Florida Orange and Saffron Zeppole!

Chef Franco Lania

One of these with a nice cup of coffee and you have yourself a real treat.

Most people think of zeppole as a sweet Italian feast food.  Make a quick batter and drop some in a hot fryer to cook. Presto! You have a traditional Italian street food favorite. Let’s not forget to toss them in a brown paper bag with some powdered sugar and shake them up.  Now off you go to enjoy your zeppole as you stroll through an Italian feast.

How about a more foodie version?  Something that is a little different and fit for a fancy restaurant or a nice dinner party in your home?  My golden delicious Florida orange and saffron zeppole are just that.  They are still easy to make and with the addition of a little orange zest and saffron, you have a mouthwatering surprise fit for a king. Saffron believe it or not has some great health benefits too. You can click here to learn more.

The trick to making these is to use two well-oiled spoons so the batter does not stick to them. This will also give your zeppole a more uniform shape. Lastly, use a kitchen thermometer to make sure the frying oil reaches and stays at 350°F.  The rest is easy peasy!

Florida Orange and Saffron Zeppole

(Makes 20-25 zeppole)


  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1-3/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 orange, finely zested
  • 1 tablespoon saffron (or one big pinch)
  • Peanut or vegetable oil for frying.

To Finish the Zeppole

  • 1 cup sugar mixed with 1/4 cup of cinnamon.
  • Combine all well and place in a bowl to coat the zeppole as you remove them from the hot oil.