Chiacchiere di Carnevale (Italian fried pastries)

Those Chiacchiere di Carnevale are amazingly crispy and sweet with a subtle vanilla flavor. This Italian fried pastries recipe is so easy to make with staple ingredients and is the perfect comforting and delicious treat for Carnival season!

Chiacchiere di Carnevale pastries piled on a wooden cutting board.

About

Chiacchiare is an Italian sweet treat made of thin rectangles of dough deep-fried in olive oil or pork lard. They are slightly sweet and aromatic with an incredible crumbly texture.

Those sweet treats, along with castagnole, are particularly made to celebrate the Italian Carnival (carnevale). Starting to show at the end of January and through the Carnival season until Lent begins.

All around the country you’ll find every bakery, coffee shop, or supermarket that sells them in small packages to bring home, along with other Carnival treats.

The origin of Chiacchiere dates back to the time of Saturnalia (the pagan festival predecessor of Carnival) when the Romans used to prepare a simple dough with flour and water and cut it into thin rectangles that they used to fry in pork lard.

Close-up of Chiacchiere di Carnevale pastries.

Chiacchiere are also known by other names. In Rome, they’re called Frappe, and in other regions you can find them as Bugie, Cioffe, Sfrappole, Stracci, crostoli, or Crogetti, just to name a few.

Chiacchiere in Italian means chit-chat or small talk and is pronounced key-a-key-eh-ray.

Many people in Italy still love to make them at home too because they’re pretty easy to prepare with just a few simple ingredients.

Since you can throw together these Italian fried pastries on a whim, make sure you double the recipe if you want to gift them to friends and family.

Here are the ingredients needed and some notes to take in mind. The full ingredients list and quick recipe can be found below in the printable recipe card.

Ingredients

  • Flour: Use all-purpose flour or your favorite mix of gluten-free flour.
  • Lard: Use pork lard or substitute it with softened butter.
  • Sugar: Frappe has a slightly sweet flavor, so you’ll need just a couple of tablespoons of granulated sugar.
  • Eggs: Use two medium eggs, mine weighed about 55g each.
  • Grappa: This is an Italian liquor that adds a subtle flavor, since it’s an optional ingredient, feel free to leave it out or substitute it with other aromatic liquor like Marsala.
  • Vanilla: Make sure you use vanilla extract since vanilla essence is just artificial flavoring.
  • Baking powder: To add fluffiness to the dough.
  • Oil: To fry the dough strips, you can use olive oil, sunflower oil, or your favorite type of oil.
  • Confectioner’s sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this is an ingredient for dusting the crispy treats.
Ingredients for chiacchiere in a countertop with names overlay.

How To Make Chiacchiere Di Carnevale

Place the flour on a working surface, add baking powder, sugar, and then salt. Mix briefly to combine.

Make a well in the flour and crack the eggs, add vanilla extract and grappa. With a fork combine the ingredients in the middle.

The flour with a wall in the middle with combined ingredients.

Add the pork lard and using a spatula start mixing the ingredients just until slightly combined.

Now, with your hands, knead for about 15 minutes or until you achieve a smooth and elastic dough.

Make a ball, wrap with cling film and leave it to rest for about 1 hour to allow the gluten to develop.

Lightly flour a working surface and roll the dough with a rolling pin to achieve a very thin sheet (about 3 mm/ 0,40″), just as you’d do for lasagna sheets. You can also use a pasta roller machine.

Rolling the dough.

TOP TIP: The thinner the dough, the crispier those treats will be!

With a fluted ravioli wheel, cut the dough into a large rectangle about 18×7 inches (45x18cm). Then, cut the rectangle longwise in two parts, obtaining two strips of dough.

Cutting the dough.

Cut each strip into small rectangles. I made 16 pieces in total but you can cut them smaller or larger if you want.

Cutting the dough into chiacchiere.

Make two small cuts longwise in the middle of each piece, which is the typical shape for Roman Frappe.

Cutting the middle on each piece of dough.

Heat a good glug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the chiacchiere until crispy and golden on both sides.

Frying the chiacchiere pastries.

Place the fried dough strips on a lined paper plate to drain the excess oil.

Once you’re done, dust chiacchiere with confectioner’s sugar on both sides and serve warm.

Dusting with confectioner's sugar the chiacchiere in a plate.

Recipe Notes

  • Roman frappe are typically fried with olive oil or pork lard when making them at home. However, many pastry shops now prefer to fry those with other types of oil, such as peanut, sunflower seed, corn, etc.
  • Always work in batches, frying a few pieces at a time, because too many together can lower the temperature of the oil and won’t come as golden and crispy as they’re supposed to be.
  • You can also use a stand mixer to make the dough, making this recipe a lot easier and quicker to make.
  • Those crispy Italian pastries are served mostly as snacks, but you can also serve them as a dessert drizzled with chocolate sauce or Nutella.
  • Don’t throw the dough scraps, fry them as well and use them for topping gelato!
Italian fried pastries Chiacchiere, piled in a cutting board and dusted with powdered sugar.

How To Store

Chiacchiere can last up to 4 days on the kitchen counter, just make sure to store them in an airtight container or a resealable bag.

Once fried, these Italian pastries can’t be frozen, but you can freeze the dough for up to 2 months. When ready to make, thaw the dough overnight in your fridge and make the sweet treats the next day!

Other Italian Sweet Recipes

  • Castagnole. Another classic for carnival, these soft and slightly crispy on-the-outside dough balls are delicious.
  • Ciambellone. This Italian breakfast cake is super fluffy and perfect to enjoy with a cup of cappuccino in the morning!
  • Amaretti. Those soft amaretti cookies are amazingly aromatic and they happen to be naturally gluten-free!

Watch The Video

Chiacchiere Recipe.

Chiacchiere (Italian fried pastries)

16 pastries
Chiacchiere are delicious Italian fried pastries made with sweet and aromatic dough cut into thin ribbons and fried until crispy. A popular and traditional recipe for carnival season!
prep 30 minutes
cook 10 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
total 1 hour 40 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 stand mixer optional
  • 1 rolling pin or pasta roller machine

Ingredients 

  • 2 cup All-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp Lard (room temperature)
  • 2 ½ Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Grappa (see notes)
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • Oil for frying (as needed)
  • Confectioner's sugar (for dusting)
  • 1 Pinch of salt

Instructions
 

Make the dough

  • Place the flour on a working surface and add the baking powder, sugar, and salt. Make a well and crack the eggs.
  • Add vanilla extract and then pour the grappa. With a fork, combine the ingredients in the middle.
  • Add the pork lard and using a spatula start mixing the ingredients just until combined.
  • Knead for about 15 minutes or until you achieve a smooth and elastic dough. NOTEYou can also make the dough in a stand mixer.*
  • Make a ball, wrap with cling film and leave it to rest for 1 hour.

Roll & Cut

  • Lightly flour a working surface and roll the dough into a thin sheet (about 3 mm/ 0,40″).
  • Cut the dough with a fluted ravioli wheel into a large rectangle about 18×7″ (45x18cm).
  • Cut that rectangle longwise in two parts, obtaining two strips of dough.
  • Cut each strip into 8 rectangles, making 16 pastries in total from the dough. Make two small cuts longwise in the middle of each piece.

Fry

  • Heat a good amount of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the chiacchiere 3-4 at a time until crispy and golden.
  • Place them on a lined paper plate to drain the excess oil.
  • Transfer to a serving place, dust with confectioner's sugar, and serve.

Notes

  • The thinner the dough, the crispier the pastries will be. So, if you have it, use a pasta roller machine for this step.
  • Roman frappe are typically fried with olive oil or pork lard when making them at home. However, many pastry shops now prefer to fry those with other types of oil, such as peanut, sunflower seed, corn, etc.
  • Always work in batches, frying a few pieces at a time, because too many together can lower the oil temperature.
  • Omit grappa if you don’t like alcohol or don’t have it at home. Or you can also replace it with orange liqueur. 
  • Don’t throw the scraps after cutting the pastries, fry them as well and eat them or use them to top ice cream!
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 pastry | Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 21mg | Potassium: 25mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
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This recipe was originally published on this blog on January 29, 2021. It has been updated and republished on January 1, 2023.

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Recipe Rating




One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I didn’t know it was this easy to make Chiacchiere! I always get them whenever I go to Carnivals! I can’t wait to try it, hopefully I do it right on my first try!