The Single Most Overpriced Item On Olive Garden's Menu

We all know Olive Garden has some really great deals on its menu, like the unlimited breadsticks promotion Thrillist claims they have been honoring since the restaurant's inception. However, if you look a little deeper at the ingredients list, some of the menu items are a much better value than others. We looked through the menu and compared it to the cost of ingredients to figure out which Olive Garden menu item is the most overpriced.

Zeppole are essentially Italy's version of beignets, which are similar to a doughnut or churro. Interestingly, Olive Garden spells the dish "Zeppoli" on their menu. Based on photographs from the Olive Garden take out menu, Yelp reviews and a Serious Eats article ranking all of the Olive Garden's desserts, it appears that one order of Zeppoli from the Olive Garden contains eight doughnuts. According to a recipe on Bon Appétit, zeppole are made by deep frying a basic dough, rolling it in powdered sugar, and serving alongside a chocolate sauce made primarily from melted chocolate and cream. 

We scaled down this recipe from 50 zeppole to eight to figure out how much it would cost to make an order of Zeppoli at home.

How much it would cost to make eight zeppole at home?

Going ingredient by ingredient and using sources like the United States Department of Agriculture, Walmart, Amazon, Statista, and Bee Culture Magazine, we found the cost for you to purchase all of the ingredients to make an order of eight zeppole at home would come to $1.29. 

That's a stark difference from Olive Garden's prices — according to Fast Food Menu Prices, Olive Garden charges $6.49 per order of Zeppoli, which is a whopping $5.20 more than the average cost of ingredients. In fact, the total cost of ingredients to make the full fifty doughnuts the recipe we based our calculations on only comes to $8.08. For an extra $1.59 you could make 42 more doughnuts. 

While we recognize that waiting for the dough to rise and deep frying can be time consuming and messy, zeppole are a pretty basic Italian dessert that don't really require any special equipment to make other than a deep fry thermometer.