Bite into these delicious, sweet, and soft Donut Holes for a wonderful melt-in-your-mouth experience. Guaranteed failproof and easy to make, ready to serve in less than 30 minutes. A perfect snack to eat any time of the day!
No need for yeast! Yes! That’s right! That’s what I love about this donut hole recipe. It is super easy to make and most of the time, the ingredients are just sitting in the pantry.
Lifesaver snacks I can easily make whenever my son suddenly decides to invite his friends to come over on short notice. To be honest, it’s also a perfect excuse for me to eat these yummy balls of treats.
They are light and soft as a pillow. The sugar glaze also wonderfully matches these not-so-sweet homemade donut holes. Serve it with milk or hot cocoa for kids. While hub and I enjoy eating it with hot coffee or tea. Mmmmm!
Origin Of Donut Holes
It is believed to be invented by a ship captain, Hanson Gregory, from Rockport, Maine. There are a lot of versions of the story on how he invented the donut with holes and here are two of my favorites.
He would often bring his mother’s “fried cakes” or what he calls them “greasy sinkers” to his trip but often find the middle raw and soaked with oil. So, he poked the center and fry both the donut and hole donuts again, and the rest is history.
The other version says that he will stick the fried cakes to the ship handles for easy snack access creating the holes. I can see myself doing that as well. Haha!
Types of Donut
There are more than 20 types of donuts and I categorized them as the following:
Cake Dough vs Yeast Dough
Cake dough uses baking soda and baking powder as its leavening agent. It is denser and the texture is a bit crumbly and chewy.
Zeppole, an Italian donut, is an example of a donut that uses cake dough.
Yeast dough needs yeast to make the dough rise and it takes a lot of time to prepare. A lot of kneading and resting needed to achieve a light and airy texture. It softer and lighter but also has a slight yeasty taste just like bread.
If you want to try yeast dough, here’s the link to my Krispy Kreme Doughnut Recipe (Copycat).
Ring vs Filled
The ring is the classic donut with a hole. They are decorated mostly with toppings like sprinkles, chocolate ganache, or nuts.
Filled, on the other hand, is a whole donut filled with sweet fillings like custard, melted chocolate, and fruit jams.
Fried vs Air Fried vs Baked
Fried donut holes are the tastiest but also the unhealthiest because of the amount of oil needed in cooking. Having the right temperature in frying these doughnuts plays a vital role. Doughnuts tend to absorb too much oil at a lower temperature.
Here’s my African Doughnut Recipe, another fried donut you can try.
Air fryer donut holes are the healthier version. The taste is almost the same as the regular fried doughnuts without the greasy feel from the oil. Plus, the extra crunch from the crust is a bonus.
Baked donut holes are tasty but are far from the texture of the fried ones. They are sometimes cakey or somewhat near the likes of scones or biscuits.
If you don’t like the idea of frying because of the oil, you can try my Baked Crispy Doughnut Recipe here. A healthier option but equally delicious.
The ingredients below are simple and can be easily found in your kitchen or any local groceries stores.
- All-purpose Flour – the most versatile kind of flour there is, hence the name. My favorite kind of flour because it is always easy to work with, whether for cooking or baking cakes, pastries, and bread.
- Granulated Sugar – not only it adds sweetness to the dough but it also gives moisture. It also promotes having a beautiful brown exterior of the donut holes as the sugar caramelizes while cooking. For garnishing, roll the bite-sized donuts to the sugar.
- Baking Powder – is the key ingredient in making our sweet balls of happiness rise and become soft and fluffy since we are not using yeast in this recipe.
- Salt – it balances the sweetness and enhances the flavor and even the color of your donuts.
- Ground Nutmeg – has a warm, aromatic, and nutty flavor with subtle notes of clove adding richness to any dish and desserts.
- Eggs – it acts as a binder to the dough and it is also responsible for making your donuts fluffy and soft with a rich and creamy taste.
- Vanilla Extract – just a splash of enhances the flavor of any dessert, works like magic! For the glaze, you may want to use less of it if you want to make your sugar glaze white.
- Whole Milk – adding liquid such as milk to the flour makes it easier to combine and incorporate all the ingredients together to make these homemade donut holes. Plus, the milk adds creaminess and richness to the flavor compared to just adding water.
- Unsalted Butter – you need to melt the butter to add as a liquid. Again, to make the dough easier to work with while adding richness to the flavor.
- Oil – depending on the pot, you’ll be needing at least 3 inches deep of oil for frying. I recommend neutral-tasting oil like vegetable or canola oil.
- Powdered Or Confectioners’ Sugar – these two can be used interchangeably since they both have the same texture. The only difference is that confectioners’ sugar has a little bit of cornstarch. It is commonly used to glaze desserts such as glazed donut holes.
- Ground Cinnamon – has a sweet and woody flavor, interestingly can make any dessert flavorful. Classic cinnamon sugar-coated ones are my favorite.
Don’t worry if don’t have some of the ingredients needed, you can use some of these substitutions below.
- Baking Powder – Mix 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Remember the 2:1 ratio when using it as a substitute for other recipes.
- Eggs – 1 medium mashed banana or ½ cup (8 tablespoons) of apple sauce.
- All-purpose Flour – Gluten-free baking flour using a 1:1 ratio.
- Granulated Sugar – for a healthier option, you may opt to use sugar-free substitutes such as sucralose, xylitol, and erythritol using a 1:1 ratio.
Since doughnuts are known all over the world, a lot of countries made their own version according to their culture and taste. Here are some of the popular ones:
- Japanese Mochi Donuts – fried donuts made from glutinous rice flour which makes it sticky and chewy in texture.
- Koeksisters – a famous African treat, cake-like bite-sized doughnuts with spicy cinnamon sugar.
- Korean Chapssal Donuts – deep-fried donuts made from sweet rice flour, with a crunchy exterior but soft and chewy inside filled with sweet red bean paste.
- Churros – deep-fried flute shape doughnuts from Mexico. They are rolled to the cinnamon sugar and sometimes dipped in melted chocolate or caramel, some are filled with custard, jam, or dulce de leche.
Although these bite-sized goodies are best served and consumed immediately, (and I doubt that there will be any leftovers. ;)) you can store them in a clean and dry container with a cover and they can stay fresh at:
- Room Temperature for up to 2 days.
- Refrigerated for about 5-7 days
Note: texture might change the longer they are stored.
What To Eat With Donut Holes?
Whatever shape or type your donuts are, they are best paired with less sweet beverages below.
More Easy Treats To Try.
- Air fryer Hush Puppies
- Southern Chocolate Gravy and Biscuits
- Shortbread Cookies
- Chocolate Puff Puff
How To Make Donut Holes
Combine Dry Ingredients
- Mix the dry ingredients – In a medium bowl, mix the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. (Photos 1-2)
Mix Wet Ingredients
- Incorporate wet ingredients – In a medium bowl mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla mix well. Add melted butter and thoroughly mix. (Photos 3-6)
Make the Batter
- Mix the dry and wet ingredients – Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture until all the ingredients have been fully combined. Set aside. (Photos 7-8)
Heat the Oil
- Pour oil – Into a medium pot, pour oil until it is at least 3 inches deep or about 5 centimeters high. Note: Too low would cause the dough to flatten out.
- Heat oil and prepare a plate with a paper towel – Heat oil until it reaches 375 degrees F (177 degrees C). For best results or if you can use a thermometer to ensure oil is at the desired temperature. While it heats up Line a plate or baking sheet with paper towels, to soak up oil.
- Heat oil to 375°F – Once it’s 375 degrees F turn the heat down to medium-low. You are all set to start frying.
Fry the Donut Holes
- Scoop the dough and gently drop in the oil – Scoop about 1-2 tablespoons of dough, with an ice cream scoop or spoon and gently drop in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding makes the dough soggy and reduces crispness. Do so in batches. (Photo 9)
- Fry and flip until both sides are brown – Fry for a few minutes, about 1-2 minutes, or until one side is golden brown. Flip the dough over and fry for an additional 1-2 more minutes until the other side is golden brown and cooked through. (Photo 10)
- Remove the excess oil – Use a large slotted spoon or skimmer to remove the donut holes out of the oil. I usually place them on napkins right away to soak up some of the excess oil, before transferring it to a serving plate. Do a taste test before proceeding with the next batch of donuts. Donuts should be cooked through
- Cook the rest of the batter – Continue with the rest of the batter, until it is all used up.
- Serve – Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or glazed.
Coat the Donut Holes
- Let it cool down – While the donut hole cools down, make the glaze if desired it’s optional.
- Whisk – Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth and runny.
- Drizzle or dip – Drizzle the glaze over the warm donut. or Dip the fried doughnut holes in the glaze, turning to coat. Let it stand on a wire rack until the glaze sets. Serve warm.
- Mix – In a small bowl mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll – Roll the donuts in the cinnamon sugar as soon as you remove them from the heat. Serve.
- 2 cups (272 g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoon (12 g) baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon (3 g) salt
- ½-1 teaspoon (1-2 g) ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup (177 ml) whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons (1.5 oz) unsalted butter, melted
- oil, for deep-frying
- ½ cup (50 g) powdered or confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (8 g) ground cinnamon
- In a medium bowl mix all the dry ingredients, flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
- In a medium bowl mix together milk, eggs, and vanilla mix well. Add melted butter and thoroughly mix. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture until all the ingredients have been fully combined. Set aside.
- Pour oil into a medium pot until it is at least 3 inches deep or about 5 centimeters high. Note: Too low would cause the dough to flatten out.
- Heat oil until it reaches 375 degrees F (177 degrees C). For best results or if you can use a thermometer to ensure oil is at the desired temperature. While it heats up Line a plate or baking sheet with paper towels, to soak up oil.
- Once the oil reaches 375 degrees F, turn the heat down to medium-low. You are all set to start frying.
- Scoop about 1-2 tablespoons of dough, with an ice cream scoop or spoon and gently drop in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding makes the dough soggy and reduces crispness. Do so in batches.
- Fry for a few minutes, about 1-2 minutes, or until one side is golden brown. Flip the dough over and fry for an additional 1-2 more minutes until the other side is golden brown and cooked through.
- Use a large slotted spoon or skimmer to remove the donut holes out of the oil. I usually place them on napkins right away to soak up some of the excess oil, before transferring it to a serving plate. Do a taste test before proceeding with the next batch of donuts. Donuts should be cooked through
- Continue with the rest of the batter, until it is all used up.
- Serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or glazed.
- While the donut hole cools down, make the glaze if desired it’s optional.
- Drizzle the glaze over the warm donut. Or dip the fried doughnut holes in the glaze, turning to coat. Let it stand on a wire rack until the glaze sets. Serve warm.
- In a small bowl mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon.
- Roll the donuts in the cinnamon sugar as soon as you remove them from the heat. Serve.
Tips & Notes:
- A thermometer comes in handy to keep your oil at the right temperature to cook your donut holes properly and evenly and to prevent them from absorbing too much oil.
- Test by cooking one piece to get your base cooking time to ensure they will be cooked all the way through.
- For even shape and size, you may use small ice cream or cookie scoop. You can also use 2 spoons to shape out the dough and to push the shaped dough into the oil.
- You can add flavors such as chocolate and fruit jams as toppings or inject them inside using a piping bag.
- Make the glaze as thick or light as you want. Add more milk or powdered sugar depending on your preferred consistency.
- For the glaze - depending on where you are and what type of vanilla extract you use or is available to you, use a little less of it if you want to make the glaze white. If it comes out brown it may because the vanilla extract you’re using is darker.
- These are best eaten within the day. It may dry out the longer they are stored.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.