Fried Dough

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

fried dough as a term covers a large variety of globally distributed sweet foods produced by deep-frying dough in animal fat or vegetable oil. Because frying in fat is an expensive cooking technique, fried dough preparations were traditionally considered festive or celebratory foods. Although many are still associated with specific festivals or celebrations, others are now produced on a commercial basis for everyday consumption.

Made from a flour-based dough rather than a batter, fried dough can be distinguished from the more general term “fritter.” See fritters. In this regard it differs from such deep-fried sweets as jalebi, funnel cakes, and rosette fritters. Most recipes for fried dough call for flour (cereal or legume). However, in some cases the dough is made with limited amounts of flour, with the bulk provided by milk solids or vegetable pulp, as in Indian gulab jamun and Malaysian kueh keria, respectively. Although fried foods have ancient origins, and versions of fried dough are found throughout the world, several distinct categories can be identified on the basis of the dough preparation technique. Broadly speaking, these categories are unleavened dough, dough leavened by yeast or a chemical raising agent, and hot-water dough.