Vanilla-Glazed Doughnuts Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. + rising Cook: 5 min./batch
Learning how to make homemade doughnuts is easier than you think. With a little time and practice, you'll be whipping up the lightest, fluffiest glazed doughnuts.

Updated: Apr. 19, 2024

Doughnuts taste amazing anytime, but there’s something magical about a fresh-out-of-the-fryer yeast doughnut. It’s special enough to make you want to pull over when they hang that “hot fresh donuts” sign at the best doughnut shop in your state! The warm dough is incredibly light and fluffy, and the sugary glaze gives the exterior a lightly crisp bite. It’s a completely different doughnut than one that has sat in the case for hours.

Learning how to make doughnuts at home allows you to recreate that experience anytime. This yeast doughnut recipe is perfect for any level of baker, even beginners. It doesn’t require any special equipment or non-standard ingredients. After you feel comfortable making glazed doughnuts, you can use this recipe as a starting point for other types of doughnuts. Change up the doughnut glaze recipe with different flavors, or leave the doughnut hole intact for filled doughnuts.

How long does it take to make doughnuts?

Doughnuts don’t require much hands-on time, and the doughnut dough is ready in about 25 minutes. However, doughnuts require a little bit of patience while the dough rests. After the dough is formed and kneaded, yeast doughnuts have to rise until the dough doubles in size, about one hour. Then, they rise for an additional hour after they’re shaped. Once the dough is ready, the doughnuts fry in minutes.

You might think that cake or old-fashioned doughnuts would be faster since these doughnuts use leavening agents like baking powder instead of yeast. But cake doughnuts also have to rest for about two hours. Chilling the dough allows the sugar to absorb the liquid from the other ingredients. It’s the only way to create firm-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside doughnuts. (Here’s more about the difference between cake doughnuts and yeast doughnuts.)

Ingredients for Yeast Doughnuts

  • Flour: All-purpose flour works for all types of baked goods, including doughnuts.
  • Yeast: This homemade yeast doughnut recipe calls for active dry yeast, the type of yeast that needs to be activated in warm water first.
  • Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness, tenderizes the dough and feeds the yeast, enabling it to release carbon dioxide that makes the dough rise.
  • Milk: Milk adds richness to the dough and contributes to the doughnuts’ golden-brown color when fried. We use 2% milk but feel free to use whole milk in its place.
  • Eggs: Eggs provide structure for the dough. Room-temperature eggs blend with the other ingredients better than cold eggs taken straight out of the fridge.
  • Shortening: Shortening makes the doughnuts tender. While some doughnut recipes use butter, we like shortening for its higher melting point. It stays solid longer than butter, improving the doughnut’s structure.
  • Salt: Salt enhances all the other flavors. Without it, the doughnuts would taste a little flat.
  • Oil for frying: If you’re familiar with how to deep-fry at home, you know the best oils for frying are neutral oils that don’t add flavor to fried food. When it comes to what kind of oil to use to fry doughnuts, we recommend canola oil or sunflower oil.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the yeast

In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water.

Editor’s Tip: If you’re unsure if your yeast is still active, you can test the yeast by setting this mixture aside for 5 to 10 minutes. If the yeast hasn’t bubbled noticeably after 10 minutes, it may be expired. Toss the mixture and start again with a new yeast packet.

Step 2: Form a soft dough

Mixing milk eggs and flour in a large bowlTMB Studio

Add the milk, sugar, shortening, eggs, salt and 2 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Step 3: Knead the dough

A person Kneading the dough on a marble surfaceTMB Studio

Move the dough to a floured surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, six to eight minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.

Step 4: Let the dough rise

Cover the bowl, and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled, about one hour.

Step 5: Roll out the dough

A person rolling the dough on a marble surfaceTMB Studio

Punch the dough down. Turn it onto a floured surface, and roll it out to 1/2-inch thickness.

Step 6: Cut out the doughnuts and let rise

A person cutting the dough for doughnutsTMB Studio

Cut the dough with a floured 2-1/2-inch doughnut cutter. Place the cutouts on a greased baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet and let the doughnuts rise until doubled, about one hour.

Editor’s Tip: To make doughnuts without a doughnut cutter, cut the dough with any circular-shaped tool, like a biscuit cutter or a pint glass. Then, find a smaller shape (like a pastry frosting tip or a shot glass) to cut out the doughnut hole.

Step 7: Fry the doughnuts

Frying the doughnuts in oil inside a large panTMB Studio

In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat the oil to 375°F. Fry the doughnuts, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Drain the doughnuts on paper towels.

Editor’s Tip: Overcrowding the pot with doughnuts will reduce the oil’s temperature, leading to oily, soggy doughnuts. Stick to frying three to four at a time so the oil temperature won’t drop more than 10°.

How to Make Doughnut Glaze

Ingredients for Doughnut Glaze

  • Confectioners’ sugar: This fine, powdery sugar will melt without heat to create a silken glaze.
  • Milk: Milk hydrates the sugar and adds flavor.
  • Vanilla extract: It’s worth investing in the best vanilla extract you can find. Its flavor is unparalleled!

Directions

Step 1: Combine the ingredients

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. If desired, let stand for five minutes to thicken.

Editor’s Tip: Sift the confectioners’ sugar first. Sifting removes clumps and aerates the sugar, making the glaze nice and smooth.

Step 2: Dip the doughnuts

Dipping the doughnuts into the mixture in a large bowlTMB Studio

Dip the warm doughnuts in the glaze.

Editor’s Tip: For a translucent look, plunk the doughnut into the glaze while it’s still warm. For a more opaque look, let the doughnut cool a bit before dunking. You can also double dunk after the glaze sets, about 20 minutes. Or drizzle a second glaze over already-dipped doughnuts for a dazzling appearance.

Doughnut Glaze Variations

  • Sugar dusting: Instead of making a glaze, make sugar doughnuts by rolling homemade doughnuts in granulated or confectioners’ sugar. Feel free to add warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to the sugar.
  • Chocolate glaze: To make a chocolate glaze for doughnuts, bring 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons light corn syrup just to a boil. Pour over 6 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate. Stir with a whisk until smooth. Finish by stirring in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  • Quick chocolate frosting: Looking for a thicker chocolate topping? Chocolate frosting will do the trick. First, prepare the chocolate glaze recipe above. Then, stir in 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Let stand for 15 minutes or until spreadable.
  • Maple glaze: To make a maple glaze for doughnuts, whisk 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring until smooth.
  • Fruity glaze: To make a colorful glaze (like these glazed doughnut holes), whisk together 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar and enough juice concentrate to achieve a thick glaze, 3 to 5 tablespoons. Try it with grape, cherry-pomegranate or cranberry juice concentrate.
  • Citrus glaze: To make a lemon glaze for doughnuts, whisk 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar with 5 tablespoons of lemon juice until smooth.

How to Store Doughnuts

Doughnuts are best eaten the day they’re made, preferably while still warm from the fryer. You can store the leftovers for up to two days in a tightly sealed container, but the doughnuts can become soggy—especially if they’ve been glazed with icing. Unglazed doughnuts will store better, so only glaze the doughnuts you plan to eat in one day. If you’re going to make jelly- or cream-filled doughnuts, wait to fill those as well.

Can you freeze doughnuts?

You can freeze unglazed, unfilled doughnuts in a resealable plastic freezer bag for up to two months. To freeze the doughnuts, let them cool to room temperature. Then, pack them in the bag in a single layer, or separate multiple layers with a piece of waxed paper to prevent the doughnuts from freezing together. Check out our guide on how to freeze doughnuts for more tips.

To thaw, place the frozen doughnuts on an ungreased baking sheet. Cover lightly with foil and heat at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, microwave the doughnuts on 50% power for ten seconds. If needed, continue to warm in seven-second increments on 50% power until heated through.

Tips for Making Yeast Doughnuts

Are doughnuts always fried?

Doughnuts can be baked, but most doughnut recipes are fried. Frying is the easiest, most fool-proof way to cook doughnuts. To make baked doughnuts, seek out a recipe specifically designed for the oven or air-fryer, like no-fry doughnuts, cinnamon sugar doughnuts or air-fryer doughnuts. Use a doughnut mold and keep a close eye on the cooking time. Undercook the doughnuts and they’ll be doughy inside, but overcook them and they’ll turn out dry.

Can you fry the leftover doughnut holes?

Yes, you can—and should—fry the leftover doughnut holes! After frying homemade doughnut holes, glaze the poppable treats just like regular doughnuts or roll them in confectioners’ sugar for a sugary finish. You can also fry any leftover dough scraps. They won’t look as beautiful as doughnut holes, but they’ll still taste great (especially when used to make bread pudding recipes).

How do you make homemade filled doughnuts?

To use this recipe for filled doughnuts, cut the dough with a 3-inch biscuit cutter without a hole in the center. After frying the doughnuts, cut a small hole in the tip of a pastry bag, and insert a small pastry tip. Fill the bag with pastry cream for Boston cream doughnuts or regular jam for berry-filled doughnuts. Pierce a hole into the side of each doughnut with a small knife, and add the filling. You’ll need just shy of 1/4 cup of filling per doughnut.

Tips for Making Doughnut Glaze

How can you make doughnut glaze thicker or thinner?

To make a thinner doughnut glaze, add a splash of milk to make the glaze runnier. Or, use a little less milk than the recipe calls for to make a thicker doughnut glaze. Keep in mind that the glaze will drip off the doughnuts if they’re piping hot, regardless of the glaze’s consistency, so let the doughnuts cool slightly before dunking.

How can you fix a lumpy doughnut glaze?

Sifting confectioners’ sugar should keep the doughnut glaze from forming lumps. If your glaze still turns out lumpy, try whisking it longer (and make sure you’re using the proper type of whisk). You can add more liquid to smooth out the mixture if needed.

How long does it take for doughnut glaze to set?

Doughnut glaze will begin to harden within minutes of dipping the doughnut. However, the glaze will not fully set until the doughnut is cooled, 20 to 30 minutes.

Watch how to Make Vanilla-Glazed Doughnuts

Homemade Glazed Doughnuts

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 5 min
Yield 20 doughnuts.

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • VANILLA GLAZE:
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, shortening, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; roll out to 1/2-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-1/2-in. doughnut cutter. Place cutouts on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  4. In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels.
  5. In a small bowl, combine sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. If desired, let stand 5 minutes to thicken. Dip warm doughnuts in glaze.

Nutrition Facts

1 doughnut: 296 calories, 11g fat (2g saturated fat), 19mg cholesterol, 131mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate (23g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

Whip up a perfect bakery batch at home with these vanilla-glazed doughnuts. After letting the yeast rise and shaping it into perfect cutouts, the soft, fluffy dough gets fried until golden brown, then dipped in a three-ingredient vanilla glaze for a sweet finish. —Betty Claycomb, Alverton, Pennsylvania