Make ‘Elephant Ears’ With Store-Bought Pizza Dough

Make ‘Elephant Ears’ With Store-Bought Pizza Dough

Fried dough is a broad category. Doughnuts, elephant ears, funnel cake, and beignets all fall into this particular basket, and while no two taste exactly the same, they always taste good. The easiest iteration of this carnival-esque treat? Little balls of store-bought pizza dough, fried to golden perfection.

Fried pizza dough doesn’t have the texture of a doughnut. It’s chewy, thanks to gluten formation that comes from lots of kneading, and it can be taken in a sweet or savoury direction. When dusted with powdered sugar, it’s almost like a lazy zeppole; when doused in marinara and finished with shaker parm, it’s reminiscent of the “fried dough” my Italian-American boyfriend always mentions when talking about the “Feast,” which also involves a statue of a saint being marched around town. (Dollar bills also factor in.)

Anyway. Frying pizza dough is fun and easy. All you have to do is rip it into 1-inch portions, then fry until golden brown for chewy, doughy delights. How you finish them is up to you, but I’m a big fan of powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or any other kind of sugar, really.

Easy Fried Dough


  • A bag of store-bought pizza dough
  • Vegetable oil (at least two inches-worth in your favourite frying pot)
  • Powdered sugar for finishing

Add a couple of inches of vegetable oil (or other neutral, high-temp oil) to a deep frying pan, pot, or Dutch oven and heat until it registers somewhere between 160°C and 180°C on a candy thermometer or digital instant-read thermometer. Try not to let the temperature get much higher than 180°C, as it will cause the outside of your dough to darken before the inside is cooked through.

Rip your pizza dough into 1-inch pieces, then fry for 3-5 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown, flipping once to get even colour on both sides. Fish ‘em out with a spider or slotted spoon, let the excess oil drip away on a wire rack for a few minutes, then dust with copious amounts of powdered sugar. Enjoy while hot.

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