The Best Fillings For Sufganiyot During Hanukkah

Sufganiyot and Hanukkah have been virtually synonymous for over 100 years, at least in Israel. These delicious jelly-filled, powdered sugar-dusted donuts were promoted as a Hanukkah treat by the Israeli Labor Federation (Histadrut) starting in the 1920s. The association of sufganiyot with the Jewish festival is fitting, as the donuts are fried in oil. This is reminiscent of the miracle of Hanukkah, in which one day's worth of oil for the menorah at the Temple of Jerusalem lasted for eight days. 

In the U.S., these donuts have been a staple for holiday celebrations in Jewish communities since the 1970s. Fruit jelly is the traditional filling, but it bears noting that sufganiyot (the plural form of the Hebrew word sufganiyah) can be made with a wide variety of creative fillings, and are often experimented with by those cooking them at home. With that in mind, here are five of our favorite creative fillings for Hanukkah this year.

Tomato Jam

Tomato may not be the first fruit preserve that comes to mind for pairing with a powdered sugar-topped sufganiyah, but tomato jam and sugar are a great combination for a donut filling, with the latter intensifying the tomatoes' natural sweetness. Heirloom tomato jam is some of the best you can buy, but cherry tomato and plum tomato jams are delicious options, too. You can also make your own and customize it with sweet honey, herbal rosemary, or other flavorings.


Nutella has been kosher certified, so this Italian chocolate and hazelnut spread can safely be used as a sufganiyot stuffer, giving the donuts a sweet and creamy richness to please guests young and old. It may be non-traditional, but Nutella is wildly popular in all sorts of desserts, so you can imagine how delicious it is in these donuts. Only one to two teaspoons of Nutella are needed to fill the pocket of air in each donut after frying. And if you're a cook who does everything homemade, make your own chocolate hazelnut spread.

Dulce de Leche

Dulce de leche is a beloved Latin American sauce or candy that is often called a caramel, but is usually made with condensed milk, rather than sugar and fresh milk. This thick, caramelized milk confection is magic in cookies, cakes, and beyond, not to mention it's incredibly easy to make at home. Fill your sufganiyot with saucy dulce de leche, take the sweetness up a notch by adding whipped cream and/or a chocolate drizzle, and you've got an incredibly decadent Hanukkah treat.

Ruby Red Jam

The beauty of this ruby red jam is that combines cherries, strawberries, and red currants into one delicious, beautiful-looking, and easy-to-make filling. The bit of jam peeking out of the donuts will be a welcome sight for Hanukkah traditionalists. The red currants shouldn't be skipped, as they provide a sweet yet tart freshness that makes this jam special. The vibrant red filling also pops against the white of the powdered sugar for truly enticing-looking donuts.

Apple Butter

Despite what you might think, this apple condiment contains no butter. It's more like a thick, spreadable, caramelized applesauce that offers a concentrated burst of fruit flavor, a perfect complement to a sugary sufganiyah. It's also a more creative choice than a more traditional fruit jelly or jam filling. If you're a real apple lover (or you can't find apple butter at the store), try using apple pie filling. Apple custard is yet another option that recalls a classic cream-filled donut you might find at a donut shop.