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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. I LOVE LOVE LOVE making zeppole! Thanks for sharing this with us! Pinned!

    1. Aren’t they great, Justine. So easy too. You are very welcome, thanks so much!

  2. I am drooling over these! I am not a huge dessert person, but sweet treats like this are perfect because they’re not TOO sweet. Anything with ricotta adds such a mild creaminess that I swoon when it’s added to recipes.

    1. I love that these aren’t overly sweet, Dee Dee. For those wanting a little more sweetness, extra powdered sugar does the trick. Thanks so much for commenting.

  3. I love that you made doughnuts so simple, Joanie. Deep frying can be so daunting, but you just spell it out so easy-breezy! I’m inspired to make some.

    1. Thanks so much, Jill. These little bites don’t stay in the oil long so they aren’t greasy. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      1. I hear you. And greasiness can also be a matter of the temperature of your oil–too high and your doughnuts won’t be cooked in through on the inside before they’re too browned on the outside, too low and they’ll just absorb oil until the temp is high enough to cook them in it.

  4. We love zeppole, but have never tried to make it at home. Can’t wait to try your recipe.

  5. I have never heard of Zeppole di ricotta but I will be pinning this recipe and trying very soon. I know a few boys in my house that would gobble these down in one sitting. Love these Italian doughnuts.