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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.

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 it in a warm place until doubled in size.

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

4.88 from 381 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, 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.

  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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  • McKenzie

    Thank you caz you helped us win a bet

    · Reply
  • Ralph Colacicco


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  • Maggie

    Liquid amount not enough

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  • Kiyanna

    Could you leave the dough in the fridge overnight?

    · Reply
  • myrna garcia

    I tried this recipe and my family love this soft delicious donut. Will be using this recipe from now on. Thanks for sharing your recipe❤️

    · Reply
  • Leilani Wolford

    This will be my first time baking from scratch. I do not have a dough hook; can I use my hands instead? If so, how long would I need to knead the dough?

    · Reply
  • Shelby

    To fluffy felt like I was eating a cloud not what I want in a doughnut

    · Reply
  • Caz

    Absolutely divine!!

    To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes as I’ve never had much luck with recipes from blogs, but this exceeded my expectations!!

    So yummy. I will DEFINITELY be keeping this recipe to make again.

    Thank you so much Marina for sharing your recipe

    · Reply
  • Rachel N.

    These turned out perfect! Kids love them as well!

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  • aleena

    why is my dough is super sticky ? i measured everything

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  • I haven’t made the recipe just yet but given the review maaaan I’m so excited to make them, thank youuuu!!

    · Reply
  • Nevada

    I accidentally used two whole eggs instead of the egg yolks, but they still turned out absolutely delish! 10/10

    · Reply
  • Anon

    This was my first time making doughnuts and they came out beautifully! The only reason I gave this recipe a 4 star was because the dough had almost no taste and I like my doughnut dough to have a little bit of sweetness to it. Overall not bad recipe for it being the first time. However, next time I will be sure to include more sugar in the dough or try a different recipe altogether.

    · Reply
    • Hi Anon, thank you for your honest feedback.
      As you adjust the recipe to your taste keep in mind that sugar weighs the dough down. This is one of the reasons why many donut recipes will have very little amount of sugar in the dough itself and instead rely on the sweetness to come from sugar as the coating, filling or a glaze.

      · Reply
    • Raechel

      Double the salt!! I felt the same the first time I made them. Usually when things taste flat salt is what helps bring the flavor to life!! I would avoid adding more sugar.

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  • Kestyn

    I am not joking when I tell you that. I went camping and decided to make these donuts. I didn’t have an oven or enough oil to fry so I used a GRILL. I didn’t have butter so i used OLIVE OIL. My spouse accidentally FELL onto half the tray so some were a little flat. I didn’t even cut holes in the middle of them because I didn’t have the patience for it. I didn’t have a mixer (because camping) so I just used my hands. Marina, you are a godsend because this recipe withstood all of that and still are the best donuts I’ve ever had. I even made a little sugar glaze for them on the grill. I gave some to family and everyone has been raving about them and I’ve shared your recipe all around! Thank you for such an incredible recipe.

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    • Your review totally made my day! Thank you for sharing your feedback 😀 😀 😀

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      • Camille

        Would it be okay to use a glazed sugar instead of rolling it in granulated/powdered sugar?

        · Reply
  • amu

    hi this is really embracing but what is 1.67 tsp. my measuring spoons are in fractions and I am utterly confused. HELP

    · Reply
    • Did you scale the recipe up or down? 1.67 tsp is 1 teaspoon and 2/3rds of a teaspoon.

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      • amu

        oh my god thank you so much

        · Reply
  • Olivia Sheldrake


    Can you proof them in The fridge over night? The second proof that is. So put them in fridge then pull them out The next day

    · Reply
  • Gideon. Sefe

    This is very helpful. Thank you for the simple explanations. Gideon. ßefe.

    · Reply
  • Natalia


    Question, while mixing the dough, I noticed it didn’t form a ball, or separate from the sides. The dough was incredibly tacky, to the point I had to add flour on my hands just to transfer it to the bowl. Any reason why the dough may have never formed? I followed the flour measurements exactly too.

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  • Bosun


    The metric measurements do not seem correct when you tap the conversion on your recipe page.

    Can you please give us what the equivalent measurements are in metric? I’m from the UK and on the internet there seems to be different ideas of what US cups are in metric. Also, trying to make the recipes in metric for yourself and making sure it’s correct might be a good idea for the non-US based customers and can give accurate measurements.

    · Reply
    • Hi Bosun!
      Yes, the metric measurements are correct.
      For reference, an American cup has a volume of 240 grams (liquid).

      · Reply
      • Bosun

        Tried this again and it failed. The measurements in metric are definitely wrong.
        1 US cup is 125g
        1 UK cup is 250g

        Which one applies to your recipe?

        if you can please make the doughnuts and use metric measurements and upload them, that will help a lot of your users as the conversions using the metric produce a wet dough after 20 minutes which does not form.

        · Reply
        • A US cup will hold 238 ml of liquid, but if filled with flour it can range between 120-140 grams.

          A European cup holds 250 mls of liquid, so will hold a little more than 120-140 grams of flour.

          Different flours will absorb different amounts of liquid. Don’t be afraid to add a little more flour than the recipe calls for. You’re looking for very soft dough, but not runny or anything that will go through your fingers when picked up. Hope this helps.

          · Reply
          • Bosun


            Thank you for the update but it didn’t work. Remained sticky. I’m not sure what’s going wrong but I have tried 5 times to make this and that’s a lot of ingredients into the bin! I’ll have to find a recipe with metric measurements. Really sad as I bet these would have tasted great!

          • How much flour did you add, weight-vise?

            I wouldn’t toss it. I would let it rise and then see. Sometimes the dough gets a lot more manageable after the rise.

          • Bosun

            So my initial conversion of 3.25 cups was 407 grams and that was quite sticky so added another 25g and then another 100g.
            I tried to work it into a ball but to no avail!

    • Fawn

      Hey, Canadian here. I’m not a expert, but as an avid home baker, I’ve learned that not only are conversions really funky to translate, but so are the types of butter, flour, etc. In Canada, our all-purpose flour has a higher protein % and is more in line with bread flour. It’s also “thirstier.” I find that if I don’t add more liquid, then things come out very dry.

      What I do is try to change everything over to grams. I use an online conversion website and track it all using an app. I wish more sites would use grams instead of cups.

      · Reply
  • Sue Clost

    Question: How do you keep them as fresh as when they are first made. The day after they were hard! (covered and refridgerated. They were excellent right after I made them.

    · Reply
    • Hi Sue,
      Typically donuts are not meant to be eaten next day, or stored. But, a quick 10 second blast in the microwave will make them a lot softer and delicious. Not like they were the first day, but definitely better than straight out of the fridge.

      · Reply
    • Linda Warner

      If you wrap each doughnut in plastic wrap and leave on the counter, they will stay fresh for at least two days. I have had that problem before. But wrapping them helped keep them fresh longer,

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  • Joanne Smith

    Worked out amazing, great recipe

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  • Kavita sanasee

    As a chef I made these and omg it was eating a cloud my husband demolished every single one I made ❤️❤️❤️

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  • Tasya

    The recipe is superb good and delicious.Thank you very much.

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  • Alena

    Turned out great! The family loved them. Will definitely make again!

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  • Teen

    Delicious – better than store bought

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  • Hollie

    Perfect perfect perfect! I plan to make a load of these doughnuts for my partners 30th in Dec. These were super fluffy and the perfect doughnut. I just wonder whether with the last rise once you’ve cut the doughnuts out, if you can put them in the fridge overnight to rise slowly to cook the next day?

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    • Hayley Langley

      I am wondering the same thing. I am wanting to make some doughnuts for some coworkers, but I want to prepare ahead of time so that all I have to do is fry them first thing before work.

      · Reply
  • molly

    Hello, i was wondering can you use a cutter instead of rolling into a ball…..if any one has tried this how did they turn out?

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  • Josephine

    I made these and they were delish, the whole family loved them….making some more today.

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  • Roslyn

    Best EVER

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  • Nadia

    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!

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  • Angela

    Hi! I was wondering what kind of oil you recommend using for these donuts?


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  • gary

    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.

    · Reply
    • Hi Gary,
      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.

      · Reply
  • Lainey Black

    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.

    · Reply
  • Marie

    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!

    · Reply
    • Hi Marie,
      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?

      · Reply
  • Audrey

    How long should I knead the dough for if I don’t have a stand mixture

    · Reply
  • Wareeya Viano

    I did this recipe yesterday. It was the best donut in my entire life! Thank you ❤️❤️

    · Reply
  • Olivia Basile

    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.

    · Reply
    • 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.

      · Reply
    • Roslyn

      I can tell you that you must have not followed recipe incorrectly , as I made doughnuts
      Today BEST EVER …

      · Reply
  • Shar L.

    Turned out really well. They got dark pretty fast. I wonder if my grease was too hot. I used a thermometer.

    · Reply
  • Bree

    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!

    · Reply
  • flores

    hi how much would i use if i am using instant yeast?

    · Reply
  • Definitely trying these tomorrow morning

    · Reply
  • Jolie Kelton

    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

    · Reply
  • Yael

    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 ?

    · Reply
    • Hi Yael,
      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.

      · Reply
  • Alan Williams

    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.

    · Reply
    • Hi Alan, the subscription service recognizes any email, including gmail so it should work. Have you checked your junk box?

      · Reply

    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.

    · Reply
    • Hi Laura,
      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.

      · Reply
  • Beatriz Soriano

    Ok dough did rise twice but once I put them in the oil they didn’t fluff

    · Reply
    • 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?

      · Reply

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