Total Time:
50 min
20 min
30 min

4 to 6 servings


Cut open the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the back of a knife, scrape along the inside of the vanilla bean to collect the seeds. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into a small bowl. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the butter, salt, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return pan to the heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on low speed, add eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. Beat until smooth. If not frying immediately, cover with plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F.

Using a small ice-cream scooper or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot olive oil, frying in batches. Turn the zeppole once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon-sugar. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately.

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    166 Reviews
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    WOW! it does not taste as the regular zappole I had before, this might be a Special recipe of zappoli. I just finished my and It is so delicious. Five stars!
    These are not your typical street fair zeppoles. These are pure bites of light and airy goodness. Got rave reviews for these and will definitely make them again!
    The BEST zeppole recipe. Light and fluffy, not sinkers like you sometimes get at Italian festivals. I loved them and went around to neighbors on St. Joseph's Day with a few in two paper bags; one with the cinnamon and sugar and another with powdered sugar. EVERYONE LOVED THEM. I did let the dough cool before I added the eggs, because I was afraid they would turn into scrambled eggs. I also put the batter in the refrigerator before frying them and then stirred in the zest of one lemon. This recipe is a definite keeper that I will use over and over.
    I use milk instead of water and I add grated lemon peel
    These are "fritters." Zeppole use yeast and flour and no eggs. They are delicious. My granddaughter is allergic to eggs, and she loves zeppole with yeast too, the kind that are found in pizzerias. They are light and very spongey, not cakey; I am amazed there are no yeast-based zeppole recipes on the site...
    this is the best zeppole recipe. My husband and the entire family loved them. They are so light. Delicious! From alba' kitchen
    Loved these! I just put the vanilla into the batter and used powderd sugar for my topping.
    I loved this recipe. Zeppole has always been a favorite of mine whenever I went to street fairs growing up. I altered the recipe a little by adding ground nutmeg to the batter and the cinnamon sugar. It is incredible I especially love it because it comes out light and airy. To the people that said they hated it and it was tasteless: you make it how you want it. It's a recipe that allows you to add whatever you want to your liking. I say give it another try you will find how good it is and a little tip use a big pot almost like a deep fryer it makes a difference.
    I've made this recipe in the past and the first time I made it was doughy in the middle I find if you add Cinnimon Sugar to the batter it ends up tasting like a mexican churro. So I had no trouble in the end. But I made a batch not too long ago and they cooked all the way but instead of being golden brown like they were suppose to be they turned out to be dark brown. They still tasted good despite the outside looking like it got into a fight with a grill.
    These were great! We even dipped them into chocolate and nuts or shredded coconut! YUM!
    very disappointed with this recipe, worst one I heve ever made
    This recipe was wonderful!! My family loved them. My grandchildren want me to make them all the time...So simple to make, really yummy!! Giada, I just love your recipes, I try so many of them, and they are all so good..Thanks for the recipe!!
    Dough had absolutely no flavor and was no matter how long I cooked it for. Wasted a vanilla bean on this recipe!
    They can be doughy if you don't maintain the oil at constant temp. They were good, but I would like a little more flavor. The batter is the same as pate a choux!
    I am giving this one star for now. Like several others here I was displeased with the doughy/eggy consistency of the middle. I am going to try the recipe again this time frying the zeppole as soon as I make the dough rather than reserving the dough in the refridgerator as I did the first time.
    these were so good!!! i made them a few times and they are always a hit with everyone.
     Thank you Giada
    I have to say the middle was quite doughy but i just added baking powder and it came out alright, im mean this recipe isnt the best recipe for zeppole, otherwise the outside was nice.
    The outside was flaky, crispy, and very delicious, however the inside was rather doughy. What can I do to cook it all the way through? I tried playing with oil temperature and zeppole size but to no avail.
    I am beyond disappointed with this recipe. It was very doughy inside and other than the cinnamon and sugar on top had no flavor. The dough was totally flavorless! Even my granddaughter wouldn't eat these....and she will eat almost anything. I have to add that I am a very experienced cook and am able to follow very complicated recipes...I followed this recipe exactly! Sorry Giada....I feel I am being VERY generous by giving this recipe 1 star as I ended up throwing it all in the trash.
    I have to agree with the others...no matter how I cooked it (smaller size, hotter oil they still tasted a little doughy inside. Sorry, Giada, I have made many of your recipes with much success and delight, but this one falls short.
    i thought it was decent
    WOW! these Zeppole were fabulous. Very cake like which is not the traditional way but very tasty.
    This is the closest recipe i have found to my mothers, she is from Stromboli,Italy.
     My mothers recipe does not add ricotta like some say. Those are from the feast
     of St. Joseph. The key to not having raw inside is the temp. of the oil. Momma is
     still with us and still makes them. They taste like the ones from ave j flea market
     when i was a teenage, only 40yrs ago. Thank You Giada I love all your recipes.
    I made these for my family and they absolutely loved them! Never had we tasted such a delicious zeppole, better than the ones we get at San Genaro's festival. Thank you, they each tasted like a little cloudy puff of heaven! Now I make them whenever I want to make my family feel really special. If they see this on the counter they know they did something great!
    Very light and fluffy, like biting into a cloud kind of, and the cinnamon sugar really makes it very tasty. Thank you Giada!
    My daughter and I whipped these up for a quick dessert and served them with whipped cream (added some cinnamin to it). Every child had them eaten within 3 minutes...I can't tell you how yummy these are. Cook longer then you would think so the inside cooks through. You must try! Best home-made donuts we every made and the easiest.
    Dear Giada,
     Zeppole are tradional pastries from the southern city of Bari. These are always served around St. Joesph day. The recipe itself sounds very close but shaped into balls? No, these are first shaped in a round manner with a hole in the middle (shaped like french crullers) then they are filled with a creme inside and sometimes filled with cherries, or strawberrys on top of the creme. Zeppole are great and one of the best pasties you will ever have if done right. I love you and you are great,
     I enoyi watching your show because it brings me right back to my roots. Having an immingrant family myself watching you make such fabulous recipes brings me right back to my youth. I have made som many of your recipes with great success and I could not be happier to have such a positive role model. Keep up the fantastic work...your dishes never get old, Thank you so very much for sharing your experince with me and many many others.
     Stephanie Sandora
    i really dont wanna buy the vanilla bean there very expensive for only 2, what can i put instead? vanilla extract would make it more liquidy.
    I agree with the eggy comments. I could never seem to get the dough to cook through. I tried the dough in my waffle maker but that didn't help either. Try another recipe.
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