Sfenj - Deep Fried Moroccan Doughnuts

"My husband, who spent the first 25 years of his life in Casablanca, claims these tasted authentic. These doughnuts are less sweet than sufganyot or beignets - more like fried bread. But it tastes like home to him!"
photo by Lil O. photo by Lil O.
photo by Lil O.
photo by contact photo by contact
Ready In:




  • Make yeast starter by dissolving 2 TBS. sugar and 1/2 teaspoons salt in 4 TBS. warm water in a small bowl. Stir in 1 TBS. dried active yeast. Let proof 15 minutes.
  • Sift the flour into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle with your hands. Pour the yeast mixture into the well and begin to mix with your hand. Add a little warm water from time to time as mix, until it is the consistency of a stiff dough.
  • Knead dough for 10-15 minutes by machine OR by hand:pulling the dough away from the bowl, slapping it down and kneading it into the bowl again with the heel of your hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Little by little, add remainder of water, sprinkling 2 TBS. at a time into the bowl. Knead the dough in the bowl until water is dissolved, continuing until the dough is spongy, very elastic and very sticky.
  • Oil a mixing bowl lightly. Oil your hands and push dough down into the center of the original bowl with oiled hands until you can easily pick it up and transfer to the oiled bowl. Wipe any dough that might stick to your hands, dip fingers in oil again, and turn dough over in bowl. Then cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and allow to rise 1 -1 1/2 hours.
  • When dough is risen, punch it down in bowl with your fist. Heat frying oil in a pan or deep fryer.
  • When oil is hot, oil the fingers of both hands. Take a piece of dough approximately the size of a small egg and make a hole in the center using your fingers and twirl the dough to enlarge hole to size of a golf ball. Plunge ring of dough into hot oil. The dough will puff up.
  • Turn the rings once or twice until golden on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow to drain dry on kitchen paper.
  • Serve hot. May dip in sugar or honey or jam if desired.

Questions & Replies

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  1. Incredibly tasty! Dima Maghrib :-)
    • Review photo by contact
  2. Sfenj is from the Maghreb (all of North Africa). Calling sfenj Moroccan is like saying ribs are only from Texas. Please don't assume this recipe is only made in Morocco. They serve sfenj on the beach in Algeria and Tunisia. The Jewish 'sufganiyot' version originally comes from the Jewish Ashkenazi population in North Africa. Sufganiyot will be sweeter because we inject jelly after it is fried. That said, great recipe but not Moroccan in origin. Please attribute it to the Maghreb en general. Bon appetit y'all!
  3. Great got my class project done!!!


  1. Sfenj is a Moroccan dessert, it was created in Al-Andalus during the 12 century while it was under Almoravid then Almohad rule. Both Moroccan dynasties, this dish spread from Al-Andalus to mainland Morocco. Then later spread to other North African countries through immigration and colonization.



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