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Pączki – Polish doughnuts

In Poland, pączki are eaten on Fat Thursday (Tłusty Czwartek) in February to mark the last Thursday before Lent fasting begins. Pączki are made from especially rich dough containing many eggs, butter, sugar, yeast and milk. Traditionally, they are filled with rose petal jam, deep-fried in lard and glazed with icing. This is my oldest and most loved recipe for pączki – Polish doughnuts. This recipe has never let me down – I’ve tried and tested it many times. They’re delicious!

Ingredients for about 35 doughnuts:

  • 1 kg plain flour
  • 50 g fresh yeast or 21 g dried yeast
  • 100 – 150 g sugar
  • 500 ml milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 100 g butter or 5 Tbsp oil
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod (or a small packet of vanillin sugar)
  • 40 ml dark rum or vodka
  • freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1/2 small lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  • 1 litre oil for deep frying (rapeseed oil, coconut oil or traditionally – lard)
  • jam for filling (traditionally – rose petal jam)
  • icing sugar for a glaze

Sift plain flour and mix with dried yeast (with fresh ones, first make a leaven). Add remaining ingredients (except the butter or oil) and knead. When the dough is formed add the melted butter (or oil) and knead again. Knead until the dough is smooth, stretchy and elastic (you can knead by hand or in the bowl of your stand mixer using the dough hook). Form the dough into a round ball and put it in the lightly floured bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1.5 hours).

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Shortly, knead the dough and divide it into similar-sized balls (about 60 g each). Place the balls on a baking sheet sprinkled with plain flour. Cover them with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 25 – 35 minutes).

In a large pot, heat oil to 175ºC. Place pączki in the oil, a few at a time, and fry on both sides until golden brown. Remove, and drain on a paper towel. Using a pastry bag with a filling tip, pipe the filling into the sides of the pączki. If desired, dust with icing sugar or drizzle with icing and top with candied orange peel.

Basic icing:

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp lemon juice or hot water

Combine the icing sugar with hot water (or lemon juice) in a medium bowl until smooth. Add extra water or icing sugar to get the desired consistency.

Making in a bread machine:

Place all the ingredients in the bread machine in the following order: liquids, dry ingredients, and dried yeast (or check your owner’s manual and use the order explicitly recommended for your machine). Choose the dough setting and press start. When the entire cycle is finished, remove the dough and follow the recipe above.

Pączki are best eaten on the day they are made but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


Pączki – Polish doughnuts


Pączki – Polish doughnuts


Pączki – Polish doughnuts

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