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Sfinz is equal to happiness, celebration, joy, family, love, and the smell of spongy fried bread filling up your soul and teasing your tastebuds. This Libyan delicacy is truly a breakfast treat, sweet or savory, and for me, to be had only on the specialist of occasions.

Some of my favorite shots of sfinz in Libya is in this portfolio. You can see the handling of the dough, the frying technique, and the sheer look of happiness on people indulging. The making of the sfinz is perfection — something that can probably be done in their sleep. Flawless ease. There’s beauty in mastery of a traditional dish.

Sfinz can either be served sweet or savory. Crack an egg in the center and top it off with cheese and/or harissa. Maybe go for sweet and coat in date syrup, honey, or granulated sugar. Maybe venture out a little and coat it in nutella. Sfinz is the ultimate canvas for any decadent creation but even on its own, can’t be beat.

If you plan on adding the egg, you’ll see the center start to rise like this. Immediately when you flip it over, crack the egg into the hollowed part you see.  Spoon oil on top to help the egg submerge and cook.

Cook to desired doneness of egg yolk!

*Disclaimer: Sfinz or sfenj can be found all over North Africa. I’ve had it in Morocco as well served with apricot jam. This blog post is focusing and highlighting the tradition around it in Libya though 🙂


1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup warm water (110°F)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup warm water
more olive oil for dough handling
vegetable oil for frying
optional: eggs, date syrup, honey, cheese


In a small bowl, add the yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 1/4 cup of warm water. Give it a quick whisk and allow to proof for ten minutes. It should be double in size and bubbly now.
To this proofed yeast, add flour, olive oil, salt, sugar, unsalted butter, and warm water. Using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer with the hook attachment, mix until a sticky dough forms.
Oil your hands generously and split the dough into 6 to 8 equal parts depending how small or big you want the sfinz to be. Place the dough balls on an oiled tray so they don't sick and cover with saran wrap.
Set the tray in a warm place until they double in size and appear very bubbly — about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours.
Place a frying pan over medium-high heat and fill with vegetable oil about 2 inches high. Bring to a frying temperature of about 350°F.
Oiling your hands again, grab one dough ball and set it on an oiled plate to flatten it out. Keep the sides or "crust" a little thicker than the center.
Drop the dough into the fryer and allow to get golden on one side before flipping over to the other. *If you'd like to add the egg, do so right after flipping over. You'll notice a big bump forming at the top before flipping over. Once you flip it over, there will be the perfect cave to drop the egg into. Spoon oil on top of the egg as well as push the sfinz down to help the egg cook. See picture above to visualize!
Once the other side is golden too, remove and set on a paper towel. Repeat the same process with the rest of the dough.
Serve hot with any fixings you like such as cheese, honey, and date syrup.

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