funnel cake recipe easy funnel cake recipe can you eat funnel cake for Hanukkah
Photo credit Lindsey Bodner

Why I Make Carnival Funnel Cake for Hanukkah

At our house, funnel cakes are on the menu next to classic latkes and sufganiyot.

Before I was an Orthodox rebbetzin, an attorney and professional, and the mother of four sweet children, I worked at a carnival. 

We played midways all around the Chicagoland area, and my job was to make funnel cakes in Christina’s Elephant Ear, a food trailer that served fried delicacies. For those who don’t have formative memories tied to carnivals, a funnel cake is made by pouring perfectly smooth batter from a funnel into a circular mold and deep frying it to brown, crispy peaks and troughs. It is dusted with confectioner’s sugar and eaten piping hot.

During breaks, we carnival employees, a motley crew with names like “Mr. Bean,” “Baby” and “Lumpy,” enjoyed free rides and tried our luck at the games (yes, they are rigged). A major perk of my employment was that I could eat as many funnel cakes as my heart desired. And my heart and stomach were insatiable — oh that hot, deep-fried goodness! 

Fast forward a decade or two — through becoming Jewishly observant, college, law school, marriage, children — my husband and I frequently host large groups in our home, including for Hanukkah gatherings where funnel cakes are on the menu next to classic latkes and sufganiyot.

Making funnel cakes in a home kitchen is different than making them in a food trailer dedicated to the task, but with some adaptations and ingenuity, I’m pleased to say it can be done, delectably.

Notes

  1. Wait for the oil to get hot. I mean sizzling violently, hot. If it’s not hot enough, the batter will sink to the bottom and produce a too-flat cake.
  2. If you make a funnel cake with too much sugar, it causes the batter to fry too quickly, which can mean the inside will be raw. 
  3. Tools are important. The good news is that a deep fryer and a metal funnel cake mold won’t be necessary. You will need:
  • a high-sided frying pan, at least 2.5 inches (do not attempt to use a pot)
  • metal tongs (not plastic or silicone  — the hot oil melts them)
  • a pitcher or spouted measuring cup, or best yet, a funnel pitcher
Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
funnel cake Hanukkah recipe easy funnel cake recipe
Photo credit Lindsey Bonder

Hanukkah Funnel Cake Recipe

At our house, funnel cakes are on the menu next to classic latkes and sufganiyot. 

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 56 (serves 5-10) 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 33½ cups water or milk
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
  • neutral oil (like vegetable), for frying, to fill your deep pan 2 inches
  • powdered sugar, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and/or fruit

Instructions

  1. Mix flour, sugar and baking powder well in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Add eggs and water, and mix well until the batter is smooth. Add more water, 1/8 cup at a time, as needed. (The batter should be slightly runny, a bit more liquid than pancake batter. If the batter is too thick, add water and stir well. If the batter is too liquidy, it will separate into tiny pieces in the pan. If this happens, add a bit of flour to thicken the batter.) 
  3. Place the pan on high heat on the stove. Once hot, add 2 inches of oil.
  4. Transfer batter from the bowl to the funnel pitcher (or measuring cup or pitcher).
  5. Once the oil is sizzling hot, and not a moment sooner, carefully pour about 1/5 the batter into the center of the pan in circular and swirling motions. 
  6. When the batter is light golden brown, use metal tongs to flip the funnel cake gently to fry on the other side.
  7. When golden brown all over, use tongs to remove the funnel cake, and place it on top of paper towels to absorb excess oil. Add powdered sugar and other toppings. Serve hot. 

Notes

  1. Wait for the oil to get hot. I mean sizzling violently, hot. If it’s not hot enough, the batter will sink to the bottom and produce a too-flat cake.
  2. If you make a funnel cake with too much sugar, it causes the batter to fry too quickly, which can mean the inside will be raw. 
  3. Tools are important. The good news is that a deep fryer and a metal funnel cake mold won’t be necessary. You will need: a high-sided frying pan, at least 2.5 inches (do not attempt to use a pot). metal tongs (not plastic or silicone  — the hot oil melts them), a pitcher or spouted measuring cup, or best yet, a funnel pitcher.
  • Author: Lindsey Bodner
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Quick
  • Cuisine: Holiday

1 comments

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

  • Ivy

    This was a hit at my Chanukah table. I grew up loving funnel cakes, which is why I absolutely loved the idea of using this recipe for dessert for Chanukah. I veganized the recipe by using Just Egg instead of the eggs, and I used soy milk in place of the milk. It worked perfectly! Thank you for the fun and creative idea. This will become a standard for me!

Keep on Noshing

This Is Your Sign to Make Cheesy-Stuffed Latkes for Hanukkah

This recipe is doubly indulgent and doubly delicious.

The Best Use for Leftover Stuffing: Make It Into Latkes

If you love Thanksgiving stuffing, you'll gobble up this perfect mash-up.

What To Serve With Latkes This Hanukkah

13 delicious ideas, from classic brisket to a festive breakfast.