Polish Paczki

Polish Paczki Donut Recipe

I grew up with the very British tradition of Pancake Tuesday. Yes, on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent, we’d splurge on pancakes for dinner. It wasn’t until I was older that I learned about the whole Fat Tuesday thing and some of the other treats out there. And frankly, I remember feeling a little cheated. I mean pancakes are good and all, but really … are pancakes actually at the top of anyone’s list of “splurges”?

A delicious authentic Paczki Polish doughnuts recipe, traditionally made for Fat Tuesday/Thursday.

That said, I’m still going to have the traditional pancakes next Tuesday, but I’ve also adopted the Polish tradition and will have some Paczki (pronounced “poonch-key”), too. The Polish do it right, because these are definitely a Fat Tuesday splurge! {Actually, I think the Polish do Fat Thursday, which was yesterday. In North America though, Paczki have been adopted as a right proper Fat Tuesday treat, so I’m just going to eat them from Thursday to Tuesday to cover all the bases.}

I like my Paczki rolled in granulated sugar. There’s just something about that sugar crunch! Traditionally though, paczki have a thin icing sugar and milk glaze, if you’d rather. You could also dust them in icing sugar. Any way you eat them, they’re a really great treat. I filled mine with raspberry jam. Blueberry, cherry or strawberry jam is nice, too. If you’re adventurous, you won’t go wrong with a custard filling.

Paczki are best eaten on the day they are made, although they do freeze well, if you have extras. You don’t need a deep fryer to make these, although that’s definitely the easiest route, as it keeps a constant temperature and is safer. If you don’t have a fryer, use a deep, heavy pot and a portable thermometer to monitor the temperature. Do be careful though and have a lid handy, just in case.

Polish Paczki Donut Recipe for Fat Tuesday

Polish Paczki for Fat Tuesday
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Paczki are traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday or Fat Tuesday. Roll fried donuts in granulated sugar, icing sugar or dip into a thin icing sugar glaze. These can be filled with jam or custard. Makes 12 paczki donuts.
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 12

  • 1 pkg. dry active or instant yeast (2-1/4 tsp.)
  • 1 cup of scalded and cooled whole milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Approximately 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • Oil, for frying
  • White Granulated Sugar, for dusting after frying
  • Jam or custard, for filling (suggested: Raspberry, Blueberry, Cherry or Strawberry Jam)
  1. In a small saucepan, heat milk until steaming with small bubbles forming around the edges. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in the lukewarm milk and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the flour. Mix together and let stand for 20-30 minutes, until really bubbly.
  3. In the meantime, beat the yolks in a small bowl until they are light and fluffy.
  4. To the proofed yeast mixture, add the melted butter and sugar and mix. Add salt and vanilla. Add beaten egg yolks. Slowly add rest of the flour to bowl in 1/2 cup increments just until a very soft dough forms that is moist but not sticky.
  5. Grease a clean bowl and add dough. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until doubled.
  6. Deflate dough and pat out onto floured cutting board. With a rolling pin, gently roll into a 1/2-inch thick circle. Gently cut out circles with 3-inch biscuit cutter. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet, cover and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes)
  7. Meanwhile, heat oil to 360° F. Fry paczki until golden on one side, flip and fry the other side. Don't try to cook too many at a time so you don't reduce the temperature of the oil by adding too many at once. Don't rush the frying, to be sure they are cooked through well. Fry until they are a deep golden colour. Remove paczki to a cooling rack for about 30 seconds, then immediately roll in granulated sugar. Let stand until completely cooled.
  8. Once cooled, using a sharp knife, poke a hole on the side. Use a pastry bag with a large plain tip to pipe the jam or custard filling inside.
  9. These are best when freshly made, but you can freeze any extras.


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