Making donuts at home is actually a simple process that can be conquered by almost any amateur baker. Sure, maybe it’s not as simple as making a run to a local donut shop to pick out your favorite dozen, but frying donuts at home means you can experiment with flavors and toppings — just like Kamal Grant of Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta, Georgia, does in his shop.
Grant provides us with a few of his tried-and-true donut recipes — a starter option made from canned biscuit dough as well as a more advanced one — and three topping recipes. Because let’s face it: What’s a donut without frosting?
Grant says this recipe for classic yeast-based donuts is a great place to start at home. Be mindful that you will need a kitchen scale for this recipe (most professional baking recipes are formulated for weight instead of volume measurements) and knowledge of a few professional techniques, which we outline below.
Yields: About 2 dozen donuts
- 1 lb 13 oz all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and shaping
- 4 oz sugar
- 1/4 oz baking powder
- 1/2 oz salt
- 1 1/2 oz instant yeast
- 16 oz scalded milk*
- 3 oz butter, softened
- 4 oz beaten eggs
- Neutral oil, like vegetable oil
In a large bowl using a wooden spoon or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all ingredients together. Mix and knead dough (either on the counter with your hands or in the mixer) for 10-12 minutes, or until you reach full gluten development. (See note below.)
Form dough into a tight ball and allow it to rest on your counter for 5 minutes. Lightly dust counter and a rolling pin and roll dough out until it’s 1-inch thick. Allow dough to rest for 5 minutes; cut into your desired shapes. Transfer donuts onto a tray lightly dusted with flour and allow donuts to rise (covered with a lightly dampened towel, beeswax wrap or plastic wrap) in a warm, draft-free location until tripled in size.
In a deep electric skillet or in a large pot on the stove, heat a few inches of neutral oil (like vegetable oil) to 370 ºF. Use an instant read or candy thermometer to monitor temperature and adjust heat as needed. Once oil is to temperature, add a few donuts at a time to the hot oil, being mindful not to crowd the donuts. Fry on each side for 90 seconds. Remove donuts from oil and drain on a tray lined with paper towels. Top or fill as desired once slightly cooled. We recommend homemade orange icing, cream cheese frosting or easy dulce de leche, recipes below.
Scalded milk is milk heated to 115ºF (or until small bubbles form along the edge of a pan and steam starts to form) then cooled. Note: To check that gluten has fully developed in your dough, perform the windowpane test: Grab a small ball of dough (about the size of a quarter) and slowly stretch it until you can begin to see light through the dough. If it stretches without breaking, the gluten has fully developed. If the dough tears, continue kneading for a few additional minutes.
Canned Biscuit Donuts
In a hurry? Try using store-bought biscuit dough (found in the refrigerated section of your local supermarket) to make ring-shaped donuts that fry up into airy, flakey treats.
Yields: About 8-10 donuts
- 1 can refrigerated biscuit dough
- Neutral oil
Open the can of biscuit dough and separate the pre-cut biscuits into rounds. Cut a small (½- to 1-inch) round hole in the center of each biscuit.
In a deep electric skillet or in a large pot on the stove, heat a few inches of neutral oil (like vegetable oil) to 370ºF. Use an instant read or candy thermometer to monitor temperature and adjust heat as needed. Once oil is to temperature, add a few donuts at a time to the hot oil, being mindful not to crowd the donuts. Fry on each side for 90 seconds. Remove donuts from oil and drain on a tray lined with paper towels. Top or fill as desired once slightly cooled. We recommend the following homemade orange icing, cream cheese frosting or easy dulce de leche.
This simple glaze for donuts is a mainstay for Sublime Doughnuts, where the orange dream star donut is a popular flavor any time of day.
Yields: About 1/3 cup
- 1 large orange
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
Zest orange with a microplane over a mixing bowl. Cut orange in half and juice it, until you have 2 ounces of fresh orange juice. Add juice to the orange zest, then add powdered sugar. Whisk until glaze is well combined with no lumps.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Sublime Doughnuts’s most popular donut flavor — fresh strawberries and cream — relies on this cream cheese frosting recipe to serve as a sweet-and-tangy contrast to the bright notes of fresh fruit.
Yields: About 1/3 cup
- 4 oz unsalted butter, softened
- 4 oz cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Cream together butter and cream cheese and whip until fluffy. (A stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer work best for this.) Slowly incorporate sugar, then add vanilla. Whip again until light and airy.
Easy Dulce de Leche
One-ingredient baking is something anyone can appreciate, but keep in mind this recipe takes a few hours of hands-off time. Try filling or topping your donuts with this dulce de leche, or incorporate a few tablespoons (or to taste) into the cream cheese frosting recipe, whipping thoroughly to combine.
Yields: About 1 cup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
Place the unopened can of milk in a pot of water, completely submerging the can. (You can place the can on its side if needed.) Simmer, covered, for 4 hours. Allow to cool before opening.