15-Minute Homemade Donuts

May 3, 2020  ·  Published January 31, 2012

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Homemade Donuts that taste like what you get at the local bakery, but you can make them at home in 15 minutes! This easy donut recipe is perfect for a quick weekend treat and it’s always sure to satisfy those sweet tooth cravings.

Looking for another tasty dessert? Try my homemade churros next!

Homemade donuts in a serving bowl. Two are bitten into to show texture of interior.

Easy Cake-Style Homemade Donuts

Bite size donuts (AKA Donut Holes) with a lightly crisp and golden brown, sugar coated exterior, and a soft and fluffy, tender interior. Just like an old fashioned cake donut but ready in a flash!

I made this easy donut recipe because who can resist a fresh donut? But how many of us actually want to put in all the typical effort of a homemade donut?

I’ve seen donut holes made with a store-bought biscuit dough but I’m all about the freshly made dough.

It’s a hundred times better and unbelievably easy. No mixer required, no kneading, rolling or cutting. Just a quick stir and shaping and they’re ready for frying!

Donut holes in a bowl surrounded by flowers.

Topping Ideas

Then you can finish them as you like. I just go the sugar route but you can also cover them with:

  • vanilla donut glaze
  • chocolate icing
  • cinnamon sugar or pumpkin spice sugar
  • powered sugar

Ingredients used to make homemade donut holes

Donut Hole Ingredients

For this recipe you’ll only need 7 basic ingredients which you may already have. You’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour: I like to use unbleached flour but bleached will work fine too.
  • Baking powder: This helps the donuts puff up, don’t skip it.
  • Salt: Just use standard table salt. Nothing special here.
  • Buttermilk: If you need a substitute then just use 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1.5 tsp vinegar or lemon juice. Rest 5 minutes.
  • Granulated sugar: You’ll add this to both the donut dough and use for rolling.
  • Melted butter: This adds a delicious flavor to the donuts. Stick with real butter.
  • Vegetable oil: Needed for frying.

Image showing steps to making easy homemade donuts dough and frying donuts.

How to Make Donuts From Scratch

  1. Preheat oil in a deep saute pan or pot over medium heat.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk and melted butter.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
  5. Gently roll dough into 1/2 tbsp size balls.
  6. Carefully place dough balls into the preheated oil (frying about half of them at a time) and fry until golden brown on both sides.
  7. Use a spider to transfer to paper towels, then let drain and roll in sugar.

Bowl full of fresh donut holes covered in cinnamon sugar.

How to Make Donut Glaze

If you’d like to cover the donuts in classic vanilla glaze* then you could mix (and spoon over):

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

*For chocolate glaze just add 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder to the mixture above.

Does it Matter What Oil I Fry the Donuts in?

Yes, you should use a neutral flavored oil with a high smoke point. I recommend using vegetable oil when making these fried donuts.

Tips for the Best Easy Homemade Donuts

  • Use a deep fry thermometer to test oil temperature so donuts cook properly.
  • Don’t try to fry all the donut holes at once, otherwise you’ll lower the temperature of the oil and they won’t fry properly (they’ll start absorbing excess grease).
  • These homemade donut holes taste best rolled in sugar otherwise they aren’t sweet enough.
  • Fried donuts are best eaten the day prepared. The texture changes the next day and they start to dry out.

Close up image of donut holes coated in cinnamon sugar.

More Easy Donut Recipes to Try

 

15-Minute Homemade Donuts

4.75 from 36 votes

These homemade donuts taste just as good any cake donut you could buy at your local bakery but you can make them at home in just 15 minutes!

Servings: 35 donut holes
Prep Time 13 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups (176g) all-purpose flour (scoop and level to measure)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp (42g) melted butter
  • 3 - 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

For Coating

  • 1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar**

Instructions

  1. Pour about 1/2-inch oil into a large saute pan or pot and heat over medium heat to 355 degrees F. (keeping an eye on it as it is heating). Meanwhile prepare donut dough.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. 

  3. Separately whisk together buttermilk and melted butter. Pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and using a fork, stir in dry ingredients and mix just until combine (be careful no to over-work dough).

  4. Roll dough into 1/2 Tbsp balls. Once the oil has reached 355 degrees F, fry about 1/2 the dough balls at a time.

  5. Fry until just golden brown on bottom, then flip and cook reverse side until golden brown.

  6. Carefully remove with a spider strainer or metal tongs drain onto a paper towel lined baking sheet.

  7. Pour 1/3 cup sugar into a dish, roll donuts in sugar. Repeat this process with remaining dough. 

Recipe Notes

  • *I usually use 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp buttermilk since I'm in a drier climate so if needed add a little extra buttermilk to bring dough together.
  • **Cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or a vanilla glaze are other great options for coating fried donuts.
  • Use a thermometer to take temperature of oil so donuts fry up properly.
  • Don't try to fry all the donut holes at once, otherwise you'll lower the temperature of the oil and they won't fry properly (they'll start absorbing the grease). 
  • These are best eaten within a few hours.
Nutrition Facts
15-Minute Homemade Donuts
Amount Per Serving
Calories 68 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat 4g6%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 30mg1%
Potassium 39mg1%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 37IU1%
Calcium 17mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy donuts, homemade donuts
Author: Jaclyn
  • Recipe originally shared January 31, 2012. Text, recipe and photos have updated May 3, 2020.
  • Recipe updated to use only buttermilk instead of 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup buttermilk as previously noted. I’ve found there’s not need to use both and donuts have more flavor by using just buttermilk.

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290 Comments

  • Sara

    Hi…These donut holes look so good! So I decided to print out the recipe and make them! When I printed the recipe the ingredient amounts come out all wacky doodle! lol I just wrote down the amounts, but thought you should know. AND…it might just be me! :) Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Thanks for the heads up! I’ll have to look into that. Hope you enjoy these!

  • Ellenbaron

    Do you have an easy recipe for the chocolate frosting for these donuts

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I just added that to the section in the post where it says “How to Make Donut Glaze” you’ll just need to add the 2 Tbsp cocoa powder. Enjoy!

  • Micah S

    Awesome recipe they kept their shape and where delicious my family loved them

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Happy to hear they were a success! Thanks for your review!

  • Catherine

    So delicious! Was sceptical because the recipe is so quick, but it turned out delicious. I have to make more tomorrow!

  • Doughman

    I’ve seen donut shops use 4 ingredients and they were amazing. Why is everybody overcomplicating this recipe?

  • Jeri Brockington

    I am very old fashioned and this reminded me of donuts made by late aunt Nell in North Carolina when I was a little girl. This was delicious and my family enjoyed as desert after Sunday dinner. My grandson added chocolate to coat his donut. He loves chocolate on everything. 😁

  • Shawn

    Flavor was okay. They puffed up nicely but did not keep their shape like in your photo. The texture was very doughy despite making sure that the oil remained @ 350 degrees F. All my donuts came out dark brown but the centers stayed wet. I made sure every dough ball was 1/2 of a Tablespoon too… I wish I could recommend this recipe but I cannot…

    • Linda

      I have to agree with Shawn. Mine came out the same way. I wonder if the oil was too hot because the outside got dark brown really fast and the inside was doughy. Plus the dough was too sticky I had to use more flour just to roll them.
      I used powdered sugar. Kind of tasted like French toast.