Chiacchiere – Italian Carnival Fritters

Traditional chiacchiere aka Italian Carnival fritters are super crunchy, delicious, and perfect to celebrate Mardi Gras and Carnival season!

Chiacchiere, pronounced as [kjakˈkjɛːre] are thin and crispy Italian fritters typical of the Carnival season.

They also go by different names such as frappe, bugie, crostoli or cenci, but they’re still the same delicious Carnival treat.

These thin and crunchy pastries are sweet and delicate and have a subtle citrusy note.

They’re fried to perfection and then dusted with confectioner’s sugar right before serving.

They’re amazingly easy to make with the most basic ingredients and one of the best Carnival desserts!

In Italy, we make chiacchiere di Carnevale during the whole Carnival season and especially on Mardi Gras (which means Fat Tuesday), also called Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday.

chiacchiere topped with confectioner's sugar.
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INGREDIENT TIPS

This easy chiacchiere recipe calls for basic ingredients you most probably have in your pantry already:

  • Flour: you can use all-purpose flour or the Italian 00 flour.
  • Eggs: opt for medium-sized fresh eggs.
  • Butter: make sure the butter is soft. Leave it at room temperature for 20-30 minutes, before preparing the dough.
  • Sugar: you don’t need much sugar, opt for raw white sugar or regular sugar.
  • Lemon: lemon zest is my secret ingredient, it adds a subtle wonderful aroma, don’t skip it!
  • Alcohol: it’s not necessary but helps the fritters make nice air bubbles. You can add a tablespoon of grappa, vodka or white wine. The alcohol evaporates whilst the frappe cook.
  • Frying oil: sunflower or peanut oil are the best oil for frying as they have a delicate flavour. 
Italian Carnival fritters topped with confectioner's sugar.

Once ready, sprinkle some powdered sugar over the prepared frappe, or drizzle with melted dark chocolate.

EQUIPMENT

This Italian carnival dessert is easy and fun to make, and you don’t need any specific equipment.

You can mix the dough by hand and roll it with the help of a rolling pin.

Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer to bring the dough together, and a pasta machine to roll the dough as thinly as possible.

HOW TO MAKE CHIACCHIERE

This chiacchiere recipe takes about 20 minutes. They’re ready in 4 simple steps and require very little effort.

Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.

collage of recipe steps: 1 chiacchiere dough in a bowl, 2 dough wrapped in plastic firm, 3 dough rolled and cut into rectangular shapes, 4 fried chiacchiere on kitchen paper to absorb oil in excess.

STEP 1. In a large bowl, quickly mix together all the ingredients. Knead with your hands until your dough is soft, smooth, and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl.

STEP 2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

STEP 3. Roll the dough as thinly as possible. Use a pastry wheel or a knife to cut long strips and then small rectangles.

STEP 4. Heat the oil in a small and tall pan and fry a few chiacchiere at a time, for 20-30 seconds on each side. Remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer on a plate covered with kitchen paper.

chiacchiere dusted with powdered sugar.

Let the chiacchiere cool then sprinkle them with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

RECIPE TIPS

  • Let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can leave it in the fridge overnight, and then let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before use.
  • Roll the dough very thinly, just like fresh pasta. If you have a pasta machine is even easier. The thinner the dough the crunchier the chiacchiere are likely to be.
  • Make sure the pan is filled with enough oil. Use a medium-small and tall casserole pan (I use a cast-iron pot from Le Creuset) and fill it halfway with oil or at least with 3-4 inches of oil.
  • Do not overcrowd the pan, fry the chiacchiere in batches so that they have room in the pan.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, to check if the oil is hot enough add one small piece of dough, if it floats and bubbles form straight away, the oil is ready.
  • Turn the frappe after 10-20 seconds so they cook on both sides evenly without browning too much.
CAN I BAKE CHIACCHIERE?

Yes, you can bake chiacchiere in the oven and they are still delicious and healthier!
Place the prepared frappe on a baking tray lined with parchment and bake them in a pre-heated oven to 180 C/360 F for about 10 minutes.

HOW TO STORE THEM?

Store the prepared Italian fritters in an airtight container, they keep well for up to 3 days.

CAN I FREEZE THE CHIACCHIERE DOUGH?

Yes, you can freeze the dough for up to 1 month.
Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, place it in a freezer-friendly bag and store it in the freezer for up to 30 days
Whenever you need it, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the fridge.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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📖 RECIPE

chiacchiere carnival italian fritters dusted with confectioner's sugar.

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Traditional chiacchiere aka Italian Carnival fritters are super crunchy, delicious, and perfect to celebrate Mardi Gras and Carnival season!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time10 mins

Resting time30 mins

Total Time20 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: Italian

Serving: 8

Calories: 166kcal

Ingredients

  • 225 g all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 40 g butter, softened, a little less than ¼ cup
  • 2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • peanut oil or sunflower oil, for frying

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, quickly mix together the flour, eggs, softened butter, sugar and lemon zest. Knead with your hands until your dough is soft, smooth and doesn’t stick anymore to the sides of the bowl. Sprinkle some extra flour if necessary.

  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

  • Sprinkle some extra flour on the kitchen counter then roll the dough as thinly as possible. Fold the sheet on itself and roll it again if you like, it will help create more bubbles around the chiacchiere. If you have a pasta machine, roll the dough through the pasta machine until you have a thin sheet of dough.

  • Use a pastry wheel or a knife to cut the dough into long strips and then into small rectangles. You can also make a fine long cut on each rectangle, this makes it easier to fry them.

  • Fill a medium-small saucepan halfway through with sunflower oil, and place it over medium heat. The oil is ready when it reaches 175°C/347°F when checking with a kitchen thermomether (see notes if you don’t have a thermomether).

  • Add a few chiacchiere into the pan, if the oil is hot enough they will sizzle, float and create little bubbles. Let them fry for 20-30 seconds then turn them and let them cook for a further 20-30 seconds, or until golden on both sides.

  • Remove the chiacchiere with a slotted spoon and transfer them on a plate covered with kitchen paper to absord the oil in excess.

  • Allow the chiacchiere to cool, then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

Notes

INGREDIENT TIPS

  • Make sure the butter is not hard or melted, it must be soft. Leave it on the kitchen counter for 20 minutes before starting the recipe.
  • You can add 1 tablespoon of alcohol (white wine, grappa, or vodka) to help the chiacchiere make nice airy bubbles. In this case, add an extra tablespoon of flour.
  • Substitute lemon zest with orange zest if you like.
  • Cups measurements are subject to many variables, use a scale if possible, or you may need to add a little more flour.

 
COOKING TIPS

  • Let the dough rest in the fridge. You can leave it in the fridge overnight, and then let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes – 1 hour before use.
  • Roll the dough very thinly. The thinner the dough the crunchier the chiacchiere are going to be.
  • Make sure the pan is filled with enough oil. Fill it halfway with oil or at least with 3-4 inches of oil.
  • If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, to check if the oil is hot enough add one small piece of dough, if it floats and bubbles form straight away, the oil is ready.
  • Do not overcrowd the pan, fry a few chiacchiere at a time.

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 52mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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