Grandma’s Zeppole {Quick & Easy}

Grandma’s Zeppole…does that make your mouth water a little bit?  Hope so because today I am sharing my own Grandma’s recipe for Zeppole.   These are the little golden puffs that she use to fry up for the whole family with her own recipe that she brought from a little village outside of Naples. The tradition continues!  I have to tell you and I truly do mean this…they are scrumptious and so incredibly easy…really…you’ll see!


Zeppole’s are actually very special to my husband Joe and myself because these little yummy golden morsels are always made on March 19th…the Feast Of St. Joseph and that just happens to be my birthday and Joe’s name day!   Sometimes we even add some cannoli filling but we will save that for another time since we are making this really quick and easy for you today!  One thing you will learn very quickly is whenever you make a batch of Zeppole’s…the family will come running.



Each one has their own little personality and unique little crispy bits! GrandmasZeppoles-1

These little guys are cloud like when they are freshly served!  In September…Zeppole’s become one of the most popular Italian Street Foods as they are served up in brown paper cones at the Feast of San Gennaro (Patron Saint of Naples)…all over Italy and the US.


Do you want to know Grandma’s special ingredient that makes her recipe simply heavenly?  Ricotta!


So let’s fill up a few paper cones for you an yours with this Quick & Easy Grandma’s Zeppole Recipe!


2 eggs

1 cup of unsifted flour

2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder

dash of salt

1/4 cup of granulated sugar

1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese (1/2 lb)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Confectioners Sugar for Dusting or maybe Cinnamon Sugar

Canola or vegetable oil for frying (this is oil you can reuse…just store it in a mason jar when you are done : )  Just pour the oil 2 inches high in whatever frying pan you are using.


This is as easy as making a pancake batter!

Crack your two eggs into the mixing bowl and beat until foamy.  Add all of your dry ingredients into the eggs in the mixing bowl while on slow speed and then add  your ricotta and vanilla right away.  Continue to mix on a slow speed till it is all combined.  The batter will be thick…creamy and sticky.  It is not a cookie dough consistency…it is a rich thick waffle type batter. Do not over mix.

Have your oil ready in your favorite fry pan.  I use a cast iron  skillet which I fill up about 2 inches high.  Your oil should be approximately 375 degrees.  Or as Grandma use to say…hot…she didn’t use a thermometer and I have to be honest neither did my Mom or nor to I : )   I use a small melon ball scoop …first I spray it with oil so that batter doesn’t stick …then scoop up the batter (no exact measurement here : ) and carefully drop it into the oil…repeat with consecutive scoops but don’t let them touch…turn them a few times for even browning and you are talking about 3 minutes…if they are a little bigger…a little longer…but once you get to that nice deep golden brown it is time to scoop them up and place them on brown paper or paper towels to drain.   You won’t believe how NOT oily they are! Continue with another batch,  Sprinkle with Confectioners sugar or maybe some Cinnamon Sugar and by the way…they are even delicious plain!  You don’t have to serve these warm…but I highly recommend it sometimes because they are just over the top when they are warm and fresh!   These would be such a treat at Holiday gatherings or for tonight’s treat!

Here’s a little suggestion so you know exactly how long to cook them for…make a test one and break it open…then…eat it : )  Then let the batches BEGIN!!!  Literally you can go from batter to serving in less than 30 minutes!

At our big family and friend picnics…I fry them fresh on the deck…if you want people to come and talk to you …this is a good way …actually it is guaranteed!  Just make sure you quadruple the recipe!!!

Grandma’s Zeppole Recipe just might become your families recipe for generations!  Bon Appetit! or MANGIA as Grandma would say!




  1. Nothing beats some Grandma love on a plate. Thanks for sharing your Gran’s recipe, makes me feel like part of the family! Why is it the grandma’s are the ones who totally know the secret of making great dough, crust, and biscuits?

    • Hi there my friend! : ) glad you enjoyed the zeppoles…maybe you will give them a go! They are really easy! I was thinking of you and Mr. Beaver this morning? How are things? Monday there will be a special recipe for doggies…so stay tuned : ) Sending hugs to you and BIG BIG BIG HUGS to Mr. Beaver.

  2. Thank you lots for sharing this recipe! 🙂 Made them today and they are lovely!! My mother used to make a similar thing for us, using yoghurt rather than ricotta. I’ll try that too and see how it works 🙂 I’m also thinking of flavouring the zeppole with grated lemon zest instead of vanilla – I think that would be nice as well. Thank you once again!

    • Hi there Mari! So glad you enjoyed these little yums! I am going to try it with yogurt too…I substitute a lot of recipes that call for sour cream with Greek yogurt…but never a replacement for ricotta…but I am sure game : ) Adding a little lemon zest or even orange zest works wonderfully! I made them last week and injected them with cannoli cream…um…do I have to tell you how that tasted : ) Have fun experimenting and let me know…LOVE hearing about it! Bon Appetit …hugs!

  3. YUM! YUM! these are so good! I liked them best with cinnamon sugar. The first mistake I made was making them too big. I don’t have a mellon baller so if you don’t make them with a tablespoon. any bigger and they would burn on the outside and be doughy on the inside

    • You are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO right my friend!!!! You DON’T want to make them big…that is a mistake that many make! Thank you for bringing it up because it is very important! My Grandma…Mom and myself make what we call Pizza Freit…translated…FRIED DOUGH sprinkles with confectioners sugar…that can be made larger if it is stretched properly …but no with zeps…just doesn’t have a happy ending : ) Thanks for sharing and I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy you made them and love them : ) Hugs and BON APPETIT!!!

  4. I made these last night. I used cottage cheese instead of ricotta, because that is what I had. Ricotta probably would have made a thinner batter but honestly I don’t think it made a difference in the end. THESE WERE SO DELICIOUS!!!! They were quick and easy and amazing. Thank you!

  5. What a special treat for St. Joseph’s Day. I may make a batch to remember my Joe on his saint’s day.
    I love your suggestion to drain on brown paper. It reminds me of my grandma frying eggplant so long ago.

  6. OMG my grandmother used to make these with anchovies in them….and plain ones of course. Can’t wait to try!

  7. Is there something else that can replace the ricotta (no cottage cheese either)Thank you

    • Andrea says:

      Hi there…how are you. I have to ask you…is it due to a lactose intolerance? Because maybe you can use a Greek Yogurt…if you do though…I would place the yogurt in a fine mesh strainer…or in cheese cloth so the liquid drains and you have a thicker consistency more like ricotta. As far as a non-dairy option…I really do not know what would give you that fluffy texture. These are like light donut clouds : ) I hope this suggestion helps and if I can think of any other…I will sure send it your way. Take care…enjoy! andrea

    • catherine maartella says:

      can i leave out the cheese

      • Hello Catherine, how are you. Thank you so much for dropping by. I wish I could tell you you could leave it out but it is ESSENTIAL to the recipe. If you are worried about the taste…you would never know it was there…it just makes it rich…dense but fluffy. No one would ever think that there was cheese in the recipe. Ricotta is very plain with no real cheese taste…it’s all about the texture and richness. So sorry! Take care and have an amazing day! Hugs…

  8. Andrea B says:

    Recipe was so easy and pretty tasty. One thing I really liked was they are not too sweet. I don’t feel bad dipping in jam or syrup. Thanks for sharing. One important thing you left out is they almost cook themselves! I was getting some cinnamon sugar ready in a paper bag, turned to look and they pretty much themselves over.
    I will definitely keep this recipe! YUM

  9. Can you substitute cake flour?

    • Hi there! How are you! Yes…you can use cake flour : ) Hope you enjoy them! Take care…hugs…bon appetit!

  10. Just made these and I love them. They were easy and fun to make. Just as I was getting ready to turn one that little guy just flipped his self right over. I love how light they are, this is most definitely a recipe I will make again. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I have looked for a recipe like this since I was a child when I spent the night with a friend and her mom made something that looked like this but she called popovers. Some of us kids put powdered sugar on them and some of us put maple syrup on them and they were so good. Can’t wait to try this.

    • Sure hope you enjoy these. They are a huge family favorite and bring back the memories of Grandma! The ricotta makes them very light and pillow like! Enjoy! Bet you they would taste yummy with a drizzle of syrup! How could you go wrong right! ENJOY and let me know ok! Hugs…

  12. I just made these with my son after he’s requested donuts for days now. Why not almost meet his request with a recipe I have been wanting to try. These were super easy and I did actually have everything on hand! This will be an easy go-to breakfast treat for us. I used a regular every day teaspoon, sprayed it with cooking spray and the timing came out perfect. My son insisted he could not eat them without sprinkles on them first so we dipped some in chocolate and added Halloween sprinkles 🙂 My kindergartner will be on cloud 9 when he gets home, we are moving to Italy in a couple of months, so anything Italian is 10 times better!

    • I am SOOOOOOOO happy that you all loved them…they are my Grandma’s recipe and she was born in Benevento right outside of Naples. The ricotta cheese is the key! : ) Now I have to tell you the spraying the spoon is pure GENIUS!!!! I am going to have to add that into the recipe : ) Hey…everything is better with chocolate sprinkles right! You know what is really good…if you take your pastry bag…put some creamy nutella in it and squeeze a bit inside of the zeppole…or anything you would like…it kicks it up yet another notch…we love it with some cannoli filling too…but sometimes it is just best plain. Congrats on the big move…I wish I was coming with you…I wish you the best life in the most beautiful country in the world! Whereabouts are you moving to? Look for my Eggplant Napoleon at the end of the week : ) You take care now and have an awesome day …thanks for dropping by! hugs…

  13. Nothing beats family recipes, especially Grandma’s! These look so good! I’m going to have to try these! Thanks for sharing them on Foodie Fridays, Andrea…I’ll be spreading lots of foodie love around for you!

  14. Made these today……heavenly!

  15. Absolutely ADORE this recipe!! Thank you so much!! Any chance you might share the cannoli cream recipe also. If not, I understand and truly appreciate you sharing everything you have. Happy New Year!

    • Hi there! So happy that you enjoyed them…we LOVE them and it seems that everyone that tries them loves them too and they are so easy right : ) Here’s wishing you a wonderful and happy New Year…hugs and this is for you:
      2 cups of ricotta cheese (whole milk)
      1 cup of powdered sugar
      1 stick of cream cheese or 8 ounces of marscapone
      1/4 cup of heavy cream
      the zest of 1 lemon
      1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips

      Combine the Ricotta with the EXTREMELY SOFTENED cream cheese/marscapone until smooth and then add sugar until nicely combined. Fold in the lemon zest and then fold in the heavy cream (whipped to stiff) then stir in the chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (I like to use mini chips). Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours and you are good to go! : )

      What Grandma use to do and I do it but many people find it annoying but does make for a richer thicker cream is to line a fine strainer with cheese cloth and then put the ricotta in it and let it drain for a few hours and then proceed with all the steps. This way the whey comes out and it is much thicker. Cream cheese is a replacement for the marscapone because marscapone is at lease 3 times the price.

  16. Oh my goodness! I was browsing through pinterest and found your wonderful recipe. I used organic coconut oil to fry these in and they are so DELICIOUS!! Thank you for sharing!

  17. Hi! These sound delish & I am going to make them tonight. How many does this recipe make? Thanks!

    • Hi there! How are you : ) So sorry I didn’t see this till this morning…sure hope they turned out great for you! They make about 16 : ) You take care and wishing you the best day ever! Hugs!

  18. Vicki Lucarelli says:

    My husband made these twice now and since our son has a restaurant, was thinking of adding these for an appetizer. Everyone loves them, and they are not too sweet but just right!

    • WOW…I do believe that is the ULTIMATE compliment…my Grandma’s heart would be so happy!!! I am so glad that I decided to share our little family recipe…that way she lives on and on and on…thank you for sharing this with us…you made my day!!! Hope your son sells millions…tell him to add a Nutella and a Cannoli Dip and people will flip! Hugs and wishing you a wonderful wonderful day!

  19. Seriously, I die. Mr. Claire is 100% American Italian and we just had an Italian feast with friends this past weekend including his pizzelle cookies and mini cannolis with two different types of cannoli filling. I just sent him this. LOVE zeppoles and pinned for later!!

    • Hey there Claire! Thanks for the sweet words…I think Mr. Claire is going to love these…I just had one of my readers tell me that her son is going to be making them in his Italian Restaurant! Let me know what he thinks! Sending hugs…

  20. Tonday Cranor says:

    I just made these for my husband. He swooned! They were so very simple and delicious. I cannot wait to make them for company. I think they could lure the kids all home for a visit!

  21. Hola felicidades es super rico y fácil eso es mejor , a mis hijos les encantó pero a mis nietos les super fascinó muchas gracias .

  22. Hi. Do you think substituting mascarpone for the ricotta would work?

    • Hi Stefanie, how are you. So nice to see you. I have to be honest with you…I don’t believe it would work because of the differences in consistency. It’s the Ricotta that makes them so light. If it is because you don’t like Ricotta…don’t be scared because you would NEVER know it was in there…it is just the ingredient that makes these little guys so light and fluffy. So sorry…but I wouldn’t want to tell you that it would work and spoil your batch : ( I hope you have a fabulous day…hugs! : )

  23. Can I use almond flour? If so, how much? I’d like to make these for my pastor but he can’t eat flour. Thank you!

  24. Why? Why did I have to make these? They are my new favorite, most delicious thing, and I couldn’t stop eating them! Thank you so much for sharing, I will be adding this to my favorite recipes!

    • Oh ROBIN…I am so happy that you loved them! YEAH!!!! They are kind of like potato chips…you just can’t eat one lol!!! So thrilled that they have become one of your favorites!!! My Grandma would be happy too!!! Sending hugs and wishes for a picture perfect week!!!

  25. OH MY GOD! I LOVE THIS! The addition of ricotta to these I bet makes them super moist and creamy! CANNOT wait to try this! PINNED! New to your site and I am loving it! Gorgeous photos too!

  26. Can you use whole wheat flour?

    • Hi there Chelsea…how are you! I am going to say you could use whole wheat but the zeppole will not be as light…the whole wheat would make it much more dense. If you are going to try…one thing I would say might help is to sift the whole wheat flour approximately 5 times. The reason I say that is that cake flour is basically regular flour sifted to a point of complete fineness …I would even go a step further and add the baking powder to the flour and do the 5 siftings. I can’t guarantee it…but it would certainly make the whole wheat flour lighter. Hope it works for you! : ) Take care…hugs…enjoy your day!

  27. Can you save the batter? If so how long?

    • Hi there Cathy…how are you : ) It would keep for about a day…no longer than that though : ) Just make sure it is tightly sealed : ) Hope that helps and sure hope you enjoy them…Bon Appetit!!! Hugs and have a wonderful weekend!

  28. OMG!! These are sooooo good!!! Made them for the first time …. thankfully, I doubled the recipe. Will definitely make them again.

    • Hey there Meg…I am sooooooo happy you enjoyed them!!! Doubling is a good thing lol!!!! Did you try them with canoli dip…or how about nutella : ) YUM!!!! Hugs and have a wonderful day!

  29. This brings me back to carnivals in NY! I haven’t had a good zeppole in so long – this is definitely a must try. And I even have ricotta in the fridge, it must be fate 🙂

    • Hey there Liren! That is exactly what these are like…just like being at The Feast of San Gennaro on Broadway! I was so thrilled when I found my Grandma’s recipe and really happy to share it with everyone…everyone that has tried it has loved them…the big bonus is that they are REALLY EASY!!!! Let me know how you like them ok! Sending hugs and wishes for a fabulous day!

  30. Al Sagginario says:

    I’m so happy you posted this! My Grandma used to make them but she passed away when I was 13 and I haven’t had them since. I told my wife about them but I wasn’t sure how zeppoles was spelled in order to look them up or even if I was pronouncing zeppoles right. She saw your post and asked if this is what I was talking about. Of course, I got excited and posted to my cousin Freddy (he and I both lived with Grandma) and he got excited, and well, you just may have started a movement! The Grandma Sagginario, long lost zeppole recipe, cover the world with baked love conspiracy movement! Again, thanks so much. By the way, my family is from around Napoli.

    • Hi there! How are you! Hope everything is fabulous with you and yours! When I got your comment on the blog I was so so happy! It’s amazing how many people I have met through this post and how much happiness a little piece of fried confection can bring!!! It’s the perfect bite that not only tastes divine…but brings back memories upon memories and warms the heart in ways that you can’t explain…I know that is what happened when I found my Grandma’s recipe! I hope you…your cousin Freddy and everyone you know enjoy these simple little treats made with love! Ricotta is the secret!!! : ) Now start that Zeppole Movement and hugs to Grandma Sagginario…I bet she might be enjoying a few of these with my Grandma right now in heaven along with a double espresso with a twist of lemon rind!!! Hugs…

  31. Pascale says:

    So glad I found your grandma’s recipe. Reminds me of one of my first dates with my husband. We went to an Italian festival in Newark, New Jersey. Our 27th Anniversary is in a couple of weeks and I am making these!! Yum!!

    • Oh I am sooooooooooooooooooo happy you found it too! It is so funny because I am a Jersey Girl so I know exactly what festival you are talking about and let me tell you…your hubby is going to LOVE THEM!!!! These are so easy to make but yet so yummy and light! My Grandma was from Naples : ) ENJOY…I would love to hear how they went over…you can always reach me at Hugs and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!

  32. Claire BACON says:

    THANK YOU ! Can’t wait to try

  33. I made these Zeppoli’s and they were AWESOME! My family loved them and they are so easy to make!

    • Oh Phyllis…I am so happy that everyone loved them! My Grandma would be happy happy!!! The best thing about them is that they taste so delicious and they are SOOOOOOO easy!!! You literally can make them any time…it doesn’t have to be a special occasion! Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful day! Hugs

  34. These are an Italian Christmas staple! So happy to see a great recipe!

    • Sure hope you enjoy them Eden!!! The best part is they are so easy but so yummy!!! All thanks to Grandma! : ) Hugs and ENJOY! Have a fabulous day!

  35. Can you taste the ricotta in the zeppole? Is there something else that can be used in it’s place?

    • Hi there Allison, how are you. No…you do not taste the ricotta as ricotta in the zeppole…it is much more about the texture and lightness of the actual zeppole…not the taste. If you have someone in your family that does not like ricotta…I truly do not thing that they are going to know that it is there or even present in the dessert. Believe me…I would tell you if it tasted like ricotta…I am someone that does not like onions and when I ask if the dish has onions in it and people think they can pull a fast one on me…I wind up not eating! So I am very careful with a question like this because I know how it feels to be told otherwise. I truly do not have a substitute for the ricotta…the only other thing that I think that might work is a whipped cottage cheese?…but cottage cheese is a much stronger taste. I hope this helps you and I hope that if you make them you enjoy them : ) Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend! Hugs…

  36. Danielle Dobias says:

    Good afternoon-
    I am an American living in Thailand and am trying to make zeppole for my coworkers. I can’t find ricotta cheese here so I could not use your recipe. I used a recipe from food network and had trouble with the dough. The balls weren’t coming out in the correct shape. The batter seemed to be too thin. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks Danielle

    • Hi there Danielle! How are you in beautiful Thailand! I wish I could tell you that there was a substitute …but I do not know of one…some people asked if they could use cottage cheese…but that is not a good substitute because of it’s texture and flavor. Ricotta is what give the zeppole their richness and texture…the only thing I can suggest is to make your own ricotta…it is really very easy and there are really good recipes out there…here’s one that is super easy…and then there are many others…just do a google search and you will find them …but this one is really easy: here is another that is foolproof:

      I so wish I could tell you that there was something a little easier…but I hope you try this and having fresh ricotta might be fun for you…you can make a little lasagna with the left over : ) You take care and wishing you all the best and hoping that you get to make your friends the zeppole’s. If I can help you in any other way…please let me know ok! Hugs… Have an amazing weekend!

  37. Hi Andrea

    These look fantastic I will try them.

    I am from Australia and we similar called Honey Balls (Loukomathes) with honey syrup.

    Instead of spraying spoon, I have a glass of water and a spoon. You dunk in, you can see this technique on you tube.

  38. Could this recipie be halve??

  39. Hi Andrea,
    Your Grandmother’s recipe for Cannoli filing is the BOMB! Just made it for Christmas morning and have to make another batch cause I ate half of it! I am also going to make this Zeppole recipe. ( probably going to Double the recipe in anticipation of eating half a batch!) I won’t be serving them until Christmas day so they will be cold. I know you said to serve them warm as that will be best. How should I warm them? I think the microwave will ruin them. Or will they be OK to eat at room temperature? Thanks

    • Hi there Carol! How are you : ) So fabulous to hear from you and I am soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo thrilled that you are loving the Cannoli filling!!! The Zeppole’s are YUM YUM YUM!!! Now as far as warming them…I would put them on a cookie tray and put them in a low over…say 250 until they are just warm…sugar them and serve : ) I will tell you that when they sit on the counter…no one will complain about eating them at room temp either LOL!!!! Oh and if you want to jazz it up a little bit…serve with a bit of warmed Nutella as dipping sauce…YUM!!! DO NOT MICROWAVE : ) LOL…you will cry if you do! Sure hope everyone enjoys the treats!!! Here’s wishing you and yours a FABULOUS Christmas and and a very HAPPY New Year!!! HUGS!!! Bon Appetit!

  40. Reba Khatun says:

    Can you make batter the night before? Or is it best to use straight away? Thanks. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    • Hi there Reba, how are you. I know you are going to enjoy these…but I have to be the bearer of bad news…the batter is MUCH better made fresh …after you make the batter… you can let it rest for about 20 minutes and then it is good to go! Making it the night before effects the levening agent …the good news is that the batter is a cinch to make and won’t take but a few minutes : ) Sure hope you and yourfamily ENJOY!!! Take care and here’s wishing you and yours the best day ever…HUGS!

  41. I got my grandson and grand daughter involved in making the batter. They loved them. I just rolled them in white sugar. Something fast and a great new idea for a snack. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • That is so great Judi! So happy that the kids had fun and that they enjoyed their creations. I am sure my Grandma is smiling from the heavens! Hugs and wishing you and yours the best day ever!

  42. Muchísimas gracias! Tan sabrosas!

  43. How much does this recipe make?


  1. […] for the perfect dessert that is quick…easy and amazing!  Try my Grandma’s Zeppole…you won’t be […]

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  4. […] a pin for these on my Pinterest for a long time, so it was time to give it a go.  The recipe is by The Cottage Market, and I made it Saturday evening pretty much exactly.  It makes quite a few zeppolis, so be warned. […]

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