How to Make Donuts

Turn your kitchen into a cozy bakery with the only donut recipe you’ll ever need. Yeasted donuts just need a little time and love before they’re fried into delicious golden treats and coated with glaze.

How to Make Donuts: Donuts on a Wire Rack with Some of the Donuts Glazed

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Few things are better than that first bite of a perfectly fluffy donut. Then, there’s the sensation of making your own. From the yeasty aroma of proofed dough wafting through the kitchen to the smell of freshly fried donuts, it’ll transport you to your favorite local bakery. 

The best part? Making donuts is mostly hands-off. You can spend the bulk of this recipe flipping through a book or binging the latest TV show while you wait for your dough to rise. 

Am I saying you’ll never buy a “hot now” donut from the store again? Nope. But you’ll sure taste the difference and have a blast experimenting with your favorite flavors at home. Plus, this is a great opportunity to get the kids involved (pre-frying) helping with kneading and shaping the dough. Once the fry station is all packed up, the kiddos can put their artistic eye to the test with different glazes and decorations.

Whether you’re team frosted, powdered, or sugared, you’ll find joy in making this homemade donut recipe your own. Happy frying!

Platter of Glazed Donuts with Some Covered in Sprinkles, Next to Mugs of Coffee, a Moka, and Another Platter of Glazed Donut Wholes

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Keys to Successful Homemade Donuts

  • Make sure each of your ingredients is at the indicated temperature as this will affect proofing and the final product.
  • Don’t rush the proof, otherwise the donuts will turn out dense and not fully puff when frying. To test if your donuts are proofed, gently poke one. If the dough bounces back right away, then they need more time. If your finger leaves an indentation and the dough slowly springs back, then you’re ready. Weather and environment can affect the timing, so be patient. 
  • If you’re nervous about deep frying, check out our guide to assuage your fears and ensure you’re set up for frying success.
  • To double-check that your donuts are cooked through, use an instant-read thermometer. Once they emerge from the oil, they should reach about 190°F in the center of the dough. 
  • Drain the donuts on the paper towels for a minute or less, then transfer them to the wire rack. Otherwise, the donuts may reabsorb the oil.
  • Don’t discard your oil. Let it completely cool, then strain it into an empty container. You can use the frying oil about 3 more times.
Platter of Glazed Donut Holes, and in the Background, a Platter of Glazed Donuts and a Mug of Coffee

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

What If I Don't Have a Donut Cutter?

If you don’t have a 3-inch round cutter, you can use a wide-mouth cup or jar with a thin lip. For the 1-inch hole cutter, you can use the wide part of Wilton or Ateco frosting tip, or the lid of a twist-off wine or liquor bottle. 

You’re the captain of your donut journey, so feel free to play with shapes and sizes depending on what you like and what tools you have handy. You could even make these square or heart-shaped. 

You can skip rolling and cutting altogether if you prefer shaping by hand. Portion the dough into balls weighing about 80 grams each. Note, these will take a little longer to rise during the second proof. The good news is you can fill these with pastry cream, ganache, or fruit curd after frying.

Proof It Overnight

I love doing the initial proof of this recipe in the fridge overnight for so many reasons. The temperature of the fridge is easier to maintain, so you can have full control over this proofing stage. Cold dough is also easier to roll, less sticky, and seamless to cut. You will feel less rushed to cut your donuts and move on to the next step. 

Do yourself a favor and make the dough the night before, let it proof overnight, and then proceed with the recipe.

Glazed Donuts on a Wire Rack

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Flavor Variations

There are plenty of options for flavoring these donuts by tossing them in flavored sugar or dipping them in various glazes. In addition to the vanilla glaze in the recipe, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Chocolate Glaze: 3/4 cup cocoa powder + 6 cups powdered sugar + 3/4 cup milk + 6 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • Strawberry Glaze: 3/4 cup strawberry purée + 6 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • Citrus Glaze: 1 tablespoon citrus juice + 2 tablespoons citrus zest + 6 cups sifted powdered sugar + 3/4 cup milk
  • Mocha: 3 tablespoons espresso powder + 6 tablespoons cocoa powder + 6 cups powdered sugar + 3/4 cup milk
  • Maple: 3/4 cup maple syrup + 1 tablespoon cinnamon + 6 cups sifted powdered sugar + 1/2 to 2/3 cup milk
  • Cinnamon-Sugar: 3 tablespoons cinnamon + 2 cups sugar
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate: 1/3 cup cocoa powder + 2 teaspoons cinnamon + 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • Simply Powdered: 3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Storing and Freezing

Fresh donuts are best enjoyed soon after making, at least the same day. They’ll keep in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days. 

Alternatively, you can prepare the dough, cut it out, and freeze the shapes before the second rise. Once frozen, transfer to a resealable plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to fry, let the donuts rest on a parchment-lined baking sheet at room temperature until thawed, about 2 hours, and continue with the frying directions.

Stack of Glazed Donuts with the Top Donut Covered in Sprinkles, and Leaning Next to the Stack, a Glazed Donut with a Bite Missing, All on a Platter. In the Background, a Two Mugs of Coffee and Another Platter of Glazed Donuts

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

More Fun With Dough

How to Make Donuts

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Proof Time 90 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 12 to 14 servings
Yield 12 donuts plus holes

Depending on how efficient you are at cutting the donuts, you may end up with 1 or 2 more or less servings.

To measure the flour, fluff and then loosely scoop the flour into the measuring cup with a spoon. Do not pack or compress the flour in any way. Use the flat side of a knife to gently sweep the excess off the top. Even better, weigh the flour using a kitchen scale.

Ingredients

For the donuts

  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk, lukewarm (110°F to 115°F)

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

  • 4 1/2 cups (540g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled for 10 minutes

  • 2 quarts neutral oil (like canola or vegetable oil), for frying, plus more for greasing the bowl

For the glaze

  •  6 cups (680g) powdered sugar, sifted

  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Special Equipment

  • Stand mixer with dough hook attachment
  • 4-quart heavy-bottomed pot
  • Frying or candy thermometer
  • Slotted spoon, kitchen spider, or chopsticks
  • Wire cooling rack

Method

  1. Activate the yeast:

    Whisk together the lukewarm milk, sugar, and yeast in a small bowl. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.

    Blooming Yeast in a Bowl of Milk for How to Make Donuts

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  2. Make the dough:

    Meanwhile, combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Add the frothy yeast mixture along with the eggs and butter. 

    Mix on medium-low speed until combined, about 1 to 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 4 more minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky and mostly clear sides of the bowl but may still stick to the bottom.

    Dough Ingredients (Wet and Dry) Added to Stand Mixer with Dough Hook for Donuts Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Sticky Donut Dough Mixed in a Stand Mixer and Sticking to the Bottom

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Donut Dough in a Stand Mixer Bowl, All Dough Removed from Dough Hook

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  3. Proof the dough:

    Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl, turning to coat, and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Place the dough in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

    Simple Tip!

    Alternatively, you can proof in the fridge overnight—this can make rolling and shaping much easier.

    Doughnut Dough Proofing in a Bowl

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Proofed Doughnut Dough for How to Make Doughnuts

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  4. Roll out the dough and proof again:

    Once proofed, punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a circle roughly 12 inches in diameter that is 1/2 inch thick.

    Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut out about 12 rounds. Use a 1-inch cutter to cut out the center holes of each donut, reserving the holes to fry. 

    Gather any scraps and roll them into balls about the size of the holes. Transfer the donuts to a parchment-lined baking sheet and the holes to another parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the cut dough at least 1/2 inch apart.

    Cover both baking sheets with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let rise once more in a warm place for about 30 minutes. The dough is proofed when you gently touch a donut and the dough slowly bounces back.

    Donut Dough Rolled Out on a Floured Counter

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Donuts Cut from Rolled Dough Using a Round Cutter

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Smaller Cutter Used to Cut a Hole in the Donuts

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Donuts and Donut Holes Proofing on Two Lined Baking Sheets

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Proofed Donuts and Donut Holes on Two Lined Baking Pans

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  5. Fry the donuts:

    Fill a large, deep, heavy-bottomed pot (like a Dutch oven) with about 2 to 3 inches of oil; it should reach no more than halfway up the pot. Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350°F. 

    Line a platter or baking sheet with paper towels and set a wire rack over another baking sheet, placing both by your pot.

    Simple Tip!

    If you’re using a sugar coating rather than a glaze, prepare it now by whisking together the ingredients in a medium bowl. Set next to the paper towel-lined baking sheet.

    Without overcrowding the pot, fry 2 to 3 donuts at a time, turning once, until golden brown all over and puffed, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon, kitchen spider, or chopsticks to transfer the donuts to the paper towels to drain for 1 minute, then transfer to the wire rack. 

    Return the oil to 350°F and finish frying the donuts in batches. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before glazing.

    Simple Tip!

    If using a sugar coating instead of a glaze, toss in the sugar while hot and place on the wire rack to finish cooling.

    Donuts Fried in a Dutch Oven Filled with Hot Oil

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Donuts Flipped and Frying in the Dutch Oven with Oil

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Pile of Doughnuts Resting on a Paper Towel Lined Plate

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  6. Fry the donut holes:

    Fry the donut holes a handful at a time until golden brown all over, about 1 minute, stirring and turning them frequently. Drain.

    Donut Holes Frying in the Oil for How to Make Donuts

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Donut Holes on a Paper Towel Lined Plate

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

  7. Glaze:

    If using a glaze, whisk together the ingredients until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Place the donuts, one by one, in the glaze and use a spoon to coat on all sides. Use 2 forks to remove from the glaze and let the excess drip off. Place on the wire rack until the glaze is set.

    Homemade donuts are best eaten within a few hours but will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

    Love the recipe? Leave us stars below!

    Glazing Process (L to R): Paper Towel Lined Plated with a Stack of Donuts, a Donut Dipped into a Bowl of Glaze. and a Wire Rack with Parchment Paper under It

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Glazing Process: Donut Flipped to Glaze the Other Side and Raised Using Two Forks

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

    Glazed Donuts Resting on a Wire Rack with Parchment Paper under It

    Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
525 Calories
30g Fat
59g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
×
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 14
Amount per serving
Calories 525
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 47mg 16%
Sodium 115mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 59g 21%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 29g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 44mg 3%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 98mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.