Creating homemade donuts is actually quite easy to do, and it requires practically no special ingredients or equipment. You can make use of a countertop deep fryer, but a heavy-bottomed pot will do just fine. If you don’t want to get doughnut cutters, you could improvise with cookie cutters or even use juice glasses.
Read on for everything you need to know to make homemade donuts, including classic recipes, easy and safe deep-frying techniques, tips on glazing and donut storage, as well as an overview of basic equipment and ingredients.
Homemade donuts are amazingly tender and delicious. The dough itself is not overly sweet. Coating them with a glaze of sugar makes them still tolerably sweet. A little bit of cinnamon or your favorite frosting would also be delicious. Let me share with you how to make homemade donuts from scratch and see how easy the process is!
How to Make Easy Homemade Donuts
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/4 cups flour
1 whole egg
4 tbsp softened butter
1/2 tsp iodized salt
Some vegetable oil or lard for frying
First, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of warm water. Allow it to sit for around 5 minutes until the yeast foams. Now beat in 2 cups of the flour, egg, sugar, salt, and butter. Also add the remaining 1 1/4 cups of flour, but at 1/4 cups at a time. Do this until the dough begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl. As you finish, cover up the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Let it sit in a nice warm place until the dough doubles in size. Normally, this will take about 2 hours. You can also choose to chill the homemade dough overnight. Easy, right?
Once it rises, place the dough on a well-floured surface. Roll it out to about a thickness of 1/2-inches. Use a large round biscuit cutter, or if you don’t have one, a drinking glass, to cut circles. Use a smaller round cutter to cut out the holes, like a small tequila glass. Ideally, you should have a real donut cutter, but improvisation will do here.
Cover the doughnuts and the holes and allow to rise until they become puffy looking which should take around 2 hours. At this point you can heat an inch or two of oil in a large heavy pot to 350 – 375 degrees. Prepare a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place it near the pot. Place about a cup of sugar in a medium bowl and have that nearby too.
Now place 3 or 4 doughnuts. They will sizzle immediately as you add them to the pot. Cook it until they turn to a light brown on one side. Flip the doughnuts and cook until the second side is light brown as well. As they finish, transfer the cooked doughnuts to the cooling rack and allow them to cool and drain for a few minutes. After they cool, dip the doughnuts into the sugar for a thin coating. Repeat this same procedure with all the remaining doughnuts. Serve warm and enjoy these homemade goodies with a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate.
While that is an easy and basic recipe for homemade donuts, for those of you who are more adventurous and would want to try something fancier, here is a recipe for Donuts with Vanilla filling.
Homemade Donuts with Vanilla Filling
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast or 2/3 ounces fresh cake yeast
2/3 cup fresh milk warmed to room temperature
3 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups of sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
3 whole eggs
7 tbsp butter warmed to room temperature diced into 6 to 8 pieces
Canola oil or lard for frying
6 tbsp heavy cream
Chilled pastry cream
Using a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, mix the yeast and milk. Stir them together for awhile, then allow to sit for around a minute to dissolve the yeast. Next, add the flour, 1/3 cup of sugar, salt, and the eggs. Mix these on low speed for about one minute, or until the dough comes together. Then, still on low speed, mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to develop the dough even more. Now, begin to add the butter, putting in a few pieces at a time. Continue to mix for approximately 5 to 6 minutes, or until the butter is well mixed into the dough.
Take the homemade dough out of the bowl, wrap it well in plastic wrap and place in the ref for at least 6 hours, or for a maximum of 15 hours.
Now lightly flour a baking sheet. On a work surface that is well-floured, roll out the dough forming a 12-inch square about 1/2 inch thick. With a 3 1/2- to 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 9 donuts. Arrange the donuts on the floured baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and warm in a place for around 2 to 3 hours, or until they rise doubling in height and becoming puffy.
Once ready to fry, line a tray large enough to hold the homemade doughnuts with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Place oil until you reach a depth of about 3 inches into a large, heavy pot and place over medium-high heat. To check the oil, place a pinch of flour. If it sizzles, then the oil is ready. In batches, put the doughnuts in the hot oil, allowing ample space between them. Fry on one side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it lightly browns. Gently flip and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes until the other side equally browns. As they fully cook, transfer the donuts to the prepared tray and allow them to cool until you can handle them.
Now put the remaining 1 cup of sugar into a small bowl. One doughnut at a time, toss them in the sugar to coat evenly. Return each coated donut to the tray to completely cool which should take around 30 to 40 minutes.
Now to create the homemade vanilla cream filling, while the donuts are still cooking, whip the heavy cream to the point that it holds stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold it into the pastry cream. This should come out to about 3 cups.
When the doughnuts are completely cool, make a hole by poking the side of each doughnut, spacing it center between the top and bottom. Using a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip, fill the bag with the prepared filling. Squirt approximately 1/3 cup filling into each doughnut. Enjoy this easy, delightful homemade treat!