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Pączki (Polish Yeasted Jelly Doughnuts)

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I hate deep frying. It’s such a hassle. There’s a bubbling cauldron of hot oil to stand over and then there’s the problem of figuring out how to deal with it later. But there’s one thing I make an exception for: pączki.

Pączki (pronounced punch-key, singular paczek [pronounced punch-ek {nota bene: “pączkis” are not a thing}]) are Polish yeasted jelly doughnuts. They have a dough that’s rich with eggs and butter.

Flour, butter, milk, yeast, and eggs

And they’re traditionally made for Fat Tuesday (better known as Mardi Gras) to use up all the good stuff before Christian Lenten fasting starts on Ash Wednesday.

But really, regardless of their origin, they’re just ridiculously good doughnuts.

I used to bring them into my office every year, and when I stopped people started stopping by my desk asking, hopefully, if I was planning to make them again. When I’ve brought them to parties, they get devoured.

Paczki dough in a glass bowl

And really, what’s not to like about a homemade, freshly-fried doughnut?

The only problem is that they’re a little bit of a pain to make.

There’s making the dough, letting it rise, rolling it out, cutting out the doughnuts, frying each of them, filling them, and showering them with powdered sugar. And it’s probably a good thing that they’re a bit of a pain because otherwise my metabolism would be in a whole mess of trouble.

Risen paczki dough covered with plastic wrap

I usually get together with my sister Erin to make them, and it’s a baking project that actually benefits from a division of labor. One person can stand over the fryer and the other can fill the doughnuts as they come out.

Though I’ve done them on my own and if you’ve got a weekend afternoon to do it, it’s definitely feasible.

Cut out rounds of paczki dough

They’re traditionally filled with a prune filling.

And some people might scoff at the humble prune, but I’m with Tejal Rao in believing it’s unfairly maligned (and also, omg, that tart…) and would contend that prune filling is actually delicious. I also love them with apricot filling, but your filling preferences may vary.

Apricot and prune filling in pastry bags

I’ve made my own fillings at times, but really the commercially available Solo brand fillings that are available at most grocery stores (except, sadly, for the recent disappearance of the prune flavor from my nearby stores’ shelves) are totally up to the job, and they’re what I usually turn to.

You could also use any jam of any flavor you like (they’d be amazing with this Meyer lemon ginger curd).

Freshly fried paczki on paper towels

These, like any fried food, are best the day they are made or really only worth the calories for about 24 hours. So you’re going to want to share them with your favorite people (who will be so in your debt) so that you don’t have leftovers, because throwing these out will make you weep.

They are totally worth the hassle of deep frying.

Paczki on a paper towels on a sheet pan
Yield: 24 doughnuts

Pączki (Polish Yeasted Jelly Doughnuts)

paczki on paper towels

Pączki (pronounced "punch-key") are Polish doughnuts made with a rich yeasted dough. This version is adapted from the Polish Country Kitchen Cookbook. Be sure to use instant yeast (the kind that doesn't have to be proofed in liquid). You can use any flavor filling you like. Prune and apricot are traditional. My favorite oil for frying is rice bran oil (which you can find for cheap at most Asian grocery stores), but peanut oil and vegetable oil also work well. You'll need a deep-fat fryer or a large heavy saucepan and a thermometer and a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter (you could also use a similar sized drinking glass) to cut these out. These are best the day they are made, so share them with your friends to avoid leftovers! 

Prep Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes


  • 1 cup (235 ml) milk, preferably whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 cups (576 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons (14 grams) instant yeast
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces (340 grams) fruit filling, such as prune, apricot, raspberry
  • oil for frying, such as rice bran oil, peanut oil, or vegetable oil
  • confectioners' sugar, for topping


  1. Heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan until the butter has melted. Let cool until warm to the touch.
  2. Add the flour, yeast, and liquid mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the egg yolks, eggs, and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until the mixture starts to come together. Continue mixing on medium speed until smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add a little oil to a large mixing bowl, add the dough to the bowl and turn to coat lightly with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit cutter (or similarly sized drinking glass), cut out 24 circles from the dough and place the circles on a lightly floured baking sheet. (You can reroll the trimmings and cut out circles to use up any remaining dough, but know that these rerolled ones won't be as pretty--still delicious though.) Spray with non-stick spray and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  5. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep heavy saucepan to 325°F. Fry doughnuts, about 4 at a time (allowing space for them to expand) for about 45-60 seconds on each side or until they are a rich golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towels.
  6. When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, take a small paring knife and cut a small slit on one end of each doughnut going through to the center. Wiggle the knife back and forth to create a pocket for the filling. Place the filling in a piping bag or zip-top bag and clip off the corner. Pipe the filling into each doughnut. Sift confectioners' sugar over the doughnuts. Eat!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 666Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 35gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 184mgSodium: 113mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 10gProtein: 5g

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Rose Niznik

Saturday 17th of February 2024

How much butter is actually needed? 1/4 cup is 4 Tbs and 1/4 lb is 1/2 stick.

Mary Kasprzak

Saturday 17th of February 2024

1/2 cup, 1 stick. I'll correct.


Saturday 13th of January 2024

When I was young there was a Polish bakery were I lived. They sold several traditional desserts and pastries. You had better get there early Sunday mornings or you were out of luck. Most of their items were deep fried but not their paczkis with prune filling were baked. There were three other local bakeries that made "jelly buns"but When the subject of paczkis came up the consensus was the Polish bakery was number one and then there was the rest. I moved out of the area and came back 20 years later. The Polish people had retired and sold the business to, of all people, a Vietnamese family. When I found that out I had to go there and see for myself. I bought a half dozen paczkis and it brought back such good memeories as they tasted every bit as before.


Friday 17th of February 2017

I like traditional recipes thanks for introducing me to Paczki. This is great treat for kids I know always homemade is best.


Monday 20th of February 2017

Thanks, Swathi! Homemade is definitely the way to go here!

Liz @ I Heart Vegetables

Friday 17th of February 2017

My husband LOVES donuts so it would be really fun to try making our own! Yours look gorgeous!


Friday 17th of February 2017

Thanks, Liz! These are a fun project and everyone loves them!

Elizabeth @

Friday 17th of February 2017

OMG, I LIVE for homemade doughnuts! I've never tried this specific type (and never with a prune filling!) but I've yet to meet a doughnut I wanted to kick out of bed, so I am positive I would love these. :)


Friday 17th of February 2017

If you're a doughnut fan, you'll love these! (And if prune filling isn't your thing, you could always go with another flavor like raspberry or apricot...)

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