How to Make Homemade Doughnuts

America's favorite pastry is a cinch to make at home.

Three glazed doughnuts on a plate
Photo: Carson's Mommy

Pictured: Crispy and Creamy Doughnuts

Making Doughnut Batter

A basic doughnut batter is pretty simple stuff: Flour, sugar, salt, yeast or baking powder, plus milk, butter, and eggs. We have dozens and dozens of doughnut recipes to choose from.

Yeast Doughnuts

Add yeast to the batter, and you're making yeast doughnuts — also called ″raised" doughnuts because the yeasty dough needs time to rise.

To make yeast doughnuts, you'll dissolve the yeast in warm water, and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy. Then stir the foamy yeast into the flour mixture, adding the remaining ingredients as the recipe describes.

When the dough is firm enough, turn it out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 3 to 5 minutes. Place into an oiled bowl, cover, and, allow the dough to rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Favorite yeast doughnut recipes to try:

Cake Doughnuts

Add baking powder instead of yeast, and you're making cake doughnuts. With cake doughnuts, the dough goes straight from kneading and shaping into the hot oil (or oven) — no rising time required. Not surprisingly, they have a denser, cake-ier texture.

Favorite cake doughnut recipes to try:

Doughnut Dough Shortcut

Grandma would never cheat, of course. But Grandma's Doughnuts fudge things just a little by using refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough in place of batter! With this shortcut recipe, you'll have doughnuts prepped, fried, and on the drying rack in 20 minutes.

Boost Your Batter

Once you have a basic batter, you can kick things up a notch. Add chocolate chunks or funfetti to the batter. Or mix in pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree, or a little cinnamon and nutmeg, maybe a little orange zest, or give 'em the carrot cake treatment.

Baking or Frying Doughnuts

plate of sugared malasada doughnuts

Pictured: Malasadas


Whichever type of doughnut you choose, cake or yeast, you'll need a few things to make them.

  • If you have a deep-fat fryer, use it. But you don't need a dedicated deep-fat fryer to make doughnuts; a heavy, deep pot works great.
  • For round doughnuts with holes in the center, you'll need something to cut out the doughnut shapes: A doughnut cutter or round biscuit or cookie cutters.
  • You'll also need a slotted metal spoon to ease the doughnuts into the hot oil and to retrieve them when done.

The Basics for Frying Doughnuts

Roll the dough out to 1/2-inch thickness on a well-floured surface.

Roll out the doughnut dough
Photo by Meredith.

Cut out the shapes. If you're using a doughnut cutter, you'll have one doughnut and one doughnut hole with each press. For yeast doughnuts, you'll roll out the dough, cut them, and then allow them to rise (about 30 minutes) before slipping them into the oil.

Cutting out doughnut Shapes
Photo by Meredith.

To the pot, add enough oil to submerge the doughnuts (about 4 inches) and heat the oil to 365 degrees F.

Carefully ease the doughnuts into the hot oil with your slotted metal spoon. Don't crowd. Fry 2 or 3 at a time, moving the doughnuts around the oil with your slotted metal spoon, turning once. When they're golden brown, remove them to paper towels.

For tips on frying, check out How to Deep-Fry without Making a Hot Mess.

Removing doughnuts from hot oil
Photo by Meredith.

How to Bake Doughnuts

You don't need to deep-fry doughnuts. With a doughnut pan, you can turn your batter into beautiful baked doughnut rings. Pour the batter into the cups — about three-quarters of the way up. Then bake them in a preheated over until the doughnuts spring back to the touch.

Doughnut Pan for Baking
Photo by Meredith.

Ways to Amaze with the Glaze

Now for the finishing touches. Dunk 'em in glaze: vanilla, chocolate, maple, caramel. Or go bold! Try butterscotch or maple bourbon glazes, or cook down sweetened coffee or pineapple juice glazes. To apply the glaze, give your doughnuts some quick dunk-and-twist action in the warm glaze.

Dunking Doughnuts into Chocolate
Photo by Meredith.

Top It Off

Crown your creations with candy sprinkles, chopped nuts, shredded coconut, cinnamon-sugar (or powdered sugar), crushed Graham Crackers, cereal, bacon -- whatever you like.

all different ways to top off homemade doughnuts

VIDEO: How to Make Crispy, Creamy Doughnuts

See how it's done! This quick video for Crispy and Creamy Doughnuts shows you how to make yeast doughnuts from scratch.

Browse our entire collection of Doughnut recipes.

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