Sufganiyot, the classic Hanukkah jelly doughnuts, are a delight year round. For this recipe, you don’t fill the cloud of dough with jelly, you simply spoon some on top. Genius.
Sufganiyot, or Hanukkah jelly doughnuts, are a favorite treat in Israel and a sweet alternative to the traditional Hanukkah latkes or potato pancakes. No one I’ve met has ever said no to donuts, and this two-bite version fits any appetite perfectly.
The dough can be refrigerated overnight, so the doughnuts are easy to prepare in advance. I generally make a double batch (I prefer to make it in the bread machine), refrigerate the dough, and pinch off portions as needed for fresh treats or for taking along to a Hanukkah celebration. You can sprinkle sugar over the doughnuts or fill them with jelly, as is more traditional.–Marcy Goldman
Notes on ingredients
- Yeast–Use active dry yeast here. If you need to substitute instant yeast, you don’t need to wait for the yeast to proof.
- Vegetable oil, for frying--Use a neutral flavored oil with a high smoke point. Vegetable oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, and canola oil will all work well for this.
How to make this recipe
- Mix the water, yeast, and a pinch of sugar together and let the yeast proof. Stir in the sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, oil, salt, and flour and mix to create a smooth dough. Knead with a mixer or by hand until the dough is firm, smooth, and elastic.
- Plop the dough in a greased bowl and cover. Let the dough rise for 1 hour, then gently deflate.
- Pinch off golf ball-size pieces of dough and shape them into balls. Let the sufganiyot sit at room temperature, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes, while the oil heats.
- Heat 4 inches of oil in a deep fryer, large pot, or Dutch oven. Line a baking sheet with layers of paper towel. Gently flatten the dough balls.
- Fry 3 to 4 sufganiyot at a time, until golden brown on all sides. Drain well on the paper towels.
- Coat the doughnuts with sugar, if desired. Make a small indentation on the top of each doughnut and fill it with jam or jelly.
Why are jelly doughnuts eaten during Hanukkah?
Like many popular fried foods that are popular at Hanukkah, including fried chicken, potato latkes, and cheese blintz, they symbolize the miracle of the burning oil in the temple at Jerusalem.
Can I fill these doughnuts with jelly instead of topping them?
Absolutely. If you’re more for tradition, you can instead roll the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch, cut out 2-inch circles using cookie cutters or a glass, sandwich the circles together around 1/2 teaspoon of jam, and then let the dough stand for 20 to 30 minutes before frying as directed below.
Can I make these doughnuts in advance?
Yes. The dough can be prepared a day before frying and stored in the refrigerator. Pinch off and fry up the dough as needed.
- If you have a bread machine, the dough can be mixed and kneaded using it instead of a mixer.
- Don’t crowd the pot when frying your doughnuts or the oil temperature may drop, resulting in oily doughnuts. Only fry 3 or 4 at a time.
- Instead of filling the doughnuts with jam, try spooning dulce de leche on top.
- If you use water for making your dough, this sufganiyot recipe is suitable for a dairy-free diet.
- Store leftover doughnuts in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
More great doughnut recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts | Sufganiyot
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 5 teaspoons dry yeast
- 1/3 cup plus a pinch granulated sugar
- 1 cup warm milk or water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 2 cups jam or jelly of your choice at room temperature
- Granulated or confectioners’ sugar for dusting, if desired
- To make the sufganiyot, stir together the warm water, yeast, and the pinch of sugar in a large bowl. Allow the mixture to stand for a couple of minutes to allow the yeast to swell. Stir in the remaining sugar, the milk, vanilla, eggs, oil or shortening, salt, and as much of the flour as needed to create a soft dough.
- Knead the dough by hand or use the dough hook on a standing mixer, adding more flour as needed to form a firm dough that is smooth and elastic.
- Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour. (If not using right away, you can refrigerate the dough at this point.)
- Gently deflate the dough. (If the dough is coming out of the fridge, allow it to warm up at room temperature for about 40 minutes before punching and proceeding.)
- Pinch off golf ball-size pieces of dough and form them into small balls. Cover the sufganiyot with a clean tea towel and let them sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
- When you’re ready to fry, heat about 4 inches of oil in a deep fryer or a heavy Dutch oven to about 385°F (196°C). Line a baking sheet with a couple layers of paper towels.
- Gently press the sufganiyot to flatten them ever so slightly. To test the temperature of the oil, it’s a good idea to start out frying a single doughnut. When the doughnut appears golden brown on both sides, take it out and cut it open to see if the inside is cooked through. You want to attain and maintain an oil temperature that’s hot enough so it bubbles but not so hot that the doughnut browns before the center is cooked. It may take a few tries to find the right temperature and timing. When you’re satisfied that the oil is at a good temperature, carefully add the sufganiyot, 3 or 4 at a time, to the hot oil and fry until the undersides are deep brown. Turn over once and finish frying the other side. The total frying time will be somewhere between 1 1/2 and 3 minutes. Lift the sufganiyot out with a slotted spoon and drain them well on paper towels.
- If desired, place some granulated or confectioners’ sugar in a paper bag, add a couple of doughnuts, and gently shake to coat. Use the tip of a spoon to make a small indentation in the top of each sufganiyot, much as you would with a thumbprint cookie, and spoon in a little jam or jelly.
- Use a bread machine–If you have a bread machine, the dough can be mixed and kneaded using it instead of a mixer.
- Change up your filling–Instead of filling the doughnuts with jam, try spooning dulce de leche on top.
- Dietary–If you use water for making your dough, this sufganiyot recipe is suitable for a dairy-free diet.
- Storage–Store leftover doughnuts in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
YES! Oh my goodness – DOUGHNUTS! I made these tonight and they were outrageously good. I filled 1/2 with jam and 1/2 with dulce de leche. These would be so great tossed with cinnamon and sugar – next time!
Lovely to hear, Alena!
I am curious as I would like to make these in the bread maker, do you just put everything in the bread maker at one time?
Yes, a bread machine is perfect for this dough. It’s how I tested this recipe for the Chanukah chapter of my cookbook. Also, the reason I don’t suggest filling the doughnuts before frying is that oftentimes, depending on one’s frying prowess (or the fryer used), one runs the risk of a too-brown fried doughnut but inside the dough might be a touch raw and the jelly gooey – further compromising the not-totally-cooked-through doughnut, so to speak. So filling the doughnuts afterwards ensures you have a totally cooked doughnut, no gooey middle. Also, the jelly peaks out just so when you fill them after frying, a total temptation of the delights ahead.
Once you use the bread machine, and it rises, punch the dough down and put in fridge over night? Is there kneading again…first timer on this…thanks.
Hi Francine, I would use the bread machine for step 1 of the recipe to mix the ingredients and knead the dough, let the dough rise or refrigerate in step 2, and continue on with step 3. The only kneading is done in step 1.