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Israeli Jelly Donuts or Sufganiyot

Israeli Jelly Donuts or Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot are traditional Israeli jelly donuts. Pillowy, filled with jelly (or other fillings), and dusted with powdered sugar, they are a real treat. They are commonly eaten during Hanukkah, but they’re scrumptious any time of year.

low angle shot of Israeli donuts or sufganiyot with powdered sugar on top.

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Why Do We Eat Sufganiyot for Hanukkah?

Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight nights even though it was only enough to last for one. We commemorate the holiday by lighting a candle for each night of the holiday and also by eating foods fried in oil

Sufganiyot (yeah, I don’t really know how to pronounce it, either. The Internet says it’s SOOF-gun-yote), or Israeli jelly donuts, are one of the traditional fried foods of Hanukkah. Potato latkes are another.

This Israeli donut recipe is pretty easy to make. And the resulting puffs of fried dough filled with sweet jelly (or chocolate, lemon curd, custard, or whatever else you fancy) are well worth the effort. I’m completely hooked.

Low angle shot of sufganiyot or Israeli donuts dusted with powdered sugar. The donuts are piled on a baking sheet.

What ingredients do you need?

  • Warm water or milk
  • Instant or active dry yeast
  • Granulated sugar
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Egg yolks
  • Cooking oil
  • Berry jam or jelly, lemon curd, chocolate ganache, pastry cream, or other fillings (optional)
  • Powdered sugar

How do you make Israeli donuts?

  1. Mix yeast, sugar, and warm water or milk together. The mixture will become foamy.
  2. Whisk eggs, sugar, and oil together. Combine this mixture with the yeast mixture.
  3. Combine flour and salt and then beat in the wet ingredient mixture.
  4. Let rise until doubled in size.
  5. Pat out into a rectangle and cut into squares or rounds.
  6. Let rise a second time, until doubled in size again.
  7. Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown.
  8. Cool the donuts and then fill them with the filling of your choice using a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.
  9. Dust with powdered sugar.
  10. Enjoy!

Tips for success

Follow these tips to make the best Israeli jelly donuts with the least possible effort.

  1. Use warm tap water or milk to proof the yeast. You can check the temperature of the water with a digital, instant-read thermometer (it should be between 105ºF and 110ºF) or test it with your finger. It should feel very warm, but not so warm that it is painful.
  2. Use warm tap water or heat the milk in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
  3. I like to use milk in my Sufganiyot because I think it makes for the best flavor, but using water is fine, too. If you want your donuts to be parve, choose water.
  4. Choose a fairly deep, but not too large pot (I used a 2-quart saucepan). Using a high-sided pot will limit the amount of oil that splatters onto your stovetop or counter.
  5. Choose a neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point. Safflower, sunflower seed, grapeseed, peanut, or canola oil are excellent choices.
  6. Fill the pot to a depth of about 2 to 3 inches (if you use a 2-quart saucepan, this should only take about 3 cups of oil rather than the 6 or 8 cups most recipes call for).
  7. Check the temperature of the oil using a deep-frying thermometer. 350ºF to 375ºF is the right range to ensure crisp, golden-brown donuts that aren’t soaked with grease.
  8. Make your dough balls about 2 inches in diameter, and fry them 3 or 4 at a time. Honestly, they cook so fast that that’s all I could keep track of at one time anyway. Frying a whole batch of donuts in this manner took me a total of about 10 minutes, not including the time it took the oil to come up to temp.
  9. When you remove the fried donuts from the oil, set them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet lined with paper towels. This allows any excess oil to drip off without making a mess.
  10. Use a pastry bag and tip to inject jam or other fillings, such as lemon curd or even chocolate or pastry cream. You can also leave the donuts unfilled and set out bowls of berry sauce, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, or pastry cream for dipping.
  11. If you decide to fill the donuts, I recommend a longer round pastry tip with an angled opening, like the Wilton #230 Round Carded Tip or the Ateco Nozzle Tip #230.
  12. It is helpful to use a skewer or chopstick to poke a hole into the donut, about halfway in, to inert the piping tip into.
  13. If you are filling donuts with jelly or jam, bring the jelly or jam to room temperature first.
  14. Use a fine-meshed sieve to dust the donuts all over with confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar.
Israeli jelly donuts for hannukah dusted with powdered sugar. This is a low-angle shot that shows 3 donuts stacked on a white plate iwth one donot leaning against the stack that has a bite taken out of it so that you can see the jelly filling.

More Jewish holiday recipes you’ll love

Yield: Makes about 24 donuts

Easy Homemade Jelly Donuts or Sufganiyot

Easy Homemade Jelly Donuts or Sufganiyot

Sufganiyot are traditional Israeli jelly donuts often eaten during Hanukkah, along with other fried foods. Because, of course, fried foods celebrate the miracle of the oil! This recipe makes a simple, lightly sweetened fried dough that can be filled with jelly or the fillling of your choice and dusted with powdered sugar.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm (105ºF to 110ºF) water or milk
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus a pinch granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil, plus more for oiling the bowland for frying, divided
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Strawberry jam, lemon curd, chocolate or pastry cream for filling or dipping (optional)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the warm water or milk, yeast, and a pinch of the granulated sugar. Let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, the egg yolks, and 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  3. Add the egg yolk mixture to the yeast.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon (or use a stand mixer with a dough hook) until they come together to form a sticky dough.
  5. Continue to beat or knead the dough, adding a bit more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic. You'll knead it for about 5 minutes.
  6. Coat a large mixing bowl lightly with oil then place the dough into it, turning the dough over to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm spot on the countertop to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough should double in size.
  7. Dust your countertop workspace with flour. Turn the dough out of the bowl onto the counter and sprinkle a bit more flour over the top. Using your hands, pat the dough out into a rectangle that is about 10 inches by 12 inches and about ¼-inch thick.
  8. Use a dough scraper or pizza cutter or a 2-inch round pastry cutter, cut the flattened dough into 2-inch squares or rounds. You should get about 24 squares or rounds.
  9. Arrange the donuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Let rise a second time, until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  10. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels and set a wire cooling rack on top.
  11. Fill a high-sided pot (like a 2-quart saucepan) with about 3 inches of cooking oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Use a deep-fry thermometer to check the temperature. It is ready when it is around 350ºF.
  12. Drop the dough squares into the oil 3 or 4 at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes, until the bottom half is golden brown. Flip the donuts over and cook on the second side until it is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes more. Lift the donuts with a slotted spoon and allow excess oil to drip back into the pot.
  13. Transfer the donuts to the cooling rack and repeat with the remaining dough squares.
  14. If you choose to fill the donuts, fill a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip with your desired filling. Once the donuts are cool enough to handle, poke the tip of the pastry bag into a donut, pushing it about halfway in, and squeeze to deposit some of the filling. Fill each donut with about 2 teaspoons of filling. Return the filled donuts to the cooling rack over the paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  15. Using a fine-meshed sieve, dust powdered sugar generously over the donuts, covering them on both sides.
  16. Serve immediately.


Notes

If you’d like to prep these ahead of time, make the recipe through the rise and then refrigerate the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. Remove from the refrigerator and continue with the recipe as written, letting the dough come to room temperature before frying.

Nutrition Information

Yield

36

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 252Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 19mgSodium 51mgCarbohydrates 17gFiber 0gSugar 10gProtein 2g
Pinterest pin for sufganiyot or jelly donuts for hanukkah. text says israeli jelly donuts sufganiyot. image shows a stack of 3 jelly donuts on a white plate. There is a fourth jelly donut leaning agains the stack. the fourth donut has a bite taken out so you can see the jelly in the center.
Pinterest pin for sufganiyot or jelly donuts for hanukkah. text says israeli jelly donuts sufganiyot. Top image shows 8 jelly donuts on their sides shot from overhead. Bottom image shows two bowls with jelly donuts in them. the donuts are dusted with powdered sugar.
close up head-on photo of sufganiyot or Israeli jelly donuts.
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The Easiest Crispy Potato Latkes | All Ways Delicious

Friday 6th of December 2019

[…] Sufganiyot or Jelly Donuts for Hanukkah […]

Robin

Saturday 8th of December 2012

The dough should be pretty sticky but not goopy. I have made this recipe many times with no problems. You should have less than a cup of liquid, so I can't imagine why you'd have to add 3 cups (or more!) of flour. I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I would just add more flour until it is enough that you can knead it.

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