Festive Food from Dalmatia: FRITULE

At Christmas time, upon entering my Dalmatian home, you will be greeted by a bowl of fragrant and sweet fritule. Shrug off the cold, and close the door behind you. Come in. We will exchange Christmas greetings, and have a chat over fritule, and perhaps a little brandy to warm you up. The next guest will be also greeted by fritule, and by our laughter.


For this year’s Festive Food Fair hosted by Anna of Morsels and Musings, I present you –  fritule, a traditional Dalmatian sweet that can be found on every Dalmatian table at Christmas! Fritule (pronounced ‘freetooleh‘) are aromatic bite-sized dough balls, flavoured with lemon zest, orange zest, grape brandy (loza in Croatian) and/or dark rum, and sprinkled with icing sugar. Everyone has a winning recipe of their own, and this one is my mum’s tried and tested version! We made these together this summer. These days, whenever I go home, I use this as an opportunity to learn a new Croatian dish or sweet from my mum, and rediscover the good old familiar dishes. :)




SOURCE: My mum’s recipe

PREPARATION TIME: 5 – 10 min + the time the dough will take to rise

COOKING TIME: 20 – 30 min

CUISINE: Croatian – Dalmatian

SERVES: Loads!


50 g of raisins, rinsed and soaked in warm water (this softens them)

1 kg of all purpose flour

3 eggs

3 tbsp sugar

2 sachets of vanilla sugar (or two tsp of vanilla essence)

1 1/2 cube of fresh yeast (40 g), or 3 sachets of dried yeast

1 dl vegetable oil for the dough + more for frying

zest of 1 – 2 lemons

zest of 1 – 2 oranges

2 tbsp dark rum (or loza, grape brandy, or why not both!)

warm water as necessary


1. Put the eggs, sugar, vanilla and vegetable oil in a bowl, and beat together with a wooden spoon for a little. Add lemon and orange zest, and raisins.


2.  If you are using dried yeast, mix in the yeast in one part of the flour. Then, add this to the eggs.  OR If you are using fresh yeast, melt the yeast in 2 dl warm water. Then add the yeast to the egg mixture, and then the flour.

3. Mix with the wooden spoon. Continue mixing until the dough stops sticking to the wooden spoon.

IMG_7500  4. Leave the dough to stand, until it almost doubles in size. The mixture is going to be warm, but it mustn’t be too warm otherwise it will ruin the yeast (says mum). If your pot/bowl is cold, put it in another bowl/pot filled with warm water. IMG_7560

5.  Pour some oil in a pan – you need to have enough so that the fritule don’t touch the bottom of the pan when you add them to the oil. Heat the oil until fairly hot.

6. Dip a spoon in the oil. This will stop the dough from sticking to it. Then, take a bit of dough in your hand, squeeze it in your fist, and scoop off what comes out between the thumb and the index by using the spoon. IMG_7586

7. Put the dough ball into very hot oil. And repeat the process: dip the spoon into hot oil, then scoop the dough, then put the dough ball into hot oil. Fry until golden brown. IMG_7574 

8. Turn the dough balls over. Start taking them out when they get this (see below) nice light brown colour. IMG_7564 9. Take them out in batches and put on some tissue paper which will soak up some of the oil.


10. Put the fritule in a pan and cover with a lid to keep them a little warm.


11. Repeat the process until you use up all the dough. Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. Fritule don’t need to live in the fridge, and can last for a few days.



Surfing the net for some background info on fritule, I came across this interesting idea: add prunes instead of raisins, and slivovitza, plum brandy instead of loza/rum! Which gave me another idea: use apricots and loza, or any apricot brandy! :) Not traditional, but I’m sure it would be tasty! As you can see,the basic dough lends itself to creativity well. Excellent!




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47 thoughts on “Festive Food from Dalmatia: FRITULE

  1. Hi Maninas & Maninas’ Mom:
    Thanks for this terrific recipe and for the step-by-step instructions. My mom and I like to try new recipes together and I know that she will like this one very much because it comes from another mom :-)


  2. LINDA, I’m tempted to make some again… :)

    SUGANYA, well spotted! Yes, they are very similar to doughnuts, apart from the flavouring. Also, they taste a lot eggier than doughnuts.

    SUNITA, glad you like it!
    I was just thinking, the basic dough lends itself to lots of variation, and I think the flavour would go well with a bit of cardamom! mmm I may try that next time!

    LAKSHMI, please do! :)

    NORA & NORA’s MUM, Excellent! Let me know about it if you make it! :)

  3. Fritule vam izgledaju bajno! Sigurna sam da su i po okusu isto tako dobre, a sa tim sastojcima ne mozes puno falit ;)
    Moram priznat da se veselim badnjaku radi fritula i bakalara! :)) I probat cu tvoj recept fritula!

  4. In Southern Brazil we have a similar recipe and tradition: it’s called “rainny muffins”. The name says it all: it’s done on rainny days, not necessarily cold days (we have so few of these). But your mum’s recipe is much better! I like specially your suggestion of “2 tbsp dark rum (or loza, grape brandy, or why not both!)”. Really inspiring. Thanks a lot :)

  5. Maninas, this has got NOTHING to do with the fritules but I tried your stuffed peppers in tomato sauce recipe. It was SO GOOD, that husband refused to eat anything else including the coq au vin I cooked for 3 hours with old hen!! Thank you so very much and please keep the gorgeous recipes coming. I will now leave a comment at the recipe to convince every other blogger to try it!!

  6. MAGIC COCHIN, thank you for tagging me, and sorry about the late reply. I will do something about this soon.

    TEA, super! Javi sto mislis. I mene zanima tvoj obiteljski recept za fritule! :)

    ORCHIDEA, we made doughnuts at Carnival time, and fritule too in some places. They are similar. What is your recipe? :)

    COFFEE & VANILLA, I look forward to your entry! :)

    HELO, I like the idea of rainy day muffins! Nothing will warm you up as some nice baked goods! And a spot of your favourite booze of course! ;)

    NORA, no problem! Enjoy!

    MALLIKA, wow, that is a great review! So glad you enjoyed them!

    LAURIE, I agree! :)

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  9. I am so happy I found the recipe on your website for fritule. I was born in Split, my mom in Korcula. She made fritule every Christmas eve. Mom passed away three years ago, and I never wrote the recipe down for fritule or her pasta fagioli with pork. Would you by any chance know how to make the Dalmatica verison of pasta fagioli. Hvala lijepa.

  10. Hi Meri and welcome to my blog! I do have a recipe for pasta fazol. I’m off tomorrow, but will try and post if after the new year.

    Enjoy the fritule! Let me know how they turn out.

    ps. my mum says good yeast is very important for the fritule to turn out well.

  11. They really are! My mum made them recently when she came to visit – they were delicious. We shared it with our next door neighbours, and the rest disappeared in seconds. I wish I had some right now. sigh….

  12. Thanks so much for this recipe. My father was from Croatia (Dugi Otok) and made these every Christmas Eve. I have lost his recipe, which was something like “2 fits of flour”, etc. I will share these with my sister and my grandchildren in honor of my father, Marion Starcic.

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  17. Both parents were born in Dalmacija. My Mom, made fritule Christmas and Easter. They were out of this world. I visited Dalmacia.. but the fritule was not as tasty as Mom’s. Although your recipe looks fabulous. My Mom did not measure. She stirred the dough, by hand for a very long time. Said the dough was ready when it fell off the spoon, or it stuck to the spoon. Can’t remember which. Then she let the dough rise twice. The aroma from the dough, made my mouth water. When relatives came for Christmas, first question where is the fritule. Good memories….

  18. Thank you for your wonderful post! My father was born on the Dalmatian coast and needed a little recipe reminder. Thanks to you, we were able to continue our delicious Christmas tradition!

  19. Thanks so much for the recipe. My dad is from Zadar and he made my mother’s family’s recipe and they are from Dalmatia. They are so yummy. My dad did soak the raisins in rum, for a few days, instead of water. I have lots of wonderful childhood memories of sneaking around and eating them. A wonderful part of Christmas.

  20. I am having trouble with this recipe as it calls for 1 kilo of flour?! I’ve used HALF that with the other measurements but all I have is barely a dough – more like a floury mess. I’m confused as how this is supposed to turn into a dough/batter. I’ve made a few types of donuts before, so it’s not because I’m a novice. What have I done wrong?
    Also, your instructions don’t indicate when to add the alcohol.

  21. My Aunt continues this tradition. She adds raisins (white and brown), dates, figs, pine nuts, and soaks them in peach brandy for about a week before she adds to the batter. YUM!

  22. Here is a Fritule recipe from a friend (Mary). 1 C milk, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 C sugar, 1/2 grated lemon, 1/2 grated orange,1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tablsp. Whiskey. Beat the ing. Then add 2 grated apples, 1 C raisins, 1/2 C chopped walnuts, 1 1/2 C Self Rising Flour. Fry in deep fat. ( Wesson oil). I. Thought it different because it different because it doesn’t have yeast in it! Judy from Indiana

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