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Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Zeppole

A sweet Italian treat that's fun to say and irresistible to eat!

Gluten free dairy free zeppole

For the printable recipe click here.

A lot of versions of zeppole

Delightful little dough fritters, Italian zeppole are typically made from a yeast dough dropped or spooned into hot oil, though you may find recipes that use a pate choux dough, biscuit dough, or some other sort of quick-bread batter. 

Unlike the larger, fluffier Italian bomboloni, which are more similar to an Israeli Sufganiyot or American jelly donut, zeppole are visually more like a cross between donut holes and hushpuppies. 

They are much simpler to make than some of their donut-relatives since the zeppole dough can proof in its mixing vessel and simply be dolloped into the frying oil, rather than the more elaborate processes of shaping involved in other versions of donuts. 

Zeppole can be savory, but more often they are sweet fritters, tossed in confectioners' sugar, granulated sugar, or cinnamon sugar. They can be served alone, filled, or served alongside a delicious dip like chocolate hazelnut spread or strawberry jam. 

If you want to give savory zeppole a try and dairy is not a problem for you, simply roll hot zeppole in a mixture of grated parmesan, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, finely grated lemon zest, and very finely chopped fresh parsley for a super-yummy appetizer.

savory parmesan zeppole

Gluten-free dairy-free Zeppole

Our Five Monsters zeppole are made with a gluten-free, dairy-free yeast dough made from a trio of cassava flour, potato starch, and almond flour. We use coconut oil in place of butter to keep things dairy free. 

This zeppole recipe is great for those with celiac disease or anyone with gluten sensitivities, as well as anyone following a paleo diet avoiding dairy and grains. 

​These delicious donuts are NOT vegan, however, as they do contain egg and honey. 

Chocolate filled zeppole

Tips for best results frying . . .

I like to fry in refined coconut oil, but you could use any oil with a high smoke point. The exact amount of oil needed will depend on the size of the frying pan/pot you use, but you'll need a depth of at least two inches of oil to fry in. 

It will be helpful to have a candy thermometer that clips to the side of your frying pot to take the temperature of the oil. This way you can adjust the heat as necessary to keep the proper oil temperature as you go. 

Fry in batches, about 5-10 dough balls at a time, depending on the size of your frying vessel--you don't want to crowd the pan!

zeppole frying in Dutch oven

I imagine that if you have a deep fryer, that would work well, too (I don't have one, so I can't say for sure)!

Gluten free dairy free zeppole with chocolate hazelnut filling

After you fry them up . . .

Make them your own by selecting a coating (sugar, powdered sugar, even a simple glaze).

coating zeppole in sugar

I like to fill them with chocolate hazelnut spread (Rigoni di Asiago makes an organic, dairy-free version called nocciolota for those avoiding dairy) or strawberry jam, but you are limited only by your own creativity!

chocolate hazelnut spread in piping bag fitted with metal tip

zeppole on cooling rack

filled zeppole with a bite taken

Savory anchovy-stuffed zeppole could make a great appetizer for a Seven Fishes feast for Christmas Eve! And the sweet ones would certainly be a welcome dessert at the end of any meal.

Gluten free dairy free zeppole with chocolate hazelnut filling

Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 ¼ cup cassava flour

  • ¾ cup potato starch

  • ½ cup almond flour

  • 1 T baking powder

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast

  • 1 tsp xanthan gum

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 2 T honey

  • 1 egg

  • ¼ cup coconut oil, softened if hard

  • 1 tsp fine salt

  • Refined coconut oil for frying

For Topping/Filling/Serving:

  • ½ cup organic granulated sugar, cinnamon sugar, or powdered sugar

  • ~1 1/2 cups chocolate hazelnut spread, custard, jam, etc. (optional)

Here's what you'll do:

  1. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the first 6 ingredients (cassava flour-xanthan gum).

  2. In a small mixing bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, whisk together the warm water, honey, and egg.

  3. With the mixer on low speed and fitted with the paddle attachment, slowly pour the water mixture into the dry ingredients. 

  4. On medium speed beat in the coconut oil and then the salt, pausing to scrape down the sides as needed. 

  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once more, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let proof in an oven set to the “proof” setting or at warm room temperature for 30-45 minutes before heating the oil. 

  6. Meanwhile, place a cooling rack on the counter near the stovetop, and over with a double layer of paper towels. Place granulated or powdered sugar in a shallow dish nearby. Place desired filling (if using) in a piping bag fitted with a metal tip and set aside.

  7. To fry, heat enough refined coconut oil to come about two inches up the sides of a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Bring to 350 degrees F over medium heat. 

  8. When the oil is at the proper temperature, use a small cookie scoop to drop balls of dough into the hot oil. You should be able to cook about 5 at a time, depending on the size of your frying vessel. Cook about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until thoroughly golden brown all over, turning with a heat-proof spoon to cook evenly.

  9. Use a heat-proof slotted spoon or spider to transfer 1 cooked zeppole at a time to the dish with sugar, being sure not to bring extra oil along for the ride, and turn to coat. Transfer coated zeppole to the paper-towel-lined cooking rack. If desired, you could also divide confectioners' sugar among individual brown paper bags, drop hot zeppole in each one, and let your kids or guests shake to coat their own servings. 

  10. If filling, you can begin filling cooked zeppole while others cook. Insert the metal piping tip about halfway into the zeppole, and squeeze gently to fill. If desired, you could serve anything you would use as filling as a dip instead–simply serve it in a ramekin on the side!

Gluten free dairy free zeppole with chocolate hazelnut filling

For the printable recipe click here.

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Hey Y'all!

I'm the Monster Momma.

I'm a Christ-follower, wife, mother to five sweet paleo monsters, writer, and

paleo food fiend.

Join me and my family on our paleo journey!

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