Spectacular Sufganiyot: 26 Awesome Doughnut Recipes for Hanukkah
'Tis the season for jelly doughnuts! Sufganiyot are on the minds of many for Hanukkah. To tempt recipe revelers, we pulled some of our most interesting jelly doughnut recipes to get you ready for eight days of sweet celebration.
The end of the year is approaching; that means lots of holiday celebrations — including Hanukkah. And with every holiday comes traditional sweet treats. For Hanukkah, that’s sufganiyah — the customary jelly doughnut.
Why The Jelly Doughnut (or Donut)?
Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, to celebrate the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian army, or, more accurately, the rededication of the Temple after that victory. According to Jewish tradition, there was only enough oil to light the menorah in the Temple for one day, but it ended up burning for eight days — which is why Hanukkah’s lighting of the menorah stretches over eight nights.
It's also why oil is one of the Jewish holiday’s symbols. It’s manifested in the celebratory foods cooked in oil, like potato latkes and the donuts known as sufganiyot (the plural form of sufganiyah).
According to Gil Marks in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, these jelly doughnuts are Central European in origin. Germany was where they were first injected with jelly, but Poland is where their Jewish heritage really begins. There, they’re called paczki (pronounced “pownch-kee”) and are used to celebrate many holidays in Poland as well as in Polish communities outside Poland. Originally fried in lard, Polish Jews are the ones who started frying the doughnuts in oil. Some Polish Jews made them a Hanukkah tradition, but when they then brought them to Israel, the tradition was solidified in two ways. First, they became known as “sufganiyot.” The word itself is derived from the word for “spongy dough” from the Talmud, which connects the religion to the food. Second, the Israeli labor federation lobbied to make them an official tradition as a way to create bakery jobs.
How Sufganiyot Are Made
These treats are made with what is called an enriched yeast dough. That means you add yeast, fat, and egg yolks to flour to create a very rich dough — this same dough is used in other pastries like cinnamon rolls and brioche. The dough is then fried in vegetable oil until it turns a golden brown and tossed with cinnamon and granulated sugar or powdered sugar. Each pastry is then pumped full of jelly or custard.
But don’t let all of those ingredients or the deep-frying scare you — the dough is not that difficult to make — unless by “difficult” you mean difficult to stop eating, in which case these doughnuts are really, really difficult!
All that said, we don’t need a reason to eat jelly doughnuts, we just need the best recipes to make them, so we picked out some of the more interesting sufganiyot recipes that you can try for Hanukkah this year.
Sufganiyot, otherwise known as Jelly Donuts by Eat The Love
If you're looking for an interesting way to celebrate Hanukkah while extending the joy of Thanksgiving, this recipe combines the two holidays beautifully. It substitutes cranberry sauce for the traditional jelly, to give you a taste of the American holiday feast while honoring Jewish tradition. The doughnuts are dusted with powdered sugar for a sweet finish. If you want to make these really spectacular, make your own cranberry sauce filling using this recipe.
Strawberry Jalapeno Sufganiyot (Chanukah Donuts) by Miri in the Village
If you want a spicy surprise with your Hanukkah sufganiyot, this one combines strawberries and jalapeños for a jam to tickle your taste buds. Don't be intimidated by the special sauce — you just mix strawberry jelly and jalapeño jelly and let them mingle in the pastry bag before piping them into your doughnuts.
Vegan Sufganiyot by Hell Yeah It's Vegan!
A traditional sufganiyah is vegetarian, but not vegan. However, there are ways around the animal product components. This recipe uses a flaxseed egg replacer (flaxseed meal mixed with warm water) in lieu of the eggs that are typically used. And instead of butter, this recipe calls for vegan butter.
Gluten Free Sufganiyot by Gourmet Kosher Cooking
If you are gluten sensitive, you too can enjoy these delights! This recipe replaces the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour. It also uses the older method of placing the jelly between two pieces of dough to create a kind of jelly sandwich before frying.
Mexican Hot Chocolate–Glazed Sufganiyot (Hanukkah Donuts) with Marshmallow Filling by Chowhound
On the other hand, everyone over-indulges on the holidays, so why not pull out all the stops with your sufganiyot? These are dense with delight. They're glazed with Mexican chocolate and stuffed with marshmallow fluff. It's hyperbole for "sugar," but we're not complaining!
Sufganiyot (Jelly Donut) Cake by Food52
If you don't feel the need to cut out individual donuts and fry them, the alternative is to make one big donut, bake it, and call it a cake! Because it is baked, this cake doesn't have the traditional element of oil for Hanukkah, but the idea is still there! Basically, this is a brioche dough baked in a cake pan. Instead of being injected with jelly, the cake is sliced in half, then the jelly is spread on one half and topped with the other to make a giant jelly sandwich.
Healthy Baked Sufganiyot by Subtly Sweet
If you're still recovering from Thanksgiving, fried food might not be at the top of your list for holiday treats right now. In that case, let us present to you baked sufganiyot. While these don't align with the symbolism of the oil, the spirit of the tradition is still there. Additionally, this recipe does not use refined sugar, wheat flour, or dairy!