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Simple Homemade Sugar Donuts

Sugar Donuts – This simple homemade donut dough is made with flour, milk, yeast, and sugar, then the donuts are fried and dredged in sugar. This recipe is easy to make and produces a very indulgent little treat! Make it once and you’ll never use a different recipe for donuts. It’s soo good!

If you love these sugar donuts, you’ll also enjoy these 15-minute Ricotta Donuts, this Quick Fried Donut Recipe, and these Super Soft Donuts with Sugar Glaze.

Fried sugar donuts in a container.

Homemade Donuts

These homemade donuts are a classic recipe that I’ve been making since I was a little girl. It always makes me feel extra nostalgic when I make these.

As I saw my daughter waiting for me to fry the doughnuts, I remembered myself sitting at my grandma’s kitchen table, resting my head on the palms of my hands, watching her every move as the homemade donuts bubbled away in the hot oil.

Grandma would make a ton of them, making sure that everyone in her big family got to have as many doughnuts as they wanted.

Ripping a doughnut with my fingers today, and allowing my nose to inhale the aroma of a freshly fried homemade donut, I can’t help but miss her as I am reminded that in a month it will be 5 years since she left us for a better place.

Homemade donut dredged in sugar in the foreground and a stack of donuts in the background.

Easy Donut Recipe

Making donuts from scratch sounds like an intimidating thing to do, but I assure you this is a very easy donut recipe. If this is your first venture into homemade donuts, this is a good beginner’s recipe to try.

Make sure to follow the recipe as outlined below. I’ve made this one more than a dozen times and never had an issue.

Honestly, the hardest part about making this easy donut recipe is waiting until they are cool enough to eat after being fried. They smell incredible and the wait is almost torture!

Yeast Donut Recipe

A quick note about yeast – I know a lot of people get nervous when working with yeast, but it’s really much more simple than it sounds. Without it, the donut would be much less airy.

In fact, whether or not you use a yeast donut recipe determines if you end up with a cake donut or an airy one. I much prefer the yeast donut to the dense cake donut personally—especially with the sweet, sugary coating!

Because this donut uses yeast, you’ll want to plan ahead a bit. The yeast donut recipe calls for about 2-3 hours of rising time total for the dough, so this is a good recipe to whip up first thing in the morning before everyone is up and ready for the day. If your family is anything like mine, it takes about that long for everyone to be up, showered, dressed and ready to eat anyways!

Soft and fluffy donuts made from a yeast donut recipe, coated in a sugar mixture.

How to Make Sugar Donuts

For detailed recipe instructions, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post. 

Ingredients for the sugar donuts laid out on a board.

  • Stir together warm water, sugar, and yeast and let rise for about 5 minutes.
  • Mix together the rest of the sugar donut ingredients, including the proofed yeast. It’s best if you use a dough hook attachment to do this.
  • Form the dough into a large ball and butter it to prevent skin from forming. Then put it in a covered bowl and keep in a warm place for about 1.5-2 hours.

Step by step photos to making the donut dough.

  • Roll out the sugar donut dough and use a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut out donuts.
  • Let rise again for about an hour, until doubled or tripled in volume.
  • Heat your oil and fry the donuts. Once they are cool enough, roll them in sugar.

  • Eat and enjoy!

Simple Homemade Sugar Donuts

4.5 from 10 votes

Simple Sugar Donut - this easy dough is made with flour, milk, yeast, and sugar, then the donuts are fried and dredged in sugar. Very simple, but creates an indulgent little treat!

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: doughnuts, sugar donuts
Calories: 234 kcal
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 18


Combine together

Mix with a mixer

For coating


How to make Simple Sugar Donuts

  1. Proof yeast: Stir 2 tbsp warm water, 1/2 tsp sugar & 2 1/2tsp active dry yeast in a tall glass. Leave to rise for 5-10 minutes or until doubled in volume and foamy. If it does not rise and foam up, discard the yeast and buy a fresh batch of yeast before you proceed with the recipe.

  2. Make donut dough: Mix together 3 1/4 cups flour, 1 cup warm milk, 2 oz room temperature butter, 3 yolks, 2 tbsp sugar and the proofed yeast mixture in mixer on low speed, with the dough hook attachment until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Slightly increase the speed and knead for another 15-20 minutes or until the dough is tacky to touch.

  3. Shape donut dough: Pick up the dough, form it into a ball. Butter a large bowl (for proofing), place the dough ball back in the greased bowl, then grease the dough ball itself to prevent it from forming a crust.

  4. Proof: Cover with a clean kitchen towel, place in a warm draft-free place and allow to rise for 1-2 hours (depending on how warm it is) until at least doubled in volume.

  5. Cut out 5"x5" squares of parchment or wax paper.

  6. Punch down the dough, turn it out onto the greased surface (can use nonstick spray) and roll it to ½ inches thickness. Cut out as many rounds as possible with a 3 inch round cookie cutter and place 1 dough disk on 1 piece of prepared parchment paper. Keep re-rolling and cutting out as many donut disks as you can until all donut dough is used up.

  7. Cover cut out doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 45 min to 1 hour or until doubled in size.

  8. Heat 1½ inches oil in a heavy pot (cast iron) to 350F. To fry donuts, drop several of them at a time and allow to become golden before turning to the other side, about 1-2 minutes per side.

  9. Transfer to paper towels or wire rack to drain. Let cool.
  10. Once the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, roll them in granulated sugar or powdered sugar.

Nutrition Facts
Simple Homemade Sugar Donuts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 234 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 15mg1%
Potassium 91mg3%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 260IU5%
Calcium 42mg4%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Keren

    Woooooooow that’s recipe is unavailable…did it today..and they’re crazy delicious.. super soft… super light…. Thank you sooooooooooo muuuuuuch

    · Reply
  • Jamie Noel

    These came out amazing. It was my first time. Now I know they do not need to be in the frying oil long.

    · Reply
  • Malina

    Hello Marina.
    Can you post , this recipein grams??
    I am from Spain.Congratulations for your amazing recipe. I loved❤️!! Thanks

    · Reply
    • Hi Malina,
      Right under the ingredient list you can click “Metric” and it will switch the ingredient amounts to the metric system. Hope this is helpful!

      · Reply
  • Abby

    Would the dough be alright if I made it the night before?

    · Reply

    I just made this recipe,i just add 1 tbsp sugar and 1 tbsp baking powder,and 1 cup flour,,and OMG so delicious dount,thanx for the recipe

    · Reply
  • Suzanne

    This looks delicious, thank you for sharing!

    · Reply
  • Graham Smith

    My conversion from US to UK must be wrong – As im sure 3 1/4 cups flour which became 430 grams is not enough for the dough. My dough needed more flour. if
    you can let me know the US to UK ingredients conversions i would be willing to give this another bash

    · Reply
    • Hi Graham,
      From what I know, UK all-purpose flour has less gluten content than US all-purpose flour, so it would make sense that with the same amount of flour your dough came out thinner. The more gluten the flour has, the more moisture it is able to absorb, which makes the dough thicker.
      To adjust the recipe to your type of flour just add enough flour to make your dough very, very soft, but not runny. The dough should thicken up and look like the step-by-step pictures before and after kneading.

      · Reply
  • Vanessa

    Thanks for sharing! Do they keep long?

    · Reply
  • Suzanne

    This looks so good! Do you use this base recipe for any other kinds of doughnuts?

    · Reply
  • Flora

    Awesome recipe with only few select ingredients. It was easy to make. They ended up being very delicious, and my family really enjoyed eating them.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will indeed use it again to make more in the future.

    · Reply
  • Beth

    I’ve got easy bake fast action yeast, would I still need to combine this with the water and sugar or just put it into the flour and continue with the recipe from there?x

    · Reply
  • Rhiannon

    Just tried this recipe, INCREDIBLE! Thanks for sharing! How would I store leftover dough? I already have 21 mini donuts and dough leftover. With a household of 2 people, we can’t get through them! Thanks 🙂

    · Reply
    • Hi Rhiannon,
      Thank you so much!
      I wouldn’t store the leftover dough. I would fry all the donuts and then freeze leftovers. Once you’re ready to enjoy them, just pop them in the microwave for may be 15 seconds per piece and then dredge it in sugar.
      Hope this helps!~

      · Reply
  • Diana

    These turned out so good!!! I did half with sugar and half with powdered sugar and it was to die for. Thank you for a wonderful recipe, I’ve always wanted to make them at home.

    · Reply
  • Rajinder

    Can I bake these instead of frying?

    · Reply
  • Ericka

    The recipe could definitely use some salt. The doughnuts tasted pretty bland and thus didn’t balance the sugar coating. The texture of the doughnuts turned out great though.

    · Reply
  • Nawwal

    Can i use full cream milk instead?

    · Reply
  • Maria

    Hi, if I use instant yeast , should I scratch the step for the warm wate/milkr and sugar mixing with the yeast? Should I add the yeast directly to the flour and still use warm water or milk? Thanks in advance.

    · Reply
  • Emily

    Can I use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour?

    · Reply
  • Candice

    Do you know if these turn out okay without the use of a mixer? I do not have one, I’ve always done things by hand.

    · Reply
  • Karley

    Do you have to have the dough hook attachment or will a regular mixer work?

    · Reply
  • Christina ODonnell

    Can you use instant yeast ? Or does it have to be active yeast?

    · Reply
  • Hello, I was wondering if I could add some raisins to the dough? If so, when to add, and how much? Thank you.

    · Reply
    • Yes, you can add raisins.
      Knead them in towards the end of kneading.

      They do tend to burn slightly if any of them come in contact with the oil when frying. Just keep that in mind.

      · Reply
  • Allison

    Would 1% milk work ok?

    · Reply
  • Mallory Bell

    Hi, I haven’t tried this recipe yet but wondering if you’ve ever tried filling these? If not, would anything in the recipe need to change in order to fill them?

    · Reply
  • Can this be made with lactose free milk or almond milk?

    · Reply
    • I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why not. If anything, you can even replace it with water instead of milk.

      · Reply
    • Jamiah

      I dont know if you have tried it yet, but i did mine with almond milk and they came out amazing

      · Reply
  • Cortney

    What kind of oil did you use to fry the doughnuts?

    · Reply
  • Pat

    Does it have to be whole milk?

    · Reply
  • Franciesca

    If I want to make these for an event how would I go about having them served warm? Could I throw them in the fryer couple minutes before serving even if I cooked them already? Or how could I make it that I serve it on the spot

    · Reply
    • Hi Franciesca,
      I have no experience with making them ahead of time and keeping them warm, so can not advise you on how to properly do that 🙁

      · Reply
  • Sandy

    Can this recipe be used for donuts with holes?

    · Reply
  • Lilly

    These look amazing!! Can’t wait to make them for breakfast! Also, how far in advance can I make the dough, would it fail if I made it the night before?

    · Reply
    • Thank you Lily! If you make the dough the night before you would need to add cold milk to the flour and refrigerate it right away. But then in the morning, it would take quite a while for it to rise since it will need to come to room temp first.

      · Reply
  • A

    Hey i have bot yet tried but could i replace unsalted butter with normal butter

    · Reply
    • Unsalted butter is the normal butter ☺️. If you don’t mind the cake being salty, I guess it’s ok, but I probably wouldn’t use salted butter.

      · Reply
  • anna

    I loved them!!! Will be making again

    · Reply
    • Thanks Anna for your feedback!

      · Reply
  • Vera

    Made these doughnuts, but I think the recipe is missing some salt.

    · Reply
    • The original recipe didn’t call for any salt, but you can definitely add a pinch. It won’t hurt for sure 🙂

      · Reply
    • Bri

      Can you use an air fryer?

      · Reply

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