Homemade Doughnuts

I’ve always wanted to make homemade doughnuts. I’ve made apple cider doughnuts before, but they were of the cake variety. Yeast doughnuts, however, have been on my baking to do list for quite some time. So on Mother’s Day my kids and I made the most amazing homemade doughnuts with several glazes, including maple, buttery vanilla, chocolate, white, powdered sugar and cinnamon.

The chocolate is the most visually impressive, followed closely by the maple. The vanilla glazes didn’t cover as well but tasted just as spectacular as the ones that did.

I don’t deep fry things too often, so it can be quite a production when I do. This wasn’t too bad though. I used my cast iron Dutch oven and my candy thermometer. The most important thing was keeping the temperature around 350 F. Anything higher and the outside of the dough will cook too quickly leaving you with a doughy interior and terribly browned exterior.

This is what you really want to achieve. Absolute doughnut amazingness. Really. Just like a doughnut shop!

Sorry for all the pictures, but I couldn’t pick a favorite angle, so you’re getting them all. None of these went to waste. This recipe made 15 doughnuts and 15 large doughnut holes. I don’t have a doughnut cutter, so I used the smallest biscuit cutter I have, which is 1.5″ (hence the huge doughnut holes), and for the actual doughnuts I used a plastic hamburger patty maker from Tupperware. Hey, ya use what ya got!

My 14 year old son snuck down to my craft room, pulled out some construction paper and foam sticker letters to make this. :) Awww!

RECIPE NOTES: I was actually out of milk. :-o My husband’s doctor told him he should drink more milk, so we’ve been going through it like crazy lately. For this recipe I actually used 1 1/4 cups of half and half and 1/4 cup water. So if you are out of milk, just letting you know the substitution worked fine. I also needed more flour than the original recipe called for. I didn’t measure, but I used all the flour in the recipe plus probably another half of a cup or so. I have made the adjustment in the ingredient list already.

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Homemade Doughnuts
adapted from AllRecipes
printable version

4 1/2 teaspoons SAF Instant yeast (or 2 envelopes active dry yeast)
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk (see note above)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup shortening
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Vanilla Butter Glaze
1/3 cup butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons hot water or as needed

Chocolate Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons milk

Maple Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon Mapeline (maple extract)
2-4 tablespoons milk

Simple White Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk

Cinnamon Sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Powdered Sugar
Just powdered sugar! :)

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and gently stir to get all the yeast wet. Let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.

In a large mixer bowl with paddle attachment on low speed, mix together the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed (or you can stir with a wooden spoon). Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl.

On a lightly floured surface, knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with a clean towel or cloth. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, about 45 minutes or so.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter and place on large cookie sheets. Cover doughnuts with a cloth or towel and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Add enough oil or shortening to a cast iron Dutch oven* to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350° F, then WAIT. Wait several minutes and make sure it’s going to stay at 350 F. If it goes up, turn the heat down. Get it to where the temp will stay around 350 F, THEN proceed with cooking your doughnuts. Cooking at too high of a temperature will overcook the exterior and undercook the interior. 

Have ready a plate lined with several thicknesses of paper towels.

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Carefully slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula, do not crowd. 3 doughnuts should fit comfortably in a standard Dutch oven. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown, a minute or so per side. Remove from hot oil, to drain on paper towels or a wire rack.

Dip doughnuts into the glaze while still hot, and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Keep a cookie sheet or tray under racks for easier clean up. Dip the finished doughnuts as the next batch is frying. Place the dipped doughnuts on a waiting cookie sheet.

* Cast iron retains its heat better and more evenly than other vessels, which is why it’s my pan of choice for frying. You can certainly use a deep fryer, I just hate all the major clean up with those, so I stick with the Dutch oven.

For Toppings

For the Vanilla Butter Glaze, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery.

For the chocolate glaze, maple glaze and simple white glazes, stir their ingredients together, adding extract and 2 tablespoons of milk first, then adding more milk as needed to get a thick glaze.

For cinnamon sugar stir together the ingredients.

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  1. simplysandi says

    You are very adventurous. I love to cook, but not sure about homemade donuts. They look so yummy, though! I wish I had one right now!

  2. Katrina says

    Awesome! My boys would certainly love these! But I KNOW they would have had me get out all the sprinkles, too! ;) Boy, you rocked it making so many different glazes and such.

  3. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme says

    Homemade doughnuts are something I've never made either, Amanda, but do they ever look like fun! Love all the different options for glazes.

  4. Sue says

    I've made donuts(sugar-yeast)once and they were so good, especially warm:) Yours look so fresh and delicious, especially the maple and the chocolate:)

  5. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle says

    I would like to order a dozen of the maple glazed please?

    I love doughnuts but rarely get them UNLESS the red light is on when I'm passing by Krispy Kreme signifying they are coming fresh off the line. OH MY…nothing quite like a just made doughnut.

  6. Tracey says

    Those look amazing!! If I didn't hate frying so much I'd be tempted to make doughnuts once a week :)

  7. Jen @ The Crumb Factory blog says

    Hi Amanda,
    The doughnuts look amazing, my kids were staring at the screen with their tongues hanging out, asking (begging) for us to make these too. We'll have to try them someday :)
    You're such a cool mom that you spent the time to make these. Great job!
    Jen @ The Crumb Factory Blog

  8. girlichef says

    These look awesome, Amanda. Yeasted doughnuts have been on my "to-make" list FOREVER! One of these days I'll get up the courage/take the time to do it…you've definitely inspired me. Wish I could reach in and grab a few. Beautiful :D

  9. Anonymous says

    Hi Amanda,

    Like you, I have always wanted to make yeast doughnuts! After seeing your success, I think I'll give this recipe a try. I have a question, for the shortening, did you use Crisco? Could you use butter?

    Thanks so much for the inspiration!


  10. Kelli @ RTSM says

    Oh my! These look so yummy! I would love to make homemade doughnuts one day:) Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Trish - Sweetology101 says

    ok, I clicked on these b/c I LOVE donuts..I think it was from My Romantic Home. Anway, this is a great site and I LOVE LOVE LOVE your tasty looking treats! Thanks ~ Trish

  12. Amanda says

    Kelli – I did use Crisco, not sure how butter would substitute. Butter contains some water while shortening doesn't. Shortening will give you a fluffier texture than butter will. I read a comment somewhere that someone uses butter instead of shortening in Alton Brown's yeasted doughnut recipe and it's fine. If you try it, I'd love to hear your results!

  13. Ann from On Sutton Place says

    My mom used to fry donuts when I was a kid. I got to shake them in the sugar bag…your post brought back great memories. Thanks for sharing! Happy Weekend…~Ann

  14. Shelby says

    These look sooooo yummy Amanda! I would love to have a donut right about now! LOL. I'm sugar deprived!!! My mom always made yeast and fry cakes both. She even would put the cream filling in some of her yeast donuts. Oh man, we REALLY loved them! Great way to spend Mother's day with the kiddies!

  15. Cookin' Canuck says

    Amanda, these donuts look absolutely amazing. I would have a tough time deciding which one to sample first.

  16. Rene' says

    Tried and true. Wow! It took me all morning, with the 3 boys running around, but it was so worth it. They rock! I mixed cinnamon and powdered sugar for my holes n they were really good. Might try cocoa n powdered sugar next time, but not sure how it will taste.

  17. Angel says

    It took me forever to find this recipe again – this is the second time I am making these delicious donuts. First time was trial and error run,used butter in replacement for shortening. I thought that ruined my donuts but the end result was lovely.

    Only problem I had was getting 2 packets of yeast to dissolve in only a 1/4 cup of water. I stirred it and everything stuck to my spoon. Any advice on that? Is 2 packets of yeast a good equivalent to 1/4 cup.

    Thanks for the yummy recipe, I’m printing this one out!

    • says

      Hi Angel! So glad you liked these, I loved them too :) I realize that 1/4 cup of water isn’t very much. Your best bet is to put the water into a small dish (like the size of a ramekin). lightly sprinkle the yeast over the top and stir gently for just a stir or two, just enough to get the yeast wet. If it sticks to your spoon, just gently scrape it off with your finger and drop it back into the water. Then let it sit for up to 10-15 minutes, or until it starts bubbling and foaming. Could be sooner than that depending on your water temp. Too cool of water will slow the proofing process and too hot will kill the yeast. General rule of thumb is warm water that is comfortable to hold your hand in. However if you have a thermometer that is your best bet until you are able to judge it by touch :) Again, don’t worry about the yeast sticking to the spoon, just wipe it off and drop it into the water. Enjoy!

  18. Thomas says

    I asked my wife if we could make some doughnuts this morning and she found your recipe. It took quite a while to make them but well worth the wait. The recipe made LOTS of doughnuts and the glazes were wonderful. Thanks for the Easter Treat!!

  19. Iris says

    They all look awesome! I try to come up with something different each week for my 3 granddaughters who live nearby. I have their treats ready on Monday so their Mom and them drive by after school to pick up the goodies which will be your doughnuts for this week. Cross your fingers that they come out good! I’ve never tried making them..oh, and of course, the girls have to have the chocolate glaze…I may have to save a couple for ME! Thanks.


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