How to make donuts in these easy steps
Wondering how to make donuts in your spare time? It’s not as difficult as you might think. Donuts at home seem like a good meal for breakfast or a light snack. They are also well-loved by people of all ages, from children to late adults.
Your homemade donuts can be fluffy and soft or full and chewy. It will depend mostly on the dough you make from scratch, how long you will get the donuts, and what cooking techniques will be used.
Making your donuts can also benefit from the delicious goodness you will enjoy. You can stop spending so much on that overpriced donut from the bakery down the street and start experimenting with your own until you get your favorite flavor.
Not sure where to start? There are plenty of easy, foolproof donut recipes. Check them out below.
Best Ingredients for Homemade Donuts
Donuts are a pretty straightforward food. Their signature is the donut hole. Any bread that is round in shape and has a hole in the middle is technically classified as a donut. It can be toppings, fillings, powdered sugar, or just plain old cooked donut dough.
These tasty treats only need a few key ingredients, including flour, milk, eggs, butter, and yeast. The flavoring can be up to you with salt, sugar, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and whatever else you want.
The flour is what gives the dough its structure. You need to get the right flour ratio to the wet ingredients. The secret is in the kneading, not in adding more flour, tempting as it might be.
Milk activates the yeast mixture; whole milk is your best option if you want that rich flavor. You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast depending o what’s available; either will make your donuts rise, and that’s what’s important.
Sugar not only increases your donuts’ flavor but will feed your yeast and tenderize the dough. Adding salt and vanilla extract will enhance flavors and the vanilla extract by making them smell even more delicious.
A pinch of nutmeg is optional, but it is what gives muffins, donuts, and other sweet pastries their cozy and familiar taste and aroma. You can add whatever topping or fillings you want — be a little adventurous and try exciting new flavors as well.
How to Make Donuts at Home
Craving for crispy-on-the-outside-pillowy-on-inside, deep-fried donuts? You don’t have to scour your whole town to see who might sell them. Making them by yourself from scratch is easier than you might think.
It won’t take you more than a couple of hours to make a fresh batch for you and your friends and family to enjoy. Below is a recipe on how to make donuts in your kitchen.
- 4 cups (approx. 500g) of all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 cup (approx. 240mL) of whole milk, warmed to about 110°F (43°C)
- One tablespoon of active dry or instant yeast
- ⅓ cup (approx. 65g) of granulated sugar
- Two large eggs
- Six tablespoons (approx. 86g) of unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- One teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg
- 1 to 2 quarts of vegetable or cooking oil
- 2 cups (approx. 240g) of confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- ⅓ cup (approx. 80mL) of heavy cream or whole milk
- ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- Preparing the dough: Combine the warm milk, yeast, and sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk them well and set them aside for 5 minutes. If a little foam appears on top, proceed with the next steps. If not, start over with new yeast.
- Add the eggs, butter, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and 2 cups of flour. Add the flour gradually while mixing everything until it creates a clay-like texture. If the mixture is too dry, add just a little milk.
- Kneading the dough: Knead and knead and knead. You can do this with a stand mixer or your own hands for a good arm workout. Keep kneading the dough until it is perfect in texture and firmness and then punch it to release air bubbles. Tuck it in, place it on a large container, and cover it with a kitchen wrap or a clean towel.
- Letting the dough rise: The dough will rise at a warm temperature for about an hour and a half. A colder temperature may cause your dough to rise slower. The dough will soon rise double in size. Make sure you place it at room temperature to be safe.
- Rolling and cutting the dough: Take a rolling pin or something similar to it and roll it on a lightly floured surface until it is flat and round at about ½-inch in thickness.
Other Steps to Take Into Account
- Take a 3 to 3.5-inch donut cutter and cut it into 12 or more donuts. Let them rest with a cover on a baking sheet and prepare your cooking oil.
- Cooking your donuts: Pour your cooking oil in a large pot or pan over medium heat to 375°F (191°C) oil temperature. Prepare a cooling rack on another baking sheet or paper towels to catch the excess oil of the cooked donuts. Take out your dough (they will have risen a bit at this time) and add in 2 to 3 at a time, depending on how big your pot is.
- Cook each donut for around 1 minute on each side or until it is golden brown all over. Use a metal slotted spoon or tongs to carefully remove the donuts from the oil and let them drip onto the drying rack. Repeat until you have cooked your whole batch.
- Making the glaze: Whisk all the glaze ingredients together; the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Dip each newly-cooked donut into the glaze while still warm to make sure the glaze holds.
- Make sure to coat both sides or just one if you prefer it that way. Place them back onto the prepared rack as excess glaze drips down. After 20 to 30 minutes, the glaze will harden, and you can now enjoy your delicious donuts.
- Storing your leftovers: Donuts are best enjoyed when freshly cooked or baked. If you find yourself making too many in one batch, you can still store and save them for later. If you live in cooler climates, room temperature should keep the glaze from melting. You can also keep them in the refrigerator and pop them in the oven for heating.
Are donuts better when fried or baked?
Fried donuts are the usual go-to by many bakeries and coffee shops. They are easier to make in large batches — just dump the doughs in the hot oil and wake a couple of minutes for them to cook. Baking them can take longer, but it is the healthier option. The difference between the two is the calories and trans fat from the cooking oil of the fried donuts.
Taste-wise, both can be delicious and familiar to anyone who loves donuts. Some recipes suggest you can fry and bake your donuts, one after the other. Frying them until they are golden and baking them on a rack to let the excess oil drip is one option. If you’re aiming for quick and delicious, go for a fried donut but not every day.
What are good donut toppings or fillings?
If you’re a true donut lover, you know there are hundreds of flavors out there. From good old sugar-glazed donuts to fancy cheese toppings to creamy or chocolatey fillings, they are as good as they all look. If you want to balance out and make this sinful treat a tad healthier, try making fruit toppings like strawberries, kiwi, mangoes, blueberries, and whatever else you want.
You don’t always have to stick with cream cheese or mousse for fillings. Try something a little different, like ice cream or coffee-flavored cream. Try peanut butter and jelly donut if you’re feeling up to it.
You can even make a savory donut sandwich with some tuna or chicken salad for that sweet-savory flavor. Anything you want goes because any donut recipe can be your donut recipe.
The Bottom Line
People all over the world love eating donuts. It is a classic snack that can be filling or just satisfy your sweet tooth. Many unique donut recipes come from thousands of cafes, bakeries, pastry shops, and restaurants.
Some bakers experiment with their toppings and fillings to give their customers something new to try. You can do this too — try out this recipe and get to kneading in your kitchen to see if you can come up with the next best donut in the history of donuts.