Vita’s Ricotta Doughnuts

My mother-in-law, Vita Seidita, taught me this family heirloom recipe.

Her mother, Gesualda, came from Sicily, so using ricotta in desserts was a natural. It’s one of the top recipes my husband, Jimmy, would long for of his mother’s, so he got her to teach it to me.

I make them every spring on Easter. Our children stir the batter together while my husband hides the Easter eggs outside, and then while they are out of the kitchen hunting for them I do the deep-frying. They come in with their baskets full of eggs, and these hot egg-shaped donuts rolled in powdered sugar are waiting for them as a reward. And they’re so good, they were even on the menu at Tru for a while!

Makes 30 or more

For doughnut batter:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • canola oil for frying
  • powdered sugar for dusting


1. In a large bowl, mix ingredients in order with a wooden spoon just until combined.

2. Pour oil into a saucepan, and clip on a frying thermometer. Heat oil to 325 degrees.  

3. Form small, ice-cream scoopfuls or teaspoonfuls and gently drop a  few at a time (careful not to crowd the oil or the temperature will drop!) into the 325 degree oil and deep fry 3 minutes, turning often with a slotted spoon or “spider” until golden brown on all sides. Remove one from the oil and break open to check if it is cooked all the way through. 

4. Drain on paper towels or a brown paper bag, and sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar (or place them into a resealable bag of powdered sugar and shake well to coat). Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.

Do-ahead notes: You can place the batter in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fry for up to 48 hours. You may have to increase the frying time slightly to compensate for the colder batter. You may also cut this recipe in half.


Recipe from Gale Gand’s “Chocolate and Vanilla.”

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