The Heavy Table Twin Cities Sufganiyot Ranking

Since Hanukkah commemorates a small quantity of oil miraculously lasting for eight nights, the holiday is traditionally celebrated by consuming foods fried in lots of oil.  Popular choices include latkes, or potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, doughnuts filled with jelly and dusted with powdered sugar.  Fascinatingly, sufganiyot became associated with Hanukkah in large part due to a 1920s trade union campaign—latkes could be easily made at home, but sufganiyot were typically produced in bakeries and increased holiday demand benefited unionized workers.

In the Twin Cities metro, a handful of local bakeries produce sufganiyot during Hanukkah (which this year runs from sundown on December 7 through sundown on December 15), and at some spots they’re available beyond the holiday. I wanted to kick off Hanukkah by trying as many as possible, both to celebrate and because I’m a pastry-loving data nerd.

To make my tasting notes consistent, I opted for a raspberry filling if possible.  I picked up all of the sufganiyot between 7:40 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, December 7, weighed and photographed them, and sampled them starting around 10:15 a.m.

As you’ll read below, the quality of the sufganiyot was uneven.  However, I wanted to mention that customer service was consistently great—everyone I interacted with was friendly and knowledgeable, and the pickup process for my pre-orders was efficient.  If possible, pre-order your sufganiyot since walk-up quantities are limited or nonexistent.    

Bogart’s Doughnut Co. 

Price: $2.75 for 91 grams (3 cents/gram)

Details: Bogart’s sufganiyot are made from brioche dough and filled with housemade quadruple berry jam (raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry).  They’re certified kosher. Online pre-orders are accepted with a $0.99 service fee.  Available through December 31.

Tasting notes: The jam filling is blue ribbon-worthy: tart and fruit-forward, with the raspberry and blackberry notes especially prominent.  The doughnut has a pleasant buttery flavor and a nice fluffy texture.  If you’re ordering only a doughnut or two the service fee increases the unit cost substantially, but it’s still worth it to ensure you get your hands on one of these.

Score: 8/10

Funner Brothers Donut Company 

Price: $3 for 102 grams (2.94 cents/gram)

Details: Funner Brothers’ sufganiyot filling options are strawberry, raspberry, apple, and lemon.  Online pre-orders are accepted for quantities of four ($12), a half-dozen ($15), or a dozen ($24).  Single pastries are available in-store, although preorders are recommended, since they make limited quantities and sell out early, especially the raspberry and strawberry flavors.  Available through December 23.

Tasting notes: These are the prettiest of the bunch, with a generous dusting of powdered sugar and perfect dollop of jelly on top.  The doughnut has the perfect balance of loft and chew—it’s fluffy but satisfying.  The raspberry jelly is on the sweet side but has a vibrant fruit flavor. [1]

Score: 9/10

Glam Doll Donuts 

Price: $3.50 for 109 grams (3.2 cents/gram)

Details: Glam Doll’s sufganiyot are filled with strawberry jam.  Online pre-orders have a $15 minimum.  Available through December 23.  

Tasting notes: Sadly, Glam Doll’s aesthetically-pleasing sufganiyot are all style and no substance.  The doughnut portion was unpleasantly salty, and the filling reminded me of the little plastic Smucker’s packets at diners.  

Score: 3/10

Mel-O-Glaze Bakery 

Price: $4.25 for 201 grams (2.1 cents per gram)

Details: The proprietor seemed a bit bemused that Mel-O-Glaze has become a sufganiyot destination.  “They’re just our jelly bismark with powdered sugar!” she told me when I requested one.  Since the bismarks are typically sold pre-frosted, pre-ordering by text message is highly recommended.  Available year round by pre-order. 

Tasting notes: This was the heftiest of the bunch, due both to its size and its substantial, almost bread-like texture.  The strawberry filling reminded me of my mom’s homemade jam, with a pronounced fruit flavor that balanced the sweetness well.

Score: 6/10

Yo Yo Donuts 

Price: $1.99 for 75 gram regular (2.7 cents per gram, pictured above), $2.25 for 74 gram vegan (3 cents per gram)

Details: Yo Yo’s default sufganiyot filling is raspberry, but you can get strawberry, chocolate, angel cream, or Bavarian cream by pre-order.  A vegan option available with 48 hours notice, and the entire facility (including staff lunches) is peanut and tree nut-free.  Online pre-orders are accepted for any quantity.  Available through December 15. 

Tasting notes: These are your basic old-school doughnuts: not especially noteworthy but they get the job done. The raspberry filling was a bit too sweet for my tastes, but the doughnut portion of the regular version was well-prepared and fluffy.  The vegan version (above) was slightly tougher but otherwise indistinguishable—if you need plant-based sufganiyot, these are a decent option.

Score: 5/10 for regular, 4.5/10 for vegan

[1] FOOTNOTE:  Since I had to place a pre-order for four, I sampled the strawberry, apple, and lemon as well.  I was impressed: the apple filling had a gentle cinnamon undertone and tiny bits of well-cooked apples, the lemon filling was a lovely balance of sweet and tart, and the strawberry filling was quite tasty.