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!

Homemade Doughnuts Video

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: I don’t recommend substitutes here, the milk and vinegar substitute isn’t quite thick enough.
  • 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

 

Homemade donuts in a serving bowl. Two are bitten into to show texture of interior.
4.83 from 46 votes

15-Minute Homemade Donuts

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
Prep13 minutes
Cook2 minutes
Ready in: 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

  • 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.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. 
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Fry until just golden brown on bottom, then flip and cook reverse side until golden brown.
  • Carefully remove with a spider strainer or metal tongs drain onto a paper towel lined baking sheet.
  • Pour 1/3 cup sugar into a dish, roll donuts in sugar. Repeat this process with remaining dough. 

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.
  • Recipe originally shared January 31, 2012. Text, recipe and photos have updated May 3, 2020.

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337 Comments

  • suzy

    oh myyy goodness i made these today and they came out soooo good and everyone liked them!! thank you so much for sharing this recipe and i would totally recommend this to anyone looking for a donut hole recipe. And would definitely make these again just for fun or for even even a occasion or an event. And would most likely look at more of your recipes and try them out :)

  • Gabrielle

    This has been a repeat quarantine treat for me! My sister and I tried 3-4 other donut recipes before landing on this one and it’s by far the best. I am wondering how to incorporate this into a pumpkin version… would adding purée effect the batter? coated with some pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon sugar, YUM.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      So glad to here you enjoyed these!
      It would take a bit of experimenting to add pumpkin but I’m sure it could be done. You’d want to omit or cut way back on the buttermilk, without testing though it would be hart to say on amounts of each.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Either works fine here since it’s only 3 Tbsp. I usually use unsalted.

  • Michelle

    Dough recipe was awesome! Followed it exactly. It just took me a few tries to get the oil temp right so they would cook properly. I’ve never made doughnuts before so this was a great and simple recipe to start with, and once I figured out the oil, they were delicious! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Shawna

    My boys (and husband) have been begging me to make homemade donuts for over a year now! I came across this recipe over the weekend and decided to make these as a back-to-school treat. We all loved them sooo much! I intended to try just one, but I was immediately addicted and ended up eating 8. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. These are so easy to make and also delicious!

    • Pat Andrews

      I tried these three times. The first time, dough was really soggy. The second time, I used less buttermilk, but they soaked up too much oil. The third time, I tried in an air fryer but they were too dry. I don’t think I’ll be cooking these again. I regard myself as a good cook, but this recipe is the worst I’ve tried!

      • Jaclyn

        Jaclyn Bell

        Sorry to hear they didn’t work out for you! Are you sure you’re oil has been up to the proper temp? You may find you like the better with a little egg used in place of the buttermilk.