Simple Homemade Sugar Donuts
Sugar Donuts – This simple homemade donut dough is made with flour, milk, egg yolks, 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.
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.
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!
How to Make Sugar Donuts
For detailed recipe instructions, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- 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 it in a warm place until doubled in size.
- 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!
Try these other great pastry recipes:
Simple Homemade Sugar Donuts
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!
- 2½ tsp active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp warm water
- 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
Mix with a mixer
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk warm
- 2 oz unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
How to make Simple Sugar Donuts
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.
Make donut dough: Mix together 3 1/4 cups flour, 1 cup warm milk, 2 oz room temperature butter, 3 yolks, 2 tbsp sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 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. If you continue kneading past the point of smooth and stretchy dough, the dough will overknead and make doughy donuts, so keep a close eye on the dough.
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.
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.
Cut out 5"x5" squares of parchment or wax paper.
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.
Cover cut out doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise for 45 min to 1 hour or until doubled in size.
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.
Transfer to paper towels or wire rack to drain. Let cool.
Once the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, roll them in granulated sugar or powdered sugar.
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I had never made donuts before. This was one of the first and easiest recipes I found. They turned out great! Perfect almost! I read some other comments saying that they turned out too dense or bread-like. I had no such issues! It could be that those people over-kneaded the dough, forcing all the air out and making the dough too dense. Overall, it’s a great recipe and my family loved them!
Hi! I was wondering what kind of oil you recommend using for these donuts?
Any oil that has high smoke point. Examples: light olive oil, vegetable oil, avocado oils etc.
Done your measurements but this looks to me not enough sugar in the dough and other recipes also use the whole egg. Not just yolk. After reading the comment above saying its like bread. I think this is why. basically this is a brioche recipe with only 2tbsp sugar in total. Hoping this hasnt been a complete waste of time when i fry later.
Using egg yolks only yields a more tender dough. Egg white will make it more “bready”.
Low sugar content in the dough prevents over-browning when frying.
It also keeps the dough itself fluffy instead of heavy, since sugar will weigh the dough down.
You also have to consider the sweetness that sugar coating will add once the donuts are dredged in sugar.
You can always try the donut dough of any commercially sold donuts without the sugar coating and compare it to this recipe. You will find that all donuts typically don’t have much sweetness on their own. It’s the filling or coating that contributes to the sweetness.
Hope this helps.
The texture of the dough was good, but tasted more like bread. Or even like a funnel cake. Im going to try one more time, but with more sugar and a different flour.
This was my first attempt at any donut recipe and was a good place to start, but not where I’ll end.
The texture and look of my donuts were perfect, but it tasted kind of like bread. I’m thinking this might be because I overmixed, but I only mixed it for 8 minutes on my mixers lowest speed because the dough became tacky. I would appreciate some advice on where I went wrong!
Did you fry them or did you bake them? Some people bake them and it would definitely not taste like a donut if it’s baked.
You were right to stop at whatever minute the dough got tacky, different flours act differently when it comes to kneading time. If you stopped when it got tacky then the dough can not be overmixed. Overmixed dough would go from holding shape/ball, to becoming lose and almost runny.
This recipe is a typical donut dough, in essence what flavors the donut is the glaze, sugar, filling or anything else you would add. Baking the dough would produce just a tasty pastry, but combined with the flavor produced by frying it becomes a donut.
Or may be you’re saying that it was dense like bread?
How long should I knead the dough for if I don’t have a stand mixture
Until it becomes tacky to touch.
I did this recipe yesterday. It was the best donut in my entire life! Thank you ❤️❤️
DO NOT RECOMMEND! It is horrible. Dough didn’t taste good and when it was cooked flattened out. Just buy donuts don’t waste ur time.
Sounds like you let the donuts rise too long, so the dough over-proofed, which will cause all the things you’re describing.
Try watching the dough a little closer and only allow to rise until only double the original volume. That should keep them light and fluffy and not make them collapse once fried.
I can tell you that you must have not followed recipe incorrectly , as I made doughnuts
Today BEST EVER …
Turned out really well. They got dark pretty fast. I wonder if my grease was too hot. I used a thermometer.
Great recipe! The dough mixture was simple to make and turned out DELICIOUS! I am a huge doughnut snob and these fit the bill. My little brothers wanted jam-filled, so just piped some store bought strawberry jam into some of then before rolling in sugar… added the perfect touch of sweetness! Also, frying tip— make sure your oil stays at 350 degrees so your doughnuts don’t get too greasy. Planning to add some cardamon to the dough next time . Thanks for a great recipe!
hi how much would i use if i am using instant yeast?
Definitely trying these tomorrow morning
Just finished these , I’m pretty pleased with these! I didn’t expect much since I’ve never made them but they were so airy and puffy! Pretty dang perfect! I followed the recipe exactly except my butter wasn’t room temperature so I had to soften it in the microwave. I added powdered sugar to a bowl, cinnamon and sugar to another and allowed everyone to choose for themselves
Hi, it’s the first time I’m making doughnut and I was wondering if I could use a paddle attachment instead of a dough hook attachment when mixing. Would it be the same ?
I wouldn’t use the paddle attachment past just mixing all the ingredients in. The paddle attachment tends to “rip” the dough as it’s circling around which is not what you want when stretching those gluten fibers. Alternatively you can just hand knead the dough until it’s smooth and no longer sticks to your hands.
Just wanted to let you know that I have Gmail not email and your site doesn’t recognize it, so I can’t sign up.
Hi Alan, the subscription service recognizes any email, including gmail so it should work. Have you checked your junk box?
I want to try to make this recipe but was wondering if it is a typo where it says to knead for another 15-20 min on higher speed, should this be seconds? I known if flour is kneaded too long it will be very tough.
The dough should be kneaded until it has achieved full gluten development. You can check the gluten development by stretching a small piece of dough into a thin translucent “window”. If you’re able to stretch it so thin that the light can pass through it without tearing the dough, stop kneading.
With different flour and different mixers this might take more or less time. You might need to adjust the knead time according to your environment and equipment.
For my flour and mixer it takes roughy 15 minutes.
Ok dough did rise twice but once I put them in the oil they didn’t fluff
This can happen if the dough was allowed to over-proof. When this happens the gluten network within the dough expands beyond its capacity and then collapses. Could this have been the reason for no rise once in the hot oil?