Get ready for a timely classic for Hanukkah celebrations. If you haven’t tried sufganiyot, you are in for a treat. I created a gluten free version of my dear friend’s family recipe and I hope you enjoy these gluten free sufganiyot as much as we do!
One bite of these fried jelly donuts and you will be hooked. If you love donuts as much as we do, check out all of the gluten free donut recipes on the blog :-).
What are Sufganiyot?
Sufganiyot sounds like such a fancy name for a jelly donut. And even funnier sounding is talking about just one sufaniyah! It is pretty easy to tell the difference. Deep-fried jelly donuts aka sufganiyot (plural) or if you can eat just one, they are called sufaniyah.
These Jewish jelly donuts symbolize the oil that was only enough to last one night, lasted 8 nights. It was considered a miracle and the sufganiyot have been made to celebrate this miracle ever since. If you want to read even more about the history of these wildly popular jelly donuts you can read more about it here.
My kids have been begging me to make this recipe gluten free for years. I am not sure why I haven’t…perhaps it was the whole mom guilt thing because these gluten free jelly donuts are fried and calorie-laden. You can just imagine the conversations we had each year about this…and I will spare you all of the negotiations (crazy persuasions/arguments/etc.) we have had.
They finally won and you get to reap the benefits!! I do want to warn you, this is not one of the typical “easy” recipes on my blog. I made this recipe and worked on it a LOT. Getting yeast to rise in gluten free dough, making donuts that are not heavy like hockey pucks, and even frying without burning…I had a lot of bloopers developing this recipe!!”
If you want to try another delicious traditional Jewish recipe, I converted my Grandma’s Cheese Blintzes recipe to gluten free as well!
My bloopers all centered around the yeast and the dough rising in this recipe. It took 4 tries to get it right. Hopefully the tips I write about below will help you so you don’t have these struggles.
How do you get the gluten free dough to rise?
One of my biggest struggles in gluten free baking (and in making these gluten free jelly donuts) is getting my dough to rise. Have you had this issue as well? I am not sure if it is the gluten free flour, or if it is just user error, me! For this recipe, I really recommend letting the dough rise in a warm place. Rising in the refrigerator can work but for me, it hasn’t.
Turn your oven on at 200F degrees and let it sit for 10 minutes. Next, turn the oven off and then put your dough into the oven to rise.
Are you ready to make these jelly donuts?
- Gluten free flour blend (I used King Arthur Measure for Measure GF Blend)
- Yeast packet
- Baking powder
- Powdered sugar
How to make gluten free sufganiyot:
Add your yeast to the warm water, milk, and 2 tablespoons sugar and let it sit for 5 minutes until it gets really bubbly.
Preheat your oven to 200F degrees. When it is warm, turn off the oven. In a large bowl add your dry ingredients and whisk to blend. In a separate bowl, whisk your wet ingredients and add the yeast mixture. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the bowl into the warm oven. Make sure the door is cracked open. Let your dough rise for 30-45 minutes.
Your donut dough will be somewhat wet. That is normal and one of the things you need when working with dough. Put a little flour onto wax paper and add your dough. Press your dough flat to about 1 inch thick.
The secret is to use enough gluten free flour to the dough so you can cut out the dough circles without it sticking all over the place…but too much flour and your sufganiyot will be dry and dense.
Ready to try…the circles may be misshapen a bit…that happens when you have to have your dough softer in gluten free baking.
If you have a fryer, use that…otherwise, heat oil in a large 12-inch cast-iron skillet to 375F degrees.
What oil is best for frying sufganiyot?
The kind of oil you use for frying is really, really important. You must use an oil that is good for high heat. Some oils, like olive oil, go rancid in high heat so you need to use one of these:
- Canola oil
- Coconut oil
- Avocado oil
Why didn’t my jelly donuts cook inside?
If this happened to you, my first guess is the oil was too hot and the outsides cooked so fast that your insides are raw dough. You don’t want the oil hotter than this or your donuts will cook on the outside too fast and the inside will not cook.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the donuts from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel. The paper towels help absorb the extra oil.
Roll your sufganiyot in powdered or regular sugar.
Use a squirt bottle or pastry bag and long frosting tip to squirt the strawberry jelly into each donut.
What flavor jelly is best for jelly donuts?
Traditionally, people usually use strawberry or raspberry jelly to fill their jelly donuts. You can use any flavor you like!!
Can you use jam instead of jelly?
You can definitely use jam instead of jelly for this jelly donut recipe. One of the main differences is you will have chunks of fruit in your donuts.
You will end up with a big plate of gluten free jelly donuts just screaming to be eaten!!
What if your donuts don’t puff up when frying?
If your donuts don’t puff up, it is most likely you had a yeast rising failure. I really encourage you to rise your dough in a warm oven as I described above.
Things You Need To Make This Recipe:
- This gluten free flour blend. Others should work but gf baking can be a chemistry project and so I can’t promise flour blends with beans or heavy starches will turn out the same.
- A great cast iron pan for frying.
- 2 1/2 cups gluten free flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 package dry yeast (roughly 1 tablespoon)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups warm milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
For filling and coating
- Powdered sugar
- Warm milk to 105 degrees F. Add the yeast and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Allow sitting for 5 minutes until frothy.
- In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients including the remaining sugar (not the powdered sugar) and whisk to blend.
- Add the warm milk mixture, butter, and eggs. Mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Turn off the oven.
- Cover the bowl of dough and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the preheated warm oven and keep the door cracked open. Let the dough rise for 60 minutes.
- Place a piece of wax paper down on the counter. Dust with gluten free flour blend.
- Add the dough and sprinkle a little flour over it. Press down a little then top with another piece of wax paper.
- Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to one-inch thickness.
- Cut out circle shapes with biscuit cutters. Place on a plate
- Allow the dough to sit 10 minutes. While they are sitting, heat light oil in a cast-iron skillet or fryer. You want the oil to be around 375 degrees F.
- When the oil is hot, add some of the dough circles.
- Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side. Let the donuts get golden brown on each side.
- Remove and place on a paper towel covered plate to absorb extra oil.
- Optional: roll in powdered sugar to coat each donut.
- Fill a squirt bottle with jelly or jam. Squeeze jam into each donut.
*Make sure the oil you use for frying can handle high heat. I like to use coconut oil or avocado oil for frying.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 209 Total Fat: 3g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 37mg Sodium: 162mg Carbohydrates: 41g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 19g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 4g