Fritales (Deep Fried Italian Cookies)

These tasty deep-fried dough treats are an Italian specialty and should be enjoyed with a nice cup of coffee or a hearty red wine.

Fritales (Deep Fried Italian Cookies)

Origin: Marconi National Historic Site
Region: Atlantic (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Period: 20th Century - present
Course: Desserts and Baked Goods

Guglielmo Marconi Photo of Guglielmo Marconi
© Parks Canada

Young, elegant and charming, Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian scientist who achieved international notoriety in 1901 when he received a Morse code signal from his transmitter in England on the top of Signal Hill in St. John's, Newfoundland. His work in Newfoundland was followed by a fascinated public, including leading citizens of Cape Breton, who welcomed him to Nova Scotia one year later. On the windy plateau of Table Head near Glace Bay, Marconi transmitted the world’s first wireless message on December 14, 1902. Perhaps he celebrated his achievement with a snack of these delicious deep-fried Italian treats!

Fritales (Deep Fried Italian Cookies)


  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml vanilla extract
  • rind and juice of 2 small oranges
  • 3 cups | 750 ml sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp | 5 ml salt
  • 2 tbsp | 30 ml milk
  • 3 tbsp | 15 ml baking powder
  • ½ cup | 125 ml chopped raisins or apples
  • ½ cup | 125 ml cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 tsp | 5 ml cinnamon
  • oil for deep frying


  • In a medium bowl, beat the eggs until light. Add the vanilla, milk, juice and rind.
  • Mix the flour, salt and baking powder, and add to the egg mixture. Fold in the raisins or apples. Mix well.
  • Drop by small spoonfuls into deep hot fat 375°F (190°C) and fry until crisp. Remove onto paper towels while still warm. Roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Fritales should be eaten the day they are made as they become stale quickly.


Recipe tested by Chef Sean Edwards, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism

This recipe comes from the book Nancy’s Wedding Feast and Other Tasty Tales by James O. St. Clair and Yvonne C. LeVert, illustrated by Peter Rankin, © Cape Breton University Press, 2007.