Recipe: Fried Dough

Contributing Editor Tony Traficante fries up one of the most beloved (and delicious!) Italian treats.

This article and recipe are written by Tony Traficante.

Have you tried fried dough? Delicious, right? But you don’t know where they came from? They are found all over the world. But, for all we know, the Italians may have been the first to discover the technique…

In our dialect, they’re called ‘pettuli’ (phonetically speaking). Other Regions of Italy call them by different names. Typically, they were made for the Christmas holidays and on special occasions…but frankly, my dear, they are a treat anytime.

Don’t even speak of the caloric count. “They’ll make me fat!” “Aaah cari.” In this case, understand the words of the old-timers, “Eh, ma chi se ne frega?”

So, ‘fuhgeddaboudit’ (your diet, that is) and try them. Simple to make…

Not many ingredients are needed. You can fry them in a regular or electric skillet. Any bread or pizza dough recipe, will do. If you don’t have one, one is below; or sneak off to the local grocery store and buy their frozen dough. It works.

Best to start with a small portion of dough; later you can double, triple or quadruple it to infinity.

Dough Mix


  • 5 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of dry east (2 packets)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • About a teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of olive or vegetable oil

Mixing Directions:

  • Mix 4 cups of the flour, plus yeast, sugar and salt into a bowl.
  • Pour in the warm water and oil; mix until combined; it will be sticky.
  • Now, add the remaining flour, a little at a time, until dough is no longer sticky.
  • Knead with hands (good exercise) until dough is elastic and smooth.
  • Cover it and let rise for about an hour, or until it doubles.

*Punch down again before using!

If you prefer your fried dough plain, you are ready to go! But…if you like a little more ‘pleasure’ from them, make a portion with anchovies (buonissimo!), or even raisins. Be sure to mix these additions into the dough, as part of the ingredients, before frying.

Prepare to Fry

  • Pluck off (or roll out) the dough at about 1/2 inch thickness and 3-4 inches in length.
  • Dough dollops can be any design: round, irregular, flat, or twisted — your choice!
  • Heat the oil in the skillet (don’t drown em — just enough oil to fry one side then another).
  • When the oil is hot, (not smoking!), carefully drop the dough into the oil.
  • When both sides are browned, place them on a paper towel, to drain.

*Note: If you like granulated sugar sprinkled over the plain ones (as some people do), do it now…before they cool.

There you have it! Delicious fried treats sure to please! And, as you eat them, remember this:

A chi ha fame è buono ogni pane.”

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