How many carbs in a Bavarian cream paczki?

A paczki (pronounced POONCH-key) is a Polish filled doughnut that is especially popular around Fat Tuesday and Lent. Paczkis are made from a rich yeast dough that is filled with jelly, custard, or other sweet fillings before being fried and covered in powdered sugar or glaze. One of the most popular paczki fillings is Bavarian cream, which is a sweet custard filling made with vanilla, eggs, sugar, and cream. But with its rich dough and decadent filling, many people wonder just how many carbs are in a Bavarian cream paczki.

What is a Paczki?

Paczkis originated in Poland and were traditionally eaten before the Lenten fast in Catholic traditions. The word “paczki” is the plural form of the Polish word “paczek,” which means “little package.” This refers to the dough being wrapped around the sweet filling.

Paczkis first became popular in American Polish communities like Chicago and Detroit. Today, they are still most commonly found in these cities around Fat Tuesday celebrations, but paczkis have gained nationwide popularity.

Ingredients in Paczki Dough

A traditional paczki is made from a yeast dough. The main ingredients are:

  • Flour – Usually all-purpose flour or a blend of all-purpose and bread flour.
  • Yeast – Active dry yeast to help the dough rise.
  • Milk – Provides moisture and richness.
  • Eggs – Also helps add moisture and richness.
  • Sugar – Feeds the yeast and contributes to the sweet flavor.
  • Butter or oil – Adds flavor and fat content.
  • Salt – For flavor.
  • Other potential extras – Extracts like vanilla, spices like nutmeg, or liquor like brandy.

The dough ingredients are combined, kneaded, allowed to rise, and then the balls of dough are filled before a second rise and frying.

What is Bavarian Cream?

Bavarian cream is the traditional filling for Bavarian cream paczkis. It is a type of custard made from:

  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Heavy cream
  • Gelatin or cornstarch as a thickener

The ingredients are heated together into a pastry cream, flavored with vanilla, and lightened with whipped cream. Bavarian cream has a rich, creamy, custard-like texture and flavor.

Nutrition Facts for Bavarian Cream Paczkis

Nutritionally speaking, Bavarian cream paczkis are high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. The exact nutrition will vary slightly between recipes, but here are the approximate averages for a single Bavarian cream paczki:

Nutrition Fact Amount
Calories 450-600
Total Fat 20-30g
Saturated Fat 8-12g
Trans Fat 3-5g
Cholesterol 140-200mg
Sodium 300-400mg
Total Carbohydrates 50-70g
Dietary Fiber 1-2g
Sugars 30-40g
Protein 5-8g

As you can see, these paczkis are high in calories, fat, and carbs compared to many other dessert options. Almost all the carbs come from the sugar and refined flour in the dough. The creamy custard filling also contains carbs from the eggs and dairy.

How Many Carbs are in a Bavarian Cream Paczki?

So just how many carbohydrates are there in a single Bavarian cream paczkis?

On average, there are about **50-70 grams of net carbs** in one Bavarian cream paczki.

This carb count is based on the total carbs minus the fiber. Since there is very little fiber in paczkis, the total carbs and net carbs are very close to the same number.

To compare, here are the carb counts for other common high-carb desserts:

  • 1 regular glazed doughnut – 30 grams of carbs
  • 1 slice of cake with frosting – 30-60 grams of carbs
  • 1 brownie – around 40 grams of carbs
  • 1 slice of apple pie – around 50 grams of carbs

As you can see, the carb count of a Bavarian cream paczki is on the very high side compared to other dessert options. The carb count is likely higher than many people would expect too.

Factors That Impact Carb Count

There are a few factors that can slightly raise or lower the number of net carbs in a Bavarian cream paczki:

  • Paczki size – Larger paczkis have more dough and filling so more carbs overall.
  • Fillings – Fillings like fruit jam or chocolate are slightly higher in carbs than Bavarian cream.
  • Dough ingredients – Using cake flour lowers carbs compared to all-purpose.
  • Glazes/toppings – Very sweet glazes add more carbs.

But even with these factors, most Bavarian cream paczkis will be in the range of 50-70 grams of net carbs.

Why So Many Carbs?

Bavarian cream paczkis are extremely high in carbohydrates for two main reasons:

  1. The dough is made primarily from refined flour which is 100% carbohydrate.
  2. The filling and glazes include a lot of sugar which is also 100% carbohydrate.

Refined flour like all-purpose white flour is almost entirely starch with the fiber and nutrients removed. This starch breaks down into glucose (blood sugar) very quickly.

Table sugar and ingredients like corn syrup are made of sucrose and glucose, which are rapidly digesting simple sugars.

Together, the refined flour and added sugars make paczkis an extremely carb-heavy food. The fat and protein content doesn’t offset the amount of carbohydrates either.

Blood Sugar Impact

Not only are paczkis high in carbohydrates, but the carbs they contain are simple carbs that digest and spike blood sugar levels rapidly.

The glycemic index is a scale of 1-100 that measures how much foods impact blood glucose levels. Pure glucose is 100 on the scale.

Estimates put traditional paczkis made with refined flour and sugar fillings around **75 on the glycemic index scale**. This is considered a high glycemic index food.

For comparison:

  • Banana – GI of 51
  • Snickers bar – GI of 55
  • Jelly beans – GI of 80

So paczkis cause a rapid rise in blood sugar, even faster than many other sweets. All those simple carbs from the refined flour and sugar enter the bloodstream quickly after eating a paczki.

This is important for people with diabetes or prediabetes who need to monitor their blood sugar response. Consuming high glycemic index foods like paczkis can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes.

Should You Avoid Paczkis If You Have Diabetes?

Paczkis are incredibly challenging for people with diabetes or insulin resistance due to the high carb and sugar content.

However, having diabetes doesn’t mean you can never occasionally enjoy treats like paczkis in moderation. Here are some tips if you do want to consume paczkis with diabetes:

  • Limit yourself to 1⁄2 or 1⁄4 of a paczki at most
  • Try versions made with almond flour or coconut flour
  • Opt for fillings with some fiber like fruit jam
  • Pair it with protein like eggs or nuts
  • Take insulin to cover the carbohydrates
  • Test your blood sugar before and after eating
  • Consume paczkis very occasionally, not regularly

Moderating portions and controlling carb intake throughout the rest of the day can allow room for a small paczki treat. But they are still a very high glycemic food to be mindful of.

Low-Carb Paczki Alternatives

For people monitoring their carb intakes, there are some lower carb paczki options to consider:

Almond Flour Paczki

Substituting almond flour for some or all of the wheat flour significantly lowers the carb content. Almond flour contains around 6 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup versus about 24 grams in wheat flour. This makes the overall carb count per paczki around 30-40g net carbs depending on the recipe.

Coconut Flour Paczki

Like almond flour, coconut flour is far lower in carbs and can be used to make lower carb paczki dough. Each 2-tablespoon serving of coconut flour contains around 6 grams of net carbs as well.

Nut-Based Filling

Using a nut butter-based filling in place of Bavarian cream also cuts some carbs. For example, a chocolate hazelnut filling would have far less sugar. But the dough itself still contributes significant carbs.

Healthiest Paczki Options

While no traditional paczki is truly a “health food”, some varieties are better nutritionally than others. Here are a few ways to lighten up paczki:

  • Make mini or “Paczki bite” versions
  • Use 1⁄2 whole wheat flour in the dough
  • Choose fruit jam fillings with natural sugars
  • Avoid heavy, sugary glazes or stick to a light dusting of powdered sugar
  • Opt for orange zest or almond extract instead of more sugar for flavor

Portion control is really key for minimizing the carb impact of these special occasion treats. Enjoying paczkis occasionally and in moderation is a smarter approach than overindulgence.


Bavarian cream paczkis are deliciously tempting Polish treats that pack a powerful punch of carbs and sugar. Each paczki can contain roughly 50-70 grams of net carbohydrates – primarily from the refined wheat flour dough and sugar-sweetened custard filling.

This high glycemic food causes major spikes in blood sugar for people with diabetes. Limiting portions to a 1⁄4 or 1⁄2 paczki max is best for blood sugar control. Making lower carb modifications with nut flours or fillings also reduces the carb impact. But ultimately, paczkis should be enjoyed occasionally and accounted for in a healthy diabetes nutrition plan. With sensible portions, you can still celebrate traditions like Fat Tuesday without derailing your blood sugar goals.

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