Love is blind – a saying I never really understood. That is, until now. Because love may not have the sense of sight, but it sure has the sense of taste. And the flavor of love comes in the form of perfect pillows of pączki.
Truth be told, I didn’t have a lot of expectations when I arrived in Warsaw. Having been quite literally reborn from the ashes, it sounded like an interesting place to visit. And as our month in Warsaw comes to an end, I can confirm that it is, in fact, a very interesting place to visit.
When I look back at our time here, I think I’ll always look at Warsaw with rose-colored glasses. Because the thing that surprised me the most, was that I fell in love.
Yes, it’s true. I fell head over heels in love.
Heart pounding. Eyes widening. Mouth smiling (and salivating). Love.
L-O-V-E – Love.
I fell in love with… pączki.
I never knew perfection came in doughnut form. Now I do.
And it’s not just any doughnut.
So now that I’ve rambled on about my love for this Polish treat. You’re probably asking, what the heck is a pączki?
Simply put, pączki are Polish doughnuts. They’re filled with jam and covered in a sugar glaze.
As if you couldn’t tell by now, I’m obsessed.
I have a confession to make. I pronounced pączki wrong my entire time in Warsaw.
I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.
To prevent further ignorance, let’s get down to it.
How do we pronounce paczki?
Is it pach-kee? Paz-ki?
Yep, that’s how you say it. Pownch-key.
And not to confuse you further, but if you’re only talking about one doughnut, it’s pączek (pownch-ek). Multiple doughnuts is pączki (pownch-key).
Thankfully, I only need to focus on the plural because only having one doughnut just doesn’t work for me. As I said, I’m obsessed!
Making pączki starts by combining milk, eggs, flour, butter, sugar, and some type of spirit or grain alcohol. The booze cooks off while baking, so don’t expect to feel tipsy when eating these delicious treats. They’re kid-friendly, after all.
The dough, which is a bit richer than that of your typical doughnut, is then formed and fried in lard or oil. The doughnuts are cooked on each side and turn a nice golden brown when finished.
The frying process puffs up the dough giving the pączki a nice airiness as well.
The fried doughnut is then stuffed with jam. The most traditional fillings are a rosehip or stewed plum jam.
Pączki places have become creative, however, so you can find all sorts of fillings like cream, chocolate, pudding, Nutella, and cheese.
You’ll also find all sorts of fruit fillings like raspberry, cherry, mango, blackcurrant, and peach.
My personal favorite?
If I had to choose one, I’d say raspberry. Although I did have a strawberry and cheese filled pączki that is a very close second.
To finish off the pączki, they’re topped with a blanket of sweet glaze. The icing is made of sugar and coats the warm doughnuts perfectly.
Some places may add a bit of orange zest to the icing, or even add a sprinkle of toppings including nuts or chocolate sprinkles. While toppings aren’t exactly traditional, you’ll still see them around.
The end result is the most perfectly delicious doughnut you will ever have.
Seriously – they’re perfect.
And the thing about pączki is, it’s really hard to go wrong. I literally did not have one bad pączki while in Warsaw.
So my advice to you when visiting Warsaw is this: eat as many pączki as you can.
I may or may not have kept a strict pączki (or two) a day diet while there. Don’t judge me.
Where To Get Pączki
While these are by no means the only places to try pączki in Warsaw, the following places are where to try some of the best.
So let’s get on with it… The best pączki in Warsaw:
With over 40 locations throughout Poland, Stara Pączkarnia is definitely the most convenient way to get your pączki fix.
They offer a range of fruit and cream-based fillings. From the traditional rose to apple-cinnamon to Nutella, there is a filling for all tastes. You may see some unique flavors based on the season as well.
At Stara Pączkarnia, you can’t go wrong with the raspberry, cherry, or the strawberry-cheese. However the latter we only saw once in Krakow, so cross your fingers the bakers made the flavor you’re looking for that day!
These doughnuts are freshly baked daily, but since it’s first come first served, it’s kind of luck of the draw to see what’s left when you get there.
Pracownia Cukiernicza Zagoździński
There’s something beautiful about tradition. And when it comes to pączki, that’s no different.
The traditional pączki served at Pracownia Cukiernicza Zagoździński are some of the best around.
There are no fancy fillings or anything here – they only do one type of pączki, and they’ve mastered it.
A favorite among locals, this spot is always packed. Long lines are typical here, so brace yourself for a wait.
Pracownia Cukiernicza Zagoździński is famous for its secret pre-war recipe. They make over 800 pączki a day and only stay open until they’ve sold out.
When this shop first opened, the owner’s wife used to sit on a stool outside the shop to signify they still had pączki. Today, while she’s no longer around to sit in front, they still keep the stool out to symbolize there’s hot pączki to be sold.
While they say they’re open till 2pm, they usually sell out earlier. On our visit, we got some of the last available and watched as they closed up shop just after noon.
Located in a suburb just outside central Warsaw, it’s worth the trek (and wait) to try these special pączki.
Pracownia Cukiernicza Zagoździński
The Fancy Fillings:
Pączkarnia z Tradycją – M.M. Wolińscy
Located in the Stara Ochota district, Pączkarnia z Tradycją – M. M. Wolińscy is a couple of miles outside central Warsaw. But I promise you, it’s worth visiting.
Taking pride in their use of real, natural ingredients, the quality at Pączkarnia z Tradycją – M. M. Wolińscy can be tasted. They use great ingredients with zero additives, and they fry their pączki in lard.
The ultimate thing that sets them apart, however, is their fillings. They have by far the best variety of flavors we found.
Cherry, raspberry, mango, pudding, plum jam, berry with whipped cream, blueberry, mango-passionfruit, plum in chocolate, peach, apple-cinnamon, coffee cream, forest fruits, toffee, salted caramel, Kinder Bueno, and advocat (an alcoholic egg cream)
Not only is the variety of fillings stellar, but the quality is too.
And the best part?
They don’t skimp on the fillings. The doughnuts are stuffed with goodness, making every bite super delicious.
On top of the awesome flavors, they also have mini cheese doughnuts. The mini doughnuts reminded me of Pão de Queijo (Brazilian cheese bread).
They’re little sugar-dusted doughnut holes that are a bit dense in texture with a hint of cheesy flavor.
Pro Tip: Order the mini cheese doughnuts to dip into the excess filling of your pączki. My pączki was so full of raspberry jam that I started dipping the mini doughnuts into the jam and the combo was awesome.
Pączkarnia z Tradycją – M. M. Wolińscy
Pączki are the ultimate treat in Warsaw. They’re so tasty – especially when they’re fresh and warm out of the oven.
Be warned though – they’re addictive. And they’re hard to not fall in love with. If you find yourself in Warsaw, be sure to check out these spots for the best pączki in the city!
>>Have you tried pączki? Where did you find your favorite? Comment below!
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