How to Make Old-Fashioned Doughnuts
Call us old-fashioned, but this is the best way to make doughnuts!
We’ve never met a doughnut we didn’t like. From the old-fashioned doughnuts we’re sharing today to copycat Krispy Kreme doughnuts or honestly, any homemade doughnut recipes, we like them all a hole lot.
Making old-fashioned doughnuts from scratch may seem daunting, but with a few simple ingredients, a deep fryer (here’s how to deep-fry with confidence), and a little practice, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a doughnut-making pro.
What Is an Old-Fashioned Doughnut?
Unlike yeast-raised doughnuts that use yeast as a leaving agent and require multiple rounds of kneading and proofing, old-fashioned doughnuts are a bit more straightforward.
More closely related to cake doughnuts, old-fashioned doughnuts are unique thanks to their addition of sour cream and buttermilk. The sour cream and buttermilk are key ingredients for achieving this vintage recipe’s taste and texture. Both ingredients enrich the dough with fat which makes the dough incredibly moist and tender. They also lend a subtle tang to the doughnuts’ flavor.
Another defining feature of an old-fashioned doughnut is its appearance. Unlike cake and yeast doughnuts, old-fashioned doughnuts should have a rough and craggy exterior with a slight crispness. This unusual appearance is due to the fact that they are typically deep-fried at a lower temperature than other doughnut recipes.
Also, try this gluten-free doughnut recipe to recreate crispy, light doughnuts at home.
Make Old-Fashioned Doughnuts
This recipe makes approximately 1-1/2 dozen (18 doughnuts). The recipe was shared with us by Darlene Brenden, a Taste of Home Community Cook.
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Oil for deep-fat frying
- 1-1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 5 to 6 teaspoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Doughnut cutter: The perfect tool for cleanly cutting uniform doughnuts of equal shape, size and thickness.
- Thermometer: A must-have for ensuring the oil is at the perfect temperature for frying.
- Tongs: We love this tweezer-style set with long handles. They’re ideal for gently turning the doughnuts and removing them safely from the hot oil.
Also, try these delicious fried Italian doughnuts: sweet and fluffy inside, and crisp and golden brown on the outside, perfect for your sweet cravings.
Step 1: Mix the wet ingredients
In a large bowl, beat the sour cream and buttermilk until smooth. Next, beat in the sugar, followed by the eggs and vanilla.
Beat until the ingredients are just combined. Over-mixing can work too much air into the dough and impact the final texture. Old-fashioned doughnut recipes shouldn’t be overly light or airy. A little density and cakeiness are what you’re going for.
Before moving ahead try these Boston cream doughnuts that are a handheld version—and acceptable to eat for breakfast.
Step 2: Stir together the dry ingredients
In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Step 3: Combine
Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined (the dough will be loose and sticky). Cover with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Editor’s Tip: Don’t skip refrigerating the dough. Like chilling cookie dough, this step allows the flour to hydrate and absorb any excess liquid before hitting the hot oil. This will make the doughnut dough both easier to shape and improve the final taste and texture of the cooked doughnuts.
If you’re looking for a fancy breakfast pastry, learn how to make delicate, swirled French cruller doughnuts at home.
Step 4: Knead, roll and cut
When ready to shape, turn the rested dough out onto a well-floured surface. Knead the dough a few times until smooth, about 2-3 minutes, then roll to 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough out with a floured 2-1/2-inch doughnut cutter, rerolling and cutting any remaining dough scraps.
Editor’s Tip: If you don’t have a doughnut cutter, use a glass or round biscuit cutter to cut out the doughnuts. Then, use a shot glass or a small round cookie cutter to cut out the centers.
Step 5: Fry until golden
Fill a deep electric skillet or deep-fat fryer with a few inches of oil and preheat to 375°F. Working in batches, fry 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time, turning once until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining doughnuts and doughnut holes, draining the cooked doughnuts on paper towels after removing them from the hot oil.
Step 6: Make the glaze
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, water, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Also, treat yourself to a homemade glazed chocolate doughnut—they’re Delicious, soft, light, and surprisingly simple to make.
Step 7: Dip and devour
To finish the doughnuts, dip them while they’re still slightly warm in the prepared doughnut glaze. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling and allow any excess glaze to drip off the doughnuts. Enjoy! Learn how to make mochi doughnuts at home.
Tips for Making Old-Fashioned Doughnuts
When should you glaze the doughnuts?
It’s best to wait 2-3 minutes. While you may be tempted to dunk those golden doughnuts right into the glaze immediately after frying, patience is key! Allowing the hot doughnuts to cool slightly before glazing will ensure the glaze coats the doughnuts evenly and doesn’t simply run off.
Also check: What happens when you cross a biscuit with a doughnut? You get bonuts: delicious, bite-sized breakfast treats.
What other toppings can you put on old-fashioned doughnuts?
Jazz up your old-fashioned doughnuts with an array of toppings and/or glazes. Try any one of these other glazes for homemade doughnuts or top with colorful sprinkles.
How do you store old-fashioned doughnuts?
Store the fried doughnuts (either glazed or unglazed) in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days at room temperature. You may also refrigerate them to extend their shelf life by a few extra days or freeze them for up to 3 months (wrapped individually in plastic). Defrost frozen doughnuts overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying. If you’re looking for variations, then learn how to make cream-filled donuts.