Ask Difference

Paczki vs. Bismarck — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Urooj Arif — Updated on March 12, 2024
Paczki, a Polish doughnut filled with fruit or cream, is celebrated on Fat Thursday. Bismarck, a German counterpart, often contains jam and is known in various regions.
Paczki vs. Bismarck — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Paczki and Bismarck


Key Differences

Paczki are traditional Polish pastries known for their rich dough and sweet fillings, typically enjoyed on Fat Thursday before Lent. Whereas Bismarcks, also known as Berliners in some areas, are German pastries similar in nature but often distinguished by their specific fillings, such as jam, and are consumed throughout the year.
Paczki dough is slightly richer, containing eggs, fats, sugar, and sometimes alcohol, which enhances its flavor and fluffiness. On the other hand, Bismarck dough is similar but might not always include the same richness or alcohol, leading to a slight variation in texture and taste.
The fillings of paczki vary widely, including fruit jams, custard, and sometimes liqueur-flavored creams. Bismarcks, while also filled, typically feature a fruit jam, particularly raspberry or strawberry, and less frequently custard or other flavors.
In Poland, paczki day is a cultural celebration, marking the last Thursday before Lent, known as Fat Thursday, where the consumption of paczki is a festive tradition. Conversely, Bismarcks do not have a specific day of celebration and are enjoyed year-round in Germany and other countries.
The outer coating of paczki is often glazed or dusted with powdered sugar, while Bismarcks can also be coated in sugar, icing, or even chocolate, offering a bit more variety in finish.

Comparison Chart



Celebration Time

Fat Thursday before Lent

Dough Ingredients

Richer, may include alcohol
Less rich, alcohol less common


Jams, custard, liqueur creams
Primarily fruit jams, some custard


Glazed or powdered sugar
Sugar, icing, or chocolate

Compare with Definitions


Known for its rich dough.
Paczki's dough includes eggs and fats. making it exceptionally soft.


Primarily filled with fruit jam.
Strawberry and apricot are common Bismarck fillings.


A Polish pastry filled with sweet content.
For Fat Thursday. we bought a dozen paczki with assorted fillings.


Less rich dough compared to paczki.
Bismarcks have a lighter dough. making them less filling.


Celebrated on Fat Thursday in Poland.
Every Fat Thursday. Poles celebrate by eating paczki.


A German pastry similar to a doughnut. filled with jam.
I had a delicious raspberry Bismarck for breakfast.


Often filled with fruit jam or cream.
My favorite paczki filling is rosehip jam.


Can be eaten year-round.
Unlike paczki. Bismarcks are available all year.


Glazed or dusted with sugar.
The freshly made paczki were dusted with powdered sugar.


Variety in coatings.
The chocolate-coated Bismarck caught my eye at the bakery.


A round Polish pastry similar to a doughnut, usually filled with fruit and topped with sugar or icing.


(North America) A dessert pastry:


A traditional Polish doughnut.


(Manitoba) A doughnut filled with cream, often with chocolate icing.


A jelly doughnut: a doughnut filled with jam and coated with sugar.


(Midland US) A fried cruller, or a sort of pancake.


German statesman under whose leadership Germany was united (1815-1898)


Capital of the state of North Dakota; located in south central North Dakota overlooking the Missouri river

Common Curiosities

What fillings are common in paczki?

Fruit jams, custard, and liqueur-flavored creams are common in paczki.

What is a Bismarck?

A German pastry similar to a doughnut, usually filled with jam and available year-round.

What is a paczki?

A rich, Polish pastry filled with sweet fillings, traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday.

Can Bismarcks be eaten all year?

Yes, Bismarcks are available and enjoyed throughout the year.

What fillings are found in Bismarcks?

Mainly fruit jams, with some variations including custard.

Why might someone prefer a Bismarck over a paczki?

For its lighter dough, specific fruit jam fillings, or year-round availability.

How does the dough of paczki and Bismarck differ?

Paczki dough is richer, sometimes containing alcohol, while Bismarck dough is lighter and less rich.

What coatings can be found on Bismarcks?

Sugar, icing, or chocolate coatings are common for Bismarcks.

What makes paczki special in Poland?

They are a traditional celebration food for Fat Thursday, marking the beginning of the last week before Lent.

Do Bismarcks have a specific celebration day?

No, Bismarcks do not have a specific day of celebration and are a common pastry year-round.

What coatings are used for paczki?

Typically glazed or dusted with powdered sugar.

Is alcohol a common ingredient in paczki dough?

Yes, alcohol can be used in paczki dough to enhance flavor and texture.

When are paczki traditionally eaten?

On Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before Lent in Poland.

Are paczki and Bismarcks the same?

While similar, they differ in dough richness, fillings, and cultural significance.

What's the cultural significance of paczki in Poland?

Paczki have cultural significance as a part of the pre-Lenten celebrations, symbolizing indulgence before the fasting period.

Share Your Discovery

Share via Social Media
Embed This Content
Embed Code
Share Directly via Messenger
Previous Comparison
Military vs. Militia
Next Comparison
Veranda vs. Terrace

Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

Popular Comparisons

Trending Comparisons

New Comparisons

Trending Terms