This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy.
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!
Featured with this recipe
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.
READ NEXT: 33+ Breakfast Ideas
More Sweet Homemade Treats
- Dissolve yeast in water.
- Combine milk, sugar, salt, egg, shortening and add to yeast water.
- Slowly beat in flour on low until smooth elastic.
- Roll dough into a ball, place in a bowl and cover.
- Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Roll out on floured surface about ½ inch thick.
- Cut with a donut cutter or any circular glass and use a smaller circle to cut out the center (doughnut holes). Separate the doughnut centers (holes) from the doughnut rings.
- Place on a cookie sheet and allow enough room to let them rise. Let rise for about 30 min. Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees.
- While donuts rise, combine cinnamon and sugar in one bowl and powdered sugar in another bowl. If icing donuts, prepare icing. 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. Add sprinkles to iced donuts.
- Cool donuts on a wire rack until ready to serve.
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.
- If you don’t have a donut cutter, it’s easy to improvise. I once used a mason jar for the larger circle and cut off the handle of a baby formula scoop for the smaller circle creating the donut holes.
Love this recipe?
We want to hear from you! Please leave a review.