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A papanas on a white plate with ramekins of sour cream and jam in the background
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4.67 from 3 votes

Romanian Papanasi Recipe

Romanian Papanasi with sour cream and jam, or fried no-yeast cheese doughnuts, a traditional dessert that tastes like heaven, and we are so proud of. It only takes a few basic ingredients to put it together, but be sure that everybody will fall in love with them. Best donuts ever, with little effort, but maximum flavours.
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Romanian
Servings: 4 papanasi
Calories: 1189kcal


  • 200 g cow's cheese (or feta cheese)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • zest of one lemon
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups vegetable oil to fry
  • sour cream
  • jam


  • Grate or crumble the cheese and add it to a large bowl.
  • Mix in the egg, sugar, lemon zest and bicarbonate of soda.
  • Add the flour and knead until you get a dough that is still very slightly sticky. Shape it into a ball.
  • Let the dough to rest for about 15-20 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 4 smaller balls.
  • Each ball will then be devided into 2, we will need about ¾ of that dough for the main doughnut and ¼ for the small ball that goes on top.
  • We will then have 4 doughnuts and 4 small balls in total.
  • 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.
  • Heat up a large pan and add the oil.
  • Add one doughnut and one ball and let them fry on each side for about 2 minutes until golden.
  • Remove with a spatula and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen towel to absorbe any excess oil.
  • Repeat with the remaining doughnuts and balls.
  • Serve with sour cream and jam.


  • 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.


Calories: 1189kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 111g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 731mg | Potassium: 78mg | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Calcium: 257mg | Iron: 1.9mg