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.

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
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for coating
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 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 1/4-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.)

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Comments

  • 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
  • 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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