Hanukkah Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)

December, November, January

Courtesy of Jessica Maher
"Fried foods are served during Hanukkah to represent the miracle of the oil that burned in the Temple for eight days. Latkes are probably more familiar, but Israeli Jews claim the pleasantly yeasty and sweet sufganiyot as a delicacy all their own. My husband and I used to live in a lovely brownstone in Brooklyn with a couple who would have dozens of people over for a Hanukkah meal. It was a great time to meet new people and practice our favorite holiday activity—eating! These are easy to make and absolutely irresistible."

Photography by Jody Horton

Fairly difficult

Hanukkah Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts)


For 1 Batch(es)


  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Sugar, for rolling
  • Jam of choice for filling

Hanukkah Sufganiyot (Jelly Doughnuts) Directions

  1. Sprinkle the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar over the warm water (make sure the water is just warm to the touch and not too hot. It should be no more than 100°) and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until bubbly.
  2. Whisk together the flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the butter, and continue to stir.
  3. On a floured surface, knead the dough until it becomes a smooth mass, adding flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the surface—about 8 minutes. It’s ready when it’s smooth and springs back to the touch. It should not be sticky.
  4. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover for 1–1 ½ hours, until doubled in size.
  5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about ½-inch thick. Using cutters or a glass, stamp out rounds of dough and place on a baking sheet to rise for another 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 370°. Gently place 4 doughnuts into the oil, one at a time, and fry for about 40 seconds on each side. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain. While the doughnuts are still hot, roll them in sugar. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
  7. Use a toothpick or a skewer to poke a hole into one end of each doughnut. Fill a pastry bag (or a Ziploc bag with one corner cut) and carefully fill each doughnut with about 2 teaspoons of jelly or jam. I recommend something brightly colored so you can see the jelly coming from the side (I used Hairston Creek Farm blackberry jam). Serve immediately, while still warm if possible, and watch your guests’ mouths drop.