Sugar Donuts

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Nothing beats donuts. And nothing beats homemade yeast donuts rolled in sugar. These sugar donuts are easy when you follow my step by step photos to make perfect donuts at home!



 

Did you know the first Friday in June was National Donut Day?! Yes. An actual holiday, a whole day, to make it ok to eat donut after donut without judgement.

I decided to make a video for my Glazed Yeast Donuts Recipe and thought why not while I’m at make another fun version of this recipe – sugar donuts! Yup fried homemade donuts rolled in sugar when they’re done.

Oh my. We devoured one (each) as soon as they were done. Plus a couple of donut holes. You know for recipe testing purposes of course.

For more donut recipes check out –> 90+ Donut Recipes

sugar donuts on a cooling rack

What Is A Yeast Donut?

So a yeast donut is basically a fried pastry that is leavened with yeast, unlike a cake doughnut that is leavened with baking powder or baking soda. 

Yeast donuts, because they are leavened with yeast, will take longer to make and have to be fried. But every second is totally worth it. Trust me. 

  • If you’re looking for a glazed donut that rivals your local donut shop, then look no further than this recipe!
  • These chocolate frosted donuts my favorite donut to make at home. So pillowy and lights, and topped with an easy to whip up rich chocolate glaze. 
  • New to frying donuts at home? Then be sure to check out this complete tutorial on how to make perfect donuts at home!
  • These old-fashioned sour cream donuts are better than any bakery. They start with a sour cream donut batter that is fried, then dipped in an easy vanilla donut glaze.

Ingredients Needed

ingredients needed for donut dough

Ingredients Notes

  • Flour – I used all purpose flour because it has a moderate amount of protein content providing the perfect texture we want when baking. I love and recommend using King Arthur Flour (really great high quality flour) and organic if you can. 
  • Salt – Do NOT combine the salt directly on top of the yeast as it can kill it. You can read more here about the role of salt in baking
  • Yeast- You can use instant or active dry yeast and add it directly to the bowl, no proofing required.
  • Milk – I use full fat milk for richness, but I think a lower fat like 2% milk would work fine. I make sure my milk has been slightly warmed, and not cold from the fridge. 
  • Butter – Unsalted and melted. I recommend always using unsalted butter vs. salted butter when baking because brands will use varying amounts of salt in their salted butter, so it’s best to use unsalted to control the amount of salt. 
five sugar donuts sitting in a loaf pan

How do you make sugar donuts?

Make the yeast dough

1. You want to combine the liquid ingredients in a small mixing bowl – egg, vanilla, milk, and melted butter.

2. And then in your stand mixer, with your paddle attachment, you want to combine the dry ingredients – flour, yeast, and salt. 

3. Then once the dry ingredients are combined you want to add the liquid ingredients and combine the ingredients.

yeast donut dough being made

4. Once the dough has come together let the dough rest for 5 minutes. After its rested, switch to using a dough hook attachment, and knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes until the dough is smooth and soft. 

5. And this point you want to place the dough into a greased bowl and cover to let rise for about 2 hours, until doubled in bulk. 

HEATHER’S BAKING TIP: You want to let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place about 75oF. If your kitchen is cold like mine then you can move the dough to a warmer spot, like top of your fridge or place in an oven that is OFF, but has the oven light on.

two photos side by side of yeast dough unrisen and then doubled in size

Roll And Cut The Donuts:

  1. Once the dough has risen, you want to roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. It should about 1/4-inch thickness.

2. And then using a round 3-1/2 inch donut cutter cut out the doughnuts. If using the donut cutter, then donut shape is all done for you. If you don’t have a donut cutter, then use a round biscuit/cookie cutter. And you can always leave them as full circles (no donut hole) or use a piping tip to cut out the round center or a smaller biscuit cutter. You can leave them a full circle or take a smaller cutter and cut out a center. Save these small rounds so you can make doughnut holes!

3. Then you want to cover the doughnuts with greased plastic wrap and let them rise for another 30 minutes to an hour until they are doubled.

yeast dough being rolled out and cut into donuts

Fry The Yeast Donuts:

HEATHER’S BAKING TIP: As you are nearing the end of the second rising time I like to heat up the oil to fry the donuts in. You want to heat the oil up to 350°F to allow perfect frying of the donuts. I like to use a digital thermometer to ensure the temperature is perfect. And then be sure to set up a drying station for when the donuts are done frying. I place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place a few paper towels over the cooling rack.

  1. When you are ready to fry the donuts, make sure to only fry a  few at a time.

2. If you add too many to the oil it will drop the temperature too much. You want to fry each donut on each side for about a minute each until golden brown. Then flip over and fry the other side for another minute.

3. Once the donuts are golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and place on the paper towels. 

Roll In Sugar And Enjoy!

  1. Give them a toss in some granulated sugar on both sides to coat and enjoy!
homemade donut in a bowl of sugar

Frying Donut Tips

  • Type Of Oil: You want to use an oil that has a high smoke point, and not much flavor. Think canola or vegetable. But sunflower, corn, or peanut oil also work. You don’t want to use an oil that has a low smoke point or will impart too much flavor, like olive oil.
  • Use a large pot. Always fry in a large deep pot or skillet like a 5-quart Dutch Oven or large skillet. This will ensure you can fill the pot/skillet sufficiently with oil and not have it splatter. Speaking of..
  • Fill Pot 1/2 Full Of Oil. You don’t want to fill the pot too much (first of all..big waste.) Second of all, you don’t want it to splatter all over you. Let’s just say, OUCH. It should be at least 2 inches deep of oil (I use about 6 cups).
  • Watch That Temperature Oil. You want your oil to 350°F. Use a digital thermometer, ideally one that clips to the side of the pot. Or do a test donut with one of your donut holes. If your oil temperature is too cold then your donuts will absorb too much oil and become greasy. And if it’s too hot, well, you know. Burnt crispy city. 
  • Only Fry A Few At A Time. Again it all comes down to that pesky oil temperature. If you fry too many at a time then it will drop the oil temperature. And if that happens, greasy donuts.
  • Reuse your oil: You can also reuse frying oil twice before disposing of it.

Recipe Tips

  • Measure Your Flour Correctly. If you measure by volume (aka measuring cups) then be sure to stir the flour first. Spoon the flour into the cup and then level off with a flat edge. You can read more here about How To Measure Flour. If you want complete accuracy, I recommend using a kitchen scale and weigh your flour. 
  • Check Your Yeast Expiration Date. Yeast is a living thing, and yes those little packets can expire. If your yeast has expired then your donuts won’t rise. So test your yeast before you start by stirring some into a little bit of milk and sugar (just be sure to substract that amount from the recipe). Be sure to sign up for my FREE Beginner’s Guide To Baking With Yeast: E-mail Series!
  • Do The Windowpane Test. If you aren’t sure if you have kneaded the dough long enough, then remove a small piece and stretch it between your fingertips. If you can stretch the dough without it tearing and it creates a small see-through window then it’s ready to go! You read and sell about the windowpane test here in the The Ultimate Guide To Baking Homemade Bread Recipes.
  • Watch That Temperature Oil. You want your oil to 350°F. Use a thermometer. Or do a test donut with one of your donut holes. If your oil temperature is too cold then your donuts will absorb too much oil and become greasy. And if it’s too hot, well, you know. Burnt crispy city. 
  • Only Fry A Few At A Time. Again it all comes down to that pesky oil temperature. If you fry too many at a time then it will drop the oil temperature. And if that happens, greasy donuts.

Recipe FAQ’s

Can I make these donuts without a stand mixer?

You absolutely can. You can make the dough by hand and knead the dough by hand. Just be prepared for it to take longer and a lot more muscle. Can I make these donuts in a bread machine?
You can! You can prepare the dough in your bread machine and press Start once you have it all combined. What kind of oil is best for frying?

What’s the best oil for frying?

I like to use a neutral-tasting oil like canola. Canola oil has a mild flavor and high smoke point. Sunflower oil is another great option.

Why are my donuts greasy?

This is because your oil temperature was too oil. The oil becomes trapped by the dough and you end up with greasy donuts.

Can I bake these donuts instead of frying?

You definitely can. After the donuts have been shaped have gone through the final rise then bake the donuts for about 14 minutes in a 350oF oven. They won’t be quite as crispy on the outside and get that deep-fried flavor but this process will be much easier. 

Why are my donuts raw in the middle?

This means you probably took them out of the oil too quickly? Keep an eye on that oil temperture so the outside doesn’t cook too fast before the middle does. And set a timer so you now when to flip and take them out.

What if I don’t have a donut cutter?

You can always use a round cookie cutter, and if you want to cut the centers out for donut holes use the large end of a pastry tip. You could also use a large drinking glass!

sugar donuts on a cooling rack

Storing These Sugar Donuts

Room temperature: I keep mine covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Freezing: Or you can try freezing them. I would wrap each sugar donut in plastic wrap and place them all in a plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Then thaw at room temperature.

Donut Variations:

  • Glazed donuts: Skip rolling them in sugar and make a simple powdered sugar glaze to roll them instead.
  • Chocolate dipped: Skip the sugar and make a ganache and dip the donuts in.
  • Cinnamon sugar: Add 2 Tablespoons cinnamon to the sugar and roll them in a cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Jelly: Do not cut out the center and fill with a jam or jelly instead. Roll in sugar.
  • Boston Cream: Do not cut out the center, fill with a Vanilla Pastry Cream and top with a chocolate glaze.

More Recipes To Try

Sugar Donuts

These light and fluffy donuts are perfect! Glazed Yeast Raised Doughnuts Recipe perfect for breakfast!
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Resting Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 46 minutes
Servings: 16 donuts
Calories: 919kcal

Ingredients

For the donuts

  • 3 cups (361g) All-Purpose Flour spooned and leveled
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (227g) milk
  • 2 tablespoons (28g) melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups oil for frying

To coat the donuts

  • 1 cup (197 g) granulated sugar

Instructions

  • To make the dough
    In a large bowl or the bucket of a bread machine set on the dough cycle, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add all at once to the dry ingredients. If you're using a bread machine, press Start. If you're preparing by hand or mixer, mix and knead to make a soft dough. Cover and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • If preparing by hand or mixer, knead the dough after its rest for 6 to 8 minutes, until it’s smooth and soft. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn it over to coat the top, cover, and let it rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
  • To shape the doughnuts: Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently roll it 1/4" thick, and cut out doughnuts with a 3-1/2" donut cutter. (if you don't have a donut cutter – then use a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, then a smaller cutter to cut out the hole in the middle – a round piping tip or smaller cutter works great! Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let the doughnuts rise for 30 minutes to an hour, until doubled.
  • To fry: Heat the oil or shortening in a heavy frying pan or skillet to 350°F. Carefully place the doughnuts in the oil, 2 or 3 at a time, and fry until golden brown. Turn over and cook the second side; each side should take no more than a minute. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper. Fill or frost doughnuts as desired, using your choice of sugar topping or glaze.
  • Place sugar in a bowl. Roll each doughnut in the sugar to coat both sides. 

Notes

  • Storage: Keep baked donuts, covered, at room temperature for up to 2 days. Or freeze them for up to 3 months. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and store them in a plastic bag. When ready to enjoy, unwrap and thaw at room temperature.
  • Oil. I use a neutral tasting oil with a high smoke point such as vegetable or canola. You want your oil to 350°F. Use a thermometer. Or do a test donut with one of your donut holes. If your oil temperature is too cold then your donuts will absorb too much oil and become greasy. Fry only a a few at time so a not to drop the temperature.
  • Donut variations: 
    • Glazed donuts: Skip rolling them in sugar and make a simple powdered sugar glaze to roll them instead.
    • Chocolate frosted: Skip the sugar and make a chocolate glaze and dip the donuts in.
    • Cinnamon sugar: Add 2 Tablespoons cinnamon to the sugar and roll them in a cinnamon sugar mixture.
    • Jelly: Do not cut out the center and fill with a jam or jelly instead. Roll in sugar.
    • Boston Cream: Do not cut out the center, fill with a Vanilla Pastry Cream and top with a chocolate glaze.
  • Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

Nutrition

Calories: 919kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 87g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 83IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @BostonGirlBakes or tag #BostonGirlBakes!


 

24 Comments

  1. TAYLER ROSS says:

    5 stars
    I made these donuts for breakfast this morning and OMG were they delicious! So easy too!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! I’m so happy to hear that the donuts were a hit for breakfast and you found them easy to make. Happy baking!

  2. 5 stars
    These donuts turned out so well! They were perfectly sweet, fluffy and doughy and we absolutely loved them! They tasted just as good as my favorite bakery’s donuts! 🙂

    1. Thank you for your fantastic feedback! I’m thrilled to hear that the donuts turned out perfectly and matched up to your favorite bakery’s. It’s wonderful that you loved them so much. Happy baking!

  3. 5 stars
    First attempt at making donuts and it went so well thanks to this recipe! They were delicious

    1. Thank you for giving the recipe a try on your first donut-making adventure! I’m so glad to hear that they turned out deliciously. Keep up the great baking!

  4. 5 stars
    These donuts are what dreams are made of! They are so delicious I can’t wait to make them again!

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful comment! I’m delighted to hear that the donuts were a dream come true. It’s great that you’re looking forward to making them again. Enjoy your baking!

  5. 5 stars
    These homemade sugar donuts were so tasty!!! I will definitely be making them again!

    1. Thank you for trying out the sugar donuts recipe and for your great feedback! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed them and plan to make them again!

  6. 5 stars
    These came out absolutely perfectly and we just loved them. Great recipe!

    1. Super, so glad to hear they turned out perfectly for you, Donalyn! Thank you for letting me know!

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried to make my own donuts, but these instructions make them look easy enough. I can’t wait to make them!

    1. I’m so happy to hear that my instructions make this recipe approachable for you, Kim! Please let me know how it goes, thanks so much!

  8. 5 stars
    I ate these while they were still warm and they were probably the best donuts I’ve ever tasted. Absolutely incredible.

    1. Thank you so much, Chenee! Fresh warm donuts are such a treat, I am so happy that you loved them!

  9. 5 stars
    It is SO FUN to make donuts at home! These were so soft and had the perfect amount of sweetness without being over the top. Yummy!

    1. Paula, you truly brightened my day! I’m thrilled to hear that you loved them and had a blast making the recipe. That’s the best part!

  10. TAYLER ROSS says:

    5 stars
    I made these donuts for breakfast this morning and they were delicious! Perfectly sweet and a great way to start the day!

    1. Yea, I’m so happy that you loved my Sugar Donuts!🥳 Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know how they turned out for you!

  11. Howdy! So, I’m always on the lookout for a good bread recipe. Whether it be sweet or savory. I’ve been hunting for a good doughnut recipe that is both easy and what I am looking for in a yeast doughnut..
    I followed this recipe to the tee ( nothing added nor taken out). 3 separate times and I was really happy. And my family liked them alot too. Woo hoo. . 😋
    This 3rd batch, I totally abused the dough. Purposely. I not only refrigerated twice, but then sealed and froze it for a week, I let it defrost, pulled enough for 2 doughnuts yesterday and threw it back in fridge covered in plastic. And now a day later, I rolled the dough out cold, and made cinnamon rolls. To my surprise, it totally worked. LOL. This has got to be the best dough recipe I’ve come across and will use over and over…Thank you for sharing…

    1. Taylor Smith says:

      You’re so welcome, Daniel! You’ve been busy in the kitchen, and that is what I love to hear. Keep on baking and experimenting!

  12. michele frenette says:

    Hi Heather…I’m curious if you’ve tried cooking these donuts in an air fryer? I’m super nervous with frying anything on the stove top.

    1. Hi Michele, I haven’t tried in my air fryer, but I think as long as it’s sprayed well so they don’t stick these should work great! Let me know if you try and how they turn out 🙂

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