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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

4.81 from 88 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. 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.

  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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  • Deborah Peterson

    I made these yesterday. No flavor,even with sugar on them.Then I added cinnamon to sugar that was all we tasted. Then I made frosting, my son thought they were blah,but he ate some anyway. This morning ,in a plastic bag ,they are hard . Will not make again.

    · Reply
  • Sarah

    Made these yesterday. They were delicious but it did taste a little oily… I did transfer to paper towel after frying but still oily. Anything else that can be done? Could you also share what oil you used? Thanks ☺️

    · Reply
    • Hi Sarah, it sounds like the oil was too cold when frying. Next time make sure the oil is at 350F before adding the donuts. When the oil isn’t heated to proper temp before adding the dough it will absorb too much oil.
      You can use neutral tasting and smelling oil. Good oils for frying include: light olive oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, or canola oil.

      · Reply
  • Priscila Calompong

    Very useful

    · Reply
  • margaret

    please the dough didnt rise
    what’s the cause

    · Reply
  • Maribel Feliciano

    Im looking forward in making this recipe , the only thing is can i use a hand mixer.

    · Reply
  • Mahtab

    I followed the recipe but the actual doughnut is not sweet at all! It did taste sweet even after coding it with sugar… is it ok if add more sugar to the dough?

    · Reply
    • Hi Mahtab,
      Yes, the donut is not sweet because coating it in sugar and having sweetness on the inside would make it too sweet. If you want to use less sugar on the outside, you can add some to the dough to make it sweeter.

      · Reply
  • Jess

    Hey! I haven’t tried this yet but I think it’s gonna be great! Do you have to out the yeast mixture in the fridge or anything? Or do you just leave it out on the side?

    · Reply
  • Mathilda

    Hi 🙂 May I know if I can bake these instead of frying; and if so how will it do it. Like temperature, the time it needs to bake and is there anything extra I need to add to the recipe? Thank you

    · Reply
    • Hi Mathilda, you can bake it, but it would taste like a simple bun, not a donut. If you’re looking for something to bake in a donut shape that is going to taste really good, I would recommend you use this dough and cut out donut rings, bake them, then dip in the sugar glaze from this donut recipe.

      · Reply
      • Mathilda

        Hi Marina, thank you for your advice. Also, is this recipe suitable for filling them with custard in the middle? Thanks

        · Reply
        • Hi Mathilda,
          yes, you can fill them with fillings of your own choosing. The dough isn’t too sweet, but keep this in mind as you’re choosing the sweetness level of your filling.

          · Reply
  • Habiba

    Thanks a lot

    · Reply
  • Stephanie Lindley

    Hi there, I really love the look of this recipe…but could I use water and butter/oil mix instead of milk? I am milk AND soya intolerant and NONE of the alternative milks agree with me either, so as you can imagine it’s a bit of a nightmare for baking.
    Kind regards
    Steph

    · Reply
    • Hi Stephanie,
      yes, you can replace the milk with water. They would be a little more “plain” but not bad. Good luck!

      · Reply
  • Esther

    Love the recipe

    · Reply
  • sakinat

    envy I made it,it’s was nice

    · Reply
  • Eryn

    I’ve made these donuts many times with many different topping/flavours and they are so good! Wondering if you’ve ever tried rising them overnight in the fridge? I would make them so much more if I could do that.

    · Reply
    • Hi Eryn,
      I haven’t tried making them the night before but if I did try, I’d let them rise almost all the way (shaped), then refrigerate covered with plastic wrap and fry them the next morning. Let me know how it goes if you try this 🙂

      · Reply
  • Monica

    I did everything and had the exact measurements for everything too but then my dough looked like it was over kneaded from the beginning. It was so tough and it kept breaking whenever I stretched it. I bought all the ingredients and even made sure that my yeast is completely fine. I tried it 2 different times and it happened on those 2 times.

    · Reply
    • Hi Monica, the amount of ingredients or proportions will not make your dough look overkneaded from the beginning. When you start kneading the dough will look chunky and not smooth, which is how it’s supposed to look since the gluten isn’t developed through the process of kneading yet.

      The kneading is what makes it get to the proper consistency. If you expected the dough to look smooth both times before kneading, it makes sense that the recipe failed.

      · Reply
  • Shaimafth

    Very interesting

    · Reply
  • Ruth

    thank you for the recipe! Super good! Donuts turned out super soft, light, and airy. My family loves it!

    · Reply
  • Alexandria Zilinger

    Hello,
    I’ve been using your recipe for years now! Today I made them because my boys have been BEGGING for them… I rolled out my dough and after about 10 donuts the dough is insanely sticky 🙁 What could have happened? I have quartz counters and we just moved into a new house, I didn’t know if the countertops could be the reason because they are colder than the normal laminate- I’m so bummed! I always make 4 batches and I’m terrified to roll out a new batch! They’ve been rising for now 2 hours and are ready to cut! But, thank you regardless for our families favorite donut recipe!

    · Reply
  • Jean

    Hi, the sugar doesn’t stick to my donuts.
    I tried rolling the donuts in sugar in 3 situations :
    when it is hot
    when it has cooled slightly
    when it is totally cooled down
    but none of them sticks ( only very little sticks)
    What should I do?

    · Reply
    • I can think of two situations in which the sugar won’t stick. If you’re baking them, not frying or if the sugar granules are too big. do any of those situations apply? If the donuts are just out of the oil the wetness from the oil will make the sugar stick, that’s just how the physics work. Unless, of course the sugar is too coarse and is just too heavy (granules) to stay attached to the donut.
      If all fails you can coat them in powdered sugar, that one will coat them for sure.

      · Reply
  • Maria Superville-Neilson

    It tried the simple homemade sugar donuts two nights ago and I was very, very pleased. You gave a perfect recipe! I didn’t have a donut cutter but I used my Easter cookie cutters which got a little out of shape by the time I dropped them in to fry. Everyone enjoyed them. Thank You! I will keep making these and look forward to trying your other recipes. Maria

    · Reply
    • Thank you so much for leaving such wonderful feedback, Maria!

      · Reply
    • Maria Superville-Neilson

      I also found the note on over proofing very helpful. I understand now why in one of my previous recipes the dough became hard. Maria

      · Reply
  • Okay so I made these to the exact recipe and they were awful. They tasted really bland and didn’t come out as big and fluffy as yours. Where did I go wrong? I notice in your picture that you have a lot more yeast mixture than I had. How have you managed to get a cup full with only 2tbsp warm water?

    Thanks

    · Reply
    • Hi Kay,
      Sorry to hear about your experience 🙁
      I have a couple tips for you to make it work next time you try it.

      The fact that you say your donuts didn’t come out fluffy means that your yeast was probably dead. This happens when the yeast is beyond it’s expiration date or has been stored improperly. The yeast ensures that the dough rises well and produces fluffy baked or fried results.

      In the picture I have the amount of yeast listed in the recipe and if the yeast is good, that is how much it can rise. For the recipe to come out well you don’t need to let it rise that much before using it, but if you wait a little longer it will.

      Keep in mind – When you work with yeasted doughs always go by volume not by time. This means that when the dough is set out to proof /rise you wait until it doubles in size, not when one hour or whatever the recipe tells you. Depending on the freshness of the yeast it can take more or less time, but always go by the volume, not by time. Even old yeast can produce good results, but it might take a lot longer to get to the proper volume.

      Hope these tips help!

      · Reply
  • Natasha

    I just made these now and I am thrilled ! It’s my first time making doughnuts and they are perfection. I filled them with a little jam and dusted with sugar, my family have already eaten half Keen to make another batch soon and try with a vanilla custard filling. Thanks so much

    · Reply
  • VIVIENNE

    Perfect recipe and instructions.though I didn’t do three egg yolks,instead I added two whole eggs and the resul was superb.texture of dough is amazing,taste after frying is also amazing.Million thanks for sharing I will post some pics on insta l

    · Reply

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