Homemade Elephant Ears

Elephant ears are easily one of the most popular fair and carnival treats. The simple homemade dough is fried to perfection and topped with cinnamon and sugar, making them impossible to resist. Besides being irresistibly delicious and addictive, these crisp treats are also quite easy to prepare at home!
Homemade Elephant Ears pinit

About This Homemade Elephant Ears Recipe

Elephant ears, also known as Palmiers, buñuelos, or simply fried bread, are a vintage carnival and fair treat. Popular in many areas of the world, including the US, Spain, Asia, Israel, and Africa, these large crispy circles of fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar are incredibly delicious and addictive.

These fried sweet treats get their name “elephant ears” from their uneven, wrinkled, and somewhat round shape that is reminiscent of an elephant’s ear.

Depending on the country, their shape may differ. Some make them into donut balls or twisted shapes, others make them into a rosette, and others into flat circles. The dough may vary as well. Some use sweet pastry dough made with yeast, while others use puff pastry. They may be sweet in some parts of the world and savory in others.

Since I was a kid, I have always loved fair and carnival treats — they are unique and you cannot find them anywhere else. But now, when I crave fried pastry dough, and it is not carnival season, I always make this recipe at home. It is not only easy to make but also tastes fantastic.

If you have kids, you can even get them involved by letting them help shape the dough and make the elephant ears or have them sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar after the dough is fried.

You don’t need to wait for carnival season to enjoy this irresistible treat anymore. Each bite has the perfect texture of crisp outside and soft, airy inside. And the cinnamon and sugar coating takes these delights to the next level. Just 30 minutes and you can bring the fair home with this super easy elephant ears recipe!

Homemade Elephant Ears

What You Need for This Homemade Elephant Ears Recipe

Homemade Elephant Ears Recipe Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

  • Milk: I have used whole milk for a richer dough.
  • Butter: I always like to use unsalted butter so that I can control the salt quantity.
  • Sugar: I have used white granulated sugar.
  • Instant Dry Yeast: I like to use instant yeast as it’s great for quick recipes, and I don’t need to let the dough rise too much.
  • Flour: I have used all-purpose flour.
  • Oil: I have used sunflower oil for frying.
  • For coating: The combination of cinnamon powder and sugar gives a wonderfully sweet, woody, and a little bit spicy flavor.

Homemade Elephant Ears

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Milk: I have used whole milk, but you can use low-fat milk or even water instead.
  • Butter: I have used unsalted butter, but you may use salted butter; just reduce the amount of additional salt.
  • Instant Dry Yeast: It can be replaced with active dry yeast.
  • Oil: I have used sunflower oil for frying, but you can also use canola or peanut oil.

Homemade Elephant Ears


How can I store these elephant ears?

Like all fried foods, these elephant ears are also best consumed immediately. But if you have any leftovers, you can keep them in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2-3 days. Place them in the oven at 180℃ (350℉) for about 10 minutes to reheat them.

What other toppings can I use?

These elephant ears are incredibly delicious with cinnamon and sugar coating, but you can also enjoy them with powdered sugar, caramel syrup, chocolate, or strawberry sauce.

Homemade Elephant Ears


Homemade Elephant Ears

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 20 min Rest Time 30 min Total Time 1 hr


These sweet, deep-fried, crispy elephant ears sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar will help you experience the delightful flavors of a carnival treat right in the comfort of your home.

Yield: 8-12 elephant ears, depending on the size of the dough circles.


For coating:

How To Make Homemade Elephant Ears Step By Step

  1. Combine the milk with butter, salt, sugar, and yeast, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

    Elephant Ears Recipe Step 1
  2. Put the flour into a large bowl, add the milk and yeast mixture, and knead to form a smooth dough.

    Elephant Ears Recipe Step 2
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 30 minutes.

    Elephant Ears Recipe Step 3
  4. Mix the sugar and cinnamon powder into a small bowl and set aside.

    Elephant Ears Recipe Step 4
  5. Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead it a little bit, divide it into equal pieces, and flatten each piece into a thin circle.

    Elephant Ears Recipe Step 5
  6. Heat the oil in a deep cast iron pan, and drop one or two pieces of dough (depending on the size of the pan) into the hot oil.

    Elephant Ears Recipe Step 6
  7. Fry for about 1 minute on each side until golden brown, remove with tongs, and place them on paper towels to drain the excess fat.

    Elephant Ears Recipe Step 7
  8. Sprinkle with the mixture of sugar and cinnamon powder while warm, and enjoy!

    Elephant Ears Recipe Step 8


  • If your dough is too dry, you can add a bit more milk, and if it’s too wet, add a bit more flour.
  • For the coating, you can adjust the amount of cinnamon and sugar per your taste.
  • The yield may vary based on the size of your elephant ears.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture immediately after removing the dough from the oil so it will adhere to the surface.