Original Old-Fashioned Doughnuts fried to perfection and topped with a melt-in-your-mouth simple sugar glaze. They are rich, moist, fluffy, and addictingly delicious your family will surely love! Guaranteed easy to make, perfect to feed a crowd whether for parties or a simple get-together.
No yeast, no complicated procedures, and no special tools needed! If you’re one of those people who are intimidated by yeast doughnuts recipes or any recipe that involves yeast, this one is perfect for you.
I still remember the first time I tried Dunkin Donuts old fashioned doughnut as a kid. The candy sprinkles definitely won me over and it has always been my favorite snack since then. So, when I started learning how to cook and bake, no yeast donuts are one of those recipes I tried.
This old-fashioned doughnut recipe may be different from Dunkin Donuts but they are delicious on a different level. They are pillowy soft, moist, and very tasty. I love how a simple sugar glaze makes these donuts extra special. I also enjoy making them because they are easy to make and the ingredients are not hard to find.
Origin of Donuts
According to history, the Dutch settlers were the ones who brought and introduced Oly koeks to early New York (or New Amsterdam) in the early 18th century. It is a Dutch delicacy that means oil cakes or sweetened cakes fried in oil or fat. It resembles the modern donut without the hole. The ring shape donut however was invented by Hanson Gregory in 1847.
The origin of the name “doughnut” is still not sure. Some say it originated from “dough knots” which is believed to be another shape of olykoeks. While others say it refers to the “nuts” placed inside the dough to prevent raw center.
It was in the early 1900s when they started using the word “donut” as well. Now, we use Doughnut or Donut interchangeably, in all parts of the world.
Types of Donuts
Since doughnuts have been a popular snack all over the world, a lot of versions were also made. They can be categorized as:
Cake Dough and 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.
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.
Here’s my recipe for Mandazi (East African Doughnuts), an example of a doughnut that uses yeast.
Ring and Filled
Ring is the classic donut with a hole. They are mostly served plain or glazed. They are usually decorated with toppings like sprinkles, chocolate ganache, or nuts as well. You can try my Krispy Kreme Doughnut Recipe (Copycat) here.
Filled, on the other hand, is a whole donut filled with sweet fillings like custard, melted chocolate, and fruit jams. The filling is being injected by using piping bags or big food syringes.
Donuts Cooking Method
Fried. Deep-fried doughnuts are the tastiest but also the unhealthiest because of the amount of oil needed in cooking and the oil being absorbed while cooking. Having the right temperature in frying these doughnuts plays a vital role. Doughnuts tend to absorb too much oil at a lower temperature.
You might want to try my recipe for African Fried Doughnuts here.
Air Fried. Air fryer donut is 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. Baked donuts are equally tasty but the texture is slightly different from the fried ones. They are cakey or somewhat near the likes of scones or biscuits. You can also try my Baked Crispy Donut Recipe here.
Old-Fashioned Donut Recipe
Unlike the old-fashioned yeast doughnuts recipe, this recipe is foolproof and easier to follow since it doesn’t have yeast. The ingredients are also pretty basic and probably just sitting in your kitchen pantry. For this recipe, you’ll be needing:
- Sugar – not only it adds sweetness to the dough but it also gives moisture. It also promotes having a beautiful brown exterior to these old-fashioned glazed donuts.
- Baking Powder – since we are not using yeast in this recipe, baking powder is an essential ingredient to make our sweet rings of happiness rise and become soft and fluffy.
- Baking Soda – when combined with baking powder produces a chemical reaction that makes the dough rise. Thus, making it soft and fluffy.
- 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.
- Ground Nutmeg – has a warm, aromatic, and nutty flavor with subtle notes of clove adding richness to any dish and desserts.
- Salt – it balances the sweetness and enhances the flavor and even the color of your donuts.
- Buttermilk – this acidic ingredient makes the donuts tender and moist with a softer texture and more body. Adding liquid, such as buttermilk, to the flour makes it easier to combine and incorporate all the ingredients together. If you can’t find them in your local grocery store, you can just make Homemade Buttermilk. It’s pretty easy to make. 🙂
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cornstarch – is usually used in thickening puddings and soup, but when added to cake, cookies, or other pastries like donuts, it helps create a crumbly and tender texture.
- Vegetable Oil – depending on the pot, you’ll be needing at least 3 inches deep of oil for frying. I recommend any neutral-tasting oil so it won’t affect the taste of our famous pastry.
- Powdered Sugar – because it’s in powdered form, it easily melts when it comes to contact with liquid giving a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. It is commonly used to glaze donuts.
- Whole Milk – when added to powdered sugar, makes the best sugar glaze. You can adjust the amount of milk depending on the consistency that you like.
- Ground Cinnamon – has a sweet and woody flavor, interestingly can make any dessert flavorful. Classic cinnamon sugar-coated ones are my favorite.
- Baking Powder – Mix 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Baking Soda – Using a 1:3 ratio, replace ½ tsp of baking soda with 1 ½ tsp of baking powder. However, since the baking powder is already acidic enough you might want to replace other acidic ingredients like buttermilk with something neutral like whole milk to neutralize the taste.
- Eggs – 1 medium mashed banana or ½ cup (8 tablespoons) of apple sauce.
- All-purpose Flour – use Gluten-free baking flour with a 1:1 ratio
- Granulated Sugar – for a healthier option, you may opt to use sugar-free substitutes such as sucralose, xylitol, and erythritol with a 1:1 ratio.
- Buttermilk – if you can’t find any, you can just make your own buttermilk by clicking here.
Since there are several types of doughnuts available in different parts of the world, the flavors and recipe variations are endless. Here are some of my favorite adaptations and innovations:
- Cronuts – a crossover between croissant and doughnut. It has a shape of a doughnut but with a buttery and flaky texture of a croissant. So yummy!
- Japanese Mochi Donuts – is made from glutinous rice flour which makes it sticky and chewy in texture.
- Bicho-Bicho – fried donuts from the Philippines that are usually stuffed with cheese, sweetened red bean paste, or mung beans and then rolled into sugar or powdered milk with confectioners’ sugar.
- Beignets – are French doughnuts usually square in shape made with yeast and sweet dough. Fried to perfection and dusted with powdered sugar. Pastries
- Keto or Low Carb Donuts – guilt-free and sugar-free donuts that use almond and coconut flour and sucralose and erythritol as sweeteners.
Making Ahead and Storage Instructions
Unfortunately, you cannot make the dough ahead of time since it has baking soda and baking powder as leavening agents. It may work but then it may not rise as much. For the best result, it is best to fry the dough 1-2 hours after making it.
However, you can make and fry as many as you can if you’re planning to feed a crowd. You can place the homemade donuts in a clean and dry sealed container and they can stay fresh at:
- Room Temperature: for up to 2 days.
- Refrigerated: 5-7 days
Note: texture might change the longer they are stored.
What To Serve With Donut?
Any sweet dessert or snacks are best paired with less sweet and healthy beverages like these recipes below.
More Easy And Delectable Treats
- Beef Empanadas Recipe
- Crab Rangoon
- Southern Tea Cakes
- Easy Cinnamon French Toast Sticks
- Beer Battered Onion Rings
How To Make Old-Fashioned Donuts?
Make the Dough
- Combine dry ingredients – In a large medium bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. (Photo 1)
- Mix wet ingredients and sugar – In another bowl, beat together sugar, melted butter, and eggs for about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and buttermilk and continue beating for 2 more minutes. (Photo 2)
- Form a sticky dough – Slowly add the dry ingredients a cup at a time until all the flour mixture has been used up and it forms a sticky dough. (Photos 3-5)
- Wrap and chill – Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour in the fridge. (Photo 6)
Cutting the Dough
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper – When ready to fry, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Roll and cut dough – Remove dough from the fridge and place on a floured surface. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into doughnuts using a donut cutter, if you have one available. If not, use two round cookie cutter, about one 1-inch small round cutter, and a 3 or 4-inch cutter large round cutter. Place on prepared cookie sheet. (Photos 7-8)
Frying the Donuts
- Pour oil into the pan – For frying, you can use a 5-quart dutch oven or cast iron. Pour oil into desired frying 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 (190 degrees C), for best results or if you can use a thermometer to ensure oil is at the desired temperature.
- Prepare a plate with paper towels – While it heats up, line a plate or baking sheet with double paper towels to soak out excess oil before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Ready to fry – Once the oil has reached 375 degrees F, turn the heat down to medium-low. You are all set to start frying.
- Fry and flip – Working in batches, add the doughnuts to the oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking, or until the doughnut is golden brown and cooked through. (Photos 9-10)
- Remove the donuts – Use a large slotted spoon or skimmer to remove the donut out of the fry pot to the prepared paper plate. Once I remove it from the heat I always do a taste test to make sure it is cooked through.
- Repeat and continue to cook – Repeat in small batches, until all the donuts are finished.
Glaze the Doughnuts
- Whisk the glaze – While the donut cools down, make the glaze, if desired. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth and runny.
- Drizzle – Drizzle the glaze over the warm donut or dip the fried doughnut in the glaze, turning once to coat.
- Glaze and serve – Use a fork to remove and let it stand on a wire rack until the glaze sets about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.
Roll the Donuts in Cinnamon Sugar
- Mix until fully combined – In a medium bowl thoroughly mix together sugar and cinnamon breaking up any clumps, until fully combined.
- Roll and serve – Roll the donuts in the cinnamon sugar as soon as you remove them from the heat.
Watch How to Make it
- 3 cups (450g) all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup (30g) cornstarch
- 3 teaspoons (12 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
- ½-1 teaspoon (1-2 g) ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup (150g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
- ¾ cup (177ml) buttermilk
- vegetable oil, for frying
Old-Fashioned Doughnuts Glaze
- ½ cup (56 g) powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) whole milk
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 1-2 tablespoon (8-16g) ground cinnamon
- In a large medium bowl combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
- In another bowl beat together sugar, melted butter, and eggs for about 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and buttermilk and continue beating for 2 more minutes.
- Slowly add the dry ingredients a cup at a time until all the flour mixture has been used up and it forms a sticky dough.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour in the fridge.
- When ready to fry line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Remove dough from the fridge and place on a floured surface. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into doughnuts using a donut cutter, if you have one available. If not, use two round cookie cutter, about one 1-inch small round cutter, and a 4-inch cutter large round cutter. Place on prepared cookie sheet.
- For frying, you can use a 5-quart dutch oven or cast iron. Pour oil into desired frying 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 (190 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 double paper towels to soak out excess oil before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Once the oil has reached 375 degrees F, turn the heat down to medium-low. You are all set to start frying.
- Working in batches, add the doughnuts to the oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, flipping halfway through cooking, or until the doughnut is golden brown and cooked through.
- Use a large slotted spoon or skimmer to remove the donuts out of the fry pot to the prepared paper plate. Once I remove it from the heat I always do a taste test to make sure it is cooked through.
- Repeat in small batches, until all the donuts are finished.
Old-Fashioned Doughnut Glaze
- While the donut cools down, make the glaze, if desired. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth and runny.
- Drizzle the glaze over the warm donut or dip the fried doughnut holes in the glaze, turning once to coat.
- Use a fork to remove and let it stand on a wire rack until the glaze sets. Serve warm.
- In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix together sugar and cinnamon breaking up any clumps until fully combined.
- Roll the donuts in the cinnamon sugar as soon as you remove them from the heat.
Tips & Notes:
- The thermometer comes in handy to keep your oil at the right temperature to cook your donuts properly and evenly and to prevent them from absorbing too much oil.
- To check if the oil is hot enough, fry a small dough. It’s ready if the dough floats and the color turns to a golden brown.
- 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 a donut cutter or round cookie cutter in big and small size to make the hole in the middle.
- Gently mix your dough until no more visible dry flour. Over-kneading your dough may cause crumbling or breaking during frying.
- You can add flavors such as chocolate and fruit jams as toppings.
- For the glaze - depending on where you are and what type of vanilla extract you use or is available to you, use a little of it if you want to make the glaze white. If it comes brown, it may be because the vanilla extract you're using is darker.
- If you want a softer crust, glaze the donuts while still hot.
- 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.
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