Homemade Doughnuts for Hanukkah

Homemade Doughnuts

We lit the first Hanukkah candles on Tuesday night and ate latkes and brisket. It’s never been part of my family’s tradition to make homemade doughnuts for Hanukkah, but the fried sweets, usually filled with jelly and known as sufganiyah–are one of the customary dishes on the Hanukkah table.

But frying? At home? Isn’t that to be avoided?

Homemade DoughnutsHomemade DoughnutsHomemade Doughnuts

What I have discovered is that no! Frying at home isn’t so bad, especially if you’re already committed to one messy-but-delicious tradition, like making latkes or baking dozens of cookies.

You definitely do need the mentality that you’re embarking on a holiday cooking project. (Once January comes, you can just call it a Sunday cooking project.) And you do need a big jug of oil and the stamina to clean tons of splatters from the stove. You also need to realize that fresh doughnuts are NOTHING like doughnuts a few hours old. Fresh from the fryer, they’re airy and chewy, not dense and greasy. They’re worth it – on Hanukkah and maybe some lazy weekend mornings too.


The reason for doughnuts at Hanukkah is that the holiday is all about oil. In its purest form, many use olive oil. And I’ve borrowed that ingredient, and so these comforting doughnuts got slightly reinvented by substituting olive oil for some of the butter in the dough. Here, I use Pompeian’s organic olive oil in the dough to help celebrate the holiday. The fruitiness of the oil gets enhanced later, when you fill each doughnut round with fruity jelly–apricot, peach, strawberry, or raspberry.

Homemade DoughnutsHomemade Doughnuts

Homemade Doughnuts for Hanukkah
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: about 20
A pastry bag and tip will help with filling, but you can improvise with a baggie if you don't have one.
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 to 2 quarts of neutral oil for frying
  • 1 cup jelly
  • Powdered sugar, for decoration
  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, or in the microwave, warm the milk and water together until just over room temp. Remove from the heat and add the olive oil. In a separate large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and Beat this well with a spatula. (You can use the dough hook on an electric mixer if you prefer). Add the egg and mix again. Continue mixing with the dough hook or well-floured hands until you’ve kneaded the dough into a cohesive, uniform mass.
  2. Return the dough to the bowl and set it aside in a covered, oiled bowl until it’s doubled in size, which should happen in an hour in a warm place. Don't keep the bowl too close to the oven, since too much heat will kill the yeast. Somewhere cozy and without a draft is perfect. If it's better for you, you can also put the covered bowl in the fridge and let it rise all night. (In that case, give it some time to come to room temp before shaping and frying).
  3. When dough is ready, press or roll it out until it's a ½ inch thick. Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. Then use a 2.5-inch circle cookie cutter (or the rim of a small drinking glass) to cut out your doughnuts. You can reform the scraps into another rectangle; rest for another 10 minutes before you cut again.
  4. Fill a small pot or wok until there are 2 to 3 inches of oil in it. Bring the oil up to about 375°F. Then cook the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to crowd the pan, which will lower the oil temperature. Use a slotted spoon to flip and remove the doughnuts. Cook 1 to 2 minutes per side; when they puff and turn golden, they are done. Drain on paper bags or paper towels.
  5. When cool, fill the doughnuts: put a pastry tip on a pastry bag, or improvise with a sandwich bag with one of the corners snipped. Fill with jelly. Use a sharp knife to cut a hole in the side of the doughnut. Holding the doughnut in one hand, insert the pastry bag into the hole and squeeze in jelly until the doughnut starts to feel heavy. Repeat for remaining doughnuts.
  6. When ready to serve (preferably within the hour!), sprinkle with powdered sugar.


This post is the last post in BGSK’s Pompeian #TrendingintheKitchen campaign. Thank you to Pompeian for sponsoring my words! All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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