Graffe napoletane
Graffe napoletane are the traditional fried doughnuts typical of Neapolitan Carnival, with potatoes to enrich the dough: easy to make at home and delicious.

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Graffe napoletane

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Adjust Servings:
For the dough
2 Egg
120 g Sugar
150 g Potato
200 ml Whole milk
50 g Vegetable oil
1 Lemon
1 Orange
1 sachet Vanilla flavor
7 g Brewer's yeast dehydrated
275 g Flour '00' type
275 g Manitoba flour
For frying and decorating
to taste Vegetable oil
to taste Granulated sugar

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  • For the dough

  • For frying and decorating



Let’s see together how to prepare the delicious Graffe napoletane, the traditional sugar-coated fried doughnuts typical of Carnival but that in Naples can be found in pastry shops more or less all year round.

This one we will make together, a super-tested recipe with which we will have very soft, tasty, fluffy and light graffe! They are really good and stay fluffy even the next day. In short… irresistible!

How to prepare Graffe napoletane

The preparation of Graffe napoletane takes some time but is not complicated at all: we will make a nice rich dough, with boiled potatoes as the original recipe calls for. My advice is to take two potatoes about the size of an egg (about 150 grams in all), which we will boil well and then mash to add to the other ingredients in the dough.

The dough is made with eggs, sugar, milk, seed oil, flour and dehydrated brewer’s yeast. For flavoring, I used both vanillin and orange and lemon zest. Regarding the flour, I used half 00 and half manitoba, which is rich in gluten and is ideal for long rising doughs.

Speaking of leavening, a little tip: If we prepare the Graffe for Carnival, and then in winter, we use the oven as a “leavening chamber.” We turn it on for a couple of minutes, then turn it off and leave the little light on. This will create a temperature around 40°C (104°F), which is optimal for rising.

Once the dough has risen, we will just have to roll it out lightly with a rolling pin, leaving it about 1.5 centimeters thick, and then with a pastry cutter cut out and the tip of a pastry bag cut out our graffe.

How to fry them

A very useful trick for frying our treats smoothly is to prepare squares of baking paper for each graffe: we will place them under the graffe before letting them do their second rising, and then use them to slide the graffe into the hot oil without risking crushing them with finger pressure. When the graffe start to fry, the baking paper will come off by itself and we can remove it.

Graffe napoletane: tips

– I make Graffe napoletane in the shape of a doughnut, but if we want we can also give these delicious treats other shapes. In this case we could use the dough left over after making the disks to create other types of graffe: for example, we can make a cylinder and then close it as if to form a bow. Or they can be made twisted: we make a strand and then braid it. In short, we choose the shape that we prefer and that is easiest for us.

– Do we want lactose-free graffe? Since the recipe is already butter-free, we will just replace the cow’s milk with vegetable milk.

– I flavored the dough with orange and lemon zest and vanillin, but a small vial of rum flavoring will also fit in nicely!

– These fantastic traditional Carnival sweets keep well the next day, even without covering them, and are of course perfect for the Carnival season but also for a thousand other occasions, such as a sweet buffet for a birthday party, or simply as a treat for a mouth-watering snack.

What do you say, shall we make Graffe napoletane together? Come on, let’s get started and then let me know in the comments how they turned out for you!

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To prepare our Graffe Napoletane, we first boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes.

Tip: To check if the potatoes are cooked, pierce them with a fork: if they are cooked, they will pierce easily and we can drain them.


Once the potatoes are ready, let them cool slightly and then peel them.


We prepare the two flours, dehydrated brewer's yeast and two teaspoons of sugar (about 10 grams) in a bowl to activate it, and give it a good stir.


We take another bowl and break the eggs into it, add 120 grams of sugar, the grated zest of one orange and one lemon, and finally add the sachet of vanilla flavor.


We mash the potatoes with a potato masher and add them while still warm, so they will help the rising process. Let's mix them well with a fork.


We also add the warm milk, sunflower oil and then the flour a little at a time, continuing to mix.
Tip: I knead by hand, but if you have a planetary mixer it will work just fine: you will save time and effort.


When the dough is firm enough, let's transfer it to the floured work surface and continue kneading. We continue kneading, adding just a pinch of flour now and then if necessary.
Tip: We do not overdo the flour because the dough should remain very soft and even a little sticky.


Once ready, we put the dough to rise in a bowl, making a cross cut and covering with plastic wrap. It should rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (it will take about two hours).


After the time has elapsed, place the dough on the surface and rework it slightly.


Let's add a pinch of flour and roll it out with a rolling pin but leaving it quite high, with a thickness of about 1-1.5 centimeters. In the meantime, let's prepare squares of baking paper to lay the staples on: they will be very useful for frying.


We take a pastry cup with a diameter of 8-9 centimeters and a tip of a pastry bag. With the pastry cutter we make many disks, and with the base of the tip we make the center hole: in this way we shape the staples.

Tip: If you do not have a pastry cup, you can use a small bowl or glass.


Let's arrange the Graffe Napoletane in a baking dish, each with the square of baking paper underneath. Cover them with foil and let them rise for another 20 minutes in the warm. While the staples are rising, if we want with the leftover dough we can make a few more Graffe shapes.


We are ready to fry the staples: let's prepare a pan with some seed oil and heat it well. The ideal temperature for frying is around 170°C (338°F). Let's take the staples from the square of parchment paper and slide them into the oil with the parchment paper as well. Let's fry three or four at a time.
Tip: If we don't have a cooking thermometer, let's use a toothpick: when dipping it creates bubbles around it, the oil is ready.


After a few seconds, when the graffe begin to fry, the paper will come off easily, and with tongs we can remove it.


When the graffe Napoletane begin to brown slightly, we turn them over, always helping with the tongs.


Once they are nice and golden on both sides, we can drain them and place them on paper towels.


While the other graffe fry, we immediately dip the ready ones in granulated sugar, coating them on all sides.


So we proceed with all of them and here they are, our delicious and fluffy Graffe Napoletane!



Q: Can graffe be prepared without potatoes?
A: Yes, we can make these delicious Carnival doughnuts even without potatoes.

Q: Can graffe Napoletane also be baked in the oven?
A: Of course they can: I recommend baking them in a preheated ventilated oven at 170°C (338°F) for about 15-20 minutes. We will have a different but still delicious result!


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