Homemade Fried Dough



Homemade Fried Dough

As a kid, I had a long list of foods that made me take notice and instantly salivate, luring me away from whatever game I had imagined lately. I often played “shopping” with whoever would have me, turning my parent’s house into a store where everything had a price tag and I had a huge wad of fake Monopoly money with which to buy it all up. I’d push around a tiny plastic cart, pile things into it and, after a very long wait in line, my imaginary friend Michael would finally ring me up. My parents, responsibly, would force me to put it all back together. It must have been tedious for them and me. In fact, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. And hungry!

Homemade Fried Dough

There were just a few foods that would make it worthwhile to stop my cart in its tracks. In fact, I can count them all on six fingers: fried plantains with parmesan cheese, whole milk mozzarella, homemade milk candy made by mi abuelita, snail-shaped anise cookies topped with icing and sprinkles made by my grandma, fried bologna sandwiches and, my favorite, fried dough.

Homemade Fried Dough

Fried dough is not fancy, often associated with passing festivals or carnivals, and thus not an acquired taste. Everyone came running when the raw pizza dough hit the bubbling hot oil. My family couldn’t be bothered making the dough from scratch, especially when we lived around the corner from one of the best pizzerias in northern New Jersey – and I’m willing to fight you on that one. It was called Danny’s Pizzeria and I miss that slice.

Homemade Fried Dough

I dream of that dough, just like I dream about the annual Feast of San Gennaro in Manhattan’s Little Italy. My parents used to take me to the feast for the fried dough and I still make regular pilgrimages. In fact, I moved to Mott Street shortly after college, probably due to my association with the feast and the good memories. Little Italy has shrunk in size over the years, but the fried dough still delivers – crispy, greasy, airy and sweet.

Homemade Fried Dough

When I was scheming up my favorite sort of recipe for fried dough, I knew I wanted it to be a bit more substantial, not something that evaporated once it hit my belly, but something that could take me through to lunch or even an early dinner. My favorite version is solid and flat, a canvas for whatever topping tempts me. I prefer piling on some freshly made ricotta cheese and maple syrup or honey. But powdered sugar works just as well. It’s not exactly like the fried dough from my childhood – I don’t believe my parents used Italian sparkling water in the batter – but it’s enough of a throwback to make me smile.

Homemade Fried Dough

Homemade Fried Dough

Homemade Fried Dough

Homemade Fried Dough

Homemade Fried Dough

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Fried Dough at Home

Adapted from the King Arthur Flour recipe


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup sparkling water (Pellegrino or Perrier works well)
  • Vegetable oil


  1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bow.
  2. With hands, work butter into dry ingredients until no large chunks are noticeable. It will look like small breadcrumbs.
  3. Warm the sparkling water in pot over medium heat for 1 minute (or do it for 20-30 seconds in a microwave). Add the warmed sparkling water to the flour mixture and work into a loose dough. Cover with a tea towel and let sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Cut the dough into 8 even pieces. Roll each piece out until very thin.
  5. In a frying pan with tallish sides, add enough oil to go about 1/4 inch up side of pan. Turn on medium heat. When drop of water sizzles in oil, add 1 piece of dough. Cook 1-2 minutes until golden colored. Turn over and cook another minute. Place on paper towel and cook remaining dough one by one.
  6. Serve immediately or keep warm in 150 degree oven. Top with your favorite topping like powdered sugar, maple syrup, jam, and/or ricotta cheese.
Jill is a photographer in Toronto, Canada and photographed this fried dough for Eat Boutique. She also blogs about her homemade urban life, including her beautiful chickens, at Freestyle Farm.

Eat Boutique is an award-winning shop and story-driven recipe site created by Maggie Battista. After hosting pop-up markets for 25,000+ guests, Maggie is now focused on opening her first permanent Eat Boutique​–​a food​-​retail concept space ​with a new way to the very best food. Her second cookbook, A New Way to Food: Recipes That Revamped My Pantry & Made Me Love Me, At Last, will be published by Roost Books/Penguin Random House in 2019. Her first cookbook, Food Gift Love, features more than 100 food gift recipes to make, wrap, and share and is available wherever you find favorite cookbooks.

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  • The Roman Nose

    I sometimes believe that you are my long-lost sister. Great story! Next time we are together we must share a thick-sliced fried bologna sandwich!!! 

    • We are totally simpatico when it comes to food from childhood. I thought fried bologna sandwiches were just something my Mom made! How funny…

  • This brought back such fond childhood memories.  My mom used to make fried dough (which our family bought and did not make ourselves).  We called it pizza frite.  And we always wanted more.

    • Pizza frite = yum. Thanks for posting Emily!

  • I don’t remember any of these shopping trips growing up.  I just read this aloud to mom, and she remembers all of it!  Even your cousin, Michael!

    • I knew she would remember… 

      • I do remember those fried bologna sandwiches.  I loved those in my pre-vegeterian days, and mom remarked that she could not believe she made those for so many years!

  • Thank you for the taste-memory, Maggie. I grew up in New England happily eating fried Doughboys on feast days, which were similar to yours except yeast-raised (more like the pizza dough version), dipped in granulated sugar straight out of the fryer.

    • Thanks, Karen. Ah yes “doughboys” are so good. Cheers for fried flour, water and yeast!

  • Gorgeous photos!!! When I was a kid, I hated fried dough and preferred cotton candy and candy apples. Now? I could eat way too much and be in fried dough heaven 🙂 Yours looks fabulous!


    • Aww, thanks, Sues! Let’s have a fried dough party! 🙂

  • I have never, ever had fried dough, and I’m very sad about that now. I just read Frank Bruni’s Born Round and he writes of something called pizza frite – sounds very similar to this fried dough. I’m intimidated by frying, but this has me really wanting to get over that fear.

    • MJ, I have actually been thinking about buying a deep fryer just to truly do this recipe the right way. Of course, then I’ll have fried dough and pizza frite every week. And that would be a bad thing, right doc? Thanks for your comment, friend.

  • Jenn (Cookies Cupcakes Cardio)

    Wow, I have never had fried dough this way, but since I love everything a) fried and b) doughy, I’m sure that I will LOVE this.  It looks sooooo delicious.  

    • Thanks Jenn… it’s so good and so easy. I hope you let us know how it goes for you!

  • YUM. You make this look so easy- I didn’t think it was possible without a deep fryer (which I REFUSE to buy- I like fried food way too much. I just love the idea of topping it with ricotta. I think I’d try a drizzle of honey on top!