Traditional Italian Rice Fritters/Doughnuts for St. Joseph’s Day (Frittelle di Riso di San Giuseppe)

Tomorrow, March 19th, Italians will celebrate Father’s Day and the Feast of St. Joseph.

Part of that celebration includes the tradition of Frittelle or Zeppole, which are different kinds of doughnuts and pastries, depending on the region of Italy.

I was really interested in the Frittelle di San Giuseppe which are made with rice. I’ve never made them before, but thought the day before St. Joseph’s Day was the perfect time. Essentially, they are like little puffs of deep-fried rice pudding; if you can’t imagine that, here’s a photo:

They are not crisp, but soft and have a delicate texture to them. As with many doughnut type treats, they are finished off with a roll in a bowl of sugar…delicious!

If you’d like to make these for tomorrow, make sure to start them tonight, as the rice has to sit overnight (or at least for a few hours or so), rather like arancini.

Happy Father’s Day to all Italian fathers! Buona Festa del PapĂ !

Traditional Italian Rice Fritters/Doughnuts for St. Joseph’s Day

(Frittelle di Riso di San Giuseppe)

adapted from Ricette della Nonna


  • 1/2 cup (100g) Arborio rice
  • 17 oz milk (500 ml)
  • 1/3 cup (60g) sugar
  • grated rind of one lemon
  • grated rind of one orange
  • 1/4 cup (50g) currants
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 2 eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1/2 cup (70g) flour (substitute a gluten free grain if desired)
  • oil for frying (I used organic canola oil)
  • sugar for coating doughnuts

In a small bowl, place the currants and rum together and let soak for a few hours or overnight.

Place the milk, sugar, lemon and orange rinds in a small saucepan over medium heat, then stir until the sugar dissolves.

Add the rice, stir and bring to a boil; lower the heat so it simmers gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until rice is cooked and milk is absorbed.

Cool, then place in fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Beat the egg whites until stiff; set aside.

Remove the rice from the fridge and add the egg yolks, currants and rum, and mix well.

Add the flour, and once combined, gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

The mixture will look like this:

Once evenly mixed, heat the oil until hot and drop teaspoonfuls of dough into the oil.

Fry until golden brown, then drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then lightly coat in sugar.

Serving frittelle right away is the best plan!

LA Living…

13 Responses

  1. wrote on

    As a former doughnut aficionado (eater, not maker), you had me drooling all over myself knowing they were GF until I discovered the eggs in which I am intolerant. Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! So close, yet so far…

    Love that hummingbird! It almost made up for my disappointment. :)

  2. wrote on

    Hi Christina,
    Wow, these look so wonderful. I have never made these before, but have heard of them. You make this look so easy and so marvelous. I just want to taste one right now. The currants are my favorite and the rum adds a little something to these I am sure. Thanks for sharing your recipe. Always enjoy seeing your photos of LA.Living. Have a blessed St. Joseph’s Day…Dottie :)

    • wrote on

      Thank you, Dottie! I’m so glad you enjoy my recipes and photos! You are the sweetest! :) CC

  3. wrote on

    I teared-up when you said “little puffs of deep-fried rice pudding”.

  4. wrote on

    These fritters look great. I find it really interesting that they are with rice and raisins.

    • wrote on

      I too never knew fritters could be made with rice!

  5. wrote on

    Hi! I’ve never had such small yummies! :) Looks delicious!
    Cheers, Mila

    • wrote on

      These are wonderful, I have had them before and they really are delicious. love your recipe.

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