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How to Make Delicious Homemade Donuts

Updated on May 24, 2014
Marye Audet profile image

Marye Audet-White is an internationally known food writer, food editor for Texas Living, cookbook author, and food blogger.


Easy, Homemade Donuts

With an old-fashioned doughnut recipe in your hand the only real equipment you need is a deep fryer...oh, and a bowl and spoon or mixer for making the dough..

There are two basic kinds of donuts - those that are leavened with yeast, and those that are leavened with baking powder or baking soda. There are texture differences in the two types, but both are delicious.

Yeast donuts tend to be light and fluffy. These are the classic donuts you get at the corner shop. They can be glazed with a variety of flavored glazes or dusted with sugar. The yeast donuts take a bit longer than cake types since they will need a rising time.

Cake donuts have a heavier, more compact texture. These are the type that you often buy in a box at the grocery store. They may be dusted with a thick layer of confectioner's sugar or dipped in chocolate. Cake donuts are a bit easier to make than the yeast donuts, especially if you have never worked with yeast before. They don't need to rise so you can have them finished and in your belly much sooner!

All doughnuts get stale quickly so be sure to freeze any extras as soon as possible - or just eat them all.

Made from one of my favorite family recipes.
Made from one of my favorite family recipes. | Source

Tips for Perfect Donuts

There are a few tricks and tips that will help you achieve the perfect donut:

  • Cut the dough straight down - do not twist when cutting donuts.
  • Make sure the oil is hot. 370 Degrees works best for me.
  • Don't overload the fryer. Fry only three or four at a time.
  • Flip the donuts as they rise to the top and are light golden on the underside but don't over-fry them or they will be tough and dry.
  • Use the softest dough possible. Refrigerate it as needed to keep it workable.
  • Use clean oil - peanut oil is best if you don't have allergies.
  • Let the finished donuts drain into the fryer for a few minutes before removing them to drain on absorbent paper.
  • Donuts are best served immediately or frozen. They get stale very fast.

Easy, homemade cake donuts are delicious
Easy, homemade cake donuts are delicious | Source

Recipe for Basic Cake Donuts

This is the easiest recipe for cake doughnuts that I have. I use it over and over again, varying it with different topping and icings.

The dough for cake donuts is quite soft and sticky making it hard to work with. Chill the dough thoroughly and roll it out on a smooth counter top that has been dusted with enough flour to keep the donuts from sticking as you roll and cut them.

Getting it just right can take a little practice - don't give up.

Fresh Donuts are a great way to begin the morning
Fresh Donuts are a great way to begin the morning | Source
3.4 stars from 73 ratings of Cake Donuts

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: 3 dozen


  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Sift together the dry ingredients.
  2. Beat eggs with sugar until light.
  3. Add butter, milk, and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough is formed. Do not over mix.
  5. If dough is too soft to roll, chill it for an hour.
  6. Roll dough out 3/8 inch thick on a floured surface and cut with donut cutter.
  7. Fry in 370 degree oil until golden on both sides, turning once.
  8. Remove from oil, hold over hot oil for a few minutes to drain, and then finish draining on absorbent paper.
  9. While the donuts are still still warm shake in sugar, sugar and cinnamon mixture, dip in glaze of choice, or dust with powdered sugar.

Well, This is One Way to Do It...

Some yeast raised crullers I made for breakfast the other day. Image:(c)MaryeAudet2008
Some yeast raised crullers I made for breakfast the other day. Image:(c)MaryeAudet2008

Yeast Raised Donut Recipe

Yeast makes these donuts light and airy.


  • 2 c milk
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 c warm water
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c mashed potatoes, no salt or pepper
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 8 c flour


  1. Scald milk. Stir in butter, salt, and 1c sugar .
  2. Cool to lukewarm.
  3. Sprinkle 1 tsp sugar, and yeast over water. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  4. Add to milk mixture.
  5. Add baking powder, baking soda, potatoes. yolks, and 2 c of flour to milk.
  6. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. 2 minutes.
  7. Add remaining flour gradually, beating well. Dough will be soft.
  8. Place in greased bowl, grease top and cover.
  9. Let rise for two hours.
  10. Turn dough out and roll on floured surface, 1/4 inch thick.
  11. Cut with floured cutter.
  12. Cover and let rise one hour.
  13. Fry a few at a time until golden. Drain.
  14. Glaze, frost, roll in sugar, or eat plain.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen

These also make good filled donuts.


The way you finish the donuts is a matter of taste. The most common things to put on them are:

  • glaze
  • sugar
  • cinnamon sugar
  • powdered sugar
  • icing

... and of course, sprinkles!

There are, however, many recipes for each of these things. One of the best ways to finish the donuts is simply to top them with a plain glaze- it is easy to do.

Plain Glaze for Donuts

  • 1/3 c boiling water
  • 1 c confectioners sugar.

Mix well and dip warm donuts in mixture. Allow to dry a few minutes before serving.

Maple Glaze for Donuts

  • 1 c confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp maple flavoring
  • Enough cream to make a thick glaze

Mix ingredients until smooth and spoon on donuts. You can also substitute vanilla, orange, or other flavorings for the maple.

To coat with nuts- after dipping donut in glaze and roll in chopped nuts.

To coat with sugar easily- put sugar or cinnamon sugar mixture in a paper lunch bag. Put the warm donut in, close the top, and shake.

Favorite Donuts

What is your favorite donut?

See results

Freeze Now, Eat Later!

You can easily make the donuts ahead of time and freeze them. For best results lay unglazed donuts in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze until frozen through. Place frozen donuts in a ziploc bag and place in a freezer.

When ready to eat just heat them in a 400 degree oven for about ten minutes. They'll taste like they were freshly baked.

Donuts are an inexpensive treat when made at home. And surely the love involved cancels out the calories, don't you think?

© 2008 Marye Audet


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    cjarosz 3 years ago

    Awesome!! Will definitely be trying this. Thank You!

  • frogyfish profile image

    frogyfish 4 years ago from Central United States of America

    Potato donuts, yum! It's been a long time. I voted for your cream filled donuts, but I did yuk on the quiz. Great hub with recipes and tips all over the place. Thanks!

  • Blond Logic profile image

    Mary Wickison 4 years ago from Brazil

    Where was this hub 20 years ago when I moved to England with no Donut shop in sight? Whenever I visit the States, it is one of the first things I buy. I will definitely be making these. Thank you Mary.

  • kellyteam profile image

    Willette 4 years ago from Michigan

    I am sorry I read this hub. Fat city here I come! Awesome job. I love donuts and this could be detrimental to my health :) THANKS! You are an awesome writer. My inspiration! Keep on hubbing!

  • vic1960 profile image

    vic1960 5 years ago from Philippines

    I will try your recipe. I used to make doughnuts back in England and I have kept a basic donut recipe which sadly I left back home. My wife loves it. Thank you for sharing your recipe.

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