Vegan and Gluten-Free Sufganiyot: A Healthier Alternative to Hanukkah’s Fried Jelly-Filled Doughnut

Hanukkah may be a minor Jewish holiday, but it offers a major excuse to eat fried foods since oil is a central theme to the ancient miracle the eight-day celebration commemorates.

As the story goes, when the Jews reclaimed a holy temple in Jerusalem after years of religious oppression, they needed oil to rededicate the building. Unfortunately, they could only find enough olive oil to light the menorah for one night. That’s where the miracle comes in: the flames kept burning for eight days and in that time, they were able to make more oil to keep the eternal flame lit.

During the Jewish Festival of Lights, traditional Hanukkah treats, such as latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly-filled donuts), are cooked in oil to remind people of the miracle.

Adam Rosen and his wife, Erin Huber, light the Menorah during Hanukkah celebrations.

Adam Rosen and his wife, Erin Huber, light the Menorah during Hanukkah celebrations.

“Our house always was filled with joy and that deep-fried smell you could never get out of your clothes,” laughs Adam Rosen, the Economic Development and Marketing Director for the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization.

Rosen, who also writes a vegan tailgate blog called Hold the Pigskin, prefers to eat a bit healthier in his adult life, so he decided to whip up a recipe for sufganiyot that avoids the deep fryer, is gluten-free and vegan, too. “The oil comes from the peanut butter,” he says. “I think that counts.”

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (use homemade and use the rest on your latkes!)
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 4 flax egg (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax, plus 3 tablespoons warm water. let sit for a couple of minutes after stirring together)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Dusting of powdered sugar


  • 1 dollop peanut butter for each
  • 1 dollop of jam or jelly for each

Preheat oven to 350° and spray a standard doughnut mold or muffin tin with non-stick spray.

Combine flax egg, sugar, applesauce, and almond milk into a mixer and beat until fluffy. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, peanut butter powder, baking powder, and soda. Add your dry ingredients into the mixer and stir until combined.

Fill six doughnut molds half way with batter (about 3/4 of the batter). Spoon a layer of jam and a layer of peanut butter into the center of the batter, then cover with remaining batter. Bake doughnuts for 17-20 minutes. Remove from oven and then let them cool completely. Add a dusting of powdered sugar, then enjoy!

 —Story and photos by Laura Watilo Blake