Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)

In a country divided between twelve political parties, finding common ground can be no easy task.

Indeed, Israelis are as likely to disagree about politics as they are about food.  Ashkenazim (Jews of European ancestry) have their culinary traditions, and Sephardim (Jews of Spanish and Middle-Eastern ancestry) have theirs.  Even the origins of falafel and hummus have been bitterly debated, with Arabs and Jews alike claiming the food as their own.

Fortunately, all Israelis can rally around sufganiyot.  Sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts, are a national treat during Hanukkah, and have inspired numerous variations and fillings, from pina colada to mocha cream.  For my part, I made half of my sufganiyot with a traditional jelly filling, and the other half with a Nutella filling (my preferred filling).

This year I decided to seal the filling around two dough halves.  Next year, though, I might try piping the filling into the doughnuts.  Either way, it’s another reason to look forward to Hanukkah!

Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)

Recipe adapted from Joan Nathan’s The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen.

PREP TIME: Requires chilling the dough overnight
COOK TIME: 5 minutes per batch
YIELD: About 20 doughnuts

1 package dried yeast (1 tablespoon)
3/4 cup warmed milk or water (must be between 100 and 115 degrees)
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, in four slices and softened
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg white, mixed with 1 tablespoon milk, for the egg wash
Strawberry preserves
Vegetable oil
Confectioners’ Sugar



1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the warm milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons sugar.  Make sure the bowl is not cold – the yeast will only react if the milk is between 100 and 115 degrees.  Mix these ingredients with your hands to dissolve the sugar and yeast,  and allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes.  Make sure the mixture bubbled.

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and cinnamon.  Mix in the egg yolks, then mix in the yeast mixture.

3.  On a lightly floured board, knead the dough until it forms a ball.  Add the butter, and knead some more, until the butter is fully absorbed.

4.  Place the dough in a well-greased bowl.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.


5.  Roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch.

6.  Cut out the dough using 2-inch and 2 1/2-inch rounds. With a teaspoon, drop about a teaspoon of the preserves or Nutella in the center of half of the smaller rounds.  Drop a little more than a teaspoon of filling in the center of half of the larger rounds.

7.  Top each of the rounds with its other, unfilled half.  Crimp the edges together, and brush with the egg white.  Let the rounds rise for about 30 minutes.


8.  While you’re waiting for the rounds, gradually heat 2 inches of oil to between 350 and 375 degrees.

9.  Drop the doughnuts into the hot oil, about 4 at a time.  After about 1 to 3 minutes, turn the doughnuts, and allow them to brown on the other side for another 1 to 3 minutes.  Allow them to drain on paper towels.

10.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve warm!


*While you are frying the doughnuts, you can ball-up the unused dough, refrigerate it, and then roll it out again for another batch of doughnuts!


8 responses to “Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)

  1. These look delicious, Charles! Especially the Nutella-filled ones! Happy Chanukah and Happy New Year! Here’s to another year of tasty blogging!

  2. The donuts were delish. Of course, most anything with Nutella is delish! As for the jelly ones, I think that I prefer actual jelly to jam. Jelly tends to squirt out the end of the donut, and I think that adds something to the jelly-donut-eating experience.

    Also, did your oil temperature vary through the batches of donuts? One of the (many) reasons that I avoid deep-frying is that it’s difficult to maintain a constant temperature as you add and remove the batches.

  3. You are so right – on both points!

    Frying at a stable temperature is a bit like shooting at a moving target: your adjustments are always one step too late.

    After a few batches, the temperature rose about 30 degrees. To compensate, I lowered the heat (but apparently by too much). Twenty minutes later, the oil temperature was where I wanted it, but dropping fast. Efforts to recapture the perfect temperature were unsuccessful.

    Fortunately, I’ve found that as long as the temperature is within 25 degrees of your stated goal, there’s not a dramatic difference.

  4. Like the simile! 🙂

    I think that last point (25 degree wiggle room) will definitely be helpful to those trying to make your donuts! Frying in small batches can also help stabilize the temperature.

  5. Pingback: Playing with Fire | The Broccoli Hut

  6. Sounds really great and i will definitely make those in the near future. But there is one thing i’m sceptical. I think 115°F ist too hot for yeast. Everything above 113°F is bad for it and the yeast will die. So i learned that 90°F might be the optimum temperature.
    But nevertheless this recipe looks awesome.

  7. Can you make these with half whole wheat pastry flour half all purpose flour or is that just a bad idea

  8. I don’t think it would pose any problems! Let me know how it turns out!

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