Zeppole Italian Doughnuts with Ricotta are often referred to as Sfingi or Beignets, both are doughnut holes that are crispy on the outside and soft on the outside. Commonly dusted with a mound of powdered sugar, Zeppole doughnuts are a treasured dessert not to be confused with Zeppole di San Giuseppe.
Zeppole di San Giuseppe are usually made for March 19 and as I stated earlier these Zeppole are slightly different and made with ricotta in a round dough shaped ball.
Zeppole and Sfingi are a traditional Italian pastry, just like the Italian Almond Brittle with Honey that my mom makes around Christmas time.
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Here's Why You'll Love Zeppole Doughnuts made with Ricotta
If you had any doubt about making these zeppole, these reasons are sure to change your mind:
- easy to make - come together real quick
- bite size treat - small enough for a guilt free treat
- taste - crispy on the outside and dusted with a blanket of powdered sugar make these irresistible
- kid friendly - a dessert that even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy
Ingredients You'll Need to Make Zeppole
Zeppole doughnuts are made with flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, ricotta cheese, eggs and vanilla extract.
Ricotta cheese is used in these Italian doughnuts to create a light and moist texture.
Baking powder helps the doughnuts rise and makes them fluffy.
Eggs are used to bind the ingredients.
Vanillin is like vanilla extract but it's more like a powdered vanilla sugar and is used to enhance the flavor of the doughnuts.
See recipe card for full list of ingredients and quantities.
How to Make Zeppole with Ricotta
This recipe for Zeppole or Sfingi comes together in less than 20 minutes and is really easy to make. Have your ingredients ready.
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
Beat eggs and ricotta cheese until smooth in a separate bowl.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix.
Heat up the oil in a pot. Test the oil by placing a tiny bit of the dough in the oil and if it bubbles up and fries the oil is ready. Or use a candy thermometer to check oil temperature is 375℉
Use 2 small spoons to scoop the dough and push it out into the oil. Flip the ball over when it is golden on the underside. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Use a spider spoon to remove the doughnuts and place them on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb oil.
Let cool, then dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
Storage: If you have any leftover, store in an airtight container or covered tightly in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. You may need to dust with powdered sugar prior to serving.
Meal Prep Tips
You may need more flour to achieve a doughy consistency if the batter looks too runny. Add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until you get a dough that is similar to a set pudding.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
The main difference between a beignet and a zeppole is the dough as well as the shape. Zeppole are looser than beignets, and the dough tends to be stickier. They're also made by drop spooning them into oil, whereas beignets have a very distinct square or rectangle shape.
After fleeing to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, St. Joseph found himself selling pancakes to provide for the sustenance of the family, once landed in a foreign land. From here the tradition would have originated that would see in these sweets the typical symbol also of the Father's Day, in honor of Saint Joseph.
Sfinci were created in the current version by the Nuns of Saint Francis' Stigmata, in Palermo, the Sicilian capital city, adapting a traditional dish of Persian and Arabic cuisine.
Other Desserts You Need
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Zeppole Italian Doughnuts Sfingi with Ricotta
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons of the sugar.
- Beat eggs and ricotta cheese until smooth in a separate bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix well. If the dough is too runny add a tablespoon of flour at a time until you have the consistency of a set pudding. (about 1 - 2 tablespoons more)
- Heat up the oil in a pot. Test the oil by placing a tiny bit of the dough in the oil and if it bubbles up and fries the oil is ready. Or use a candy thermometer to check oil temperature is 375℉
- Use 2 small spoons to scoop the dough and push it out into the oil. Flip the ball over when it is golden on the underside. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Use a spider spoon to remove the doughnuts and place them on a plate lined with paper towel to absorb oil.
- Let cool, then dust with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
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Note that the storage guidelines provided on this page and site are estimates from personal experiences. We are all adults and as an adult you are responsible to ensure that the food you eat is safe to eat. Since, I'm not a food safety expert, you are responsible to review your local guidelines on food storage prior to storing any food left-overs.
- Not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove