Homemade Gluten Free Sfinge -- Moroccan Donuts -- Vegan and Easy

Sfinge! Oh, these delicious lumpy bumpy crunchy bits of delight are something that I'd heard about for years, but only tried for the first time today. These Moroccan donuts are extremely delectable, and even tastier than your typical donut. I've made so many different types of donuts over the years, and these are officially the easiest, which is why I think this will now be my go-to recipe.

I made this recipe gluten free, using this one as a base for it.

Most times converting yeast based gluten recipes to gluten free ones isn't so easy, as gluten strands is what holds the carbon dioxide bubbles that the yeast forms and allows it to rise. Gluten free bread dough needs to be much looser than gluten dough or it won't rise. Therefore, when I clarified with friends that sfinge is made with a loose dough, whose texture is close to mashed potatoes, I realized that its something that can easily convert to gluten free.

And I was right.

These are amazing. Light and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, these are best eaten hot and freshly made. They have very minimal ingredients and are really cheap to make.

Definitely try this.

Homemade Gluten Free Sfinge -- Moroccan Donuts -- Vegan and Easy


2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons rice flour
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons potato starch
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups water
2 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons whiskey or vodka or brandy or high proof alcohol of choice (optional)
Oil for frying


1. Mix your flour, starch, xanthan gum, and salt together until uniform.

2. Mix water with sugar and yeast and whisk with a fork until the yeast is all dissolved.

3. Add the liquids to the solids. Add alcohol of choice (this makes it absorb less oil, according to my friend Alison, but you don't taste it).

4. Mix well.

5. Let rise for an hour. This is what it should look like after rising.

6. Heat your oil in a pot on high. I find a narrower deeper pot is best for this because you want the oil to be a certain depth and you need less oil in a smaller pot. Put it about 2 inches or so deep.

7. When the oil seems hot (put your hand above it slightly and see if you can feel the heat rising off of it, drop a tiny little bit of the batter into the oil. If it immediately starts sizzling and rising up you can move on to the next part. If not, wait for it to heat up more and test again.

8. Now gets the fun, a little tricky, and messy part. Wet your hands well, and grab a golf ball or so sized piece of dough. Use your fingers to make a hole in the middle (this is important so it cooks evenly) and drop it into the oil. This won't be beautiful gorgeous donuts, but that's part of the fun. Re-wet your hands as needed so the dough doesn't stick to your fingers.

9. Depending on the size of the pot, you can drop 3 or 4 or even 5 sfinges at a time into the oil. Watch it bubble up and start to get golden. Once it starts looking golden around the edges (after two or three minutes), flip it over to cook on the other side. Flip it over as needed (even two or three times) until its totally golden brown. You might see lighter spots on it, if it slit and exposed its uncooked inside while cooking, and that's totally fine.

10. Remove with a slotted spoon, and if desired, strain in a strainer. Or just put them on napkins to cool down.

11. Dust with powdered sugar.

Enjoy! See the texture on the inside and outside! Delectable!

Have you ever had sfinge before? With gluten or gluten free? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. We like sfenj (which litteraly means sponge) too, here in Tunisia its called ftayer (not to be confused with the Syrian fatayer), although it has a slightly different shape (there is no hole in the middle but the dough is a lot of thinner in the middle, the same kind of dough is used). Most Moroccans would never ever use alcoholic drinks in their recipes though.

    Btw, have you ever used sorghum flour? Its used a lot here and i've been told it resembles wheat more than any other gluten free kind of flour. I recently made some healthy-ish kind of breakfast cereal, using sorghum and rice flour as main ingredients and it turned out great! (I'm not gluten free, but my sister is.)

  2. I have really missed fried donuts since going gluten free 11 years ago. Sometimes I will have a cake donut from the store (gf is all the rage here and gf products are usually easy to find in higher end stores) but I really prefer fried donuts and I have to make them or I don't get them. It's been several years since I made anything deep fried because I don't like the mess either, but I might just try these. I love your posts about food and frugality. Thanks for posting this!

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