Puff-puff is a very popular Nigerian snack, it is made of deep-fried yeasted dough that resembles doughnut holes in appearance but has a squishy, spongy core underneath the crisp shell. I assume that the origin of the name is related to how the batter expands in the hot oil when it is fried, doubling in size and developing its distinctive golden colour.

Like a yeasted dough, the batter is produced by combining flour, sugar, fast-acting yeast, and water with flavorings like nutmeg and vanilla extract. When it has doubled in size, it is covered and let to rest in a warm area. The only thing left to do is fry it once it has risen. I’ve discovered that the easiest approach to make puff puff is to form and drop rounds of the batter into the hot oil using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, mould the mixture into rough circles using two spoons and then drop them into the hot oil. You can also moisten your hands to mold, scoop, and “pipe” the batter into the oil. But unless you’re an expert, I do not recommend this method.

Their unwillingness to brown uniformly is one of the difficulties in frying puff puff: The puffs’ spherical form makes them inclined to roll to one side, making it challenging to brown the portion that hovers above the oil. To avoid this, I like to fry puff puff in a single, compact layer, which limits their ability to flip back over after being rotated. To guarantee that every side of the puff puff is exposed to the oil, a wire mesh spider can also be employed to press it down into the oil.

Although puff puff are frequently consumed alone, they can also be served with crispy fried whitebait, a combination that I only recently came to appreciate after years of consuming puff puff alone. As a result of that match, I became aware of the wide range of flavors that may be added to puff puff, including different spices, fruits (such as passion fruit), nuts, seeds, and my personal favorite, black sesame seed), as well as meat, shellfish, and sweet or savory sauces.

Nigerian Fried Yeasted Dough
Nigerian Fried Yeasted Dough


  • 360g (2 ¾  cups) all-purpose flour
  • 200g (1 cup) sugar
  • 4 teaspoons (13g) fast-acting yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 quarts (1.9L) vegetable oil, for frying



  1. For about a minute, thoroughly whisk the flour, sugar, yeast, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Vanilla extract and 2 cups (475ml) of hot water should be combined in a small basin.
  2. Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture that is 4 inches wide. Pour the vanilla water into the well, then whisk the flour into it gradually with a wooden spoon for about five minutes, or until a thick, sticky mixture has formed with no lumps (batter should have the same consistency as cake batter with a few bubbles). Allow to sit for 45 minutes at a warm room temperature of 75°F/24°C, covered loosely with plastic wrap or a clean, moist kitchen towel, until it has nearly doubled in size.
  3. Paper towels are used as a rim around a baking sheet. Heat the oil to 330°F (165°C) in a large Dutch oven or wok over medium-high heat. The batter should be carefully added to the hot oil using a 1-tablespoon cookie scoop that has been dipped in hot oil before. This will help to reduce splashing. Repeat the process quickly until the wok is filled but not crowded. Fry puff puff till puffed and golden brown on all sides, about 6 minutes, turning them over with a slotted spoon as they cook. Place puff pastries on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Work in batches as you raise the temperature of the oil to 330°F (165°C) and repeat the process with the remaining batter. Serve puff puff hot, warm, or at room temperature by transferring it to a serving bowl. You can eat puff puff on its own, with a dip, or mixed with spiced sugar (see recipe headnote for more serving ideas).