How to Make Homemade Donuts

Plus a Donut Glaze Recipe with a Secret Ingredient.

How to Make Homemade Donuts

“Mom’s making donuts!” That’s what my kids used to shout when they saw a tray of homemade donuts raising on the kitchen counter. Did you know that over 10 billion donuts are sold each year? That’s a pretty impressive amount. But, bakery donuts are not budget friendly. And sometimes they contain ingredients you can’t even pronounce. But you can learn how to make homemade donuts, feather-light, yeast-raised donuts. Not only inexpensive to make, using pantry ingredients, once you learn how to make homemade donuts, you’ll understand why the bakery shop equivalent pales in comparison. Sink your teeth into a warm glazed donut fresh from the frying pan and you’ll have an epiphany.

Making heirloom recipes from scratch like donuts is enjoying a resurgence today. And learning how to make homemade donuts is right up there with the best of them.

Learn how to make donuts from scratch, and you’ll never go back to store-bought again. As far as tasting, the cook gets the first donut that’s glazed. Yes, you get the honor of giving the first two thumbs up!

How to Make Homemade Donuts: Classic Yeast-Raised Donuts

This recipe can be doubled. The donuts are best eaten the day they are made, even better, a few minutes after they’re iced!


  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus a pinch for adding to the yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pkg. 1/4 oz. dry yeast, regular or rapid rise (about 2-1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water – between 105 and 115 degrees
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • Oil for frying


    1. Scald milk.
    2. Stir in shortening, sugar, and salt.  Cool to lukewarm while sprinkling yeast and a pinch of sugar in lukewarm water. Stir and set aside.
    3. Place milk mixture into mixing bowl.
    4. Add yeast mixture, egg, and one cup flour. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
    5. Gradually add rest of flour. The dough will be soft.
    6. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about one hour. If an indentation of your finger remains in the dough, it has risen properly.
    7. Punch dough down. Roll out ¼” thick on floured surface.
    8. Cut with doughnut or biscuit cutter or with a knife into two-inch squares. Again, the dough will be soft.
    9. Place on floured foil or floured parchment paper and let rise, covered, until doubled, about 30 minutes. Not to belabor a point, but the dough will still be somewhat soft, so don’t worry if the donuts stretch a bit when you pick them up to fry.
    10. Place 2 inches neutral oil for frying in a heavy skillet. When a bread cube fries golden in a couple of seconds, it’s ready (about 375 degrees).
    11. Fry donuts, turning once. They only take a couple of minutes. Fry holes last.
    12. Drain and frost or shake into a bag of cinnamon sugar. Yield: About 20 plus holes.
Mixed dough waiting to rise. Dough will be soft.
Dough that has risen and is ready to be punched down.
Dough punched down and ready to roll out.
Roll out on floured surface 1/4″ thick.
Dough is easy to cut out.
Donuts frying – don’t crowd them.
Donut holes frying.
Fried and ready to glaze.

Tip: Get the little ones involved. Let them pull off pinches of dough and shape with hands, free form.

Kids like to free form the dough

Secret Ingredient Frosting Glaze

Adding oil to the icing makes it glisten and very easy to frost. I put the icing in a wide bowl and use a pair of tongs to give the donuts a good dunk, and then let them drain on a rack for the glaze to set.

Ingredients and Instructions

Whisk together until smooth:

      • 3-4 tablespoons hot water
      • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar or little more if necessary
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
      • 2 teaspoons neutral oil

Cinnamon Sugar – Ingredients and Instructions

Mix together:

      • 1 cup granulated sugar
      • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon

A bonus is that you can make the dough ahead of time, up to 12 hours or so, let it rise, covered, in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before proceeding.

You can also cut the donuts out and, again, let them rise in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frying.

Careful! What you Need to Know for Safe Deep Fat Frying

Learning how to make homemade donuts entails deep frying in oil. Does frying in hot fat scare you? Don’t worry, that’s a normal reaction. Here are some tips for safe frying.

      • Fry in a heavy pot or skillet with walls high enough to leave at least a few inches clearance above the surface of the oil.
      • 375 degrees is perfect for donut frying. Use a thermometer or fry a little square of bread. The oil is ready if the bread turns golden in about 30 seconds.
      • Use an oil or fat with a high smoke-point to prevent burning. Peanut oil is ideal, and no, there’s no peanut odor. But canola and grapeseed oil are good choices, as well.
      • Gently slide the donuts into the oil. Do not drop from high above the surface, which will cause the oil to splatter upward.
      • Monitor the temperature of the oil. It needs to be 375 degrees or a bit lower for frying. Do not allow it to go above, which can cause it to smoke and make it a fire risk.
      • Never leave a pot set on the stove unattended.

Yeast Glazed Donuts

Made from a dough. Leavened with yeast.

Deep fried. The texture is light and airy.

Usually glazed, not frosted.

Can be tossed with cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar.

Cake Donuts

Made from a cake-like batter. Leavened with baking soda or baking powder.

Usually baked but can be fried. The texture is denser than yeasted donuts.

Can be frosted, tossed with cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or left plain.

One thought on “How to Make Homemade Donuts”
  1. i noted indoor Strawberry Tort recipe that there is no amount of whipping cream is to be used. Would you send it to me ASAP so that I can make them for tomorrow?

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