Moroccan doughnuts

Moroccan doughnuts, freshly fried, covered in cinnamon sugar (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

All over the world, people love deep-fried dough covered with sugar or glaze. They might call it by different names, but it’s pretty universal: we all love doughnuts!

This is the Moroccan version of the doughnuts that we love so much – slightly more chewy, slightly less refined, a bit more “masculine” (a bit like me, actually!). They are at their absolute best when they are still very warm and really fresh, covered in fine sugar. If you leave them for too long, they’ll lose some of their magic, so send the batches out to your hungry guests as soon as they are ready.


  • 2 t (10 ml) instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 T (15 ml) sugar
  • 1/2 t (2.5 ml) salt
  • 3 cups (375 g) flour
  • oil for deep-frying
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon fine cinnamon, to serve (adding cinnamon to the sugar is not traditional in Morocco, but it adds great flavour)


  1. Stir yeast and sugar into the water..
  2. Combine salt and flour in a mixing bowl, then make a well in the centre and add yeast mixture. Stir sufficient flour into yeast mixture to form a thin batter, then cover with a cloth and leave to froth.
  3. Gradually stir in remaining flour, then mix to form a soft dough. Add more lukewarm water if necessary. Knead until smooth and elastic. Coat with some oil, then cover and leave to rise for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
  4. Punch down dough, then turn it out on a work surface and divide into 20 even-sized portions.
  5. Punch a 2 cm hole in each dough portion with your finger, then shape with your hands to create a round shape (don’t worry if they don’t look perfect, they’ll puff out smoothly in the oil later). Place them on an oiled tray.
  6. Heat oil to 180 C, and have a long metal skewer on hand. Starting with the first doughnut you shaped, drop it in the oil, then immediately twirl it around with the metal skewer in the centre of the hole to keep the hole open. This just takes a few seconds. Fry the doughnuts in small batches for 1-2 minutes a side until golden.
  7. When cooked, lift them out with the skewer and drain on paper towels. Toss in cinnamon sugar and serve immediately with hot coffee or mint tea.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Moroccan by Murdoch Books.


This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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