Doughnuts are sometimes viewed as a delicacy that can readily be bought, but not easily made at home. We’re here to put that myth to bed (and then it can wake up in the morning and have fresh doughnuts, made by you!). This easy recipe for snowy sugar doughnuts will show you the way. Before you get started, you might want to read our detailed guide on how to make doughnuts.
What are sugar doughnuts?
Take a quintessential yeast doughnut, dust it with powdered sugar, and you have a sugar doughnut! If you mix the sugar with milk and paint on the resulting icing, you’ll get a crackle-crusted glazed doughnut.
Yeast doughnuts take awhile to make because they need to rise twice before frying, but many find the results to be more flavorful than cake doughnuts, which use baking powder for leavening. Want to know more? We’ve got the whole story of cake doughnuts vs yeast doughnuts.
Homemade Sugar Doughnuts Recipe
This recipe, which yields three dozen delicious doughnuts, comes to us from Taste of Home contributor Alice Dunkin. Is her name a coincidence? We’re not sure!
2 packages (1/4-ounce each) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110°-115°F)
1-1/4 cups warm milk (110°-115°)
1/2 cup canola oil, or another neutral oil of your choice
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temperature
6 cups all-purpose flour
Oil for deep-fat frying
Confectioners’ sugar, optional
Step 1: Make the batter
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add warm milk and oil. Add sugar, salt and eggs. Stir in flour (dough will be very sticky).
Step 2: Let it rise
Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
Step 3: Get rolling
When the dough is risen, stir it so that it deflates slightly, gather it into a ball, and turn it out onto a well-floured surface. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness, and cut with a 2-1/2-inch doughnut cutter.
Step 4: Let it rise again
Place your cut doughnuts on greased baking sheets; cover and let rise for 45 minutes.
Step 5: Fry
In an electric skillet, deep-fat fryer or Dutch oven, heat oil to 375°. Make sure you use an oil that is intended for high temperature cooking. Fry the doughnuts, a few at a time until golden brown on both sides, about two minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Then fry the doughnut holes.
Step 6: Dust with sugar
If desired, roll the finished doughnuts in granulated sugar, or dust with confectioners’ sugar. For even more flavor, you can add some cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice to the sugar.
How to Store Sugar Doughnuts
I prefer to store leftover doughnuts in an airtight container on the counter. They should be eaten within two days. You can also store doughnuts in the fridge, but it changes the texture a bit. If you choose cold storage, let the doughnuts come up to room temperature before eating.
Tips for Making Sugar Doughnuts
What’s the best oil to use for frying doughnuts?
It’s important to choose an oil that can withstand frying temperatures, and one that has a neutral or slightly nutty flavor that will complement the doughnuts. I like to use sunflower oil, but in a pinch, I’ll choose peanut oil. Here’s a great guide on the best frying oils.
Because good quality oil is pricey, you may want to save it to reuse for you next frying project. To do so, let the oil cool, and strain it through a coffee filter to remove any bits of food. Place it in an airtight container, and keep it in a dark, cool place. Make sure to smell and taste the oil before reusing it. If it has started to oxidize it will taste bitter and rancid, and at that point, you should dispose of it.
How do you make sure the doughnuts fry evenly?
When frying, it’s important to not overcrowd your pan. Your doughnuts should be able to cook without touching each other.
Also, as you add doughnuts to the pan it will drop the temperature of the oil, so keep an eye on your thermometer, and adjust the temperature as needed.
Start checking the doughnuts for doneness after they’ve been in the hot oil for around 2 minutes. You’ll want them to be a beautiful golden brown. Doughnut holes won’t take as long to cook, so start checking them after a minute.
Can you bake sugar doughnuts?
This recipe is specifically designed for frying, but check out this baked doughnuts recipe, which can be glazed or rolled in sugar after baking.
Want to try more? Check out our best doughnut recipes!
Can you make sugar doughnuts ahead of time?
Like most fried foods, these sugar doughnuts are most delicious the same day that they’re made. However, they do last for a couple of days, so you can cook them in advance, if necessary. Reheating the doughnuts in a 350° oven is a good call if you’re serving day-olds.