Castagnole: Italian little sweet fried balls for Carnevale

Castagnole: Italian little sweet fried balls for Carnevale

By 06/02/2018

If you are on a diet look away right now.

It is carnevale in Italy and if you happen to pass a bakery in Italy you will certainly spot those irresistible carnival cakes. There are several types but what they all have in common is that they are deep fried.. and they are soo delicious!

My mum and my nonna used to make them every year for carnival and that day was one of the best of the year.. they made so many of them too. Afterwards they would invite friends and relatives around who would enjoy them with a glass of sweet white wine whereas I would of course have them with a juice... usually peach juice.

Today I made castagnole which are different to frittelle, or fritters. Castagnole are more compact and perhaps a little drier but equally nice. You can dip them in chocolate or drizzle them with honey if you like but I personally prefer them just as they are, with a little sprinkle of vanilla sugar.

I have used some rice flour too to make them softer. The kids absolutely loved them and they had a friend around who could not stop eating them. I love it when people appreciate my food.. it makes my day!

If you like to treat yourself have a look at myย  carnival fritters with apples and my fried carnival masks too.

  • Prep Time : 15 minutes
  • Cook Time : 10 minutes
  • Yield : 50



In a bowl work the butter with the sugar until soft. Add the eggs, the lemon and orange zest and the vanilla essence. Mix well then add both flours with the baking powder. Stir in all the ingredients well until you get a consistency easy to shape with your hands. Add extra flour if it is too wet or just a little bit of milk if it is too dry.

Shape the dough into small balls the size of a walnut.

Heat plenty of frying oil in a pan and when it is very hot (you can check by dipping a little bit of pastry and if it sizzles then the oil is ready), dip the balls in, a few at a time and fry them until golden.

Making Italian fritters castagnole

Fish them up with a slotted spoon, place them on a kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil and sprinkle them with vanilla powdered sugar.

Now tell me if you can manage to have just a couple of them.. I couldn't.

Italian carnival fried sweet balls castagnole

Italian carnival fried balls castagnole


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9 Responses to Castagnole: Italian little sweet fried balls for Carnevale

  1. Mary

    Oh wow, now we would love these, my Mother never made these and neither did my hubby’s Mom who was first generation Italian , My mom was second but a little more American with her cooking, she did it all, even some Greek thrown in
    since or step dad was Greek . This does sound fantastic and I am going to give them a try even though my husband will eat most of them in one sitting ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you for sharing XXXXXX

    • Alida

      You will love them Mary. Castagnole and frittelle are a must try and yes.. they won’t last very long.

  2. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    It’s carnival season here in Kรถln too :-)) These fried balls look so tempting!

    • Alida

      I miss the carnival atmosphere (we don’t have it in the UK). I am hoping to go to Venice for carnival sooner or later!

  3. Ciao Chow Linda

    Oh my, but these look positively addictive. I don’t think I could contain myself from eating just a couple. It’s time to start frying!

    • Alida

      Neither could I contain myself.. one of the hardest things ever!

  4. speedy70

    Sei stata bravissima Alida, sono perfette!

    • Alida

      Non si puo’ non farle per carnevale!

  5. Vorrei

    Such a pretty dessert and so easy to make too! I do believe I could enjoy them all in one sitting. The rubarb-strawberry jam compliments the castagnole perfectly.

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