Castagnole di Carnevale

Castagnole: a Delicious Carnival Dessert!

Castagnole are a typical Italian Carnevale treat dating back to the 17th century. They are a delicious donut-like fried dessert, particularly when abundantly sprinkled with sugar. Castagnole are similar to what Americans know as donut holes.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian


  • 250 grams Flour 250 8.8 ounces / 2 cups
  • 50 grams Potato starch 50 1 3/4 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 70 grams Sugar 70 (2 1/2 ounces / 1/3 cup)
  • Orange zest from 1 untreated orange
  • 1 Egg, large
  • 60 milliliters Milk 1/4 cup
  • 50 grams Butter, softened 1 2/5 ounces / about 1/3 cup
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • a pinch Salt
  • Oil for frying preferably peanut oil
  • Sugar enough to sprinkle on the castagnole


  1. Sift the flour, potato starch and baking powder directly onto your work surface.
    Castagnole ingredients
  2. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the remaining ingredients, except for the frying oil and sugar for sprinkling.
  3. Whisk the ingredients together with a fork, and once they are fairly well incorporated, begin kneading the dough.
  4. Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic.
  5. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
  6. Pinch off small pieces of dough (about 10 grams / 1/3 ounce eacand roll into small balls.
    Castagnole ready to be fried
  7. Each ball should be about 2 centimeters / 3/4 inch in diameter.
  8. Heat the oil to 175°C before you begin frying the castagnole.
  9. Make sure that the temperature doesn’t go above 175°C the whole time you are frying. Otherwise you run the risk that the castagnole will be too brown on the outside and raw on the inside.
  10. Have enough oil in the frying pan so the castagnole are almost fully immersed.
  11. Fry the castagnole for several minutes, until golden, turning frequently so they fry evenly.
    Frying castagnole
  12. Drain the castagnole on newspaper covered with paper towels.
  13. Toss in sugar and serve!