Zeppole (Italian Donuts) Recipe

These Italian treats often served during St. Joseph’s Day are traditional pastries you must try! Although the traditional ones are often deep-fried, this zeppole recipe has pastry shells that are baked with pastry cream inside.

Zeppole (Italian Donuts) Recipe

How To Make Zeppole (Italian Donuts)

Zeppole is a fluffy donut made of cream puff dough, and deep fried for a crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside treat.

Prep: 30 mins
Cool and Chill: 1 hr 15 mins
Cook: 1 hr
Total: 2 hrs 45 mins


Pastry Cream:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 21⁄2 cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream, chilled
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp salt
  • orange zest, or lemon from 1 orange

Pastry Shells:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar

To serve:

  • maraschino cherries, destemmed or stemmed
  • powdered sugar


Pastry Cream:

  1. Sift together your flour, cornstarch, & salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, add the milk and lemon or orange zest. Bring to a simmer, then set aside in a warm area. Discard the citrus zest.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar for roughly 5 to 8 minutes until pale and light.
  4. Afterward, fold in your sifted flour mixture until evenly incorporated.
  5. Temper your egg mixture by pouring in roughly ¼ cup of the milk mixture slowly and whisk until smooth.
  6. Pour the mixture back into the saucepot and cook on medium-low heat until the mixture thickens. Stir continuously.
  7. Once thickened, quickly remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and strain into a bowl.
  8. Cover with plastic wrap. It should be sticking directly on top of your pastry cream to avoid forming skin. Set aside in the chiller until chilled completely.

Pastry Shells:

  1. In a large saucepan, add the water, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Turn your heat down to very low, then add the flour. Continuously stir with a wooden spoon for roughly 3to 5 minutes until the flour has completely absorbed the liquid and slightly cook at the same time.
  3. Quickly transfer the dough into a stand mixer. Beat for no more than 3 minutes until the dough is completely cooled off.
  4. Add one egg at a time, beating in between until incorporated. Set aside for about 15 minutes to cool down completely at room temperature.
  5. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Place the dough in a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then pipe out little “nests” that are about 2½-inches wide and 3 levels high, while maintaining a few inches apart from each other.
  8. Bake these for about 35 to 40 minutes or until deeply golden brown. Allow it to cool completely at room temperature.


  1. Whip your heavy cream until stiff peaks, then fold into your chilled pastry cream.
  2. Fill up a pastry bag that has any tip with the pastry cream.
  3. Slice your pastry shells in half, then pipe in roughly 2 ounces of your pastry cream.
  4. Cover with the remaining half of your shell, then pipe the hollow middle with roughly ¼ ounce of pastry cream.
  5. Place a maraschino cherry on top and repeat until you have assembled all the cakes this way. Dust with powdered sugar and serve!


  • Sugar: 324g
  • :
  • Calcium: 7994mg
  • Calories: 4221kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 332g
  • Cholesterol: 1002mg
  • Fat: 229g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Iron: 2mg
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 51g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g
  • Potassium: 9779mg
  • Protein: 219g
  • Saturated Fat: 133g
  • Sodium: 2609mg
  • Trans Fat: 1g
  • Vitamin A: 11297IU
  • Vitamin C: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
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