There is no better way to start your day than with a scrumptious, warm donut. With this easy, delicious recipe you can whip up a batch of donuts in about 30 minutes. Serve with a cup of piping hot coffee or hot coco and you are starting your day off right!
I will admit one of my weaknesses is donuts…Thank goodness there is not a donut shop in the immediate vicinity. There is something about a warm, fresh donut and a cup of hot coffee that makes me feel…well, happy! For years I never even thought about making homemade donuts, I assumed they were difficult to make and they certainly wouldn’t turn out as good as bakery donuts. Besides, I had a huge aversion to frying food! But as I began to follow more food blogs and I saw other people making donuts….I thought, maybe I could too! I started with baked donuts, I wasn’t ready to fry yet. They were good, some great even…But it just wasn’t a bakery donut…One morning on a whim, I decided, I’M FRYING DONUTS! They were amazing! My kids loved them! My husband loved them! And I was hooked. Is frying food healthy…no, but “everything in moderation” is my new motto. I had a new mission, to create a recipe that was easy, delicious and easily modifiable. Basically a great base donut recipe.
I was certainly wrong about donuts being difficult to make. These donuts come together in about 20 minutes and fry up in about 2 minutes (per batch). From start to finish, you have warm, fresh, homemade donuts in about 45 minutes! Now some donut recipes can certainly be more difficult. Some recipes call for yeast and of course in that case, you need to allow time for the dough to rise. Yeast donuts can take 2 to 3 hours to make from beginning to end. Maybe someday I will try my hand at yeast donuts, but for now I am loving this simple recipe for donuts and I’m excited to share it with you.
To make these donuts:
- The oil will take awhile to heat up, so get it started while you make the dough for the donuts. Pour enough oil into a large pot to give you about an inch of oil. Heat oil to 365°F, over medium-high heat. You must use a thermometer, no guesswork allowed here! Use a frying thermometer or a candy thermometer to ensure proper temperature. While the oil is heating you can prepare the donuts, (keep an eye on the oil temperature).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all of your dry ingredients; flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together all of your wet ingredients; buttermilk, vanilla and melted butter.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and using a fork, mix just until combined. Do not over mix. If the dough is too wet you can add more flour. Start with adding 1 tablespoon and mix. If you still need more, repeat by adding another tablespoon of flour. The dough should be sticky, but easy to work with.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to ½ inch thickness with a floured rolling pin. Using a 2¾ inch pastry cutter and a 1 inch pastry cutter, cut out donuts and donut holes, placing cut donuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or cutting board. Re-roll as needed to use all the dough. You can use a bigger donut cutter, but keep in mind the recipe will yield fewer donuts than the recipe indicates.
- Once your oil has reached 365°F, place no more than 3 donuts in the oil at a time, or you run the risk of cooling your oil to much. Fry for about 2 minutes, flipping once after 1 minute. Donuts are done when they are golden brown on both sides. Move to a paper towel lined cooling rack to cool.**Keep an eye on your oil temperature and adjust the heat up or down, to maintain a temperature of 355°F to 365°F.** (See Tips and Tricks below for more information on frying).
- Allow fried donuts to cool for 1 minute before rolling them in the sugar, be sure to coat all sides. If you allow them to cool to much, the sugar will not stick to the donuts.
- Continue process until all donuts are fried and coated with sugar.
- Fry donut holes using the same method, frying no-more than 12 at a time.
Tips and Tricks:
Tools: You need to be able to cut out your donuts. You can buy a donut cutter that will cut out the donut and donut hole at the same time. These tend to measure from 3 inches to 3 1/2 inches, so you will get fewer donuts, as the cutter I use is 2 3/4 inches. Or you can use pastry cutters. I have a set of pastry cutters that have 12 different sizes of circular cutters. I find that the 2 3/4 inch cutter and the the smallest, 1 inch cutter make the perfect size donuts and donut holes. They are smaller than the large bakery size donuts, but then I can have two and not feel to guilty about it. You can always make larger donuts, but just remember this recipe will yield a fewer number of donuts than the recipe indicates. You can always whip up another batch if you need a few more donuts, as this recipe is so quick and easy to make.
Dough: Donut dough should be sticky, but not so sticky that you find it hard to work with. The key is flour. If the dough seems a bit sticky add a little flour, no more than a tablespoon at a time. Also it is important that you lightly flour the surface you plan on rolling the dough out on, the top of the dough, as well as the rolling pin. Before you use the cutters dip them in flour and after cutting two or three donuts, dip the cutters in flour again, to keep the dough from sticking. Once you cut the donuts, place them on a cutting board or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The dough will not stick to the parchment paper.
Frying: *Honest moment* Frying things in oil used to intimidate me. But I’ve done it enough times, that I am pretty comfortable with it now. Just use common sense and be careful. But here are a couple tips on frying.
- First, temperature is so important! When frying anything in oil you have to use a frying thermometer or candy thermometer. You have to know the temperature of your oil to cook the food correctly. If your oil is not hot enough, your food will be under-cooked. If the oil is too hot, you will burn your food. For frying donuts you want your oil to be between 355F and 365F. The hardest part in making donuts is keeping your oil between those two temperatures. You will discover that as soon as you put the donuts in the oil, your temperature will drop. That is why you should never fry more than three donuts at a time, because your temperature will drop too low. Just keep a close eye on your thermometer, and take the time to adjust the oil temperature. If you need to, wait a few minutes in between batches to allow your oil to get back to 365F. But you also don’t want to put your donuts in oil that is over 365F, because they will be overcooked on the outside and most likely under cooked on the inside. If your oil is getting too hot, you can carefully remove it from the burner for a few minutes, to let the oil cool down.
- Never drop the donuts into the hot oil. You will get splashed with hot oil and you will get burned. Most people, myself included, assume that the oil is going to sizzle and pop and spit hot oil at you when you add the donuts, kinda like the trials of frying bacon. If the temperature is correct, (not too hot), when you put the donuts in the hot oil it will sizzle, but under the surface and it will not splatter or spit at you. The technique I use is to simple lay the donuts gently in the oil. They will initially sink to the bottom, but after a few second they will float to the top.
- You will flip the donuts after about a minute or when they are golden brown. You will need something to flip the donuts and to remove them from the oil when they are done. A pair of forks will work or even a large meat fork. They even make a tool called a spider strainer that is made for frying food. The strainer looks like a spider web, hence the name.
- When you are done frying your donuts, don’t throw the oil out! You can reuse it. Once you’ve finished frying, let the oil cool. When it’s reached a safe temperature, place a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth (even better if you use both) over the container you plan to store it in and strain the oil. Label the oil with the date and what you fried in the oil, (You don’t want to fry donuts in oil that previously was used to fry fish…gross!). Store the oil in a cool, dry place for no longer than 3 months. Always check your oil before reusing it. If it is cloudy or rancid smelling, throw it out!
The one downside to donuts is that they don’t make good leftovers. They just don’t taste the same the next day. I have tried heating them in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, to see if I could revive them…It helped a little, but they were not as good as a fresh made donut. I would not recommend making these with the intent to have leftovers, but instead make as many as you think you will eat for breakfast that morning.
**Another option for these donuts is to roll them in cinnamon and sugar. Use 1/2 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
Some of the tools and equipment that I love to use are listed here:
Homemade Sugar Donuts
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 4-5 cups vegetable oil, for frying, (see notes)
For Coating Donuts:
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Pour enough oil into a large pot to give you about an inch of oil. Heat oil to 365°F, over medium-high heat. Use a frying thermometer or a candy thermometer to ensure proper temperature. While oil is heating prepare donuts, (keep an eye on the oil temperature).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla and melted butter.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and using a fork, mix just until combined. Do not over mix,.
- On a lightly flour surface, roll dough to ½ inch thickness with a floured rolling pin. Using a 2¾ inch pastry cutter and a 1 inch pastry cutter, cut out donuts and donut holes, placing cut donuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet or cutting board. Re-roll as needed to use all the dough.
- Once your oil has reached 365°F, place no more than 3 donuts in the oil at a time, (or you run the risk of cooling your oil to much). Fry for about 2 minutes, flipping once. Donuts are done when they are golden brown on both sides. Move to a paper towel lined cooling rack to cool. **Keep an eye on your oil temperature and adjust the heat up or down, to maintain a temperature of 355°F to 365°F.**
- Allow fried donuts to cool for 1 minute before rolling them in sugar, coating all sides.
- Continue process until all donuts are fried and coated with sugar.
- Fry donut holes using the same method, frying no more than 12 at a time.