Making homemade yeasted donuts may seem like an overwhelming task, but rest assured, it is easier than you think and oh-so-satisfying. I have some useful tips in the post below for frying up your very own glazed donuts.
Kick off your weekend and satisfy your sweet tooth with these irresistible old fashioned glazed donuts. Slightly crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside, it’s impossible to eat just one.
If you're looking for a donut that doesn't use yeast and you don't need a mixer, cakey, fluffy baked donuts fit the bill. But I think you should not walk away so quickly - these yeast donuts are worth reading on for!
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Why you’ll love this recipe
- Making old fashioned donuts is a great weekend activity
- Slightly crisp on the outside and light and tender on the inside
- Sweet glaze made with powdered sugar is impossible to resist
- The best donuts for breakfast, parties or after-dinner dessert
- They’re easy to make with simple pantry staples
Ingredients & substitutions
- White flour: Use all-purpose flour, not cake flour
- Granulated white sugar: helps feed the yeast and gives the donuts just the right amount of sweetness
- Yeast: you can use either rapid rise or instant yeast
- Whole milk: I recommend whole milk for the best texture, but you can substitute any milk you like
- Large egg: Bring it to room temperature for 30 minutes so that it easily incorporates into the other ingredients
- Kosher salt: If you don’t have kosher salt, use whatever you have. If your salt has smaller grains (like table salt) you can cut back on the amount by half
- Butter: since salt is added to the dough, you’ll want to use unsalted butter. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using
- Vegetable oil: use this for deep frying the donuts. Make sure it’s fresh. Since it can go rancid before the date on the bottle, don’t use it if it smells “off”
- Powdered sugar: this will thicken and sweeten the glaze
Frying donuts at home
Yes, this old fashioned donut recipe calls for yeast and yes, it calls for frying. Don't let that intimidate you in the least!
Working with yeast is not as difficult as you may think. Frying donuts at home requires some preparation and some kitchen tools (see below for my recommended tools), but this recipe will walk you through exactly how to do it.
I adapted this donut recipe from one of my tried and true resources, Cook's Illustrated. They did all the recipe testing for us and came up with a tender, light and chewy fried donut recipe that you can easily make at home.
I incorporated some of my own tried and true techniques to make it truly friendly for the homemaker.
Convenient timing for baking your donuts
The old fashioned glazed donut recipe calls for allowing the dough to rise for one hour at room temperature and then placing in the fridge overnight so you can bake the next day.
You can choose to skip the overnight in the fridge step and move directly to cutting out the donuts.
It's entirely optional in terms of which you choose to do. This recipe is meant to allow convenience in terms of timing.
Refrigerating the dough is something called cold fermentation. This allows the dough to develop a more complex flavor and its gluten to relax so that it is easier to roll out.
After the dough has risen, cut out the donuts and allow them to proof a second time.
To speed this up, place the donuts in your cool oven with a loaf pan of boiling water on the lowest rack. Close the door and allow the donuts to rise in the steamy environment.
How to make homemade glazed donuts
Use the dough hook attachment to mix the dough on medium-low speed for about 2 minutes, until the ingredients form a ball. Scrape down the bowl every once in a while. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes to allow the gluten to begin to develop.
If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead the dough by hand. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then add the milk and egg to the flour mixture and stir well. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for several minutes. Once you’ve finished kneading, add it back to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest as instructed above.
Add in the salt and room temperature butter, a little bit at a time, allowing each piece to incorporate before adding the next. Let the mixer knead the donut dough for a good 10 or so minutes to let it come together and form a smooth ball.
Move the dough to a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. After it has risen for an hour, you can either proceed with making the donuts or chill the dough in the refrigerator for a day or two. That way whenever you’re ready to make the donuts, the dough is ready.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle that’s 10x13 inches and about ½ inch thickness. Cut donut shapes out of the dough using a donut cutter.
If you don’t have a donut cutter you can usually find something else in your kitchen to use instead. (See more ideas below in the FAQ section.)
Place each donut on a parchment paper square.
Place the baking sheets with donuts on the upper rack of your unheated oven. Leave them uncovered.
Boil one cup of water in the microwave or on the stove. Set a loaf pan on the lowest rack of your oven and pour in the boiling water, then close the door. Let the donuts rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
While they’re rising, combine the powdered sugar, salt and water in a small mixing bowl. Stir the glaze ingredients together until all the lumps are out and you’re left with smooth icing.
Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven until it reaches 360ºF (182ºC). You’ll want the oil to be about 1½ inches deep. Add a donut to the hot oil and fry for 1-1½ minutes per side, until golden brown. Repeat with each donut, one at a time.
Donut holes will need to fry for about 2 minutes before they turn golden and can be removed. A spider skimmer or slotted spoon works great for flipping the donuts and transferring them to a cooling rack. You can place paper towels under the rack to absorb any excess oil.
Cool the donuts for at least five minutes before glazing.
Holding the sides of a donut, dip the top and then the bottom into the glaze. Let the extra glaze drip off before placing each donut on a rack. Repeat with the rest of the donuts and donut holes.
Allow the glaze to dry and firm up for 15-30 minutes. Then it’s time to enjoy the warm donuts, as they are best eaten the day you make them.
On the outside chance you have leftover donuts, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you’d like, you can heat them in the microwave or oven before serving.
- Make sure you have fresh yeast. If it’s been sitting in your fridge or pantry for longer than you can remember, chances are it’s no good and it’s not going to result in light and airy donuts. Grab yourself a new package of yeast and you'll be glad you did! Any brand will do. As long as it’s fresh it’ll give you the result you’re looking for here with these glazed donuts
- You do not need a deep fryer to fry these donuts. You can use a deep skillet or large dutch oven. Be sure to pour the oil into the pot then turn on the burner. And, be sure that your oil has reached 360ºF (182ºC) before you begin frying. It takes about 5-10 minutes for the oil to reach this temperature. A candy thermometer that clips onto the side of your pot is handy for monitoring the temperature as it rises as well as while you’re frying. If the oil is too hot, your donuts will burn and if the oil is not hot enough, the donuts will soak up all that oil and turn inedible
- When you're done frying the donuts, allow the oil to cool completely in the pot. Never pour it down the kitchen drain, as it'll clog your pipes. You can strain the oil for future frying use into large mason jars using a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Or, pour it into a container and throw it into the garbage
- Frying anything in your house can cause less than pleasant odors to linger for a while afterwards (this sounds like the beginning of a commercial, doesn't it?!). What I like to do to help get rid of the frying smell is boil a large amount of water in a clean pot, throw in a bunch of bottled lemon juice and vanilla extract (use up the inexpensive kind in the back of your cabinet, save the good stuff for baking!) and let it boil away for about 20 minutes. The lemon and vanilla will amazingly minimize that lingering bad odor. Just watch the water level to make sure it doesn't get too low, otherwise you'll burn the bottom or the pot
Like this recipe? Follow me on Pinterest for lots more recipes just like this one! And don’t forget to pin this recipe for later by clicking on one of the images below the recipe. Or, click on any of the images in this post to save to Pinterest.
How can I shape donuts without a donut cutter?
If you look around your kitchen, you’ll probably find plenty of options. Try a biscuit cutter, large glass, or an empty, clean tin can. You could also get creative and use cookie cutters. The centers can be cut out with a shot glass or even the cap off of a water bottle, depending on what size you need.
What oil is best for frying donuts?
Can I make this recipe into a vegan glazed donut recipe?
To make this recipe vegan, replace the milk with non dairy milk and replace the egg with 1 flax egg.
FOR ALL MY FAVORITE BAKING TOOLS INCLUDING THOSE USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE, CHECK OUT MY BAKING RESOURCES PAGE!
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- 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant yeast or rapid-rise yeast
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into ½-inch pieces, softened
- 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
- 3 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup hot water
- pinch of kosher salt
- Stir flour, sugar, and yeast together in bowl of stand mixer. Add milk and egg and mix with rubber spatula until all ingredients are moistened. Fit stand mixer with dough hook and mix on medium-low speed until cohesive mass forms, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl if necessary. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 minutes. Add salt and mix on medium-low speed until dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 5 to 7 minutes. With mixer running, add butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix until butter is fully incorporated and dough is smooth and elastic and clears sides of bowl, 7 to 13 minutes longer, scraping down bowl halfway through mixing.
- Transfer dough to lightly greased large bowl, flip dough, and form into ball.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. You can choose to skip to step 4 after 1 hour of rising, or transfer the dough to the refrigerator overnight (or up to 48 hours).
- After the dough has chilled, but before you remove the dough from the fridge, prepare for the next step by adjusting oven racks to lowest and middle positions.
- Place loaf pan on lower rack.
- Cut out 14 (6x6-inch) square pieces of parchment paper (12 for the donuts, 2 for the donut holes) and place on prepared baking sheets.
- Spray squares with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Transfer chilled dough to lightly floured counter. Press into an 8-inch square of even thickness, expelling as much air as possible. Roll dough into a 10 by 13-inch rectangle, about ½ inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie or biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out 12 rounds. Using a 1-inch cookie cutter dipped in flour, cut a hole out of the center of each round.
- Transfer donuts and holes to the prepared baking sheets, placing one donut on each square. (If desired, use 1-inch cookie cutter to cut small rounds from remaining dough to create additional donut holes. Transfer to baking sheet with donuts.) Meanwhile, boil one cup of water in a saucepan or microwave.
- Pour the 1 cup boiling water into the loaf pan that's set on the lower rack of your oven. Place baking sheets on the upper rack of your cool oven, uncovered. Close oven door and allow donuts to rise until dough increases in height by 50 percent and springs back very slowly when pressed with your knuckle, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, water, and salt in medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.
- About 20 minutes before the end of the second proof time, add vegetable oil to a large Dutch Oven until it measures about 1½ inches deep and heat over medium-low heat to 360ºF (182ºC).
- Use parchment paper squares to gently pick up donuts, one at a time, and add to oil, being careful not to let the parchment get in the oil. Fry until golden brown on undersides, 1 to 1½ minutes, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 350ºF (177ºC) and 365ºF (185ºF) degrees. Using a spider skimmer, flip donuts and fry until second sides are browned, 1 to 1½ minutes. Transfer donuts to prepared wire rack using spider skimmer.
- Return oil to 360ºF (182ºC) and repeat with remaining donuts.
- For donut holes, transfer all to oil and stir gently and constantly until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to prepared rack to cool.
- Let donuts and donut holes sit until cool enough to handle, at least 5 minutes, before glazing.
- Working with 1 donut at a time, dip both sides of the donut in the glaze, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Place on unlined rack. Repeat with donut holes.
- Let donuts and holes stand until glaze has become slightly matte and dry to touch, 15 to 30 minutes, before serving.
- This recipe calls for allowing the dough to rise for one hour at room temperature and then placing in the fridge overnight so you can bake the next day. You can choose to skip the overnight in the fridge step and move directly to cutting out the donuts if it's more convenient for you
- Donuts are best consumed the day they are made
- Store donuts at room temperature in a tightly sealed container or ziplock bag for 2-3 days. Rewarm in the oven or microwave
- Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
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