Homemade donuts are SO much easier to make than you think. My mom always made them with refrigerated biscuit dough on snow days. We’ve been having the most beautiful week of snow here in Seattle.
This morning I woke up wanting to make warm donuts with my kids on day 3 of no school, but (a) I didn’t have any refrigerated biscuit dough and (b) I don’t drive in snow. Like, at all. For the good of the world.
What I did have was yeast, flour, sugar, butter, salt, and sugar, so I thought “How hard can it be?” Turns out, not hard at all. In fact, I’d wager that anybody who can read and follow directions could make these donuts.
97% of the time is in the rising of the dough, which takes about an hour and a half. Other than that, you just mix a few things together, cut them out, and boom– donuts.
You don’t need a donut cookie cutter like I have. I got mine on Amazon, but you can also use just a round cookie cutter or cup, and cut a hole out of the middle with a smaller circular object like a bottle cap or frosting tip.
My kids loved helping me with these and watching them fry up. Enjoy!
1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast*
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
6 Tablespoons (86g) butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups (490g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 – 2 quarts vegetable oil
2 cups (240g) powdered sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) heavy cream or whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Or, if you do not own a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar on top of the milk. Give it a stir with a spoon and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be frothy after 5 minutes. If not, start over with new yeast.
If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the remaining sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla, 2 cups of flour, and salt. Beat on low speed for 1 minute or until combined. Add remaining flour and beat on medium-high speed until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough should be thick, yet soft. And slightly sticky. If it is too wet, add 2-3 more Tablespoons of flour. Make sure you do not add too much extra flour; you want a soft, slightly sticky dough.
Form dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes, then place into a bowl greased with nonstick spray. Turn the dough over to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 1 and 1/2 hours. (For the warm area, I preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm)
Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed. Roll the dough out until it is only 1/2 inch thick. Using a doughnut or other round cutter, cut into 12 doughnuts. If you can’t quite fit 12, re-roll the scraps and cut more.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 6 doughnut and doughnut holes on each. Cover with kitchen towels and allow to rest for about 15-20 minutes as you prepare the oil. Place a cooling rack over a third baking sheet.
Pour oil into the pot set over medium heat. Heat to 375°F (191°C). Add 2-3 doughnuts at a time and cook for 1 minute on each side. Carefully remove with a metal spatula or metal slotted spoon. Wear kitchen gloves if oil is splashing. Place onto prepared rack. Repeat with remaining doughnuts, then turn off heat.
Make the glaze: Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together. Dip each warm doughnut (don’t wait for them to cool!) into the glaze, making sure to coat both sides. Place back onto prepared rack to allow excess glaze drip down. Or, skip the glaze and dip in cinnamon sugar. OR some of each! The glaze will eventually set + harden on the doughnuts after about 20 minutes.
Doughnuts are best enjoyed warm, but at least the the same day, though they keep at room temperature for a couple extra days in an airtight container.