Nigerian Puff Puff with Pepper and Pumpkin

October 15, 2017 (Last Updated: March 13, 2020)

If you think you love drop donuts, get ready for a huge pumpkin upgrade of the famous and highly addictive Nigerian puff puff with a cayenne pepper and pumpkin twist!

Sprinkling pumpkin spice sugar on Nigerian Puff Puff with pepper and pumpkin

If you are an OG Yummy Medley follower, you will remember that once upon a time I shared a spicy drop donut recipe known in Nigeria as puff puff or  bofrot in Ghana. Puff puff is a staple on my house, and I make it almost every other week especially for my sisters because they love it and because of how easy it is to make. I recently made a huge batch of pumpkin puree because of the seasonal baking that I love to do with pumpkins so I decided to try adding pumpkins to my puff puff and… as you can imagine since this recipe exists, It was a huge hit! So get ready as I demonstrate in this recipe how to make Nigerian puff puff with pepper, some interesting spices , while giving it a huge pumpkin upgrade!

Small sidestory: my husband hates cinnamon! I have tried many ways for to introduce cinnamon to him but just the smell turns him all the way off. When I first made these Nigerian puff puff  while recipe testing, I made two batches. One with a significant amount of cinnamon and the other with a little less. I wish I could say he loved the cinnamon loaded batch more, but he didn’t. He didn’t hate it though, so that to me was a sign of success. See, we live 10 minutes from a cinnamon factory, and while to most people taking a walk down that side of the street smells like heaven, to my husband it is mild torture, so the fact that he actually enjoyed my pumpkin loaded, Nigerian puff puff with pepper was a major victory! You can actually be flexible with the spices you use in this recipe. Any sweet spice of your choice  like cinnamon, allspice, and even cardamon can be a good replacement for the spices used in this recipe and also in the pumpkin spice sugar. I always add cayenne pepper to my Nigerian puff puff since that always elevates the traditional pumpkin recipe way beyond its basic flour, yeast and sugar format

Nigerian Puff Puff - flavored with some pumpkin spice sugar

How to Make Nigerian Puff Puff with Pepper & Pumpkin

Main Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (typically 1 sachet)
  • ½ tsp dry cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Oil for deep frying – Feel free to choose your favorite flavorless oil. I used Canola Oil, but you can use Peanut Oil, Vegetable Oil, Rice-Bran Oil or Safflower Oil

Pumpkin Spice Sugar

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Activate the Yeast

Start by activating the yeast: In a bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in 1 cup  of 110°F-115°F water. Add in the yeast and stir until it is completely dissolved. Let this mixture stand for 5-10 minutes until yeast begins to foam.

Mix Dry Spices

While the yeast is activating, combine the flour, sugar, dry cayenne pepper, freshly grated nutmeg and salt in a separate bowl.

Combine Yeast and Spices to Create Batter

Once the yeast has activated, pour in the yeast and water mixture with the pureed pumpkin into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix in the wet and the dry ingredients together until the mixture resembles cake batter. Add in more water a little at a time if necessary to adjust the consistency of the batter. In my case, I added in ¾ cup of additional water to get the consistency just right. Cover and set the mixture aside allowing it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Once the batter has risen to double its original size, heat up oil for deep frying up to about 350-355°F.

yeast activating in batter

Fry Batter in Oil

Using an ice cream scoop or your hands if you are so skilled, drop the batter into the hot oil without overcrowding the pan. For perfect puff puff cooking, keep your heat at about medium- low. This will ensure the oil doesn not get too hot and burn the outside of your puff puff while keeping the middle raw. The puff puff should float to the top of the oil a few seconds after it is dropped into the oil, if it doesn’t, the oil is not hot enough

batter frying in pot of frying oil

Once one side of the donuts are lightly browned, turn and continue to fry until the donuts are done. The whole frying process for each batch took about 5 minutes.

puff puff browned on one side in a pot of oil

Serve the puff puff warm just as is or sprinkle with some pumpkin spice sugar if you want to kick up the pumpkin spice flavor. To cake the pumpkin spice sugar simply whisk together ¼ cup powdered sugar with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

puff puff stacked on a plate with some pumpkin spice sugar sprinkled on top

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4.86 from 7 votes

Nigerian Puff Puff with Pepper and Pumpkin Recipe

If you think you love puff puff or even doughnuts, get ready as I demonstrate in this recipe how to make Nigerian puff puff with pepper, some interesting spices, while giving it a huge pumpkin upgrade!
Prep Time1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Dessert, Small Chops, Snack
Cuisine: Nigerian, West African
Servings: 25 pieces
Calories: 94kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • tsp active dry yeast (typically 1 sachet)
  • ½ tsp dry cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Oil for deep frying

Pumpkin Spice Sugar

  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  • Start by activating the yeast: In a bowl, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in 1 cup 110°F-115°F water. Add in the yeast and stir until it is completely dissolved. Let this mixture stand for 5-10 minutes until yeast begins to foam.
  • While the yeast is activating, in a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, dry cayenne pepper, freshly grated nutmeg and salt.
  • Once the yeast has activated, pour in the yeast and water mixture with the pureed pumpkin into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix in the wet and the dry ingredients together until the mixture resembles cake batter. Add in more water a little at a time if necessary to adjust the consistency of the batter. In my case, I added in ¾ cup of additional water to get the consistency just right.
  • Cover the mixture with and set aside allowing it to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Once the puff puff mixture has risen to double its original size, heat up oil for deep frying up to about 350-355F.
  • Using an ice cream scoop, or your hands if you are so skilled, drop the batter into the hot oil without overcrowding the pan. For perfect puff puff cooking, keep your heat at about medium- low. This will ensure the oil will not get too hot and bun the outside of your puff puff while keeping the middle raw. The puff puff should float to the top of the oil a few seconds after it is dropped into the oil, if it doesn’t, the oil is not hot enough
  • Once one side of the donuts are lightly browned, turn and continue to fry until the donuts are done. The whole frying process for each batch took about 5 minutes.
  • Serve the puff puff warm just as it is or to kick up the pumpkin spic flavor, sprinkle with some pumpkin spice sugar. To cake the pumpkin spice sugar simply whisk together ¼ cup powdered sugar with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice.

Video

Notes

Nigerian Puff Puff with Pepper Calories and Nutrition 

The nutritional information for a serving of puff puff (meaning one ball) is shown below with the assumption of 10% oil retention on deep fried foods.

This post was originally published on October 15, 2017 at 8:35 pm and has been updated for image steps, content and recipes.

29 Comments

  • Reply
    Faith
    October 15, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    5 stars
    Oh my goodness… I’m obsessed with puff puff! I love the pumpkin spin. I wish I could make these pictures real and grab a piece or two!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 16, 2017 at 8:21 am

      Lol! Its is really a delicious spin on typical puff puff. You should definitely try it out.

  • Reply
    Osaze
    October 15, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    5 stars
    Now this is absolutely AMAZING! I’m going to try my best to make this on a cold Saturday morning to have with hot chocolate. Puff puff was my absolute fave growing up! The pumpkin twist is sooooo fall 😍

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 16, 2017 at 8:27 am

      You have the right idea Osaze, sounds like a perfect Saturday morning

  • Reply
    cakespy
    October 16, 2017 at 8:42 am

    These look incredible!! I love the bite size (dangerous!) and the adorableness of these little pumpkin goodies!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 16, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I know right, I can eat 10 of these in a seating if I am not careful they are dangerous!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Champagne Tastes
    October 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    What kind of oil do you use? I’d love to taste these- I’ve never tried puff puff!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 16, 2017 at 2:10 pm

      Puff puff is amazing. I used canola oil. You can use any flavorless oil of your choice that like vegetable oil or peanut oil. I will note that in the recipe.

  • Reply
    michele
    October 17, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    If these taste even half as great as the photos are Im going to be one happy happy girl! Just made sure to have all of the ingredients to give this a whirl…

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 18, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Awesome Michele! These are even better than the pictures! you will be wishing you made more once they are gone.

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    October 18, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    4 stars
    This looks absolutely perfect treat for my tea time. İ saved your recipe to make it soon..just love this! 🙂

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 19, 2017 at 8:13 am

      Awesome! Be sure to let me know how you like it when you make it.

  • Reply
    Kathryn @ FoodieGirlChicago
    October 19, 2017 at 9:01 am

    These look so perfect for fall and I love the photos!!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 19, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks Kathryn

  • Reply
    Vicky @ Avocado Pesto
    October 19, 2017 at 9:40 am

    5 stars
    I looove cinnamon so would love to live by the cinnamon factory but can totally see how that would be torture for your husband if he hates that scent and flavor! These look delicious !!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 19, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks Vicky!

  • Reply
    Veena Azmanov
    October 19, 2017 at 10:03 am

    5 stars
    Oh I love puff puffs and these look so incredible. I love how soft and sweet they are ion the inside.. yum. The recipe looks so simple and easy. Saving for later.

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 19, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      Awesome Veena! You describe puff puff like all the puff puff lovers in my family.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    October 19, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    5 stars
    I could eat that whole plate of puff puffs! That’s amazing…you live near a cinnamon factory?! Holy cow! I love this recipe. Definitely a keeper.

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Thanks Michelle!

  • Reply
    Nicoletta
    October 19, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    I don’t know puff puffs but I do like what I see and I could dangerously eat quite a few of them. So funny (well, not for your husband) that you live close to a cinnamon factory 😄.

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 20, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      It smells like Christmas year round honestly!

  • Reply
    Shannon
    October 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    These look really yummy and slightly addictive! I might have to work on a gluten free version of these to give them try!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 23, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Hmm, now you have the glutenfree nuts and bolts in my head moving.

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 23, 2017 at 8:32 am

    These look like an absolutely perfect taste of fall! There’s nothing like homemade doughnuts, warm from the fryer, and with pumpkin? I need to make these next weekend!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 23, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Enjoy!!!

  • Reply
    Kate
    October 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    These looks so fun and delicious! I can’t imagine hating cinnamon…but I also can’t imagine having to smell cinnamon all the time, either. I was once in a town that was next to a chocolate factory and the whole town smelled like chocolate. It was crazy!

    • Reply
      Lois
      October 24, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Having my neighborhood smell like chocolate would be a dream come true!

  • Reply
    Donna
    October 23, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    5 stars
    These sound so good, and I love that they fall in with the seasonal baking right now. Also, how cute does puff puff sound? Definitely putting these on the ‘to try’ list!

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