My Favorite Chanukah Recipe: Sugar-Free Donuts

My Favorite Chanukah Recipe: Sugar-Free Donuts

I don’t eat sugar, so while the rest of my family is chowing down on sufganiot, I can only watch and wish. Which is why I adore Sfinjes, a North African Jewish donut which in addition to being majorly yummy are also a well-known segula/auspicious practice for financial plenty. I use this recipe every year, and it’s my FAVORITE Chanukah food (though I love latkes too).

Ingredients for 35 Sfinjes

1 kilo/2.2 pounds flour
50 grams fresh yeast (or 2 tbsp. dry yeast)
1 tbsp salt
3 3/4 cups of water
oil for frying
Powdered sugar/honey/artificial sweetener for frosting
1. Place flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl and add the water as you stir. No need to use a hand mixer.
2. With a spoon, mix well for at least 5 minutes until the dough is thick and smooth.
3. Cover the dough with a towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. The dough will be very soft and will have risen a lot.
4. With oiled hands, take a handful of dough and gently make a hole in its middle and stretch until it is a big circle. (Please note, the circle won’t be perfect since the dough is very soft and almost liquid after rising).
5. Fry in deep oil on both sides until golden. The dough rises a lot during frying.
6. Serve with powdered sugar/honey/ artificial sweetner.

Here is the original source for this recipe


  1. Dear Chana Jenny,
    Please share how you are able to stay off sugar successfully. I try, but when I yield to temptation and eat even one cookie, I lose self-control and gain weight at a frightening pace. How do you stay motivated? And what is your typical daily menu? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

    • there are a lot of natural low glycemic index sugar replacements like agave, stevia, rice malt, etc. You can also use fruit concentrates instead of sugar in baking, and applesauce. If you have a sweet tooth it is so hard to go off sugar, you need to eat/prepare naturally sweet foods every now and then that will take the edge off the cravings, hence the binges… good luck!!!

      (my son had to go off sugar so I learned to bake goodies without it…)

    • This is how I went about it: I stopped eating sugar for two weeks. Those two weeks were very hard. But after two weeks, I had no more craving at all for sugar. As you said, if you eat even “one cookie” or something with white flour, then that signals the brain to crave sugar again. So you really have to go cold turkey to stop the cravings.

      I don’t think everyone has to go off sugar. But for me, I found that sugar was making me feel very moody and anxious. Now that i don’t eat sugar (for 8 years now)I have become a lot more stable emotionally, and am so much calmer with my kids.

      • I also try really hard to avoid sugar but in some cases I find it nearly impossible, like at other people’s homes, or at smachot. What do you do in those cases?

      • thank you. do you do what the previous commenter said- substitute agave and stevia etc- or do you stay away from sweeteners altogether?
        would you mind sharing a typical daily menu, so i can get an idea of how to do this?
        thansk so much,

        • I use liquid stevia as a sweetener. I put it in hot drinks, oatmeal, cereal–everything! It’s great. Agave’s also great, just more expensive.

  2. that’s the key: to just stop! i did it for a while and felt great. i wish I could say that it’s been 8 years, but I usually go on and off. sugar is very bad for you!!

  3. please translate how many cups of flour 1 kilo is

  4. Sorry we are making you crazy busy with this post but what is the end result texture supposed to be? I made this and it was extremely dense and heavy, not airy at all. Is this normal or did I do something wrong? I feel like I have a rock in my stomach! I promise I followed the recipe! ;P

    • sounds like something went wrong, did the dough rise? It’s supposed to be very liquidy dough. Not sure what went wrong…

  5. These were a HUGE hit at our chanukah party! Thanks very much:) Chanukah Sameach!

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