Zeppole (or staples) at all hours of the day – Italian Cuisine

A donut-shaped delight: here are the Neapolitan sweet donuts, better known as staples. To be enjoyed as soon as fried.

The donuts they are eaten for breakfast, as a snack, but also and above all at night, after an evening spent with friends (or at least those with a sweet tooth and tempting). Not to be confused with those of St. Joseph, which are eaten mainly on Father's Day, these zeppole are eaten all the year and at all hours.

In the different areas of Campania you can find them with different names: while in Naples they are called braces, In Salerno they are mainly spread with the name of zeppola. In any case, you can find them when and how you want them: bars, pastry shops or even special ones zeppolerie ensure the inevitable snack until late in the evening. A very sweet cake in the shape of a donut, fried at the moment, coated with sugar and possibly stuffed with creams of all kinds: hazelnut, white chocolate, dark chocolate, double chocolate, lemon, pistachio … A social ritual as important as the post-dinner coffee at midnight: do not go home before eating a zeppola or a croissant.

A long leavened in a place that can guarantee a constant temperature it is essential to obtain a really soft result. For this reason, larger-sized zeppole / staples found in pastry shops and bars are never replicated at home, where traditionally a variant is prepared instead. In addition to the reduced size, the difference lies in the ingredients: the home variant also includes the use of potatoes.

Below, the recipe for the irresistible Neapolitan staples or sweet zeppoline, to be eaten just fried!

Zeppole or Neapolitan staples
Zeppole or Neapolitan staples

The traditional recipe of Neapolitan zeppole or staples


500 g Flour 00
250 g Potatoes
70 g Milk
50 g Sugar
50 g Butter
25 g Brewer's yeast
3 eggs
Peel of a lemon
Fry oil


Boil the potatoes already peeled and mash them, helping yourself with a fork. Dissolve the yeast in milk at room temperature.

Beat the eggs with sugar, soft butter, grated lemon rind and a pinch of salt. Add the milk with the yeast to the mixture jumbled up with a whisk. Add the mashed potatoes and the flour, stirring until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Form the staples by creating cylinders of 2-3 cm thick and close them to create the classic shape donut. Place the staples on a baking sheet with baking paper previously sprinkled with a little flour, so that they do not stick. Cover with a cloth e let it rest for about 2 hours.

Fry a few donuts at a time, in a large pan with plenty of oil: they will be enough a couple minutes per side, until they are golden. Remember that it is important change oil often of frying and that the zeppole do not sink to the bottom of the pan, but remain afloat.

Allow to dry on kitchen paper, dip them in sugar semolina (or icing), covering them completely, and serve immediately. An idea? You can combine sugar with some cinnamon to flavor!

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