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Cooking + Entertaining

Crispelle di riso Catane: the recipe for crispy and fragrant zeppole rice

Crispelle di riso Catane: the recipe for crispy and fragrant zeppole rice


For the Catania rice pancake batter

To fry and garnish

Orange blossom honey or millefiori

Tools you need

THE crispelle rice from Cataniaalso known as crepes, crisp oh rice ballsthey are gods fried candies typical of Tradition of Catania which were originally prepared on March 19on the occasion of Feast of Saint Joseph he was born in Father: today, however, it is possible to enjoy it all year round.

These are shaped treats The sticks, Golden, crisp e very simple to be made with poor and easily available ingredients: they are prepared with a rice-based dough, cooked by absorption in milk, flour, sugar, orange and cinnamon. The sticks are obtained from the dough which is fried and served with a coating of honey and orange juice: the whole thing is completed with a pinch of icing sugar mixed with cinnamon.

We used the baking powder to make the crispelle rice even more fragrant and to speed up the preparation but, if you prefer, you can omit it or use 10 grams of fresh brewer’s yeast.

For rice, on the other hand, we advise you to opt for the types Bold, Native oh Romewhich contain the right amount of starch to allow the rice to remain compact when cooked.

The crispelle recipe, so called for its rustic appearance and rough surface (frizzy), is very old. He seems to have been born in the 16th century, in the Benedictine monastery of Catania, hence the alternative name of “rice pancakes I use the Benedictines“oh”Benedictines”. Over the centuries, it then spread throughout the island, giving rise to various local variants: among the best known, crispelle rice from Messina.

Find out how to prepare Catania crispelle rice and also try all the other dishes dedicated to the feast of San Giuseppe.

Finally, if you like Sicilian desserts, also try the sfinci di San Giuseppe, the cassata and the classic Sicilian cannoli.

How to prepare Catania rice pancakes (rice fritters)

To prepare the crispelle rice, start by cooking the rice in the milk so that it is absorbed in a saucepan with high sides and add the cinnamon 1. Keep the flame low and wait for the liquid to be completely absorbed. The rice must be well cooked: if you realize that there are still a few minutes of cooking and there is little liquid left, add a little boiling water.

Transfer the cooked rice to a bowl and let cool. Once cold, add the flour, sugar and baking powder to the rice 2.

Also add the grated orange zest 3a pinch of salt and mix to form a sticky dough.

Place the dough on a cutting board and, using a cake spatula, form a rectangle about 1 cm high and 5-6 cm long 4.

At this point, you can continue cooking. In a saucepan, heat the oil to around 165°C – if you have it on hand, monitor the temperature of the oil with a cooking thermometer. Using a knife with a wet blade, cut sticks of dough about 2 cm thick by placing them directly in the oil. 5. Alternatively, you can gently form small cylinders with wet hands and, to make them crispier, roll them in flour.

Cook the pancakes for about 10 minutes, until golden brown, turning them from time to time, then drain on paper towels 6.

At this point, prepare the honey and orange syrup. Heat the honey in a saucepan to melt it, transfer it to a bowl and add it to the juice of an orange 7.

Sprinkle the crispelle with icing shortly before serving, to keep them crunchy when bitten. Finally, sprinkle them with a mixture of cinnamon and icing sugar and serve: the Catane rice crispelle are ready to be tasted 8.


Catania crispelle can be tasted not only in Catania, but all over the island, with slight variations.

A Messinafor example, you do the rice sticksvery similar to crispelle, with lo Granulated sugar instead of honey. Similar preparations are also made in other parts of Sicily, but are called rice balls.


In our crispelle recipe we insert the baking powder: Makes pancakes more fragrant, but you can omit it. If you use the fresh brewer’s yeastinstead, dilute it in a little water, add it to the dough and leave to rise for about 2 hours; then, form the sticks with your hands and pass them in the flour before frying them: you will obtain a result with a softer and more spongy interior. Alternatively, you can use 3 grams of dry brewer’s yeast.


We suggest you taste the rice crispelle right away because they could lose their consistency if they rested too much: you can always keep them in the refrigeratorhermetically sealed in an airtight container, to 1-2 days. The honey and orange syrup, on the other hand, preserves in the refrigerator until 1 week.

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