Kleinur—Icelandic Style Doughnuts

'Kleinur' icelandic style donuts arranged on a plate
Kleinur is the name for Icelandic doughnuts, and they are delicious. The biggest problem when making them is that they tend to disappear very quickly. Growing up in Iceland I remember my favorite treat being Kleinur. The art of making Kleinur was passed down generation to generation and I can still picture my grandmother and mother working together, making sure each one was the right size, that the oil temperature was correct and that the timing was perfect. Fond memories. My family really enjoys these piping hot with a cold glass of milk or hot cup of coffee.
50 minutes 40 minutes 1 hour and 30 minutes
YIELD: 30 Doughnuts
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ sticks (150gr) cold salted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 6 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 2 whole eggs
  • Vegetable oil for deep frying
How to Make it
  1. Mix half of the flour and all the butter well together - I use my hands, but you can also use a food processor.
  2. Put the mixture onto a working surface and add the other half of the flour along with the sugar, baking soda, cardamom, and baking soda.
  3. Blend with your hands until well combined.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the eggs and yogurt.
  5. Combine the flour mix with the eggs and yogurt until well combined into a firm dough that is almost sticky.
  6. Don’t knead the dough too much or the Kleinur will become too chewy.
  7. Divide the dough into two equal parts, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Heat the oil to 350°F in a large pot.
  9. Take one half of the dough and put on floured surface, dust with a little flour and roll into a flat square about 15- 20 inches.
  10. Cut the dough into 5 long strips and cut each strip into 5 equal diamonds.
  11. Make a slit in the center of the diamond, take one end and pull through the center slit - this is the traditional look of the Kleinur.
  12. Put the Kleinur into the hot pot - careful not to crowd the pot - and fry until golden on one side (about 45sec to 1 minute) then turn and cook on other side until golden (less than a minute)
  13. Remove the Kleinur from the pot and set aside on a paper towel to drain and cool.
  14. Try to keep the oil temperature stable and repeat with the other dough balls.
  15. Kleinur are best enjoyed hot from the pot with a cold glass of milk or a cup of coffee.

Bjorn Skulason with sheet pan of kleinur icelandic style doughnuts