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Sufganiyot (Israeli Donuts)

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Sufganiyot (Israeli Donuts)

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A cross between a beignet and a jelly donut, sufganiyot are pillowy donuts that are eaten in Israel and around the world during Hanukah.

Sufganiyot (Israeli Donuts)

A cross between a beignet and a jelly donut, sufganiyot are pillowy donuts eaten in Israel and around the world during Hanukkah, when foods fried in oil symbolize the miracle of oil that burned for eight days instead of one in the Hanukkah story. Sufganiyot are traditionally filled with jelly or jam, but if your crew doesn’t care for jelly in their donuts (my son once described biting into a jelly donut as “a terrible surprise”), the filling options are limitless: custard, Nutella, pudding, pumpkin butter, apple butter, or dulce de leche are all great options. Sufganiyot are also delicious plain.

I know that making donuts at home can seem a little daunting because yeast and hot oil are involved but, I promise, it really is simple — and this recipe is faster and easier than most because the dough is not kneaded and requires only a single rise. If you need a little encouragement to give donut-making a shot, watch this video of celebrated cookbook author and authority on all things Jewish-food-related Joan Nathan making sufganiyot in Jaffa, Israel. It makes me want to hop on a plane!

What you’ll need To Make Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

How to make Sufganiyot

To begin, combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Warm water helps activate the yeast. The temperature doesn’t need to be exact so no need to use a thermometer; just try to get it about the temperature of bath water. (If you place your hand under the stream of water in the faucet, it should feel hot but you should be able to leave your hand there without it stinging.)

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Add the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of oil, and vanilla to the water/yeast mixture and whisk with a fork until combined.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and nutmeg.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Whisk to combine.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Stir with rubber spatula until the dough comes together. It should be a bit sticky.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (no need to clean it first). Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Let the dough rise on the countertop until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels. Line another baking sheet with ­parchment paper and dust heavily with flour. Generously dust a clean countertop and your hands with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the counter and dust the dough with flour.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Pat the dough into 1/4-in-thick rectangle, making sure the bottom doesn’t stick and adding more flour to the counter and your hands as needed. Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

It should be about 10 to 12 inches in size.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Using a pizza wheel or very sharp knife, cut the dough into 24 two-inch squares. Sufganiyot are traditionally round but I much prefer to make them square — you don’t need to worry about having the right-sized cookie cutter or patching together scraps of dough.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Transfer the dough squares to the floured baking sheet, leaving a little space between the squares. Sprinkle the squares lightly with flour.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Add enough of oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy pot to measure about 2 inches deep and heat over medium heat to 350°F. (If you don’t have a candy/deep-fry thermometer, drop a 1-in cube of bread in the oil; if it takes about 1 minute to get golden brown, the oil is at the right temperature.) Place 6 dough pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes, flipping halfway through frying.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Adjust the heat, if necessary, to maintain the oil temperature between 325°F and 350°F.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the donuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining donuts.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Use a paring knife to puncture the side of each to form a pocket in the center.

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Place the tip of a squeeze bottle or piping bag into the pocket and squeeze 1 to 2 teaspoons of jam or jelly inside. (Alternatively, if you don’t have the right tools or just don’t want to bother, serve the filling on the side.)

Sufganiyot Israeli Donuts

Using a fine sieve, dust the donuts generously with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.

Sufganiyot (Israeli Donuts)

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Sufganiyot (Israeli Donuts)

A cross between a beignet and a jelly donut, sufganiyot are pillowy donuts that are eaten in Israel and around the world during Hanukah.

Servings: 24
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes, plus 1 to 2 hours for the dough to rise

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water, heated to about 110°F (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon instant/rapid-rise or active dry yeast (note that this is more than 1 packet)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for coating
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus about 2 quarts more for frying
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • About 1 cup jam or jelly (or custard, Nutella, pudding, pumpkin butter, apple butter, dulce de leche, etc.), optional

Instructions

  1. Combine the water and yeast in a small bowl and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Add the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of oil, and vanilla to the water/yeast mixture and whisk with a fork until combined.
  4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir with rubber spatula until the dough comes together. It should be a bit sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (no need to clean it first) and let the dough rise on the countertop until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  5. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels. Line another baking sheet with ­parchment paper and dust heavily with flour. Generously dust a clean countertop and your hands with flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the counter and dust the dough with flour. Pat the dough into ¼-in-thick rectangle (it should be about 10 x 12-inches in size), making sure the bottom doesn't stick and adding more flour to the counter and your hands as needed. Using a pizza wheel or very sharp knife, cut the dough into 24 two-inch squares and transfer to the floured baking sheet, leaving a little space between the squares. Sprinkle the squares lightly with flour.
  6. Add enough of oil to a large Dutch oven or heavy pot to measure about 2 inches deep and heat over medium heat to 350°F. (If you don't have a candy/deep-fry thermometer, drop a 1-in cube of bread in the oil; if it takes about 1 minute to get golden brown, the oil is at the right temperature.) Place 6 dough pieces in the oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes, flipping halfway through frying. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to maintain the oil temperature between 325°F and 350°F. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the donuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining donuts.
  7. When the donuts are cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to puncture the side of each to form a pocket in the center. Place the tip of a squeeze bottle or piping bag into the pocket and squeeze 1 to 2 teaspoons of jam or jelly inside. (Alternatively, if you don't have the right tools or just don't want to bother, serve the filling on the side.)
  8. Using a fine sieve, dust the donuts generously with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.
  9. Note: Warm water helps activate the yeast. The temperature doesn't need to be exact so no need to use a thermometer; just try to get it about the temperature of bath water. (If you place your hand under the stream of water in the faucet, it should feel hot but you should be able to leave your hand there without it stinging.)
  10. Make-Ahead Instructions: The dough can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated. Let it sit out at room temperature for about an hour before rolling out and cutting.

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Comments

  • Thanks for sharing this recipe. Although the instructions seem straight forward mine didn’t cook through the middle and ended up raw. What can I do differently before I make my next batch?

    • — SE on January 7, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sorry you had a problem with these! It sounds like the oil was a little too hot and the outsides browned before the insides were fully cooked. To eliminate any guesswork, you may want to invest in a candy thermometer so you can ensure the oil is at the right temperature.

      • — Jenn on January 10, 2023
      • Reply
  • i love sufganiyot

    • — BreAnn Taylor on January 3, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve made these twice in the last week already! I love to cook but am not a baker and this recipe so was easy to follow and they came out beyond delicious both times! I tried jelly and nutella but can’t wait to make them again to try all sorts of different fillings. I think we just found a new Hanukkah tradition ~ thanks! 🙂

    • — Tara on December 27, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    You have done it again with another fail-proof, top-notch recipe. These were unbelievably fluffy and tasty, especially when considering how little effort goes into the entire process!

    This recipe is a keeper. Thank you so very much for sharing!!

    • — Emm on December 26, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made these and they turned out absolutely amazing!! Thank you for the delicious recipe I will definitely be saving this and using it every year. Probably more than once a year. Thank you!

    • — Carol Murphy on December 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • Made these twice in 2 days to rave reviews! “Those were literally the best jelly donuts evahhhhh! Usually jelly donuts are so disappointing but I seriously enjoyed yours. Warm, dough had the right texture and full of jelly.
    “I’m not sure when I’d ever make them but can you send the recipe if you don’t mind?”
    Sending her this link to your recipe. It’s really easy and amazing. I did cut them into circles but your way looks good too!

    • — Sarah A. on December 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Wow! I’m so grateful for this no-knead recipe! I was able to make these fairly easily, and I am no star baker. They came out great — I’m so proud! Thank you for the wonderful recipe. Happy Chanukah!

    • — Samantha on December 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • I can’t wait to.try this recipe! I’m planning on making the dough tonight and frying them up tomorrow–if I fry them.mid afternoon, will they still be ok to serve for dessert tomorrow evening? Also, why cut them in squares rather than.using a 2″ cookie cutter? Thanks so much!

    • — Ellen Arad on December 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Ellen, these are definitely best if served hot, but you can get away with serving them a few hours after they’re made. And I cut them in squares because it’s easier and makes for less waste. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on December 23, 2022
      • Reply
  • These were so easy and UNREAL!! Two flags:
    1. You may need more flour than called for based on the weather, temperature inside, etc. I ended up with about 4 cups of flour and it was still super sticky.
    2. When filling the donuts try to use something that can get the tip all the way in the back of the donut otherwise the jam is just in one little part.

    Thank you for this incredible recipe!!!

    • — Jenna on December 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi! Very excited to try making these! Can the dough be left in the refrigerator for one night? We are traveling for a Christmas lunch with my in-laws, and I was asked to bring dessert. I want to bring these, but I don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn. Thanks!

    • — Sarah on December 22, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes, that will work; just let the dough sit out at room temperature for about an hour before rolling out and cutting. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on December 22, 2022
      • Reply
  • It tasted delicious! It’s a new family favorite!

    • — Sophia B on December 18, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi – I’ve never made anything like this before but I’m going to try making these today! Finger’s crossed. 🙂 If I wanted to make them to bring to a holiday dinner, is that possible. Or only best to make them at home and serve right after frying?

    • — Tara on December 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Tara, These are best warm, but they’ll still be good at room temperature (after all, they are donuts)… 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can I use instant yeast that doesn’t need to be added to water and is instead added to dry ingredients and auto activated? Would I then use the same 1 cup of water in the recipe? Would that still rise?

    • — Liz on December 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Yes and yes 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this recipe. If the dough is made ahead can the cut out pieces of dough be frozen? I’d like to make the dough today and fry them later in the week. Wasn’t sure the dough would last that long in the fridge. Please advise

    • — Paula Rulin on December 18, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Paula, I think it would work to freeze the cut dough. Just make sure you’ve brought it to room temperature before frying. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on December 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Could you air fry these instead of using oil?

    • — Connie on December 17, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Connie, Unfortunately, I don’t think that would work. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on December 17, 2022
      • Reply
  • Looking forward to making these for our family Hanukkah party next week! If I want to do as much prep as possible ahead of time, can I go as far as cutting the square earlier in the day and then refrigerating them until I fry them just before we’re ready for dessert? If it’s ok to do that, should I bring them to room temperature before frying, and if so, for how long? Thanks so much for your guidance!

    • — Jane Simon on December 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • Jane, you can refrigerate the squares and fry them later and, yes, bring them to room temperature before frying. Hope everyone enjoys! 🙂

      • — Jenn on December 16, 2022
      • Reply
      • I really appreciate your responsiveness! It’s one of the many things that sets you apart. 🙂

        • — Jane Simon on December 16, 2022
        • Reply
        • 💗

          • — Jenn on December 16, 2022
          • Reply
      • Hi, where can I find the ingredients?

        • — Lilly on December 18, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Lily, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, to the right of the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

          • — Jenn on December 19, 2022
          • Reply
  • Just made our first batch ! Also first time ever deep frying anything. Found that 1.5, or even 1 min per side a bit much.
    Super easy to follow directions, and taste great too.
    Making more for a bigger Chanukah party- going to try 45 sec per side.
    Thanks

    • — Rosalie Simeone on December 15, 2022
    • Reply
  • Do you make any changes if you use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?

    • — Sonia Woldow on December 15, 2022
    • Reply
    • No, instant yeast is perfect. enjoy the sufganiyot!

      • — Jenn on December 15, 2022
      • Reply
  • How long can these be stored?

    • — Amber on December 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Amber, I wouldn’t recommend storing them — these are best if eaten right after they’re cooked.

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can the dough sit in the fridge overnight before shaping and the second rise?

    • — Annie on December 13, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on December 14, 2022
      • Reply
      • So, you let it rise on the counter in the bowl for 1 hour then shape, cut, place on baking sheet then put in fridge overnight? I’m trying to figure out how to prep the dough the day before the party! Thanks!

        • — Lori on December 15, 2022
        • Reply
        • Yes, that’s correct. Just bring the squares to room temperature before frying. Enjoy!

          • — Jenn on December 16, 2022
          • Reply
      • What is Confectioner sugar, same as regular sugar ?

        • — Danielle Malka on December 16, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Daniella, Confectioners’ sugar is also known as powdered sugar or icing sugar and it’s very finely ground, so it looks like powder. It is not the same as regular sugar.

          • — Jenn on December 16, 2022
          • Reply
  • I was skeptical at first, as I’ve never tried a sufganiyah recipe that didn’t require kneading. But then again, I’ve never made such delicious sufganiyot as these! They were so easy to make, and fried up beautifully. Usually mine go stale after a day, but these lasted three days in an airtight container (without Jelly). They tasted just like the ones I get in Israel! Will definitely be making again!

    • — Rachel Pellis on December 12, 2022
    • Reply
  • That video you linked to above is sooo adorable and makes me feel more confident to try to make these!! 🙂 Yum!

    • — Zoe J on December 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Oh My They We’re So Easy To Make And I Am An Avid Fan Of Anything Jelly Donut Scrumptious Just Scrumptious My Only Suggestion Is Make Double Batch 👏😇💕….Kim

    • — Kim Urbaniec on December 14, 2021
    • Reply
  • Mine didn’t puff when I fried them, what did I do wrong?

    • — Jessica on December 6, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sorry to hear you had a problem with these! Did you make any adjustments to the recipe? Did the dough seem to rise okay?

      • — Jenn on December 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • First time I’ve made sufganiyot that the dough was actually workable — my family ate the whole batch. Thanks!

    • — andrea on December 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • These are so good and easy to make – I’m thrilled to finally get to make them. I didn’t have powdered sugar but did have powdered Swerve and it worked great. The dough is not very sweet, but I like it that way. Thank you!

    • — Giulietta Garland on December 5, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can you make the dough ahead and then pat, cut, and cook it later the same day?

    • — Kathleen on December 5, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on December 6, 2021
      • Reply
  • Fantabulous donuts! I made the dough, and the granddaughter filled them and covered them in powdered sugar. Everyone said they were the best donuts, yet. I’ll be using this recipe from now on. We filled some with lemon curd, Nutella, marionberry, and left some plain. Thanks again, and Happy Hanukkah!

    • — Kimberlee Tanner on December 4, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, how come you don’t need to knead this dough? I see so many recipes out there that require you to knead.

    • — Serena on December 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Serena, I find that kneading the dough can make them tough.

      • — Jenn on December 2, 2021
      • Reply
      • I brought these to a brunch! They were delicious! Will make them again next year for Hanukkah!!!

        • — Susan Hass on December 26, 2022
        • Reply
  • By far the best recipe I have made yet! I make these all the days of Hanukkah for family and friends and they don’t disappoint. This year instead of chocolate I used homemade Italian cream! Unreal!

    • — Liat on November 29, 2021
    • Reply

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