Dough boys by Olives-n-Okra

If you make doughboys, there is a good chance you’re of Italian-American heritage or you’re from Rhode Island. Doughboys are shaped pieces of pizza dough (the best part of the pizza) deep-fried in oil until golden brown, and sprinkled with confectioners sugar while still warm. Doughboys can be found all over Rhode Island and as fried dough at carnivals or Italian concessions in other areas of the country.

My family has made doughboys for generations. When my dad was young, my grandma sometimes made for breakfast pizza fritta, or fried pizza dough, which were rolled in sugar and then dunked in coffee. It’s difficult to eat just one doughboy; the taste of melting confectioners sugar against the warm chewy dough is addictive. I usually make doughboys as a weekend breakfast treat, when the family gets together, and everyone eats their share.

Doughboys Recipe
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 10 large or 20 small dough boys
We sprinkle our doughboys with confectioners sugar, but I've also eaten doughboys coated in cinnamon and sugar, honey, and chocolate. For a savory treat, dip the warm doughboys in a Marinara or a garlic butter sauce.
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ cups of cold water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • confectioners sugar
  • vegetable oil, as needed
  1. Combine flour, yeast, and salt together in a large bowl. Add water and mix until dough forms a sticky ball. If the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add additional flour until it pulls away from the sides and forms a smooth ball. If too much flour remains in the bowl, add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough forms a smooth ball.
  2. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding flour as needed, until the dough is firm and no longer sticky. Shape the dough into a ball.
  3. Coat the sides and bottom of a large glass or ceramic bowl (not plastic). Place dough in bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Seal the bowl tightly with plastic wrap; cover with one or more dish towels. Place covered bowl in an area free of drafts.
  4. Let the dough rise for about 1½ - 2 hours. Uncover the bowl and punch the dough with your fist. Re-attach the plastic wrap and cover with dish towels. Let dough rise for about 45 minutes more.
  5. Uncover the dough. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a log, about 2 inches in diameter.
  6. Slice the dough into 1-inch thick pieces. Flatten each piece with your hand into desired shape.
  7. Let shaped doughboys rest on lightly floured surface for about 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  8. Cover the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with about 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat. Test oil first before dropping in doughboys. Pinch off a small piece of dough and place in skillet. Oil is hot if dough puffs and oil sizzles. Place about 3 doughboys at a time in the oil. Fry each side until golden brown.
  9. Remove doughboys from pan; let rest on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  10. Dust the warm doughboys with confectioner's sugar.



  1. Joyce Baranski says

    My Mom used to make doughboys for us on Sunday mornings for breakfast as a treat. I still make them for myself probably 3 times a year. They are so bloody delicious. We always put butter on the piping hot dough and sprinkled them with sugar. Oh, they are little fried puffs of heaven.

  2. Margaret says

    I had this recipe written down and had lost it. Had to look all over online again to find it, but i WONT use any other recipe. This one is so great. Yes, it’s a lot of time, but so worth it. The other recipe’s they have for doughboys, are no match to this one. This is the old fashioned way of doing it and i LOVE it!

  3. Andrea says

    I saw the beginning of your blog when I Googled “doughboy recipe” and had to open it because of the Italian-American heritage and from Rhode Island comment. I happen to be both of Italian-American heritage AND from RI!! It definitely made me laugh. We will be trying these doughboys today! Thank you! :)

  4. says

    Thanks for instruction #6, I never thought of doing it that way. Sure looks easier than wrestling with the whole mound everytime.

    I have great memories of growing up in RI and my grandmother making Doughboys every Sunday. We would try all kinds of shapes to make the perfect puff and then slit them and fill with butter and sugar. The only sugar on the outside came from our sticky fingers!

    Now I make them on Christmas morning for my family as a special holiday treat and to remember the wonderful woman who’s been gone but not forgotten for almost 30 years.


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