Romanian Papanasi Recipe

Romanian Papanasi Recipe with sour cream and jam, or fried no-yeast cheese doughnuts, a dessert that tastes like heaven, and we are so proud of it. It only takes a few ingredients to put it together, but be sure that everybody will fall in love with them.

A Romanian Papanasi on a white plate with a teaspoon next to it

I’m so happy to be taking part in Natascha’s Around the world recipe challenge where you can find some fantastic recipes from different countries. Natascha is the amazing blogger behind Natascha’s Palace, do check her blog for some delicious dishes, she is a great cook.

I was delighted to see that Romanian Donuts Papanasi ( read papanashi) were on her list, and, since they are such an appetising Romanian dessert, I really had to give them a try. Papanasi are our version of fried cheese donuts, but so much tastier than any donuts.

I almost feel embarrassed to admit that it was the fist time I made them myself, although I did try them in past. Any restaurant would serve them, and foreigners would always be welcomed with a nice portion of Romanian stuffed cabbage rolls with chicken and rice, a glass of plum brandy and some papanasi. It may be a rich menu, but it’s worth every single bite. And calorie, as a matter of fact.

Overhead shot of a white plate with Romanian Papanasi

Papanasi are usually made of cows’ cheese, we use it in lots of different recipes, from sweet to savoury, and, as a nation, we absolutely love cheese. Papanasi can be either fried or boiled, or maybe eveb baked, but l’m sure you’d agree with me that fried taste a lot better, even if they might be less healthy.

But then, desserts are not (necessarily) meant to be super healthy, right? ? As long as we don’t eat more of the naughty stuff than the healthy ones, dessert now and then can make no harm.

It’s definitely not easy to have only one of these beauties, ask any Romanian, and they will tell you the same thing: our Papanasi are too good for words. If you are looking for the best Romanian desserts, these are one of them. Yum!

Simple fried Romanian papanasi on a white plate

If you’ve tried my ROMANIAN PAPANASI or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.

5 from 2 votes
Cheese doughnuts aka Romanian papanasi
Romanian Papanasi Recipe
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
55 mins

Romanian Papanasi Recipe, or fried no-yeast cheese doughnuts with sour cream and jam, a fantastic dessert that we treasure.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Romanian
Keyword: Romanian desserts
Servings: 4 papanasi
Calories: 1189 kcal
Author: Daniela Anderson
  • 200 g cow's cheese (or feta)
  • 1 egg
  • 120 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • zest of one lemon
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 400 ml vegetable oil to fry
  • sour cream
  • cherry jam
  1. Grate the cheese and add it to a large bowl.
  2. Mix in the egg, sugar, lemon zest and bicarbonate of soda.

  3. Add the flour and knead until you get a dought that is still very slightly sticky. Shape it into a ball.
  4. Let the dough to rest for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Divide the dough into 4 smaller balls.
  6. Each ball will then be devided into 2, we will need about 3/4 of that dough for the main doughnut and 1/4 for the small ball that goes on top.
  7. We will then have 4 doughnuts and 4 small balls in total.
  8. To make the doughnut, just use your thumbprint to make a hole in the middle of the dough and give it a nice round shape.
  9. Heat up a large pan and add the oil.
  10. Add one doughnut and one ball and let them fry on each side for about 2 minutes until golden.
  11. Remove with a spatula and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen towel to absorbe any excess oil.
  12. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and balls.
  13. Serve with sour cream and cherry or any other jam you prefer.
Recipe Notes
  • To see the measurements in cups and ounces, please click on the US CUSTOMARY link.
  • The amount of ingredients listed can be adjusted depending on the number of servings you need, just click on the number next to SERVINGS.
Nutrition Facts
Romanian Papanasi Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1189 Calories from Fat 999
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 111g 171%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 85mg 28%
Sodium 731mg 30%
Potassium 78mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 37g 12%
Sugars 14g
Protein 11g 22%
Vitamin A 5.4%
Calcium 25.7%
Iron 10.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.






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  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Well, I’ve never heard of a papanasi before, but they sure do look tasty!
    Janie x

    • Reply
      Daniela Apostol
      August 6, 2016 at 1:45 pm

      Thank you!

    • Reply
      October 25, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      I had Papanasi when I was in Bucharest and they were probably the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted. The waitress was laughing at my expression of delight as I ate them! I’ve been trying to discover what they were called an how I could make them and now I’ve found out, I will definitely be trying this recipe.

      • Reply
        Daniela Anderson
        October 25, 2018 at 5:55 pm

        We absolutely love papanasi, this is a super simple recipe, hope you like it.

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I love the sweet and savory components of these Cheese Donuts! I typically don’t care for super sweet desserts so this one sounds perfect for me. Yum!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Oh my GOODNESS! These look divine! I would definitely fry them because I think if I am going to be naughty and eat a rich dessert, then I really want to enjoy it! They look easy to make too! I would love to try these! Thank you so much for sharing this and for participating! I will share this post next week! ?????❤❤??

    • Reply
      Daniela Apostol
      August 6, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      Thank you, Natascha! I loved taking part in your challege. Also enjoyed eating them haha they are yummy ?

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