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It’s Bugnes Time!

We’ve moved into the month of February and now we see bugnes in all the bakeries. What are bugnes, you ask? They are tasty little donut-like treats sprinkled with powdered sugar, traditionally served during the month of Mardi Gras, which is in February. (Really, they’re now also sold in January and a little village in Ardèche even has a festival for them in December.) So far, we haven’t bought any bugnes because we are lucky enough to have them made fresh by my husband’s mother, pictured in the featured photo.

Bugnes Lyonnaises – photo courtesy of Gigi Cooking

There are different types of bugnes and in our area, we have Bugnes Lyonnaises and Bugnes Stéphanoises (“Stéphanois” is what people from Saint-Étienne are called). When I researched the difference between the two I found that the ones from Lyon are made without yeast and the ones from Saint-Étienne have yeast. The bugnes from Lyon should be yellow, flat, and crispy, while the ones from Saint-Étienne will be redder in color, softer, and puffier. 

The bugnes that I see in the bakeries around Annonay in Ardèche Verte are soft and puffy. (For reference, Annonay is located in the middle of Lyon and Saint-Étienne.) My belle-mère grew up in Annonay and her bugnes are soft and puffy, more like a donut. She made a large batch to bring to church and we were the lucky recipients of a portion of the tasty treats.

Bugnes seem to have originated in Italy and there they are called, “chiacchiere”. Traditionally, in Saint-Étienne, bakeries offered bugnes just before Mardi Gras for the Stéphanois who would start Lent and close their businesses during this time.

Bugnes Stéphanoises made by my belle-mère

Bugnes Stéphanoises Recipe

Makes 50 bugnes


  • 4 1/2 cups (550 grams) of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) of unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (50 grams) of powdered sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt 
  • 2 T (18 grams) of fresh baker’s yeast
  • 5 eggs


20 minutes before starting the preparation, cut the butter into cubes and leave it at room temperature. Then start the recipe.

Mix Dry Ingredients:
In the mixer bowl, add the flour. On the edge, put the sugar, salt and vanilla pod seeds. Make a well in the center and add the crumbled yeast.

Add Wet Ingredients:
Crack the eggs into the well. Knead at slow speed for 1 minute, then add the butter and leave to knead for 10 minutes (always slow speed).

Rest the Dough:
The dough comes off the bowl, put it in a ball and cover the bowl. Leave to rest for 1 hour and a half at room temperature. Next, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour and a half.

Roll Out the Dough:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/4 inch (0.5 cm). Use a knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough into strips about 4-5 inches long and 1 inch wide (10-12 cm long, 2.5 cm wide).

Shape the Bugnes:
Make a slit in the middle of each strip and pull one end through the slit to make a twist. You can also make a knot or any other decorative shape you prefer. Place the shaped bugnes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Fry the Bugnes:
In a deep fryer or a large, deep skillet, heat vegetable oil to 350°F (175°C). Fry the bugnes in batches, turning them once, until they are golden brown and crispy, about 2-3 minutes per side. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan.

Drain and Dust:
Remove the bugnes from the oil using a slotted spoon and transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. While still warm, dust the bugnes generously with powdered sugar.

Bugnes are best enjoyed fresh and warm, but they can also be stored in an airtight container for a few days.


Store them in an airtight container to keep them soft.

Here is a helpful video (in French) with instructions on how to make both types of bugnes:


You will notice that she posted the bugnes from Lyon with the number 69 and the bugnes from Saint-Étienne with the number 42. Those numbers correspond to the department, Lyon being in the Rhone department which is 69, and Saint-Étienne in the Loire department of 42.

Have you tried bugnes before or had something similar?