Authentic Polish Paczki Recipe

Polish Paczki Donut Recipe

Delicious, Authentic Polish Paczki recipe traditionally made for Fat Tuesday or Thursday in February to celebrate the last day before Lent fasting begins.

When it comes to Fat Tuesday, I’m all about the Polish tradition of Paczki! The Polish do it right, because these are definitely a worthy Fat Tuesday splurge!

What are Paczki?

Pączki are essentially donuts, made by frying dough, filling with a variety of fruit or custard fillings, and coated with sugar. Paczki are made from a rich dough containing eggs, fats, sugar, yeast and sometimes milk, so they tend to be a little more rich and dense than a typical donut. Packzi can have a variety of fruit or cream fillings. They can be glazed or covered with either granulated or powdered sugar. In Poland, a stewed plum jam or a wild rose hip jam are the most traditional fillings, but many others are used as well, including strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, apple, prune or custard.

When are Paczki eaten?

In Poland, Paczki are eaten on Fat Thursday, which is the last Thursday prior to Ash Wednesday (prior to lent). The traditional reason for making pączki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, in preparation for the fasting of Lent ahead.

In North America, Paczki Day typically occurs on Fat Tuesday, the last day before the beginning of Lent. In some communities with large Polish populations, Paczki day is celebrated on both Fat Thursday and Fat Tuesdy.

How do you pronounce Paczki?

While there are slight variations, the typical North American pronunciation of Paczki is POONCH-key. Some prefer more of a PAUNCH-key.

Paczki Fillings:

Like jelly donuts, Paczki can be filled with any number of fillings. Any fruit jam, such as raspberry, strawberry, blueberry or plum. Apple jam/compotes are also good. On the creamy side, Bavarian Cream or custard fillings would be nice.

Polish Paczki Donut Recipe for Fat Tuesday

Cook’s Notes for Polish Paczki

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 go that route. You could also dust them in icing sugar. Any way you eat them, they’re a really delicious treat and definitely a splurge.

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.

When deep frying, be sure to use a thermometer to keep the oil temperature constant. If the oil is too hot, it will cook the outside before the inside is cooked. If it is not hot enough, the dough will absorb oil, rather than just cooking the outside to seal the oil out. Also, avoid frying too many at once, as it will lower the oil temperature.

Be sure to coat your Paczki in granulated sugar while they are still warm, so the sugar will stick. If opting for powdered sugar, obviously you’d want to wait until the Paczki are cool before coating. As powdered sugar will dissolve over time, add powdered sugar just before serving.

I quickly got tired of trying to deep fry in a pot on the stove. Not only is it slightly dangerous, it’s messy and really hard to control the oil temperature in. I invested in a small deep fryer that doesn’t take up much room to store and doesn’t need a ton of oil to fill it – about 1 large container. When the oil is cooled, I return it to the container and store it in the fridge to use again. Here are some great small deep fryers you might like.

Polish Paczki Donut Recipe

Polish Paczki

Course: Snack
Cuisine: Polish
Keyword: paczki recipe, polish donut recipes, polish doughnut recipes
Prep Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 12 paczki
Energy: 190 kcal
Author: Jennifer
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.


  • 2 1/4 tsp dry active or instant yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk scalded and cooled
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Oil for frying
  • White Granulated Sugar for dusting
  • 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° 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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  • This is probably a dumb question but do you mean 2 packages of 1/4 ounce dry active yeast packages? Or the total measurement of yeast to use: 2 and 1/4 tsp?

    Thank you! This recipe sounds great!

    • Hi Vickie, I’d love to tell you that you could, but what you’d end up with is a roll, not a doughnut. There’s just no replacement for oil frying.

    • Hello,
      Roughly how long do you fry each paczek?
      Also is it ok to put the jam into the paczek dough and they fry so its already iniside?

      • These will take about 90 seconds per side, if I recall correctly, but check for a nice golden colour underneath before flipping over. And no, you can’t fill before frying. All the jam will cook out and end up floating in your frying oil :)

  • These look so good, and I would love to try and make them but I am having a hard time finding a good recipe for the filling do you have the recipe for the filling that you used?

  • My grandmother used to make these when I was a kid. She also used to make a “polish pancake”. I have searched every where for a recipe for this and can’t find anything. I was wondering if you have heard of this pancake. All I know is that it’s a batter that is fried in oil. The edges of the thin pancake curl inward until it’s a light golden brown. We always put cinnamon and sugar on top of it. I’ve searched every where and can’t find a recipe for it.

  • I am 50% Polish and have been exploring different recipes as a hobby. I am so excited to make these this weekend! I want to perfect them for our Polish feast coming up for Fat Tuesday. I have a question about the filling. I have never made filled donuts before and do not want to overfill. About how much jam or custard should go inside each one? Thank you!

    • Hi Kristen, Gosh … if I had to guess, I would say 2-3 Tablespoons. As the donuts are quite solid, the trick it to create a bit of a cavity inside from the side, then push the piping tip quite far in, then ease out as your fill.

  • Jennifer I made them without the eggs. They came out great, except they didn’t rise for me. I had them covered Ina warm place and not much happened. What can I do next time maybe baking powder!?


    • Hi Ewelina. If your dough didn’t rise, the culprit is almost certainly the yeast. Either it is old or the milk was too hot when you added the yeast. What type of yeast did you use?

  • I love Paczki!! My favorite! I was born in Poland and ever since my daughter has food allergies to eggs I haven’t had one in a long time. I want her to be able to experience what I did as a child. Can I substitute the eggs for flax seed meal?


    • Hi Ewelina, I have not idea if flax seed meal would work. Honestly, I would simply omit the eggs. The eggs add a richness to the dough, but aren’t necessary for the structure of the dough.

  • Yes, these donuts look so much better than pancakes… wow, do they look amazing. I have to say, deep-frying terrifies me, so I’ll admire your genius, but not dare try them at home. I wonder if there is a Polish bakery in Virginia…?

    • Thanks! Deep-frying terrified me too, until I got a proper deep-fryer. It’s a small one, so doesn’t take a ton of oil and it feels so much safer. And it controls the temperature perfectly.

  • My mom used to fry donuts once in a while when we were kids! These sound great! I am partial to custard-filled, myself….. but the berry looks just wonderful here. Great Fat Tuesday recipe!

  • This is so great to read that not only Polish love the “pączki” :-) Yours look really great and I’m sure they are absolutely delicious. I’m from Poland – I’ve already eaten two yesterday :-)

I love hearing from you, so if you have a question or something isn't quite clear, I'm happy to help. If you made this recipe, I'd love to know how you liked it ~ Jennifer

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