Old Fashioned Donuts

old-fashioned-donuts-12The Lizard is home from college this weekend, and with the other kids being typical teenagers and leaving the house every possible minute they can, it was pretty quiet around here.

Robb put The Lizard to work, demolishing our master bathroom in preparation for a much-needed upgrade. It’s a smelly, dirty, annoying job. And let’s be honest, I’m just happy I’m not the one doing it. I’m more than willing to provide freshly made snacks and hearty lunches.

My parents never made donuts, so they were never really part of my baking repertoire. But Robb’s family has this basic donut recipe, and he has some really good memories of eating the donuts with his cousins and grandparents. They often made large batches and froze them, and they would eat them slowly right out of the freezer with cups of cocoa.


But trust me when I tell you, these are best eaten as quickly as possible after cooking. I mean seriously. They’re like sugar cookies, but fried.

Let me share some tips for success with you.

Like most baked goods, you don’t want to overwork the dough. Just mix until all the flour is incorporated, and leave it alone.

Roll out the dough pretty thick. Mine is about 1/2″. You can re-roll the dough once, but I wouldn’t do it more than that. Each time you roll it out, it makes the dough tougher and less pleasant to eat.


If you don’t have a donut cutter, don’t despair. I used two circle cookie cutters, but I personally don’t see why donuts always have to be circles. I used the large and small cutters from this set to make a few star-shaped donuts, just for laughs.

And because Robb likes things funky that way.

Don’t overcrowd your pan. The pan will be working overtime anyway, keeping the oil at the right temperature, and not too hot or too cool. Give it a break and just do a few at a time.

When the donuts come out of the pan, put them on a baking sheet lined with paper towels or a brown paper bag to soak up the excess oil.


And by the way? The leftover dough can be cooked just as-is. This is seriously the best, because I love how all the little corners get all crispy in the oil.


The glaze is the final step.

Robb’s family just rolls the donuts in sugar (It takes two coats, if you want to do it this way.), but I wanted a more traditional glaze to finish them off.  This glaze is just powdered sugar and milk, and you can add more or less milk to get the consistency you want.


My preferred method of glazing involves a fork, and a cooling rack inside a sheet pan lined with wax paper. This makes it easy for excess glaze to drip off, and for the glaze to set and harden just a little.

The wax paper is because I’m lazy and don’t enjoy washing dishes.

These will keep for a day or two in a lidded container at room temperature, but the quality decreases pretty quickly. If you’re not going to finish them within a day, I recommend freezing them, in a lidded container between layers of wax paper.

Or do what I do, and use them as bribes to get the incredible disappearing teenagers to do a little housework before they leave again.

Old Fashioned Donuts

A basic cake-like fried donut with glaze.
Servings: 18 donuts & holes
Author: Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • dash nutmeg
  • 3 1/2 cups flour all-purpose
  • + more flour for rolling
  • vegetable oil for frying


  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 5-8 tablespoons milk


  • Beat eggs, add sugar and mix. Add butter, milk, and vanilla, mix.
  • Sift together dry ingredients and add to mixture. Stir just until combined.
  • Roll dough on well-floured surface to 1/2-inch thickness. Use circle cutters to cut donuts and holes from centers. Re-roll once only.
  • Heat oil to 350F. Add dough, a few pieces at a time. Cook until golden brown, turn, and cook other side until golden brown.
  • Place cooked donuts on a baking sheet lined with brown paper or paper towels to soak up excess oil.

For Glaze:

  • To make glaze, put powdered sugar in a bowl. Add 3 tablespoons of milk, and stir. Add 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, stirring between each, until glaze reaches desired consistency. (6-8 tablespoons of milk.)
  • Dip donuts in glaze to coat, using a fork or chopstick to remove. Let excess glaze drip back into bowl.
  • Place glazed donuts on a cooling rack with a baking sheet or wax paper beneath to catch excess glaze. Let glaze dry and harden, 5-10 minutes.


Store donuts in a lidded container between layers of wax paper. They will keep 1-2 days on the counter, or 2-3 months in the freezer.
If you don't want to glaze, these can also be rolled in sugar. Place sugar in a bowl, dip donut in sugar to coat. Set donut aside and let sit a few minutes, then coat a second time.


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One thought on “Old Fashioned Donuts

  1. William Brausen

    5 stars
    I’m going to try and make this recipe. My wife and I both love old fashioned donuts. I’ve never made anything from scratch until recently. This sounds like an awesome recipe.


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