Ricotta Zeppole
How do you make Zeppole, the classic fried dough treat served at Italian Festivals even better? Add Ricotta Cheese of course! Growing up I was always used to seeing the plain flour based zeppole at festivals, your traditional fried dough, which I still love. But I find myself making ricotta zeppole more often lately. I had them as dessert at a restaurant a little while back, and they were so good that I had to make them at home. I ended up with more of a batter than a dough, but it really achieves the perfect texture. Crispy on the outside, but they melt in your mouth once you bite into them. Sprinkle these little fried treats with confectioners sugar, and you are good to go. If you want to make them even better drizzle with a little honey (a very Sicilian thing to do) or chocolate sauce (a very Phil thing to do). But don’t leave out that powdered sugar!

Ricotta Zeppole

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Ricotta Zeppole Recipe


Crisp on the outside, melt in your mouth soft on the inside, Ricotta Zeppole are fried Italian pastries sprinkled with confectioners sugar that are great drizzled with honey or chocolate sauce.


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt of salt
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • confectioners sugar
  • chocolate sauce or honey (optional)


  1. Combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk together. Add the ricotta cheese and stir in until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add to the ricotta mixture and stir until all mixed in and a batter is formed.
  4. In a deep saucepan, pour in vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil to 370 degrees (use a frying thermometer).
  5. Working in batches of 6, drop a heaping tablespoon at a time of batter into the oil, I like to use a cookie scoop for this. Cook until golden brown and puffy, turning with a slotted spoon or skimmer to fry evenly on all sides.
  6. Remove the zeppole from the oil with the slotted spoon, and transfer to a plate or tray lined with paper towels to drain. When all ricotta zeppole are fried and drained sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and serve hot. Optionally, drizzle with chocolate sauce or honey.

23 Responses

  1. This sounds incredible. I’ve never tried to make Zeppoli before but this might do it. I think it should be added as a Christmas dessert!

  2. I made these tonight and literally they were all gone from my family of four!! I will for sure make it again !! Wonder if this freezes well ?

    1. Hi, sorry I missed Pina’s question. I’m not sure if you mean freezing them after frying and defrosting/reheating or portioning and freezing the batter to fry at a later time. Either way I don’t think it wold work out too well. If already fried they really don’t have that long a shelf life and i think the result would be pretty soggy. Also, the batter is so wet that trying to portion it and save for later would be pretty difficult.

  3. I was hoping it was possible to make them entirely, freeze them, and take them out to serve. I am feeding over 40 people and have too many other last minute preps (filling cannoli shells, assembling cassata parfaits, and general entree preps) to add another last minute chore. It sounds like it’s best to make these and serve immediately. Thank you!

  4. Hi, I’ve just made Zeppole but I’m not too sure if my oil was too hot as they were still uncooked in the centre but ultra brown on the outside. If I cooked them for longer they would’ve been burnt. Are the meant to have a very soft centre? By the way this recipe is the same as the one I used.
    Thank you!

    1. Jean, They do typically have have a soft center because of the Ricotta. If you still think they were undercooked inside, try going a little lower with the heat and cooking longer. Are you using a frying or candy thermometer? I find it really helps to keep an eye on the temp.

      1. my aunts always made a crème puff shell(baked) and filled with a delicious yellow crème topped with a cherry and sprinkled with powdered sugar

    2. Mine came out soft in center also. I think it’s the ricotta that makes it seem like there’s a crème filling. It was very tasty and the soft center was cooked.

  5. I made them over the weekend. They were delicious. Crispy on the outside and soft in the inside
    My new recipe saved.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you. As a little girl my grandmother, from Sicily, would make these to celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph, as that was my grandfather’s name. It was a very big deal. Anyway, I can remember sitting with my cousin in the kitchen and eating these honey dipped heavenly bites. We couldn’t get enough. I tried getting the recipe from one of my aunts but they didn’t come very good. This is the first time I’ve seen a recipe for them. I’m making them on Christmas Eve!

  7. Can’t wait to try with ricotta. My mom made zeppole every other Tuesday when she would make bread. She would sprinkle cinnamon sugar on them after removing out of the oil. Zeppole should always be eaten freshly made.

  8. When my Mom was alive she would make these Ricotta Zeppole’s. I have made them for many years. Thank you Phil Torre for having the recipe , so that many others can enjoy them also. They really are delicious. Eat them hot or warm. Don’t forget the powdered sugar.

  9. Disappointed. I followed recipe to the letter but the mixture was dense and was able to get one dz only. The zepole was not airy like I remember growing up going to Italian festival in NYC.
    I also did not find them sweet enough. Ok with powder sugar but unedible with chocolate sauce.
    Not sure if living in high altitude changes the product but will try again tweeking the recipe.
    Any suggestions? More ricotta? Less flour? More baking powder?

  10. My family always made these on XMAS eve. However, they called them by a different name (excuse my spelling I have no idea how its spelled) Spfenges. I use this recipe except for the flour and substitute AP flour for cake flour. The texture is beautiful and light.

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