Chocolate Puff Puff Recipe | Nigerian Fried Dough

GFGluten FreeSFRefined Sugar FreeVVegan

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A twist on a classic Nigerian street food, this Chocolate Puff Puff has a crispy exterior combined with a rich & fluffy chocolate inside! Gluten-Free & Vegan

Puff Puff is a yeasted dough-based snack commonly served in Nigeria and other regions of West Africa. Today we’re going to be making a twist on the classic street food with these Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Puff Puff! 

These dessert “balls” are crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, and have a rich chocolate flavor that’s complemented with a little Nutmeg and toasted Coconut. If the thought of that doesn’t have your mouth watering by now, I’m not quite sure what will…

stack of chocolate puff puff on white platte with one puff puff cut in half to show chocolate inside

I’m excited to say that this recipe is part of my #FromYourBowl monthly series. Each month I collaborate with a different plant-based chef and ask them to recreate a recipe that reminds them of their childhood or culture. This recipe is in collaboration with Chef Salimatu Amabebe – a plant-based chef based in Portland, OR who specialized in Nigerian-inspired vegan food. They’re also the mastermind behind Black Feast: a communal monthly dinner which interprets the art of a black artist by way of a four-course meal.  

chef salimatu holding white plate of chocolate puff puff

Black Feast is predominantly based in Portland, but does have pop-up dinners across the US as well. You can purchase tickets or learn more on their website (or check them out on Instagram!)

Salimatu shared that Puff Puff is typically treated as a snack food, but they have also enjoyed it at buffet-style Nigerian parties. The “traditional” recipe is pretty neutral in flavor and not too sweet, which makes it a perfect sweet or savory accompaniment! It’s also easy to makeperfect for sharing, and is made from simple and accessible ingredients. 

close up of chef salimatu's hands holding white plate of chocolate puff puff

This Chocolate version is more dessert-centered…but I’m not going to complain about that! Puff Puff is already (typically) vegan, but this version is also Gluten-Free and Refined Sugar-Free. I was surprised at how fluffy and light it came out without the need for any Yeast!

The recipe process is really simple too. Simply mix your dry ingredients, add in the wet ingredients, and then deep fry the Puff Puff until perfectly browned. I know I have many readers that are Oil Free, but sorry folks — that crispy exterior is essential to the recipe, and it simply cannot be achieved any other way! If you heat your Oil properly (it should be around 300F) the final dessert itself won’t absorb too much of it. I would definitely suggest using a candy thermometer if you have one.

2 white plates of chocolate puff puff with maple syrup and toasted coconut on the side

I had such a great time making this Chocolate Puff Puff with Salimatu 🙂 This was my first real experience with Nigerian food, but it certainly won’t be the last. I’m excited to learn more and to try out some savory recipes as well! Do you have any experience trying or making Nigerian food? I’d love to learn more in the comments below.

stack of chocolate puff puff topped with maple syrup and coconut on white plate on wood cutting board

A Few Final Thoughts:

  • Puff Puff is traditionally formed by hand and dropped into the oil to form a perfect ball shape. Salimatu prefers to use an ice cream scoop for this version, as it’s easier to form the balls this way. Plus, the Gluten-Free dough is a little stickier and harder to handle by hand. 
  • This recipe will keep well at room temperature for up to 4 days, but is best served fresh – as with most deep-fried things 😉 
  • If you’re looking for more chocolate-y dessert recipes, you’ll also love this No-Bake Chocolate Raspberry Tart, these One Bowl Chocolate Donuts, and these Fudgy Peanut Butter Brownies!

stack of chocolate puff puff topped with maple syrup and coconut on white plate with hand grabbing one puff puff

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂


Chocolate Puff Puff Recipe

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A twist on a classic Nigerian street food, this Chocolate Puff Puff has a crispy exterior combined with a rich & fluffy chocolate inside! Gluten-Free & Vegan

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 Minutes
  • Total Time: 22 minutes
  • Yield: about 21 balls 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Deep Fry
  • Cuisine: Nigerian



For the Puff Puff Batter:

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour
  • 1 cup Cacao Powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • ⅛ tsp Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ cup Full Fat Coconut Milk (from a can)
  • 1 ½ cup Filtered Water
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For Cooking and Serving:

  • Oil for Deep Frying (Salimatu recommends Sunflower)
  • 2 tbsp Coconut Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Shredded Coconut, toasted


  1. Fill a large, deep pot with oil until it’s between 3-5” deep. Heat the oil over medium-high heat while you prepare the Puff Puff batter; you want it to get to around 300F.
  2. In the meantime, add the Flour to a large bowl and sift in the Cacao Powder (to eliminate any clumps). Add the Coconut Sugar, Baking Powder, Nutmeg, and Salt to the bowl and whisk well.
  3. Form a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the remaining wet ingredients. Mix the batter together until everything is evenly combined and uniform.
  4. Once the oil is heated, use a small cookie or ice cream scooper to drop 3 tbsp balls of dough into the hot oil. Depending on the size of your pot, you will need to do this in 2-3 batches. Raise the heat to high and fry the Puff Puff for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the dough balls cook evenly and do not stick together.
  5. The balls will have a crisp exterior a “hollow” sound to them when you tap them – that’s when you know they’re done! Use a slotted spoon to transfer the Puff Puff to a plate lined with a paper towel or clean dish cloth. Immediately sprinkle the balls with Coconut Sugar and top with toasted Coconut. Drizzle with Maple Syrup, then serve warm.


  • Coconut Sugar may be substituted for another granulated sweetener.
  • This recipe has not been tested with any other flour substitutions.

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. How did you get these to rise without using yeast? Also how come the flour binds without psyllium husks?

    Been trying to do this recipe today n I’m close to giving up :’(

    1. The baking powder helps these puff up nicely. Also, there is xanthan gum in the GF flour that works as a binder.

  2. Love this recipe can’t wait to try it.
    It just looks so fluffy.
    Happy to see more recipes from you☺️????.

  3. Hi. The chocolate puff puff look so good. What cocoa powder did you use for this please? The inside look so fluffy! Please let me know.I can’t wait to try!

    1. A cacao powder was used (slightly different from cocoa powder). Navitas organic is a good brand, but use whatever you can find; you’ll definitely want to experience these!

  4. I am Nigeria and i know i love puffpuff, i am going to add this as my staple snack cos i just went vegan. Thank you for making my journey easier as always