These Homemade Polish Paczki are the perfect dessert to celebrate Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. You can use lemon, apple, raspberry, strawberry, custard or any filling you love then dunk them in powdered sugar or glaze.
This is one of my daughter's favourite recipes. She looks forward to making them every year. As Fat Tuesday approaches we both get super excited to carry on our tradition of making these tasty treats.
You can prep the dough the day before since it needs to rise. Or make them early in the morning. Just really keep in mind that you have to allow for two or more hours for the dough to rise. Just keeping it real, folks!
If you have never made these I'll warn you they are a tad step heavy. You need to make dough with yeast, allow it to rise, punch it down, allow it to rise again, then roll it out, cut it into spheres, then allow those to rise.
By the time you get to the filling stage it's been hours of prep. Most of that is inactive though so it's not difficult, it's just a lot of steps to get from point A to point B, C, D and E.
It's totally worth it though. If you think store-bought Polish Paczki are phenomenal wait till you try homemade. These bad boys are going to blow your mind.
What are Paczki or Polish Doughnuts?
Paczki are filled rich pastries that are similar to doughnuts. You can fill them with jams, preserves, pie fillings, custard, lemon curd or even Nutella.
They are often coated with powdered sugar or icing (glaze). While not traditional, we make a batch with a cinnamon sugar blend every year.
When do you eat Paczki aka Polish Doughnuts?
In Canada and the states, Paczki are meant to be eaten on Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. It's a time honoured tradition where we live in Canada.
In Poland they are typically eaten on Fat Thursday, which is the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.
How do you pronounce Paczki?
In our area they pronounced "pownch-key". Lots of folks pronounce the name incorrectly. I figure as long as you're doing your best to say it right, you're doing okay.
Other great desserts as good as these Polish Paczki:
- Baked Fudge
- Chocolate Tacos
- The Best Brownies in the World
- Homemade Snickers Cheesecake Bars
- Strawberry Shortcake No Bake Mini Cheesecakes
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For the Dough:
- 1 ½ cups warm milk (110 degrees is ideal)
- 2 packages active dry yeast (Each package of yeast is 7 grams. If using jarred yeast you will need 14 grams total)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (for proofing the yeast)
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks room temperature
- 1 teaspoon rum extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 ½ all-purpose flour
For the Toppings:
- Granulated Sugar
- Powdered Sugar
- Cinnamon Sugar Mix (one part granulated sugar, one part brown sugar, then a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg)
For proofing the yeast:
- Warm the milk in a saucepan using a thermometer to watch the temperature. Do not go over 110 degrees. Remove from heat. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 2 packages of active dry yeast. Stir briefly. Then set aside to allow it to proof. This will take about 5 to 8 minutes, just let it sit and if your yeast is good it will start to foam.
For the Dough:
- In a stand mixer combine the ½ cup sugar and ½ cup butter, cream that with a paddle attachment.You want it fluffy before adding anything else. Once it is you can add the egg, egg yolks, rum extract and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
- Now alternately add the flour and yeast mixture to stand mixer bowl. I alternated 3 times and mixed slowly in while adding. Then turn the speed up to a medium speed for a minute or two, until the dough becomes blistered. Every time we make these we end up using the full 5 cups of flour. But I also start out with 4 and ½ cups to be sure if I need more or not.
- The dough is going to be very sticky, it's okay, don't let that freak you out. Spray a glass bowl with non-stick spray and then set the dough inside. I spray a piece of parchment with non-stick spray then lay that over the top of the dough, then I tightly cover the bowl with tinfoil, sealing the edges. Set the bowl somewhere warm and allow to rise for about 1 to 2 and ½ hours, it should double in size.
- Now punch it down, then wrap it back up and allow it to rise again for 1 to 2 and ½ hours.
- Now lightly flour your work surface. Turn your dough out onto the work surface. Roll out so the dough is ½ inch thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or glass to cut rounds. Place them on lightly floured pans, cover with a lint free cloth, and allow them to rise for another 30 to 60 minutes.
- Heat your oil to 350 degrees F.
- Drop pacski in the oil, flat side down, cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, then flip over and cook other side for 1 to 2 minutes. You want them to be golden brown.
- Scoop out of the fryer and lay on a paper towel, then dunk in desired topping. Place on a rack to dry.
- Repeat with 3 or 4 at a time so you don't over-crowd your oil. Continue until all the pacski are cooked.
- Serve with a big old sugary smile!
Be sure to peek around my Recipe Index for more recipe inspiration. You can peek through other desserts or go for broke and look at ice cream recipes.
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Toodles and smoochies! xx
Hi, I am actually in the middle of making these. I just finished making my first dough and was about to make a second batch when I noticed that the recipe calls for salt. I didn't add any to the first batch because it isn't in the instructions anywhere. When are you supposed to add it and does this mean my first dough is ruined? I've just put it in a bowl to rise for the first time. I'd really appreciate if you can get back to me ASAP!
I'll peek at the recipe as soon as I get home, but leaving the salt out won't affect this recipe whatsoever. It just helps heighten the sweetness but you won't even notice it's missing at all. Thanks for the heads up. I'll take a look as soon as I get it. Sometimes not having an editor to look over stuff sucks. I keep wondering if it would be worth hiring a proof reader, just in case the odd one like this gets by me.
How do you control the oil temperature for cooking the Polish paczki? What kind of pot do you use? Do you use a thermometer?
Hi Anna. We have an electric deep fryer which is perfect for maintaining the temperature. You can use a dutch oven or large stock pot on the stove just as easily. If you do that you must use a thermometer to avoid not only burning, but a dangerous situation. You can buy good thermometers anywhere these days, even Walmart carries them. I have to be super careful when doing any frying on my stove because mine is gas, so it's open flame. If you decide to use a dutch oven only fill the oil about 1/4 to 1/3 full, just enough oil to cook it but you not to bubble up over the sides. Does that help a bit? If you need anything else just holler. I'm all morning on Wednesday, but stepping out for lunch and some barn time in the afternoon. Then I'm home in the evening. You can hit me up here or email me.
This looks so fluffy and sugary, too tasty to resist! I would try it!
Thanks so much.
These look delicious and much easier than I would have expected!
Thanks Heather. I'm a big fan of easy recipes.
This is my first time making these and they are incredible! I forgot the salt and they still came out perfect.
Thanks so much for trying them. Ha, I forget salt on occasion too. Luckily it doesn't affect this recipe much.