

Fruit Quesadilla

Enjoy!


Zeppole di Ricotta

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Often called Italian doughnuts, Zeppole di Ricotta are light and crispy, fried pastries made with ricotta cheese and sprinkled with powdered sugar…

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups Ricotta Cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • quart of oil (for frying)

Instructions 

  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder,a nd salt in a large bowl.
  • Add the ricotta, eggs, and vanilla; stir well to combine. Set aside.
  • Pour enough oil into a large, deep pot to reach a depth of 2-inches. Heat oil on medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.
  • Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls into hot oil, a few at a time. Fry until golden-brown, 3-4 minutes per batch.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer zeppole to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
  • Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.
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25 Comments

    1. Hi Sheri,
      I haven’t made zeppole gluten free but you could certainly try it with gluten free flour. If you do, please let me know how they turned out.
      Thanks,
      Joanie

  1. I am totally familiar with these! We normally make them around carnivale time, the period before Ash Wednesday, they are always a crowd pleaser!

  2. Little fried cheesecakes sounds like something I can get on board with! I SO want to make these!!!

  3. You’re so sweet helping out a friend with dinner and dessert! I’d love a dozen of these donuts too!