What are paczki?

Only the most awesome pre-Lenten treat.

Don’t worry, I had never heard of paczki until my freshman year at MSU when I noticed a heaping pile of large jelly and custard filled “doughnuts” in the cafeteria on Fat Tuesday. All around the cafeteria, students were eating them and sharing them with friends–these were big “doughnuts” and heavy too. So of course I got into the tradition too.

Paczki, pronounced, roughly I’m told, as “punch-key”, is a plural word mind you. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the singular word…who talks about just one? It’s like Lays Chips…only much better and less healthy.


Paczki Credit: Rmhermen at

But what are pazcki?

Paczki are a filled pastry from Poland. They differ from what you might call a normal jelly doughnut in that the dough is richer and the fillings often a bit different–I’ve seen chocolate, custard, apple, as well as normal jellies and I’ve heard rose hip and prune  are traditional flavors. In areas with a strong Polish heritage like Cleveland and Detroit, packzi fill the bakeries and stores this time of year and are gobbled up by all around, regardless of heritage.

Louisiana can keep their king cake, around the Great Lakes we’ve got paczki!