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Homemade packzi with various fillings in rows in a baking pan.
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5 from 4 votes

Paczki (Jelly Donuts)

Don't wait until Paczki Day (aka Fat Tuesday or Mardis Gras) to enjoy one of these soft traditional Polish donuts filled with jelly, custard, or other delicious fillings! Paczki are homemade jelly donuts are even better than the ones you can get at your favorite local bakery.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Rising Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Polish
Servings: 16 -20 paczki
Calories: 272kcal
Author: Amy Nash

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup warm water (between 100 and 110°F)
  • 4 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided (100g)
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk, warm
  • ½ cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 to 5 ½ cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled (705 to 776g)
  • Canola oil, for frying (or vegetable or peanut oil)
  • Additional granulated sugar, for coating the outside of the donuts
  • Raspberry jam, Nutella, apple pie filling, lemon curd, pastry cream, etc., for filling

Instructions

  • Combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a bowl. Let it sit for 5-10 minute until foamy to proof. When bubbly, add eggs, butter, salt, and vanilla.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the remaining sugar, warm milk, butter, egg, egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Add the proofed yeast and 2 cups of the flour, then beat using the paddle attachment for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  • Switch to the dough hook and continue to add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, kneading between additions. Once the flour has been added, knead on medium-low speed for about 5 minutes until smooth. The dough will be sticky and soft, but should start to clean off the side of the bowl. You can also knead by hand for 7-9 minutes on a lightly floured surface instead. If the dough is really sticking to the bowl, you can add a little more flour, ½ cup at a time, until the dough is workable. But for the lightest paczki, try not to add too much flour.
  • Transfer the paczki dough to a clean, lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours or in the fridge overnight.
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to about ½-inch thick. Use a 3- to 3 ½-inch round biscuit or donut cutter (or cup or lid about that size) to cut out rounds, then place them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper with space between them to rise. You may need to dip the cutter into flour between each cut so it doesn't stick to the dough.
  • Cover the circles of dough loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise for 30-60 minutes until puffy and doubled in size. Or place them in the fridge for a slow proof overnight so they are ready to fry in the morning.
  • Heat about 3 inches of oil over medium heat in a large cast iron skillet to 325 to 350°F. Fry 3-5 donuts at a time for 2-3 minutes on one side, then flip and fry for another 1-2 minutes on the second side until golden brown with a pale stripe around the middle.
  • Transfer the fried paczki to a paper towel-lined baking sheet with a wire slotted spoon to drain excess oil. Toss in granulated sugar while still hot. Or let cool completely, then roll or dust in powdered sugar.
  • Fit a piping bag fitted with an open piping tip and fill with your filling of choice. Stick the piping tip into the side of a donut and squeeze until the filling starts to pool at the top of the donut. If you have a hard time getting your piping bag into the side of your paczki you can make a slit with a knife to get things started.
  • Serve immediately for best results, or store upright at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Notes

  • Halving the recipe: The recipe makes 16-20 paczki, which is quite a few so we usually share with friends since they are best fresh. But if you want to halve the recipe, just use 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, rather than trying to mess around with halving one whole egg.
  • Variations: These can be glazed or coated with powdered sugar or granulated sugar. Also, they can be served unfilled, if that's what you prefer. Although I like them filled best.
  • Powdered sugar vs. granulated sugar: Both area delicious, although I like the sparkle and crunch of the granulated sugar. Roll the paczki in the granulated sugar while they are still hot from being fried so that the sugar can stick best. If you choose to coat your paczki with powdered sugar instead, wait until they have cooled completely from frying before dusting them so the powdered sugar doesn't melt.
  • Filling ideas: Paczki can be filled with any fruit jam like raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, peach, apricot, or plum. I used some apple pie filling and chopped the apple pieces small to fill some of these paczki. Or any kind of creamy custard, pastry cream, dulce de leche, or chocolate pudding fillings would be good. 
  • Freezing: If you want to freeze them, I recommend waiting to coat them in sugar and fill with filling. When you want to enjoy a fresh-tasting paczki, just thaw as many of them as you like, then dust with powdered sugar (which sticks better on the previously frozen donuts) and fill with your desired fillings. You can even warm the thawed paczki before filling them by popping them in the oven, air fryer, or microwave for a bit to fresh them up.
  • Overnight rise: You can make the dough the night before so that it's ready to fry in the morning. You can refrigerate the dough before the first rise, then shape the paczki in the morning, or go ahead and shape them the night before and refrigerate them at that point. Either way, cover the dough with plastic wrap so it doesn't dry out. An overnight rise is a great idea since the flavor of the dough develops more over time. 

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 118mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg