Fried Challah Sufganiyot

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the successful Jewish revolt against the provincial Greek government of Judea during the time of the Second Temple (between 530 BCE and 70 CE, if you’re curious). Led by the Maccabees, the Jews reclaimed the desecrated temple, but they found only one day’s worth of purified oil to light the menorah, which was required to burn continuously. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight days, enough time for a fresh supply to arrive.

During the eight days of Hanukkah, we celebrate that miracle by eating foods fried in oil, rivaling Halloween for best gratuitous reason to eat junk food—holiday division. Latkes steal most of the Hanukkah spotlight, but sufganiyot—yeast-raised, jelly-filled donuts—are ever popular. Throughout Israel, bakeries turn into donut factories, producing tray after tray of plump, light, and golden brown beauties. We’ve found that eggy challah dough, enriched with butter and sugar, makes a great donut batter that’s easy to work with. Instead of rolling out the dough and punching out rings as with traditional yeast donuts, we use an ice cream scoop to form and dispense the sufganiyot into the oil.

We love the exotic and festive combination of quince jam and rose petal sugar, but feel free to substitute any jam and sugar combination. May we suggest our Federal Donuts cookbook for inspiration?

FRIED CHALLAH SUFGANIYOT is excerpted from ISRAELI SOUL © 2018 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2018 by Michael Persico. Reproduced by permission of Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.



  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 1/2 cup egg yolks (about 6 large yolks)
  • 2/3 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups quince (or other fruit) jam

Rose Petal Sugar

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed dried rose petals


Step 1

MAKE THE DONUTS: Combine the sugar, yeast, and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt, olive oil, canola oil, and egg yolks. Mix on low speed until the dough comes together and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute.

Step 2

Gradually mix in the butter, mixing for another minute. Scrape down the side of the bowl and continue mixing for 2 more minutes. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise at room temperature until it has quadrupled in volume, about 4 hours.

Step 3

Fill a large pot with a generous 2 inches of canola oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil registers 350°F on a candy thermometer. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Step 4

Use an ice cream scoop to drop balls of dough into the hot oil, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain the oil temperature. Fry the donuts in batches until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon to drain on the prepared baking sheet. Let cool slightly.

Step 5

MAKE THE ROSE PETAL SUGAR: Combine the sugar and crushed rose petals in a shallow bowl.

Step 6

Poke a hole in each donut with the tip of a paring knife. Spoon the jam into a large resealable plastic bag, press out the air, and twist the top until the bag feels tight. Snip off a corner of the bag and squeeze the jam into each donut until a bit oozes out. Roll the filled donuts in the rose petal sugar.

Step 7

Serve warm.

photo by Michael Persico