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Sprinkle Doughnuts

Sprinkle doughnuts 1

These don’t have to be sprinkle doughnuts, but since the cousins were over this weekend, I thought there ought to be sprinkles. I figured their young minds were at their memory-storing prime, and if I was to instill fond memories of making doughnuts from scratch at their aunt’s house, who let them cook the holes and scraps and douse them in cinnamon sugar to eat while the doughnuts were cooking, I’d better get on it.

cutting doughnuts 2cutting doughnuts

Doughnuts aren’t difficult; the yeast-raised kind (these) are made with a simple dough enriched with butter and eggs, then patted and cut (I can’t resist doughnut cutters when I see them) and cooked in a shallow pot of oil – no need for more than an inch or so. Some grandmothers cook theirs in lard or shortening; I’ve never done this, but someday I’ll give it a go just to say I did. For now, I find canola works perfectly.

cooking doughnuts

Once they’re golden, which takes all of about two minutes, you can glaze them in any number of things – honey or chocolate or a thin veil of sugar and milk – just enough to help the sprinkles adhere.

yeast raised doughnuts

Of course they’re delicious plain, or you could customize the basic glaze below with a splash of real maple syrup, or make chocolate-dipped doughnuts by replacing 1/4 cup of the icing sugar with cocoa. With this one recipe you could transform your kitchen into a pop-up doughnut shop.

sprinkle doughnuts 5

Sprinkle Doughnuts

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February 15, 2016


Yeast dough:

1 cup milk, warmed

2 tsp. active dry or instant yeast

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 large egg

2 Tbsp. sugar

3-3 1/2 all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

canola or other neutral oil, for cooking


2 cups icing sugar

2 Tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

lots of sprinkles


1Put the warm milk in a large bowl and sprinkle over the yeast; let it stand for a few minutes, until it gets foamy. Add the butter, egg, sugar, half the flour and salt and stir until well combined and sticky.

2Add the remaining dough, leaving about 1/2 cup to add at the end if it needs it, and stir (or knead with the dough hook attachment of your stand mixer) until you have a soft dough. Knead for 6-7 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding the last of the flour as you need it - it should be tacky, but not too sticky.

3Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let rise for an hour - it should double in size. Take out the dough and roll or pat it out on a lightly floured surface to about 3/4 inch thick. Cut into doughnuts using a doughnut cutter - or use a ring cutter or glass rim, then cut a smaller hole in the middle. (Cut them as close together as you can to avoid having to reroll the scraps - I just cook them as is, rather than try to make more doughnuts.) Cover the lot with a tea towel and let sit for 1/2-1 hour to puff up again. (They'll get puffier still as they cook.)

4Heat about 1 1/2 inches of oil in a wide, heavy pot set over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking - take a scrap of the dough and drop it in - if it sizzles and bubbles around the dough, it's ready to go.

5Gently lower a few doughnuts at a time into the oil - you don't want to crowd the pot, or it will cool down the oil and the doughnuts could get oily and heavy - and cook for a minute, until golden on the bottom. Gently flip (tongs or a bamboo skewer work well for this) and cook until golden on the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate or baking sheet to cool.

6Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and place the doughnuts on it; whisk together the glaze ingredients and dip, dribble or brush the glaze overtop. Add sprinkles while it's still wet, before it sets.

7Makes about 2 dozen small-ish doughnuts.


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10 comments on “Sprinkle Doughnuts

  1. Kelsey
    February 15, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Wow these look amazing! I’ve never made donuts, but you’ve inspired me!

    • Julie
      February 15, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      You should try! it’s so satisfying to make a batch of doughnuts yourself…

  2. Sara MacIntosh
    February 15, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    Love this recipe! Can’t wait to try these! Really love the website!

    • Julie
      February 15, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      Thanks Sara! and look at me trying to be on the ball about responding to comments! 🙂

  3. Alison
    February 22, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Well, I know what the kids and I are doing when they’re off school for teachers convention this week!

    • Julie
      February 23, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      It’s a perfect teachers’ convention project!

  4. Andrea
    February 28, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    My 13 year old daughter and her friend just made these! Delicious!

  5. Deana
    April 26, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    These were UNREAL. I’ve had a long time love for fresh and fluffy yeast doughnuts (my grandma made them often,) but I never imagined being able to make them myself. This recipe is simple and they turned out perfectly. Thank you so much for giving me a reminder of this taste from my childhood!

    • Julie
      April 30, 2019 at 3:06 pm

      Yaaaay! so glad to hear it!

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