Recipe courtesy of Laura Vitale

Graffe Napoletane

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 50 min (includes rising time)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 24 doughnuts
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1/4 cup milk, slightly warm

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading the dough 

1 1/2 cups mashed boiled potatoes (from about 1 pound potatoes; peeled and boiled until very soft)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 

2 tablespoons limoncello, optional

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1/2 teaspoon fine salt 

1 large egg 

Zest of 1 small lemon 

2 1/4 cups granulated sugar 

Vegetable or canola oil, for frying 


  1. Mix together the milk and yeast in a small bowl and set aside for a couple minutes.
  2. Mix together the flour, mashed potatoes, butter, limoncello if using, vanilla, salt, egg, lemon zest, the milk and yeast mixture and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl until it forms into a dough (it will be sticky at this point).
  3. Dump it onto a well-floured surface and knead until the dough comes together and is nice and smooth and no longer sticky (this might cause you to use a bit more flour than you might expect, so keep some on hand).
  4. Once your dough is ready, line a large baking sheet with a lint-free kitchen towel and sprinkle the towel lightly with flour.
  5. Cut little pieces (the size you cut depends on how big you want the doughnuts to be; I make them small, so I cut pieces as big as a golf ball) of the dough and roll each one out into a 6-inch rope, then pinch the ends together to form a circle. Place on the baking sheet, leaving a few inches of space between. Continue forming the rest and once you're all done, cover them with another kitchen towel and allow them to rise in a warm spot until they have doubled in volume, about an hour.
  6. Put the remaining 2 cups sugar in a baking dish. Pour enough oil into a large pot to come up the sides a few inches and heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Drop about 4 doughnuts at a time in the oil and cook until golden brown, turning once, about a minute per side. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate, then immediately roll them in the sugar to coat. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.
  7. Best when they are hot so dig in!
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