Zeppole di riso (rice pancakes)

Sicilian Zeppole di Riso is a type of rice pancake that was invented in 16th-century Catania by the Benedictines Monastery.

They are known in Catania as “rice crepes Benedictine style” (or simply Benedictine).

They are delicious and sweet thanks to their combination of rice, milk, and orange zest, which makes them especially delicate. Honey is a finishing touch to give the cakes a special touch. These cakes were traditionally made on March 19th, , or at Carnival according to Sicilian tradition. They are now prepared all year round, and can be enjoyed with any Sunday meal.

Here is their recipe

Ingredients of zeppole di riso (rice pancakes):

The dough:

  • 3,100 ml milk
  • 25g salt
  • 1 kg rice
  • 700g flour
  • 10 grams yeast
  • 100g sugar
  • Four oranges – grated zest
  • Oil for frying

For garnish:

  • Orange honey
  • Sugar frosting
  • Ground cinnamon (optional).


Heat the milk, salt, and orange zest in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook the milk with salt and orange zest in a saucepan over medium heat until the rice is tender and the milk has absorbed completely. Allow it to cool, then let it rise for a few hours.

Put the flour on a board. Make a well in its centre. Then, add the cooled rice. Let the milk (600ml) cool down and then add the sugar. Mix the milk with 2 orange grated rinds into the dough. Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Make small portions of the dough, shape them into cylinders the thickness of a finger and then put them in the oil at 180 degrees C.

After you have fried the dough, fry the Zeppole once more until it turns golden brown. To get the perfect crispness, drain the dough on a paper towel-lined plate.

If you like it, serve with orange honey and some icing sugar.

Related Articles