Gnocco fritto (Fried dough)



Gnocco fritto (Fried dough)

Among our traditional street food recipes, gnocco fritto (fried dough) is a very popular classic of Emilian cuisine. It is an ancient recipe whose origins seem to date back to the domination of the Lombards, who used a lot of lard in their dishes, especially for frying. The original recipe for fried dough requires frying in lard, but nowadays oil is the preferred alternative. Fried dough is very easy to prepare, you just need a little patience to knead the ingredients: flour, water, milk, lard and yeast. It can be enjoyed hot, once fried and slightly cooled, accompanied by cold cuts and, perhaps, a good glass of Lambrusco. Despite the fact that there is only one recipe, in Emilia, gnocco fritto has taken on different names according to the various areas: in the province of Bologna gnocco fritto is called "crescentina", in the province of Parma "torta fritta", in the province of Reggio Emilia and Modena "gnocco fritto", while in the province of Piacenza it is known as "chisulèn". Although fried dumplings have taken on different names over time, their deliciousness has remained intact!


Ingredients for 50 pieces
Lard 2 ½ tbsp (35 g)
Type 0 flour 4 cups (500 g)
Sugar 1 tsp (5 g)
Fine salt 2 ½ tsp (15 g)
Water ½ cup (125 g) - about
Whole milk ½ cup (100 g)
Baking powder 1 tbsp (12 g)
for frying
Vegetable oil to taste

How to prepare Gnocco fritto (Fried dough)

To prepare gnocco fritto (fried dough) first mix the water with the milk 1. Pour the flour, baking powder for salted preparations 2, sugar and salt 3 into a bowl.

Mix the dry ingredients, then incorporate the lard 4. Knead with your hands and pour the milk and water mixture in a stream 5. Once the dry ingredients have absorbed the liquids, transfer the dough to a floured pastry board 6.

Form a compact and dry small loaf of dough, place it inside a bowl, cover with plastic wrap 7, let the dough rest in a cool place for at least one hour and up to 12 hours. After this time, take the dough again 8, sprinkle the pastry board lightly and divide it into small loaves with a knife 9.

Take a small loaf (cover the rest with the bowl) and flatten it with a rolling pin until you get a very thin sheet, 1/16-inch thick 10. Cut the edges of the pastry sheet with a wavy pastry cutter 11. Then cut 4x3-inch (8x7 cm) rectangles 12. You should get about 50 pieces. Don't throw the cuttings away, just knead them back together.

Once cut out, cook the rectangles of dough in hot oil at 340°F (170°C) for about 1 minute, not more than 3-4 pieces at a time 13. Once golden on one side, turn it over and cook the other side 4. Drain on absorbent paper 15 and continue with the remaining pieces of dough. Your gnocco fritto (fried dough) is ready, enjoy it hot!


Once ready, the dough can be stored for up to 12 hours, after which you can either fry it or freeze it. You can freeze the uncooked dough, then thaw it in the fridge and leave it at room temperature for a couple of hours before rolling it out and cooking it.



In the traditional recipe, gnocco fritto was fried in lard and not in oil, so use lard if you want to observe tradition! The amount of lard used in this recipe is really very low, so we have chosen to compensate for the lack of fat by using whole milk, if you do not want to use it we suggest you slightly increase the amount of lard. 

For the translation of some texts, artificial intelligence tools may have been used.