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Sfenj are the type of doughnuts Moroccans eat on Hanukkah. They are not filled like traditional sufganiyot, instead, they are coated in sugar and are made with a hole in the middle.  

The dough is easy to make but does need some time to rise, once it is ready, making the sfenj is quick and easy, even your kids can help. 

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 12Servings


  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water, divided
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil, such as Colavita, for frying
  • 1 cup sugar, for garnish


  1. Mix yeast, sugar and ¾ cup water in a small bowl. Allow yeast to activate by setting aside in a warm spot for fifteen minutes. Yeast is activated when small bubbles appear on the surface of the water-yeast mixture.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or standing mixer, stir together flour, salt, yeast mixture and remaining ¾ cup water. Knead for ten minutes using the dough hook attachment or by hand on a floured work surface.
  3. The mixture will be sticky. The more you knead the smoother the mixture will become. Do not add more flour to the mixture.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 3 to 4 hours, until mixture triples in size.
  5. In a heavy bottom, deep pot or pan heat 2-inches evoo over medium-high heat to 350°F.
  6. 6. Dip your hand in water and pull pieces of dough roughly the size of a small peach. (Sfenj is not meant to be perfect.) Poke a hole in the center of the ball of dough and roll a bit to resemble a rustic bagel.
  7. 7. Fry for 3 minutes, flip and fry for 2 minutes more, until golden brown and puffed. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  8. 8. Dip warm sfenj into sugar and serve