Icelandic Doughnuts (Kleinur) – twisted deliciousness!

Kleinur – or Icelandic Doughnuts – are one of those pastries which no one dislikes.

Ok, so. Kleinur isn’t a uniquely Icelandic pastry, but we’re pretty sure we love it more here. It is also one of those things you can always get at the distinctly Icelandic þorrablót festival. Kleinur (called Angel wings in English) are very popular in Scandinavian countries. The oldest source for it is a Danish book from the 14th century. Then they appeared in Danish and Icelandic cookbooks in the 18th century. They have been popular in Iceland ever since. Families often have their own family recipe with a secret ingredient, which gives them a little bit of a twist.

Icelandic Doughnuts (Kleinur) – twisted deliciousness

You can find variations of this little snack in many countries, such as Romania, called minciunele and Russia, under the name krepli. Kleinur is traditionally eaten around Christmas in other Scandinavian countries, but you can get them all year round in Iceland. Some say the kleinur you get in IKEA in Iceland are the best ones, and dozens of them are baked daily.

I will respectfully disagree with this because my mother-in-law makes the best kleinur. I can, however, not share that recipe with you all since it has a ~secret~ ingredient. Instead, Your Friend in Reykjavik will share this kleinur recipe with you – it is good. If you try it, let us know!

Ingredients for kleinur:

  • 1 kg (35 ounces) flour
  • 200 gr. (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 175 gr. (5 ounces) margarine
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sal volatile
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 dl (1 cup) Icelandic sour milk (a type of yoghurt)
  • 2,5 dl (1 ¼ cup) whole milk


  1. The kleinur-dough is kneaded either by hand or in a mixer. The dough must be manageable and moderately thick.
  2. The dough is then flattened and cut out into a diamond shape. You can use a special kleinu-knife to do this or just a rotary cutter.
  3. Make a hole in the middle and twist the kleinur.
  4. Then you fry it in fat; you must turn them while frying.

You can use 500g tallow and 1000g oil for frying (you can use coconut oil instead of tallow). Be sure to keep the fat at medium heat. The kleinur will brown too quickly without cooking through if it gets too hot.

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