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Italian Inspired Basil & Ricotta Doughnuts

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

When I was young, my family, like many migrant families back in the day, were seasonal fruit pickers. My brother & I would spend our Summers in rural Australia being farm kids for a couple of months every year.

We had the best childhood!

Mostly I remember the generosity of the farmer's family. We were treated like an extension of their family...the city cousins who would pay them an extended visit every year.

We were alway included in family celebrations and of course got to taste the amazing food that Signora would make.

There are two stand out foods that I will never forget.

1. Ricotta Doughnuts

2. The most amazing Pasta Forno (but that's a food story for another day...)

I think that I remember the ricotta doughnuts because they had the taste of basil and it was my first experience of tasting savoury & sweet...and it's still my favourite taste combination!

I've researched this for years and cannot find a sweet version of Basil & Ricotta Doughnuts, they are alway savoury with a tomato sauce.

Today, I adapted a recipe for Ricotta Balls to make my food memory a reality!

Italian Inspired Basil & Ricotta Doughnuts


1 cup of full fat ricotta

2 large eggs

3 Tbsns milk

20 basil leaves

3/4 cup plain flour

2 tspns baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

sunflower oil for deep frying

1/2 cup caster sugar (for rolling cooked doughnuts)


  • In a large pot pour in enough oil for deep frying (around 5cm deep) and heat to 175℃

  • In a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder & salt

  • In another bowl whisk together the ricotta, eggs & milk until well combined & smooth

  • Stir in the flour and mix well until a smooth batter is formed

  • Slice the basil finely (see "How To Chiffonade Basil" video below)

  • Add to the batter & stir through until well combined

  • Using 2 x teaspoons drop balls of the batter into the hot oil

  • Cook for approximately 2 minutes, or until golden and cooked through

  • Scoop out and drain on paper towel before rolling into caster sugar

  • Serve at any temperature (if they last that long!!)


Note that it's really important to cut up the basil just before you have to add it to the batter, otherwise it will oxidise & darken and lose it's vibrant green colour. This method is best and basil bruises quite easily. Make sure to use a sharp knife too!


Dip the teaspoons into oil before scooping the batter. It makes it easier for the batter to slide off the spoon.

Try stopping at one...


I hope that you try this recipe. The doughnuts are the lightest, crispiest doughnuts that I have ever made and this is such a simple recipe!

Authentic Italian? I'm not sure, but they are very delicious.

Thank you so much.


#FoodPhotography #Cookbook #tradition #recipe #ricotta #basil #italianfood #foodmemory #madefromscratch