Yovodoko – Fried Donuts

I’m very excited to share the recipe for Yovodoko, a popular and addictive West African street food. These are nothing but deep-fried donuts made with a yeasted dough. The steps outlined below make Yovodokos that are slightly crunchy on the outside, and doughy and chewy on the inside. They’re so easy to make at home, plus they’re delicious, so you really have no excuse. Try it and let me know what you think.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour (leveled)
  • ¾ cups white sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoon (or one packet) instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/3 cups + 2 tablespoons warm tap/filtered water
  • Enough oil for frying


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Deep and wide pan for frying
  • Slotted/skimmer spoon
  • Paper towel
  • Tea towel
  • Drying rack or plate


For the batter/dough:

  • Combine all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl
  • Gradually add water to the mix, while mixing using your hands
  • After all the water is added, beat well until all ingredients are well combined
  • Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm area (microwave or oven, for example)
  • Allow the dough to rise (approx. 1 – 1.5 hours). The dough should double in size and form little bubbles

For the fried donut / yovodoko:
  • Heat the empty pan for about 1 minute
  • Add enough oil to the pan and allow the oil to heat. The oil must be hot enough so that the donuts do not soak up oil. If needed, please test out one donut first before frying a whole batch.
  • Scoop a good amount of dough in your hands; then, squeeze lime-sized balls into the oil between your thumb and index finger. You can also use a spoon or ice cream scoop; however, the shape might not be round as pictured
  • Fry all sides until golden brown on medium high heat
  • Remove from the oil, then drain on a paper towel / drying rack
  • Serve warm and enjoy!


  1. This recipe requires using instant rise yeast. Regular active yeast requires more time and a different method of mixing the ingredients.
  2. When frying, after squeezing the dough into the oil, the balls must float to the surface almost instantly. Please do not be shy with the amount of oil.
  3. I recommend not doing bigger than lime-sized bites to ensure the dough cooks well on the inside, while the outside stays light brown.
  4. I recommend crowding the pot, but not so much that the donuts lay on top of each other. We want enough of them in the oil to allow the donuts to remain in their position when flipped. Enough donuts in the pot will allow them to touch each other and and make it harder for them to move. Too little donuts in the oil will give them too much space to turn and swim, which will result in a inconsistent color all around.
  5. In Benin, we love to eat yovodoko by themselves as snack, or with a porridge for breakfast.

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Make sure to tag me @theblvckgourmet on Instagram if you try this recipe and use hashtag #bgrecipe.

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