The ultimate recipe for old-fashioned fried doughnuts coated with sugar and cinnamon.
When I think about my childhood, I remember things vaguely, but memories of food tend to be a bit more vivid. Sugar doughnuts were popular back when I was kid, and were a special treat my parents got me every time I was a bit down, or before a doctor appointment (I hated those). But what I mostly remember is my dad sneaking one into my bag before school, winking, and saying “just don’t tell your mom”, which is such a typical dad thing.
It’s been years since I’ve eaten a good sugar doughnut, and this recipe tastes exactly like the old-fashioned ones. They’re soft and thick and coated entirely with sugar. I added a touch of cinnamon for a more grown-up version, but for kids you can stick with just sugar. Coating them in powered sugar rather than granulated sugar is another option.
These doughnuts are small-medium, the perfect size for a sweet snack, but you can make them any size you prefer. You can also use the holes to make doughnut holes. The holes I got were quite small so I just rerolled the scraps and made more doughnuts.
When rolling the dough, roll it to no more than ½-inch thickness or the doughnuts will be very tall, looking more like cronuts. Not that that’s a bad thing though (see photo below).
The most important thing in making doughnuts is the temperature of the oil when frying them. 150c-160c (around 300F-320F) is the ideal temperature, higher than that and the crust will cook quickly while the center stays doughy and undercooked. If you don’t have a thermometer to test, insert a wooden spoon into the oil. You know it’s ready for frying when tiny bubbles appear around the stick. I admit that keeping the temperature steady is a bit of a pain, but the results are worth it.
- 3½ cups (500 g/17.5 oz.) all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (75 g /2.6 oz.) granulated sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons (7 g/0.25 0z) instant yeast
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk, lukewarm
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick/56 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
- 1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest , optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon brandy or rum , optional
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons granulated sugar , for coating
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon , for coating
- 4 cups (1 liter) canola or vegetable oil, for frying
Make the dough: In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix flour, sugar, and yeast. Fit mixer with the dough hook, and add egg, milk, butter, zest, vanilla extract, and brandy to the flour mixture. Mix on low-medium speed until a soft ball of dough starts to form, about 3 minutes. Add in salt. Keep mixing for 8 minutes, until dough is soft and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm place for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Gently punch the dough to remove air. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into 1/2 –inch thickness. Cut into doughnuts using a doughnut cutter or with a 2¾-inch/7 cm round cutter and with a ¾-inch/2 cm round cutter for the holes (or use any cutter that you want or have available depending on your preferred doughnut size). Re-roll scraps and repeat. Place doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest to rise for about 60 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Make the cinnamon sugar mixture: Place 8 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon in a small bowl and toss to combine. Set aside.
Frying: In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat 2 in/5 cm of oil until a thermometer inserted into the oil reaches 300F/150C. If you don’t have a thermometer to test, insert a wooden spoon into the oil; it’s ready for frying when tiny bubbles appear around the stick. If it bubbles vigorously, it’s too hot. Carefully add doughnuts, a few at a time, depending on how large the saucepan is. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain doughnuts on a paper towel-lined plate. While doughnuts are still warm, dip them in cinnamon sugar mixture and coat from all sides.
Doughnuts are best the same day they are made.
AmandaJanuary 30, 2017 at 3:06 am
These look amazing. I can’t wait to try them.
MeredithJanuary 30, 2017 at 8:15 pm
These look amazing! Donuts are my weakness, so it looks like I’ll be making these this weekend!
roshJune 27, 2017 at 3:08 am
Is it possible to divide the recipe and just make 1/4 of the portions as stated ?
ShiranJune 28, 2017 at 6:53 am
AnnaSeptember 22, 2019 at 10:38 am
I made these! They turned out amazing! Worth the effort. It was a bit tricky to keep consistent temperature of oil, even with the thermometer. But pale or tan, they taste great! Thanks for the recipe.
MonicaOctober 15, 2017 at 11:25 am
Just made them. Delicious isnt enough of word. Thanks, Shiran! ?
Neta LivneDecember 15, 2017 at 2:09 am
This looks AMAZING !!!
MariaDecember 31, 2018 at 12:00 pm
These were amazing! Thank you for the recipe! They rised beautifully and everybody lived them.
Francis HarrisonFebruary 16, 2021 at 10:22 pm
I look forward to making these. Thank you for the post.