Pumpkin Zeppole Pastry

Pumpkin Zeppole Recipe

Zeppoles are pastries that are deep-fried dough balls, similar to doughnuts and can range from very light and airy to bread-like, usually sprinkled or rolled in powdered sugar.  They are also sometimes filled with custards or cannoli pastry cream and not flavored but I had to try making pumpkin zeppoles because they just sound good. These pumpkin zeppoles remind me of home because they are a little crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  

For these, I took a standard zeppole recipe and incorporated pumpkin for some of the water and then added in pumpkin spice for flavor.  I’d never made a plain zeppole before so I wasn’t sure how these would come up.  Overall I’m quite happy with them. They have more of a bread-like consistency than light and airy, but they were still quite delicious. 

I was going to sprinkle them all daintily with powdered sugar, but the way we get them in NY is usually in a white paper bag filled with a bit of powdered sugar.  Then you shake ’em up. That’s a zeppole!

Pumpkin Zeppole NY Style

Pumpkin Zeppole Ingredients:

  • 1 lb all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons dry active yeats
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

For Frying

  • 3 quarts frying oil

For topping

  • powdered sugar


  • In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the flour and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Beat together the eggs and sugar, pumpkin and spices
  • Whisk the egg mixture into the yeast.
  • Make a well in the middle of the flour and then add the liquid ingredients.
  • With a fork, beat the liquid ingredients slowly pulling in flour from the sides of the well.
  • Continue until all of the dry and liquid ingredients have been combined to form a moist, sticky dough.
  • Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour or until it has doubled.
  • Push the dough down with a wooden spoon, cover it again with plastic wrap, and let it rise a second time for 1 hour or until doubled.

You could refrigerate the dough at this point and take it out when you are ready to fry.

  • Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or pot.
  • Push down the dough before frying.
  • Drop teaspoon size dollops of dough into the hot oil and fry the zeppole until golden brown.
  • Be sure to turn them so they fry evenly.
  • Remove the zeppola with a slotted spoon and place on a tray lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
  • Sprinkle the zeppole with powdered sugar or pop them into a paper bag with powdered sugar and shake (way more fun!)


  • I made the mistake of heating the oil too much and the first few that I fried were really dark.  Be careful of the oil temperature
  • I also made the first few really large. The dough expands when it hits the oil so go with smaller drops first until you find the size you like.  

Adapted from Recipes & Ramblings from Italy

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