clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon

Icelandic Kleinur Recipe

  • Author: aimee
  • Prep Time: 90 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: approx 9 dozen donuts 1x


These tasty donuts were a staple in my Icelandic grandmother’s kitchen. Now, we make them every year around Christmas time for a special treat filled with memories. The key ingredient? Cardamom!



  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom*
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • About 9 cups flour (plus more for rolling)
  • 1 gallon canola oil for frying

*The original recipe from my grandmother’s family cookbook had this special TIP regarding cardamom: “Whole seed cardamom is the best for these. Shell the seeds on a formica counter. Roll a quart jar over the seeds until they are crushed fine.” I still get a chuckle every time I read this 🙂


Beat eggs until light; add sugar, milk, sour cream with soda added, cardamom, and salt. Add flour. To mix in the last cups of flour, put dough on counter and mix with hands. Divide dough into five equal parts; shape each into a large pancake about one inch thick. Place in plastic bags; chill until ready to use.

Roll dough 1/4-inch thick on floured canvas. Cut into 3 x 1 1/2-inch strips with crinkle cutter. Slit the centers, pull one end through the slit.

Fry like doughnuts. Heat oil to 340-350 degrees. Working in batches of 8-12 donuts (depending on the size of your pot or deep fryer), place the twisted pieces of dough in the hot oil. Let cook for a few minuted until golden on one side. Flip, and let the other side cook.

Remove with tongs or a skimmer. Set the kleinur on paper towels to cool.


About cutting the dough: I have a special rolling cutter – it’s the same style that my grandmother used.  You can cut the dough with anything really – a crinkle cutter, pizza cutter, a sharp knife.

  • Cuisine: Icelandic