Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

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These donut holes (ponchiki) are heavenly soft, lightly sweet and so delicious. Ponchiki are made with (mostly) farmers cheese and very little flour. This results in a billowy soft and slightly moist center, plus you can actually taste the amazing little cheese curds inside. Equally as impressive – most donut recipes say to eat the donut holes soon after they are made because they lose their lovely fried texture much like a french fry does sitting out too long, but not this recipe!

These cheese donuts are amazing all day long! I kept popping them in my mouth and each time my eyes would roll, my lips would smack and I’d be on cloud 9 indulging in my yummy treat.

Here’s the true story behind these… I made the first batch, worked on them some more and then I made a second batch and thought – yes, this is it! I served that 2nd batch to my hubby and he was not impressed. I then proceeded to throw a small fit letting him know he was being ridiculous and that they were good enough to share. I also rashly told him I was quitting making donuts (lol). I slept on it, came to my senses and worked on the recipe some more.

My husband was right and because of him, these are seriously the best and easiest donut holes (ponchiki) that I’ve ever put in my mouth. My husband was impressed and I apologized (double lol).

Ingredients for Donut Holes (Ponchiki):

1/2 cup all-purpose flour *measured correctly
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg
4 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups farmer cheese (click here for recipe)

Vegetable oil or extra light olive oil to fry
Powdered sugar to dust

Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

How To Make Donut Holes (Ponchiki):

1. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.

Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

2. In a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat 1 egg for 20 seconds on high speed then add sugar and vanilla and continue beating 1 minute. Add 2 cups farmers cheese and beat on low speed just until well blended (20 seconds). Add flour mixture and stir together with a spatula just until well blended. Dough will be thick and sticky.

Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

3. Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Once oil is hot (360˚F), using a small ice cream scoop (*see notes below), scoop a flat scoop and plunk it out into the hot oil. Add balls one at a time just one after the other and fry over medium heat until golden brown on all sides (3-4 min total), turning the donuts halfway through if they don’t roll over on their own. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the oil will lose heat. You want to keep it about 350˚F while cooking.

Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

4. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

Notes:

*Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil. If oil gets too hot, donuts will darken too quickly leaving the center undercooked. If it’s too cool, donuts can absorb oil and become greasy.

*Using a small ice cream scoop that releases the dough quickly and easily and the donuts turn out perfectly round. I love that I keep finding uses for this tool. If you don’t have this scoop, you can use 2 teaspoons; 1 to scoop and the second to scrape the dough off into the oil.

Donut Holes (Ponchiki)

4.96 from 24 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!
These donut holes (ponchiki) are heavenly soft, lightly sweet and so delicious. Ponchiki are made with (mostly) farmers cheese and very little flour. This results in a billowy soft and slightly moist center.
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 20 one inch donuts

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • In a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat 1 egg for 20 seconds on high speed then add sugar and vanilla and continue beating 1 min. Add 2 cups cheese and beat on low just until well blended (20 seconds). Stir in flour mixture with a spatula just until well blended. Dough will be thick and sticky.
  • Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot (360˚F), using a small ice cream scoop (*see notes below), scoop a flat scoop and plunk it out into the hot oil. Add balls one at a time just one after the other and fry over medium heat until golden brown on all sides (3-4 minutes total), turning the donuts halfway through if they don't roll over on their own. Don’t overcrowd the pan or the oil will lose heat. You want to keep it about 350˚F while cooking.
  • Remove donuts to a paper towel lined plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Notes

*Use a thermometer to monitor temp of the oil. If oil gets too hot, donuts will brown quickly leaving the center undercooked. If oil is too cool, donuts can absorb oil and become greasy.
*If you don't have a small ice cream scoop, you can use 2 teaspoons; 1 to scoop and the second to scrape the dough off into the oil.
Course: Dessert, snack
Cuisine: Russian
Keyword: donut holes, farmer cheese donuts
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $$
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Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

Now the real question is, GOT MILK?

Billowy soft and lightly sweet Donut Holes (Russian Ponchiki). These donut holes are made with cheese giving them unforgettable flavor. Easy donut recipe!

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Comments

  • Katia
    February 15, 2024

    Dearest Natasha,

    I’m literally obsessed with all of your recipes, and this one definitely didn’t disappoint! This was my first time making ponchiki and they turned out lip-smacking delicious! The only sad part was how quickly we ate them all! Haha

    Do you know by chance what the calorie content is in these addicting little things?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 15, 2024

      HI Katia, since it’s difficult to gauge how much oil is absorbed during the frying process, I could only venture to guess and I didn’t want it to be a rough estimate – this is one of the few times we would not put a calorie count.

      Reply

  • Cathy Hazelton
    May 27, 2023

    I was so excited to try this–I have a Lithuanian heritage and my grandmother always made farmer’s cheese. I made the yogurt cheese first and though it did press, it came out more like a dense cream cheese. “Curds” never really formed. I tried the donuts using this cheese. They came out nice but they do have more of a sour taste than I was hoping. Was that to be expected?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 30, 2023

      Hi Cathy, it sounds like your cheese probably needed a little more time on the heat before it was pressed. Make sure the curd separates clearly from the whey, otherwise the cheese won’t form properly.

      Reply

  • Patty
    October 27, 2022

    Made the cheese which came out perfect! Made the donut holes this morning- yummy! We have a deep fryer but I used a pan on the stove, it was tough keeping the oil temp perfect but I used an instant read thermo to take internal temp so they were good! Thinking about making these for our Chicken wing food truck dessert menu if I can get a good deal on from our distributor for the milk. Yum!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 27, 2022

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Patty! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

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