How to make old fashioned homemade doughnuts

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

When you offer your family doughnuts as a treat, do you get them at the bakery or out of your own kitchen? Now it's easy to make them at home!


Prepare ahead of time

Preparation is the key to making doughnuts without it turning into complete chaos. Have all of your utensils, ingredients and especially your coatings laid out, and give yourself plenty of space. If you have a small kitchen, you could set up a card table to put together your "assembly line."

Easy homemade doughnuts recipe

The first time we made our homemade doughnuts we used premade biscuits in the tube. This is so much fun, and it just doesn't get any easier.


  • 2-4 tubes of buttermilk or homestyle biscuits
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Granulated sugar
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • a candy/oil thermometer (optional, but VERY useful)
  • tiny round cookie cutter (see below for option)
  • stainless steel tongs
  • cookie sheets lightly sprayed with cooking spray
  • paper towel
  • plates


  1. Remove biscuits from tubes and place on sprayed cookie sheet, one tube at a time works well. Take a tiny 1 inch cookie cutter, or as I used, a clean medicine cup that comes with children's pain reliever (it's the perfect size!). Press down in the middle of each biscuit until it cuts through the dough. Remove hole and set aside on a cookie sheet. This is the "assembly line" part if the kids are helping.
  2. While you are preparing doughnuts, heat your oil in a fryer or on top of the stove in a large pan (cast iron works well for this) until oil is 370 degrees. Place three or four doughnuts at a time in the oil, watching carefully. When the bottom is golden brown, flip over with the tongs, to fry the other side. This happens very quickly!
  3. Remove doughnuts to a cookie sheet lined with paper towel. Allow to drain/cool just for one minute or so then drop in coating. When coated remove to a plate. The "holes" can be done last. Be careful, these fry VERY fast because they are so small.
  4. Coatings: We used plain confectioners' sugar, and cinnamon mixed with granulated sugar until light brown in color. Place each coating in a medium size bowl.

Making doughnuts from scratch

Since that first time I found a recipe in an old cookbook that is easy, and makes a true homemade doughnut. Use the same instructions as above once they are cut out.

Quick doughnuts from scratch

Makes about 3 dozen doughnuts.


  • 4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour milk or buttermilk


  1. Sift together flour, salt, soda, cream of tartar and spices. Cream shortening and sugar; add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add milk and then sifted dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly until smooth.
  2. With as little handling as possible, roll dough out on floured board 1/4 inch thick. Let stand for 20 minutes.
  3. Cut with 2 1/2 inch cutter or glass bottom, and use a small cutter for the middle.
  4. Fry as above.


  • Chocolate: Add 1 1/2 squares melted bitter chocolate, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 cup more sugar to recipe.
  • Orange: Add 2 tablespoons finely grated orange rind to recipe. Using all egg yolks with give the dough and orange color.
  • Molasses: Reduce sugar to 1/4 cup and add one cup molasses, 1 tsp ginger and 1 more cup flour to recipe.


Place the "assembly line" away from the stove, and be careful around hot oil; be sure to let the doughnuts cool slightly before allowing the kids to put them in the coatings.

More homemade doughnut recipes

Peanut butter-glazed baked chocolate doughnuts
Cinnamon sugar baked doughnuts
Cream-stuffed maple doughnuts