Because they are fried in oil, these jelly doughnuts are a traditional dessert for Hanukkah.


  • ¾ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)

  • 1 envelope active dry yeast (1 scant tablespoon)

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

  • ¼ cup sugar, plus ½ cup for coating

  • Pinch of salt

  • 2 large eggs, separated

  • 2 tablespoons margarine or unsalted butter, room temperature

  • Peanut oil, for frying, plus more for bowl

  • ¼ cup raspberry or strawberry jam or jelly


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the warm water and yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt; mix until well combined. Add egg yolks and remaining 1 3/4 cups flour. Mix until combined, then knead dough in bowl until all flour is incorporated. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead a few minutes until smooth. Knead in margarine until incorporated.

  2. Transfer dough to a well-oiled bowl, turning several times to coat entirely with oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

  3. Bring dough to room temperature, about 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into an 11-inch square, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2-inch cookie cutter (or a glass), cut out about 24 (2-inch) rounds, dipping cutter in flour as needed to prevent sticking. Reroll scraps; cut out about 16 more rounds.

  4. Line a baking sheet with a clean kitchen towel. In a small bowl, lightly beat egg whites. Brush edge of a dough round with egg white, then mound 1/2 teaspoon jam in center. Top with another round; press edges to seal. Repeat with remaining rounds. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; let rise until puffy, 20 to 30 minutes.

  5. Heat a few inches of oil in a large, heavy pot until it reaches 360 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer or a scrap of dough sizzles upon contact. Working in batches of 4 or 5, carefully slip doughnuts into hot oil. Fry, turning once, until golden brown, about 1 minute (doughnuts will fry very quickly and puff up). Using a slotted spoon, transfer doughnuts to paper towels to drain.

  6. Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl.While doughnuts are still hot, dip them in sugar, turning to coat. Serve immediately.

Cook's Notes

If you don’t have a 2-inch cookie cutter, you can use the rim of a sturdy glass to create the dough rounds. Be sure to use a thick jam or jelly as the filling so it won’t leak out during cooking, and don’t add more than the amount called for. Let doughnuts rise until they look slightly puffy. (But don’t let them rise too long or they may not expand enough when cooked.)

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