Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts for Fat Tuesday

Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts for Fat Tuesday

mardi gras king cake donuts

Need a Mardi Gras party food idea? Make Fat Tuesday delicious with this twist on traditional King Cake, from Jorj’s kitchen to yours!

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Twelve short days after Christmas is Three Kings Day (also known as the Epiphany).

This date marks the official beginning of Mardi Gras which last until the first day of Lent. Most of us don’t celebrate the entire season, after all, there are other holidays in-between!

So many Mardi Gras celebrations are left for the two weeks before Ash Wednesday.

My Mardi Gras memories settle themselves in my Grammy’s kitchen on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday.

My sweet, itty bitty Polish grandmother would create the most delicious pillowy donuts that day. Hot from the frying oil they were doused in powdered sugar and lasted just moments before we popped them into our mouth.

Traditional Polish donuts known as packzki are rich and filled with cream or fruit. My Gram filled hers with grape jelly. But she saved the unfilled donuts for us to gobble up. 😋 

I’ve made jelly-filled donuts before.

I’ve even made pumpkin spice donuts with maple glaze.

This year, I’ve decided to make King Cake donuts to celebrate the season.

These are big, fluffy, light-as-air donuts doused in a sugar glaze and sprinkled with traditional colors of the season, purple, yellow, green, and gold sprinkles.

Want some?

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Jorj’s Mardis Gras King Cake Donuts


Makes about 9 large donuts plus holes

Ready In:

15 minutes for dough
15 minutes to cut out
2 hours to rise

Good For:



For Donuts

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (you can substitute with instant)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For Glaze:
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons half and half or cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sprinkles (green, yellow purple and gold!)

Jorj’s Mardi Gras King Cake Donuts

Place the flour, granulated sugar, yeast, salt, and nutmeg into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Whisk the milk, butter, egg, and vanilla together in a bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until the dough just comes together. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl with a clean towel, and rest for 5 minutes. Change the paddle attachment to a dough hook and beat until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Dump the dough into a bowl sprayed with vegetable oil spray. Turn the dough to coat on all sides. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. The dough is doubled in size when you stick your finger into the dough and the indentation stays.

Roll out the dough and use a donut cutter (or round biscuit cutters) to cut out the doughnuts and holes. Place these onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place into the warm place and let rise until doubled in size again, about another 30 minutes.
Heat oil to 350° in a deep pot or Dutch oven. Only let the oil fill the pot one third up the sides so that when it bubbles up it won’t overflow.

Fry the donuts in batches. Don’t overcrowd the oil. We want them to swim in the oil… not drown! Fry until they are golden on one side and then carefully flip so that they are golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the donuts to a rack set over paper toweling to drain.

Whisk together the sifted confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and cream. Dip one side of the donuts into the glaze. Return to the rack and douse with sprinkles.

King Cake Cookies for Fat Tuesday FUN!

King Cake Cookies for Fat Tuesday FUN!

It’s only Monday, and I’m looking toward the middle of the week already, like a good Catholic should. This hump day, is Ash Wednesday, signifying the official end of Mardi Gras season. It means the Easter bunny is right around the corner!

If you have not had your fill of King cake yet, here’s one last bite for you to enjoy before you lower your sugar intake for Lent! Take a gander at my King Cake cookies. They’re a bite size version of the now famous pastry; better yet, you can eat the whole dang batch without finding a plastic baby inside.

I went nuts with the sprinkles…maybe like a good Catholic should. Here’s the religious history behind the world famous dessert.

Mardi Gras season begins on January 6th, the “Twelfth Night”, known to Christians as the Epiphany. Epiphany loosely translates from the Greek word “to show”, and has to do with the Three Kings (and the world!) seeing baby Jesus for the first time. This is why King cake is decorated with the royal colors of gold for power, green for faith and purple for justice.

King cake is thought to have originated as a pastry created in France and brought to New Orleans in the late 1800s. Which reminds me of my Mardis Gras tradition. My grandmother created donut Tuesday to remind us of one last day of sweet eating before we children gave up our sweets for Lent. Those donuts were fried puffs of light and airy dough covered in powder sugar that stuck to your fingers when you popped one in your mouth.

These cookies are a bit of a reminder of those donuts, while paying tribute to King cake. They’re easy to bake and FUN to eat! Enjoy!!


King Cake Cookies

Makes 8 to 10 (4-inch) cookies

30 minute cuisine

If you don’t have a King Cake in your future, you might just give these cookies a try!

For Cookies:

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon lemon extract

6 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

For Glaze:

1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons milk

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon lemon extract

Sugar sprinkles in yellow, purple and green

Preheat the oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

Stir together milk, ½ teaspoon vanilla and ¼ teaspoon lemon extracts in a small bowl.

Use an electric mixer to combine the butter with the granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 1 minute. Mix in the egg. With the motor set on low speed, add half of the flour and half of the liquid. When this is combined, stir in the remaining flour ending with the liquid. Use a 1 ½ -inch ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto the baking sheets. Bake until the cookies just begin to brown on the edges, about 15 minutes. The cookies will be domed and cake-like. Cool the cookies on racks.

Use a whisk to stir together confectioners’ sugar with 3 tablespoons milk and ¼ teaspoon vanilla and ¼ teaspoon lemon extracts until smooth. Dip the cooled cookies in the glaze and set back onto a rack. Place parchment or waxed paper under the rack. Sprinkle the glaze with your favorite sprinkles making sure to use yellow, purple and green!