Italian donuts are fried to perfection and rolled in sugar. This Zeppole recipe is light and fluffy while being easy to make.

Italian donuts in container topped with powdered sugar.
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Easy Zeppole Recipe

This easy Zeppole Recipe is one of the best Italian desserts. They are bite size donut holes fried to absolute perfection.

These Italian doughnuts are soft and fluffy. Each bite is so delicious and topped with generous portions of sugar.

What does zeppole mean in Italian?

This means Italian pastry that is deep fried. It is a traditional doughnut style dessert.

What are Italian donuts made of?

They are made with a pate choux dough. Cream puffs and eclairs with pastry cream also use this type of dough.

This type of dough is created by cooking the water with butter and flour. Then eggs are incorporated into the batter.

The dough is formed into small bite size balls and fried until golden.

Ingredients for Italian donuts.

Ingredients: 

  • Water 
  • Unsalted Butter 
  • Sugar 
  • Salt 
  • All Purpose Flour 
  • Large Eggs, Room temperature 
  • Vegetable Oil (for frying) 
  • Powdered Sugar (for serving) 

How to make Italian donuts:

  • Step 1 – Get out a saucepan. Heat the water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Whisk the ingredients together and heat until the butter melts. 
  • Step 2 – Add the flour. Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon.  Stir until a dough is formed into a ball.  Then continue to cook the dough for 1-2 more minutes to cook the flour. 
  • Step 3 – Remove from heat. Place the dough in a mixing bowl.  Let it cool until steam is no longer coming off the dough. 
  • Step 4 – Gradually add the eggs. Then add the eggs in one at a time and beat with a hand held mixer until the eggs are incorporated into the dough.  
Process photos of making dough.
  • Step 5 – Heat the oil. Add the oil. Heat 2 inches of oil in a large pot over medium high heat until the oil reaches an internal temperature of 375 degrees F. 
  • Step 6 – Transfer the dough to a ziplock bag or a piping bag.  Cut a hole in the corner of a ziplock bag or the piping bag. 
Process photos of frying dough and topping with sugar.
  • Step 7 – Pipe the dough. Start by piping the dough out of the bag and cut the dough into the oil.  Make sure to pipe closer to the hot oil so that the oil does not splash out of the pan. 
  • Step 8 – Fry the dough. Fry for 4-5 minutes (flipping them overlay halfway through the cook time) until they are golden brown on both sides. 
  • Step 9 – Move to a plate lined with paper towels. This will help to soak up the excess oil with a slotted spoon.  
  • Step 10 – Add topping. Serve topped with powdered sugar and enjoy! 
Italian donuts in container topped with powdered sugar.

Can you make in advance?

You can make the dough up to 3 days in advance. Simply make the dough as normal, cover and refrigerate.

Then fry as normal when ready. We suggest this method if you need to make in advance since they are best eaten fresh.

How to store Italian donuts

Place the leftovers inside an airtight container or bag. They will last up to 3 days but please note they are best served fresh.

We suggest placing parchment paper in the container to absorb any grease while stored.

The best way to reheat these is using the oven. Cover the donuts in foil and place on a baking sheet.

Reheat for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Italian donuts in container topped with powdered sugar.

Zeppole topping ideas

  • Powdered Sugar – Generously dust the donuts with powdered sugar.
  • Granulated Sugar – Roll the warm donuts in a bowl of white sugar.
  • Cinnamon and Sugar – Place the mixture in a shallow container or bowl. Roll each zeppole in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  • Dipping Sauce Chocolate sauce or raspberry sauce make great ideas for dipping the donuts.
Italian donuts in container topped with powdered sugar.

Tips for Italian donuts:

  • Cooking Method – We used a large pot but you can also use a deep fryer or Dutch Oven to cook these.
  • Paper bag for coating – You can use a paper bag to place the donuts and powdered sugar in. Shake to coat them for an easy and mess free idea.
  • Stand Mixer or hand mixer – Either options is fine for combining the eggs with the mixture.
  • Oil for frying – This recipe is best with an oil with a high smoke point. These include: vegetable oil, peanut oil or canola oil. This means that the donuts will not burn at a high temperature.
  • Pipe close to the oil – When piping the dough into the hot oil, pipe low and close to the oil. This will help to prevent the hot oil from splashing.
  • Oil temperature – It is crucial that the oil is medium high heat at 375 degrees. If the oil is too hot, it will quickly burn the outside while the inside will be undercooked.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pot. Make sure that each zeppole has ample room to move around and to be surrounded in oil. You don’t want it so crowded that all of the donuts are touching each other. Sufficient room will ensure the best texture and outcome.
  • Instant read thermometer. It is helpful to use an instant read thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. This will ensure it does not fluctuate and burn the donuts.
  • Same size donuts. Try to make each donut the same size. This will help them to cook evenly and for the same amount of time.
Up close photo of Italian donuts.

What is the difference between zeppole and beignet?

They are both fried dough but have different shapes. Zeppoles are small and round shaped dough balls.

Beignets are square and thinner. However, both are typically topped with powdered sugar.

Up close photo of Italian donuts.

Italian donuts are the best treat.

This recipes is so easy but turns out wonderful. Plus, it is so much cheaper than ordering these at the restaurant and they taste better.

The entire recipe is extremely budget friendly and so decadent. The powdered sugar gives these such a rich flavor and we absolutely love them.

Print this zeppole recipe below:

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Italian Donuts

5 from 9 votes
Italian donuts are fried to perfection and rolled in sugar. This Zeppole recipe is light and fluffy while being easy to make.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Cuisine Italian
Course Dessert
Calories 374

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat the water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat.  Whisk the ingredients together and heat until the butter melts.
  • Then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon.  Stir until a dough is formed into a ball.  Then continue to cook the dough for 1-2 more minutes to cook the flour.
  • Remove from heat and place the dough in a mixing bowl.  Let it cool until steam is no longer coming off the dough.
  • Then add the eggs in one at a time and beat with a hand held mixer until the eggs are incorporated into the dough.
  • Heat 2 inch of oil in a large pot over medium high heat until the oil reaches an internal temperature of 375 degrees F. 
  • Transfer the dough to a ziplock bag or a piping bag.  Cut a hole in the corner of a ziplock bag or the piping bag.  Pipe the dough out of the bag and cut the dough into the oil.  Make sure to pipe closer to the oil so that the oil does not splash out of the pan. 
  • Fry for 4-5 minutes (flipping them overlay halfway through the cook time) until they are golden brown on both sides. 
  • Move to a plate lined with paper lines to soak up the excess oil with a slotted spoon.  
  • Serve topped with powdered sugar and enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

These are best served immediately but you can store the leftovers at room temperature in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 days.  

Nutrition Facts

Calories 374kcal, Carbohydrates 20g, Protein 6g, Fat 30g, Saturated Fat 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat 8g, Monounsaturated Fat 8g, Trans Fat 1g, Cholesterol 149mg, Sodium 143mg, Potassium 67mg, Fiber 1g, Sugar 4g, Vitamin A 625IU, Calcium 25mg, Iron 1mg

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Italian donuts in container topped with powdered sugar.

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Italian donuts are fried to perfection and rolled in sugar. This Zeppole recipe is light and fluffy while being easy to make. Simple ingredients make these donuts flavorful. #dessertsonadime #italiandonuts #lightandfluffydonuts

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Hi, I’m Carrie. Welcome to Desserts on a Dime!

I’m on a mission to help you create delicious desserts on a budget and do not require a ton of time. Together, we are going to make something sweet that the entire family will love!

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