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Homemade Donuts are light and airy on the inside, crisp and golden on the outside, and easy to make in the comfort of your own kitchen!
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This Homemade Donuts recipe is so much fun to make. Our good friends shared this recipe with us years ago and we’ve been making them ever since. Coated with cinnamon and sugar, powdered sugar, glaze or maple and chocolate frosting, I just can’t pick a favorite!
The dough couldn’t be easier to make and the process of making your own donuts is not as complicated as it seems. My kids love getting involved by cutting out the shapes and seasoning them up all sorts of ways. Try a batch for yourself and enjoy!
Doughnuts vs. Donuts
So which is it – doughnuts or donuts? Let’s put the matter to rest, shall we? Doughnut is the original spelling but the spelling donut is an Americanized, shortened version of the word. So even though the official spelling is doughnut, you can spell it either way and be correct. And either way, they taste delicious! So let’s get cooking!
Ingredients for Easy Homemade Donuts
- Yeast – Active dry yeast is the packet I used for the yeast mixture.
- Water – Make sure your water is warm about 105 to 115 degrees fahrenheit.
- Lukewarm milk – Warm your milk in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds until it is warmed through.
- Sugar – Adds the sweetness and a little texture to the dough.
- Salt – Rises and adds thickness when cooked.
- Egg – Holds together the ingredients and binds the dough.
- Shortening – This is acting like a butter with the extra fat in it.
- Flour – All purpose flour is the best flour and easiest to have in your pantry.
- Vegetable oil – This is for frying the donuts. You will need a lot of oil to help fry the donuts.
Suggestions for the Best Homemade Donuts
Prepare the dough by using a stand mixer and start by using a whisk to combine the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients to the bowl. Letting the dough rise will increase the thickness of the donuts. Make sure to use a dutch oven or a heavy pot to hold and heat the oil.
- Don’t rush the yeast process. Using instant yeast will be quick. For light and airy donuts you want to let your yeast dissolve for at least five minutes in warm water. I even add a teaspoon of sugar sometimes to add to the overall sweetness. Yeast thrives on sugar and warm water.
- After mixing the other ingredients, your dough should have an elastic texture. This is what you want! It should also have a slight spring to it.
- Then cover the dough and allow it to rise for about an hour in a warm place.
- If you don’t have a doughnut cutter you can just use a biscuit cutter or the top of a mason jar. For the center hole, I got super creative and cut off the handle of a baby formula scooper! Use whatever you have on hand to create the donut holes.
- Let those sweet homemade donuts rise (covered of course) on a baking sheet with parchment paper for another half hour while you heat your oil.
- Use a slotted spoon or wooden spoon to add the donut dough to the oiled bowl and when removing the donuts from the hot oil.
- We’ve found that the oil works best when heated to between 350 and 375 degrees. Use a thermometer to make sure you have it at the right temperature in a heavy-bottomed pot. Too cold and they won’t fry up to a beautiful golden color; too hot and they’ll burn before the insides are cooked all the way through.
- Lastly, place the fried donuts on a wire cooling rack to cool off. Add your favorite topping and enjoy!
Glaze, Sugar, Sprinkles, Oh My!
Now comes the fun part! Make sure to have your cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or glaze ready in bowls before you start frying the donuts. Once they’re out of the hot oil, toss them to coat evenly.
To make a simple donut glaze, combine milk, powdered sugar and a little vanilla together until a smooth consistency. Glaze the donuts while they’re still warm. Top with sprinkles, candy, coconut flakes, just about anything you like!
Nautical Life Preserver Doughnuts
For a nautical themed party, we made these fun life preserver doughnuts! Simply dip your doughnuts in cream cheese or vanilla frosting that has been softened in the microwave. Then add strips of red fruit roll ups.
“These doughnuts were excellent! Thanks for the great instructions too! I will be making these again.”-Heidy
Frequently Asked Questions
Doughnuts are made using pantry staples including flour, yeast, sugar, and oil for frying. Donut cutters are recommended to make a circle and have a donut hole. You can be creative with the supplies around your house.
Once the fried donuts have cooled to room temperature you can fill them with a filling of your choice. If adding a vanilla glaze or chocolate glaze, wait until the donuts are room temperature or the glaze will melt from being too hot.
Carefully east a donut into the heated oil with a slotted or wooden spoon. Fry for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the donut is golden brown. You only need to turn the donut over once.
Dough has a thicker consistency than batter so technically these donuts are made out of batter. Batter will cook quickly and absorb more of the oil compared to dough.
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More Sweet Homemade Treats
- 1 Tablespoon Yeast
- 1/8 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 3 Tablespoons shortening
- 3 cup flour
- Vegetable oil for frying
DOUGHNUT COATING (all to taste):
- Dissolve yeast in water. Combine milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening and add to yeast water. Slowly beat flour on low until smooth elastic.
- Cover and let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Roll out on floured surface about ½ inch thick. Cut with cookie cutter or any circular glass and use a smaller circle to cut out the center (doughnut holes). I used a mason jar for the larger circle and cut off the handle of a baby formula scoop for the smaller circle creating the doughnut holes. Separate the doughnut centers (holes) from the doughnut rings.
- Place on a cookie sheet and allow enough room to let them rise. They rise for about 30 min. Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar in one bowl (preferably a Tupperware bowl with a lid) and powdered sugar in another bowl. These need to be ready before frying so the hot doughnuts can be coated immediately. Slowly transfer doughnuts with spatula to the hot oil and fry 30 seconds each side until lightly golden brown. Place them in the immediately in your coating of choice and shake bowl side to side to coat evenly.
Tips on Making the Best Donuts
- Don’t rush the yeast process. For light and airy donuts you want to let your yeast dissolve for at least five minutes in warm water.
- After mixing the other ingredients, your dough should have an elastic texture. It should also have a slight spring to it.
- We’ve found that the oil works best when heated to between 350 and 375 degrees. Use a thermometer to make sure you have it at the right temperature. Too cold and they won’t fry up to a beautiful golden color; too hot and they’ll burn before the insides are cooked all the way through.
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Nothing beats homemade donuts! That is sooooo true. And these donuts look amazing! I think I’ll make a batch this weekend!!
Nothing beats freshly made homemade donuts. The best way to enjoy is when they are still piping hot. 🙂
Wow I need to make these! Last time I tried making donuts as a little girl it went horribly wrong. But this recipe is so easy! I can’t wait to try!
I really want to try making my own doughnuts. This has convinced me!
These doughnuts were excellent! Thanks for the great instructions too! I will be making these again.
Hi the recipe said 1-egg,But In the instructions it said eggs ,is there more than one egg.Can’t wait to try this recipe.Thank You Much
Sorry, it is 1 egg. I will fix it on the recipe 🙂 Thanks for the heads up!
Can you bake these?
We haven’t tried baking them before so I am not sure how they would turn out. Usually when baking doughnuts they don’t have that nice, light, crispy outer layer– and they may turn out a little dry. If you try baking them let us know how they turn out!
Hello! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after going through some of the articles I realized it’s
new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly pleased I discovered it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!
I’m going to try out this recipe. It looks easy to make and delicious. Did you use active dry east or instant yeast?
I used active dry but either should be ok
I am looking for the carmel cake recipe. There was a picture on someone’s fb and told me to go to this website and I cannot find it. Please help me. Thank you so much.