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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 22 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

Ingredients

Combine together

Mix with a mixer

For coating

Instructions

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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  • Joy Davidson

    I made this for the first time and I adjust some of the ingredients but still turns out to be good. The reason i made this recipe because of the simple and less ingredients. thank you

    · Reply
  • John

    This is quite possibly the most annoying dough I have ever worked with. I’m still giving three stars because idk if it’s my ingredients, although idk what about my ingredients could’ve caused this. I am not a beginner baker and I have never experienced a dough this sticky before. I let the stand mixer run for 20 minutes, still wasn’t ready. I added obscene amounts of flour, still wasn’t ready. And any time my hands came into contact with the dough I’m convinced it fused with my skin because I’ve washed my hands several times and still there are bits of dough that will not come off. I don’t know how I ended up with this unholy creation but because the recipe might be the culprit I feel compelled to leave a review so others know what they are going into.

    · Reply
    • Hi John,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. I’m sorry you were having trouble. From what you’re describing, it sounds like you have bad flour. I’ve had a similar experience with flour that I’ve been using for 14 years, but one bag of flour would lead to similar experience to yours. With bad flour, no matter how much of it you add the dough continues to be sticky and “runny”. The end result is horrible too.

      I’m sure you’ve seen other reviews on the recipe where people had really great outcomes, I hope it gives you the confidence in the recipe and willingness to give it another try, but with a different bag or brand of flour.

      · Reply
  • Nicole

    Turned out great. Is it possible to make ahead and freeze before frying? Then I could just pop them out and thaw them before frying?

    · Reply
  • Jen

    Great recipe! SO easy to follow! I actually divided it in half, otherwise too many donuts. They rose perfectly, after the two hours! Delicious!

    · Reply
  • Lyselle-Maria

    So I tried this recipe today- It took a lot of waiting and patience but it was well worth the wait! They turned out so beautiful!!! Although it didn’t turn out so puffy like in your photos, it was still so soft and yummy to eat. I dipped mine in chocolate

    Thank you so much for this amazing recipe ❤️

    Question: A few (6 out of 17) of mine didn’t fully rise when I put it in the oil and some only had a little bubble in the middle Would you know why that happened?

    · Reply
  • Aiman

    They rose perfectly but they had a strong taste of yeast. Even though I measured it exactly according to the recipe 🙁
    Otherwise , they are perfect

    · Reply
    • Aiman,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback!
      I would suggest adding less yeast next time and double checking to make sure that you’re using the appropriate measuring spoons. Also, switching to a different brand of yeast might be a good idea if the measurements were in fact correct. With these proportions there should not be any strong smell or taste of yeast in the donuts.

      · Reply
  • Mercee

    Hi I tried this recipe but the liquid was too much. Though the dough rose up i could not roll out as mixture was soft. I wonder what size of cup do you use?

    · Reply
    • Hi Mercee,
      a cup is a unit of measure here in the US holding about 225 mls. Sounds you were using a drinking cup which would give you too much liquid in the dough.

      · Reply
  • judy

    If I baked these, would they turn out ok? I can’t eat fried food.

    · Reply
    • Hi Judy,
      yes, you can definitely bake them. But, baked donuts just taste like a regular baked dough bun, rather then a donut – most of the flavor in a donut comes from the fried exterior since baking them would remove that flavor factor I would recommend something the following.

      If you’re looking for something that’s really delicious baked I would recommend you use this Sweet Yeast Dough and shape it into little donuts or round buns, after baking, brush the outside with melted butter and dredge the baked donuts in sugar – they will be amazing! The enriched dough in this one will give you lots of flavor without the need for the frying.

      · Reply
  • Brandie

    Would it be ok to use 2 percent milk if I don’t have whole milk?

    · Reply
  • Dean

    I love this recipe…

    · Reply
  • Neevee

    Hi! I can’t wait to try these but what kind of oil did/do you fry them in?

    · Reply
    • I use light olive oil, but any oil that doesn’t have a very strong smell or taste will work (like vegetable oil). Also, make sure that you use oil that has a high smoking point as you do not want a burnt taste in your fried donuts.

      · Reply
  • Lynne

    Amazing recipe. First time I ever made doughnuts didn’t have a dough hook so kneaded by hand. Recipe so easy to follow and they turned out so good, tasted amazing and so light. Filled some of them with jam yummy!!!

    · Reply
  • Elvira

    These are so good that I’m making another batch today while we are finishing up yesterdays batch. Only thing I wish you would add to the recipe is salt. I’ve been adding salt to my dough but I forget to do it when it’s not written out.

    · Reply
  • Jia

    These look so yummy !
    I have krispy kream glazed doughnuts in mind.. will this recipe work for sugar glazed?
    I have seen the bread machine recipe of your but this one seems easier!

    · Reply
  • Rudyard

    I used quick rise yeast. Also used a bread maker to mix the dough (I don’t have a mixer with dough hook and I’m too lazy to mix manually). It was perfect at first try. Thanks!

    · Reply
  • Sammie

    I adore doughnuts and regularly bake bread (so am used to handling a yeasted dough). Your recipe looks fantastic and I’ll be giving these a try. Sammie 🙂

    · Reply
  • Erika

    if I use instant yeast would I do the exact proofing as the active dry yeast? Also the instant yeast I plan on using is quick rise would that affect the outcome of the donuts if I prepare the recipe as is except for the change in yeast

    · Reply
    • Hi Erika, you can replace the active dry yeast for instant rapid rise yeast with no problem in this recipe. Just add the yeast together with the rest of the ingredients without proofing it in the warm milk.

      · Reply
  • Linda

    How can I put jam in the centre of these?

    · Reply
    • You can use a piping tip to inject the cream into a small slit on the side of the doughnut. Or you can make the slit on the side a little wider and then just drop a spoonful of jam inside.

      · Reply
  • Deepthi

    Hi marina..
    I made the dough as per quantities. But they were really sticky so before cutting out pieces I rolled it again on a floured surface . My problem is my doughnuts didnt raise up at al. It became flatter and flatter. And how do we transfer the doughnuts into the oil. Because the moment I lift them with my fingers,my finger impressions fall in it and the shape completely changes. This s the first time I’m ever trying donuts. It will be very great if u can help me out with these.

    · Reply
    • Hi Deepthi,
      There could be many reasons for why you had trouble.
      Sticky dough – if you didn’t add enough flour, or your flour was of poor quality it might require you to add more than the recipe states. If you just measured wrong and didn’t add enough, you should add a little more next time until the dough is soft. If you have good flour and added enough, but continued kneading it for longer than the recipe requires it could also tear the

      No rise – if the dough did not rise at all after mixing it even if left for a longer period of time, it means your yeast was not active/dead. Next time, follow the steps in the recipe where it tells you to check the yeast before starting with this recipe.

      Another reason, if you proofed the dough in an environment that was higher than 110F, the yeast was killed by the extreme temperatures.

      If the dough was overproofed, pressing on the cutout donuts will leave holes that will not rise back. You need to make sure to only proof the dough until it doubles in volume.

      Hope these tips help you with the next attempt. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any more questions Deepthi!

      Marina

      · Reply
  • Johannah Schilling

    What did I do wrong if my dough doesn’t double in size (rise) after I rolled it out and cut in circles?

    · Reply
  • Goldelucks

    Great article! Thanks for sharing awesome donuts recipes.

    · Reply
  • 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 have not tried it, but think it should work. If you do try it, I hope you come back to tell us how it went 😀

      · Reply
      • Christina

        If you do make it the night before, where would you leave it overnight? Fridge? Then does it need time to rise again in the am?

        · Reply
        • If I did it overnight I would proof it, shape it, then let it proof to 75% and then put in the fridge overnight. In the morning you would just drop them in hot oil straight from the fridge.

          · Reply
  • KRIZIANADINE

    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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