Carnival Doughnuts

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Every culture has a festival and every festival has its rendition of fried dough. The Italians celebrate with frittelle, Mexicans make long, skinny churros, and the French eat beignets. Funnel cakes are the American version of this simple but tasty tradition. Out of that tradition came Carnival Doughnuts—a cross-cultural delight, accented by the aromatic flavors of the Mediterranean, such as orange flower water, readily found at most Indian and Middle Eastern markets. The loose batter is piped directly into the hot oil, making crispy, delicate snakes of sweet, perfumed dough.

12 servings

Cooking Methodfrying



Total Timeunder 1 hour

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together, game day

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian

Mealbreakfast, brunch, dinner


Taste and Texturechewy, crisp, sweet

Type of Dishdessert


  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons mild-flavored honey, such as clover
  • 1½–2 tablespoons pure almond extract, to taste
  • 5–6 tablespoons orange flower water, to taste
  • Nonmelting icing sugar or powdered sugar
  • Pastry bag fitted with a #4 plain tip
  • Heavy-duty, deep saucepan filled halfway with vegetable oil


Heat the oil to 375 degrees.

Over a large mixing bowl, sift to combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a large well in the center and pour in the eggs, buttermilk, honey, almond extract, and orange flower water. Whisk together the liquid ingredients and slowly draw in the dry ingredients. The mixture should be fairly smooth before you draw in more flour.

Fill the pastry bag half full and pipe the batter directly into the hot oil, making random, 3-inch-long squiggles. After you’ve piped a few, wait until they have risen back to the surface before you pipe more, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Pile onto a platter and sift nonmelting icing sugar or powdered sugar over the top.



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