Canadian Beaver Tail Doughnuts

Beaver tail donuts plated with a wedge of lemon.

An iconic Canadian treat, these fried dough pastries are best enjoyed in the winter after an afternoon of skating or playing in the snow.Makes: 12 – 15 beaver tails
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook & Rest Time: 1 hour


  • 5 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 4 ¼ – 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • oil (for frying)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


    1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar. Let stand for a couple of minutes to allow yeast to swell and dissolve.

Yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar together in a bowl.

    1. Stir in melted margarine, sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, salt, and most of flour to make a rough dough.

Melted margarine, sugar, milk, vanilla, eggs, salt, and flour in a bowl.

Rough dough in a bowl.

    1. Knead 5-8 minutes, adding more flour as needed to form a firm, smooth, elastic dough. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic. Let rise for about 30-40 minutes. If not using right away, you can refrigerate the dough at this point.

Ball of dough

    1. Deflate the dough and gently knead a few times. Pinch off a golf ball-sized piece of dough. Roll out into an oval and let rest, covered with a tea towel, while you are shaping the remaining dough.

Pinching a golf ball sized piece of dough,

Pinching a golf ball sized piece of dough,

    1. Heat about four inches of oil in a fryer (a wok works best, but you can use a Dutch oven). Temperature of the oil should be about 385°F.
    2. Stretch the ovals into a tail shape, like a beaver’s tail – thinning them out and enlarging them as you do. Add the dough pieces to the hot oil, about 1-2 at a time. Turn once to fry until the undersides are deep brown.
    3. Lift the tails out with tongs and drain on paper towels. Fill a large bowl with one cup of white sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon. Toss the tails in cinnamon sugar and shake off excess.

Sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Beaver tail dipped in cinnamon sugar.

Beaver tail coated in cinnamon sugar.

Chef Notes

  • Add a squeeze of lemon to the beaver tail doughnuts before coating with cinnamon sugar to brighten up their flavour.

Beaver tails plated with a lemon wedge.

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