By Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host Published Feb 13, 2024 at 7:31 AM

Lent is quickly approaching. And that means a host of Milwaukee bakeries are battening down their hatches and baking up a storm in preparation for "Paczki Day," which takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 13 (Fat Tuesday).

The Polish holiday has long provided a mechanism for folks to clear out their larders before beginning the traditional 40-day Lenten fast (in fact, in the Middle Ages, precursors to the sweet treats were actually filled with pork and fried in lard). As a result, paczki are a particularly indulgent treat that's set aside for one special day each year. 

It's important to note that paczki aren't your average jelly-filled doughnuts. In fact, what sets them apart is their dough, which is a richer, often sweeter yeast dough incorporating eggs, butter and often milk.

With that in mind, it’s never too early to start thinking about paczki. After all, if we were in Poland, where they celebrate Tlusty Czwartek (Fat Thursday), we’d be even closer to indulging in celebratory deep-fried deliciousness.

Before you say the word

Now that you know the difference between paczki and doughnuts, it's time to respect the word paczki and use it properly. So, before you venture out into the world and start throwing around the term paczki (or even worse, paczkis), here’s a quick lesson in how to really pronounce it.

Paczki is pronounced PAWNCH-key and is the plural form of the word (really the only one you need, since you can’t eat just one, right?). Paczek, on the other hand is pronounced PAWN-check and refers to just one lonely Polish-style confection. 

If you’d prefer, here’s a video that illustrates the point quite well.

Where to get paczki

So yeah, you can just grab a few jelly doughnuts at the grocery store (because these days, almost every one will have them; and they'll call them paczki to boot). However, since you’ve got time to think about it, here are some spots you might want to check out for your paczki fix.

Keep in mind: there is a superstition that if you don't eat at least one paczek on Shrove Tuesday, bad luck will follow you for the rest of the year. So, we'd advise erring on the side of caution and eating at least one.

Hankering for a king cake? We've got you there too!

Friendly lady with paczki at Canfora BakeryX

1. Aggie's Bakery

7328 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 482-1288
[Read more]
Handmade paczki are a specialty at Aggie's Bakery, which offers flavors including apple with cinnamon sugar, blueberry with sugar, buttercream with powdered sugar, custard with white sugar glaze, lemon with powdered sugar, prune with sugar, raspberry with sugar and strawberry with glaze. Paczki are sold in six-packs for $12.50 or by the dozen for $25. Pre-order online at before Feb. 10 for pick-up on Feb. 13.

2. The Bake Sale

6923 W Becher St, West Allis, (414) 543-4230

The Bake Sale will be stocking a selection of paczki in various flavors from Cranky Al’s for Paczki Day. Flavors include prune, blueberry lemon, raspberry, Bavarian cream and strawberry guava. They will be sold for $3.75 each. Pre-orders can be made by phone through Feb. 10 for pick-up on Feb. 13. A limited quantity will also be available in store on Fat Tuesday.

3. Cranky Al's

Cranky  AlX

6901 W. North Ave., (414) 258-5282
[Read more]
The folks at Cranky's aren't really cranky, although they will get cranky if you mistake a regular old bismarck (jelly doughnut) for a paczek. This year, they'll have raspberry, prune, Bavarian cream, blueberry lemon and (new) strawberry guava.  Paczki are $3 each or $30 per assorted dozen (does not include prune). Pre-orders are recommended and can be placed online through Feb. 10 for pick-up on Feb. 13. Cranky's will be open 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fat Tuesday.

4. Donut Monster

Donut Monster paczkiX

5169 N Elkhart Ave., Whitefish Bay

[Read more]
Donut Monster will be offering powdered sugar-coated paczki with three different fillings: strawberry, blueberry and (new this year) snicker doodle custard for $3.75 each or $35 per dozen. No pre-orders. The paczki will be available at all three locations on Fat Tuesday (Feb. 13) from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until sold out. Breakfast sandwiches will also be available for purchase.

5. Grebe’s Bakery

Grebe's paczkiX

5132 W. Lincoln Ave., (414) 543-7000
[Read more]
Grebe's has the goods every year, and this year will be no exception. New this year is a pazcek with strawberry and cream cheese filling, white icing and graham cracker crumble on top. Additional flavors will include cinnamon sugar-coated apple, chocolate-iced buttercream, chocolate-iced custard, white-iced raspberry, sugar-coated raspberry, glazed blueberry, glazed sweet cheese, powdered sugar lemon and glazed prune. Pricing for all pazcki is $2.25 each or $25 per bakers dozen (13).

All 10 paczki varieties available beginning Friday Feb. 2 through Fat Tuesday Feb. 13.  Pre-order on Grebe’s websiteImportant note: ALL pre-orders must be picked up on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at Ope! Brewing Co., 6751 W. National Ave.

Customers can also purchase pazcki at the bakery Friday Feb. 2 through Fat Tuesday Feb. 13.  Store hours are 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and Grebe’s will also be open 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday Feb. 12.

Don’t miss Pardi Gras, Grebe’s kick-off to Fat Tuesday on Saturday, Feb. 10. The celebration takes place at Ope! Brewing Co. and features polka and zydeco music, a Lousiana-style crawfish boil courtesy of EZ Tiki, and a special Pardi Gras-exclusive beer and paczki Pardi Pack.  Pre-orders can be placed  on Grebe’s website.

6. Kurt Schulz Deli

8752 N. Deerwood Dr., Brown Deer, (414) 354-1004

Delicious paczki are waiting at this North Side deli, which will be offering the traditional filled doughnut in flavors including cheese, raspberry, lemon, prune and cinnamon raisin. Paczki are $2.50 each or $25 per dozen. Preorders are highly recommended and can be made online or by calling the bakery. The deadline for preorders is Saturday, Feb. 10 with pick up on Feb. 13.

7. La Tarte

La Tarte paczkiX

6742 W. Wells St., Wauwatosa, (414) 456-0995

La Tarte offers a lovely selection of paczki in flavors including apple, raspberry, cherry, prune, custard and lemon. Pricing is $1.95 each or six for $11. Preorders are highly recommended and can be placed through Feb. 10 by calling the bakery. Pick-up is available on Feb. 13.

8. National Bakery & Deli

Paczki at National Bakery & DeliX

3200 S. 16th St., (414) 672-1620
13820 W. Greenfield Ave., Brookfield (262) 827-4097
5637 Broad St., Greendale (414) 423-4620
[Read more]
National Bakery locations will be offering traditional paczki (made with a butter based dough) in prune, raspberry or raisin. All locations will have paczki available on Fat Tuesday for $16.50 per dozen; but pre-orders are recommended and can be made online (or by phone). Guests are asked to place their orders at least one week ahead of time.

9. O&H Danish Bakery

O&H Bavarian Cream PaczekX

9540 S. 27th St., Oak Creek, (414) 856-1141
717 S. Sylvania Ave., Sturtevant, (262) 898-1950
4006 Durand Ave., Racine, (262) 554-1311
4917 Douglas Ave., Racine, (262) 637-8895
5910 Washington Ave., Racine, (262) 504-7000
[Read more]
O&H will be rolling out a new flavor in their paczki line-up this year: tiramisu. Additional flavors include custard, Michigan apple, wild blueberry, cheese, prune, lemon custard, Bavarian cream and raspberry. Cost is $2 each or a dozen for $24. Both paczki and king cake will be available for purchase at O&H stores on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

10. Old World Polish Deli

7630 W. Grange Ave., Greendale, (414) 855-0470
[Read more]
You can't get more traditional than the p
aczki from the Old World Polish Deli. They come in flavors including prune, raspberry and rosehip for $1.50 each. Pre-ordering by phone is highly recommended.

11. Peter Sciortino’s Bakery

1101 E. Brady St., (414) 272-4623

Sciortino’s will be offering prune, lemon, raspberry, Bavarian cream, strawberry, Nutella and apricot. Pricing is $2.25 each or $13 per half dozen. Pre-orders are recommended and can be made by phone for pick-up on Feb. 13 from  7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Paczki will also be available in store on Fat Tuesday.

12. Polish Center of WI

Polish Center of Wisconsin paczkiX

6941 S. 68th St., Franklin, (414) 529-2140
[Read more]
The Polish Center is offering celebratory paczki from Peter Sciortino’s Bakery (in flavors including prune, raspberry, Bavarian cream, lemon strawberry and apple) Paczki are $20 per mixed dozen and must be pre-ordered online for pick-up at the Polish Center on Feb. 13 from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. The ordering deadline is Feb. 7. 

13. Sweet Perfections Bake Shop

1501 Paramount Dr., Suite C, Waukesha, (262) 446-2253
If you’re looking for something a bit different, Sweet Perfections Bake Shop offers up  "top shelf paczki" in flavors like Bailey's Cherry Bombshell, Brandy Old Fashioned Sweet, Kahlua'n Mudslide, Raspberry Vodka Shooter, Rumchata Crunch and Spiced Bananas Foster ($4 each). Traditional flavors – including Bavarian cream, prune and raspberry ($2.60 each or four for $10.30) are also available.

Pre-orders are recommended and can be made online through Monday, Feb. 5 at midnight. Sweet Perfections is open for pickup only Monday, February 12, from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 13, from 7 am to 4 pm for in-store purchases and pickup. For those who don’t want to wait until Fat Tuesday, Paczki will be available in-store beginning on Friday, Feb. 9.

14. Wioletta's Polish Market

3955 S. Howell Ave., (414) 226-5986

[Read more]
Among just a few spots where you can get paczki all year round is Wioletta's Polish Market. But, pre-ordering for Paczki Day will give you access to all 15 of their flavors including cheese, cherry, poppyseed, raspberry, prune, rosehip, Bavarian cream, apricot, blueberry, strawberry pie, Nutella, tiramisu mousse, Oreo cookie and raspberry mousse.  Paczki are priced $2.50 to $5 each, depending on the flavor. Pre-orders for packs of four to six can be placed online through Feb. 6 for pick-up on Feb. 13 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

Lori Fredrich Senior Food Writer, Dining Editor, Podcast Host

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.