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Italian potato doughnuts recipe

Italian potato doughnuts recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast breads and pastries
  • Doughnuts

Called bignè in Italian, similar to the French beignet, these doughnuts are enriched with potato and delicately flavoured with lemon zest. Try as they are or add sultanas, vanilla extract or chopped nuts for an extra dose of flavour.

2 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 500g potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • plain flour, as needed
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying
  • icing sugar, for dusting

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:35min

  1. Steam the potatoes for 40 minutes or boil until tender. Once cool enough to handle, peel and then mash till smooth; place in a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the mashed potato with eggs, lemon zest and caster sugar. Add just enough flour to create a sticky but compact dough. Knead the dough for few a minutes till smooth.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan and drop a few spoonfuls of the mixture into the hot oil. Deep fry the doughnuts for 5 minutes or until golden. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  4. Dust with icing sugar, then serve.

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Christmas in Southern Italy is soft like a Potato Zeppole Does this recipe contain natural ingredients? Yes, it does. Is this recipe healthy? Uhm… yes and no. It is healthy if you don’t go to sleep after eating it (also if you don’t eat fried food one month after and one month before :)). It is not healthy otherwise, especially if you get addicted to it (warning: this is likely to happen!). It’s Christmas time: my family and I cook together for what is going to be the big dinner of the year. In no other occasion we would be all together in the kitchen. In Campania, the italian region where I was born, many dishes are being prepared exclusively for this traditionally opulent festivity. In particular, there is no Christmas without Zeppole, the special treat we indulge in only once a year. Zeppole are an exquisite result of a dough made with flour and boiled mash potatoes, the key ingredient to give extra softness to the batter. You can shape the dough any way you want. I usually opt for the ring shaped bagel, leaving just a bit of dough to create ball shaped zeppole to fill with Nutella or cherry jam. The extra ingredients are the care, the family reunion and all the sinful hidden tastings while cooking. The traditional recipe for Zeppole or Neapolitan Graffe


3 1/3 cups Italian 00 flour
9 oz potatoes
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 tbsp brewer’s yeast
3 eggs
rind of one lemon
Oil for frying

Peel the potatoes, boil them and mash them with a fork. Dissolve the yeast in the milk at room temperature. Beat the eggs with the sugar, softened butter, grated lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Add the milk and yeast to the mixture and stir with a whisk. Add the mashed potatoes and the flour, stirring until you get a smooth dough. Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Form the donuts by creating cylinders about one inch thick, then connect the ends so they take a donut shape. Place the donuts on a baking sheet with lightly floured parchment paper so they don’t stick. Cover with a cloth and let rest for about 2 hours.

Fry a few zeppole at a time in a large pan with plenty of oil: they only take a few minutes per side, and should be removed when golden brown. Remember, it’s important to change the frying oil often and the zeppole shouldn’t sink to the bottom of the pan, but remain afloat.

Let them dry on paper towels, then dip them in granulated sugar (or powdered sugar), covering them completely. If you want, you can also add a little cinnamon to the sugar for extra flavor. Serve immediately.

Snack recipes

An Italian snack is known as spuntino, a term which can include anything from olives and crisps to small plates shared between friends. Bars and cafés might serve spuntino in a similar way to tapas, and while they wouldn't be eaten as the opener to a larger meal elements of antipasto are commonly consumed as snacks.

This collection of Italian snack recipes is full of delicious ideas, whether you're looking to discover more traditional regional treats or simply spice up your tired picnic repertoire. Andrea Migliaccio's Potato zeppoline recipe offers a variation on a traditional Italian pastry, irresistible bitesized potato doughnuts deep fried until golden and rolled in sugar, while Daniele Usai's Milk bread is an easy bread roll recipe perfect for packing up in a picnic basket. The Costardi Brother's Purple carrots can be served as either snack or a side dish.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup well mashed potatoes (with minimal lumps)
  • Corn oil for frying

9th Day of Christmas: Italian Fried Donuts

Tradition mandates these goodies be made during the Christmas holidays, but there’s no reason not to enjoy them year- round. Why torture oneself to wait 11 months?

Good friends — the Falvo and Miceli families, a Grandma and Mom team — made these delicious fried potato delicacies in the shape of doughnuts. They were to die for. They called them “grispelle,” aka, “crespelle.” “zeppole,”or “fritelle.” But no matter, if they are made with potatoes, they are delicious!

It seems crespelle are a hybrid sort of bakery item. Some consider the crespelle a pastry item, and others say they are a simple flour dough product. There are offshoots of the pastry, which are stuffed with cream, jelly or another type of filling.

In Basilicata, they have a distant relative to the crespelle, called “Pettole.” They, too, are deliciously fried pieces of dough, which can be coated with granulated sugar, or filled with bits of anchovies.

Every Christmas season, Bob Miceli — who was like a brother — invited me to enjoy these freshly baked goodies. We waited in the basement of their home, where all the heavy cooking took place, to taste a few as they came right out of the oven. It was hog heaven.

But, as the saying goes: All good things must come to an end. And so it was with these annual tasting get-togethers of freshly fried crespelle doughnuts. I was called into service by the Army and left the area.

But wait! It wasn’t over. The Miceli family suspected sooner or later I had to pass thru as I moved to the next military assignment. So, when I did come home for a brief leave, imagine my surprise when the considerate Mrs. Miceli invited me to their home for lunch, then as I was leaving presented me with a couple dozen frozen Calabrese grispelle. I could have cried. Instead,I hugged her and jumped for joy!

Fortunately, their son, Bob, retained a copy of the original family recipe and he has allowed us to share it.

Even though the Christmas season will soon be over, why not do a little practicing and sharpen your baking skills for next Christmas season?

And then again, it could be a recipe for all seasons.


6 lbs. of potatoes (They used red potatoes)

3 eggs beaten at room temperature

2 ½ envelopes dry yeast, or ½ large cake of yeast, diluted with a little warm water


Peel and boil potatoes. Put through a ricer. Make a large ring of the flour. Make an inner circle of potatoes. In the center, add salt, sugar and dilute with warm milk. Add the eggs, and diluted yeast.

Mix and knead until dough is smooth and non-sticky. Add flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Cover and let stand at room temp for about ¾ hour.

Roll dough into rope and shape into donuts. Lay on a floured table, cover and let rise until doubled.

Heat oil in a deep-sided pot for frying. Fry donuts until golden brown, remove, place on paper towels to drain excess oil and taste them while warm. (And we dare you to eat only one).

Makes about four dozen depending on the size of the donut.

Editor’s note: ISDA’s “12 Days” run from Dec. 14-Dec. 25 to promote Italian and Italian-American traditions, art, literature, stories and more. Per the Christian calendar, the actual 12 Days of Christmas are celebrated from Dec. 25 to Jan. 5.

Maine Potato Donuts Baking Tips

The store’s donuts are fried in canola oil, but I baked mine using a donut pan. They came out better than I had even hoped, and my family devoured them in record time. I’m excited that I now have access to these delicious donuts without having to travel to Maine for them.

I like to use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes very smoothly. You won’t notice they’re in there when you’re eating these donuts.

This recipe is my gluten-free version, but I’ve also made these donuts with half wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. They come out tasting great either way, so you can substitute one cup of wheat flour plus one cup of white flour for the gluten-free flour if you prefer.

This recipe makes 18 donuts, so you may want to cut it in half if you want a smaller batch. You can always freeze the extras. No matter how you make them, I don’t think you’ll be able to look at regular donuts the same way again after you try these.

Frittelle, Italian savoury donuts

No matter how loudly nutritionists will speak against deep-fried food, I do allow myself and my children the occasional indulgence. I fiercely stand by my credo that “once in a while” will do you no harm, and, quite frankly, if it makes you happy when you eat it, than it’s got to be good for you! In moderation, that is…

When we were children, my mamma used to apply pretty much the same rule, and her home-cooking was predominantly healthy and very nutritious. So, on special occasions, if we’d been really, really good, she would set off in the kitchen to fry off these delicious, golden nuggets, while we, children and Papà, would patiently wait, slowly inebriated by the savory and warm smell of what was to be our Sunday dinner.

The memory alone is worth the occasional intake of deep-fried food…

These savoury donuts, frittelle, are made using a slowly fermented pizza dough. You can make them using a larger amount of yeast and less rising time, but I have to warn you that they won’t be as light, crispy and easy to digest.

To make the dough, simply follow the same steps as if you were making pizza dough.

Ingredients for the dough

3 1/2 cups 00 type flour (or plain)

2 teaspoons of salt flakes

Extra-virgin olive oil, to grease the bowl and to drizzle on top.

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.

Place flour in a large mixing bowl, add the yeasted water and mix for 1-2 minutes, then tip the dough onto a floured surface, add the salt and knead vigorously for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape it into a ball.

As all flours tend to differ slightly, you may have to add a little more water of a little more flour in order to have the perfect dough. You want a soft, pliable dough, but not too sticky.

Rest the dough in an oiled bowl, covered with a tea-towel for 30 minutes, then lift it out, place it back onto a floured surface, stretch it with your hands and fold it into three and then back into a ball. Put the dough back in the bowl to rest for another 30 minutes, then stretch and fold again.

As tedious as this process sounds, this is paramount for obtaining a light, crispy and easy to digest base.

After the second stretch-and-fold, place the dough in a large oiled container fitted with lid (like a Tupperware one). Place in the fridge (with the lid on) and slow-prove for a minimum of 6 hours, up to 36 hours.

When you are ready to make you pizza, take the dough out of the fridge and place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with a tea-towel. Rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

Roll the dough onto a floured surface to 1/2 cm (0,2 inches) thick.

Cut the dough into rectangles and score each in the middle to allow even rising when fried.

Fill a deep-fryer or a frying own with vegetable oil and. To test of the oil temperature is ready, drop in a cube of bread: if it sizzles straight away and turns golden in 30 seconds, the oil is ready. Fry the cut dough in 3-4 batches, 2-3 minutes on both sides.

Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt flakes and serve hot with cold cuts of meat, torn mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes or whatever takes your fancy.

The Tuscan bomboloni – i bomboloni toscani

Tuscan bomboloni are typically filled with our crema pasticciera, the thick Italian custard. Unlike krapfen, they are filled once fried: you will need a pastry bag or a decorating syringe, with a thin and round piping nozzle, so that you can easily pierce the bomboloni while they are still warm and fill them with your favourite filling.

I filled my bomboloni with a blueberry jam that I made last summer, as I wanted a fruity filling. You can fill them with your favourite jam or compote, with a thick custard or a chocolate custard, but, please, eat at least one of these bomboloni just like it is, empty, freshly fried, generously sprinkled with sugar, light and airy, with its delicate aroma of lemon.

Some tips to make bomboloni

Boil the potatoes properly. Rinse them and arrange them in a saucepan with their skin still on. Cover them with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, lower the heat and cover the saucepan with a lid. Cook the potatoes until you can easily pierce them from side to side with a knife. It is important that the potatoes are well cooked, so that, when you rice them, they won’t have lumps, which could then remain in the dough.

Rice the potatoes when they are still hot, and use them in the dough when they are still slightly warm: this will help the bomboloni to rise, especially if you work in a cold environment, like my kitchen in winter. If it’s summer and it’s hot, make sure to rice the potatoes when they are still hot, but then let them cool completely before using them.

I kneaded the bomboloni by hand, in a large and shallow bowl. The dough will initially be very sticky: do not get discouraged, and do not add more flour. Slowly, kneading, you will be able to remove it from the bowl, Knead it on a lightly floured wooden board until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Before proceeding with the recipe, inspired by Paolo Petroni’s bomboloni toscani, a few important links:

How To Make Potato Donuts

  • Mix the ingredients in the order and according to the directions below
  • Once the ingredients are mixed and your dough is soft, cover the dough and let it rise for 90 minutes
  • After rising, punch the dough down
  • On a heavily floured surface, roll out the dough so that it&rsquos about 1/2 inch thick
  • Using a large cup, cut out the donuts from the dough
  • Using a small medicine cup, cut out the holes in the center of the spudnuts
  • Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes while the oil is heating up in the skillet
  • Heat the oil to 375 degrees F
  • Cook each side of the spudnut donuts until they are a golden brown. This will take between 30 and 60 seconds
  • Use tongs to flip the spudnuts and to remove them from the oil
  • Once cooked, cover them in your favorite toppings