Desserts/Treats | Snacks

Italian Zeppole Potato Donuts (Cuddrurieddri)

Potato Donuts

ITALIAN ZEPPOLE POTATO DONUTS ARE A STAPLE HOLIDAY TREAT ALL OVER THE WORLD

Ring in Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s with a sweet or savory Italian potato donut also called Zeppole or Zippuli among many others.

You may have heard of these potato donuts in different parts of Italy during the holiday season.

I’m pretty sure you will find even more traditional names for these delicious Italian fried potato donuts.

  • Cullurielli
  • Cuddruriaddi or Cuddrurieddri
  • Grispelle
  • Graffe
  • Ciambelle
  • Culluraci
  • Crustela
  • Fried Dough
  • Zippuli

Plain Zeppole Donuts

Zeppole in Italy is a traditional fare that is served on Saint Joseph Day March 19 and during the Christmas and New Year’s Holidays.

Last week when I posted my Thai Fish Cakes recipe which is also a great New Year’s finger food I mentioned our friends Marco and Christina and their famous Italian recipe for savory potato donuts.

Being British I joke around and call them spud nuts donuts just because that’s what we call potatoes in the UK.

I turned their zeppole donut into my Zeppole Spudnut based around the same concept but adding personalized flavours.

Cake Donuts vs Yeast Donuts

Since moving to Canada and being exposed to Tim Horton’s donuts I always wondered about how to make donuts.

It can’t be that difficult and with the myriad of donut flavours available, you can’t go wrong with a homemade donut recipe.

From what I understand there are 2 types of donuts a cake donut and a yeast donut but heck I’m not a donut connoisseur. Is a donut a cake?

Well when you bite into a Boston Cream Donut, for example, that is a yeast donut which is light and puffy.

When you bite into a sour cream glazed donut that is a cake donut.

The textures are very different in the mouth and for me, they both appeal to my sweet desires.

Every time we go to Marco and Christina’s house for dinner we know they will fill the table with Italian food dishes that simply amaze us.

When Christina and Marco introduced us to this incredibly odd mashed potato donut recipe we were surprised by the taste and texture.

They were so good I ate 3 that night.

Italian Christmas DonutsTheir Italian Zeppole donut is crispy on the outside and light and chewy in the middle.

Zeppole Potato Donut Variations

Italian Potato ZeppoleYou can make a few variations of this Italian fried donut all of which we’ve tried and enjoy.

There is also the sfinge which is a baked cream puff also called zeppole.

Zeppole Variations we’ve tried at Christina and Marcos:

Zeppole filled with ricotta cheese and chocolate

zeppola
zeppola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can also find potato zeppole donuts filled with a sweet ricotta filling and topped with chocolate and custard cream.

Plain or Sugar-Coated Zeppole Donuts

Below are photos of the plain zeppole potato donut which you can keep savory or roll in granulated sugar.

italian zeppole potato donuts or British Spudnuts

Italian Potato donuts filled with salty anchovies are considered a savory zeppole potato donut.

Using the plain recipe for zeppole potato donut make a long straight donut, flatten and fill with anchovies then close it over before deep-frying.

Typically the plain zeppole and anchovy filled zeppole are eating with dinner or on their own.

The sweet zeppole donuts might be enjoyed with Italian espresso, coffee, tea or milk.

Donut Frying Safety

Frying Zeppole Donuts

Donut frying is likely one of the reasons many people shy away from making homemade donuts.

Frying with oil can be scary but not if you are prepared and take your time.

Always think safety first if you are deep-frying and keep all water away from hot oil.

These donuts are best served hot then rolled in granulated sugar or left plain.

We have also taken the dough which we made ahead of time and froze it for a later occasion.

How To Make Zeppole Italian Potato Donuts

Potato Zeppole Donuts

Tools To Make Zeppole Italian Potato Donuts

Scroll Down For the printable version of the Zeppole recipe

  • Huge tinfoil lasagne pan to roll donuts in sugar
  • Large pot
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Large bowl
  • Peeler
  • Strainer
  • Potato masher or ricer
  • Tinfoil
  • Deep-frying thermometer

Zeppole Ingredients 

  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 5 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (you may not need it all)
  • 2.5 cups plain mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup warm buttermilk (or make a buttermilk substitute: milk with a tablespoon vinegar) This process takes about 5 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • zest of 4 oranges
  • 3/8 cup melted butter (6 tablespoons)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of ground fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups granulated sugar divided 2+2
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • Vegetable Oil for deep-frying
  • 1/2 cup bench flour for the surface

Note: If you want to keep your Zeppole Potato donuts plain eliminate the orange zest, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg.

You can choose to coat your plain zeppole donuts in granulated sugar or leave them as is.

Another version as suggested above is to add salty sardines to the middle before frying your Zeppole donuts.

Note Preparation

  • Boil potatoes in salted water then mash them or put them through a ricer 

Mashed Potatoes

  • Warm your buttermilk but not too hot or you will kill the yeast then add in your yeast and let stand until activated (bubbly)
  • In a bowl add your mashed potatoes, butter, eggs, orange zest, and buttermilk yeast mix and combine it all
Wet Ingredients Zeppole potato donuts
Wet Ingredients Zeppole potato donuts
  • On a clean surface add 4.5 cups of flour,2 cups sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  • Mix them around to combine then make a well.
  • Add the wet ingredients into the middle of the dry and start combining the wet and dry with your hands until it forms a soft dough.
  •  
  • Add more flour if you need to as you have 5 1/2 cups but may not need it all.
  • You do not have to knead the dough yet.
  • Transfer it all to a large bowl and cover with a tea towel for up to 3 hours
Zeppole potato donuts dough
Potato Donut Dough after 3-hour rise
  • Turn the bowl onto a floured surface and divide it in half or quarters and knead the dough.
Zeppole potato donut dough divided
Zeppole potato donut dough divided
  • Start to rip off balls of the dough and roll it on the floured surface until you make a 1-inch rope-like shape then twist it to form a ribbon, or leave them as balls or form them into a simple round donut. It’s up to you.
Twisted Zeppole potato donuts
Twisted Zeppole potato donuts ready for deep frying

zeppole donuts potato

  • Let the donuts rest for 20 minutes to proof up
  • Heat the oil to about 360-375 degrees for deep-frying
  • Frying takes just a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown.
  • I suggest timing cooking one then tear it open to make sure it cooked all the way through as everyone has different stoves and deep fryers.
  • As soon as they come from the oil toss them into the big tin foil lasagne pan filled with your granulated sugar to coat. Shake off the excess sugar from the donuts.
  • Place them on a tray or into another foil pan to cool.
  • You can make the same recipe without the orange, cinnamon, and nutmeg for a plain zeppole Italian potato donut that is crispy and chewy as you will see from the photo above.
Italian Zeppole Potato Donuts (British Spudnuts)
 
Recipe Type: Italian Christmas
Author: Mr.CBB
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 48
Italian Potato Donuts also known as Zeppole Potato Donuts are popular during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. You can enjoy them sweet coated with granulated sugar or cinnamon, orange or lemon zest potato donuts, plain, stuffed with anchovies or stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese and topped with pastry cream and chocolate.
Ingredients
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 5 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (you may not need it all)
  • 2.5 cups plain mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup warm buttermilk (or make a buttermilk substitute: milk with a tablespoon vinegar) This process takes about 5 minutes
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • zest of 4 oranges
  • 3/8 cup melted butter (6 tablespoons)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of ground fresh nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups granulated sugar divided 2+2
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 8 to 10 cups of Vegetable Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil for deep-frying
  • 1/2 cup bench flour for the surface
Instructions
  1. Boil potatoes in salted water then mash them or put them through a ricer
  2. Warm your buttermilk but not too hot or you will kill the yeast then add in your yeast and let stand until activated (bubbly)
  3. In a bowl add your mashed potatoes, butter, eggs, orange zest, and buttermilk yeast mix and combine it all
  4. On a clean surface add 4.5 cups of flour,2 cups sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  5. Mix them around to combine then make a well.
  6. Add the wet ingredients into the middle of the dry and start combining the wet and dry with your hands until it forms a soft dough. Add more flour if you need to as you have 5 1/2 cups but may not need it all. You do not have to knead the dough yet.
  7. Transfer it all to a large bowl and cover with a tea towel for up to 3 hours
  8. Turn the bowl onto a floured surface and divide it in half or quarters and knead the dough.
  9. Start to rip off balls of the dough and roll it on the floured surface until you make a 1-inch rope-like shape then twist it to form a ribbon, or leave them as balls or form them into a simple round donut. It’s up to you.
  10. Let the formed donuts rest for 20 minutes before frying to proof again
  11. Get extra virgin olive oil hot around 360-375 degrees for best results
 

You can store your Italian zeppole potato donuts for a few days under a tea towel to keep that crispy outer texture but I’m betting they won’t last long.

Whatever you do, don’t put them in a plastic bag or they will go soggy.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.

Happy Holidays everyone.

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