Buttermilk Doughnuts

Well, I told you earlier this week that when I made the Easy Homemade French Fries it was my first jump into the world of deep frying, and these doughnuts would be my second dip. I have lost all fear of frying and am now on a furious search for the next thing to throw into a vat of bubbling oil (that doesn’t sound as delicious we all know the results truly are). I’m thinking maybe some classic southern fried chicken? I’ll continue to think on it, but in the meantime let’s chat about these amazing doughnuts. Doughnuts are something I’ve had on my mind for pretty much as long as I can remember, and they were definitely on my original Top 100 list. Once I decided to jump into the frying frenzy, I knew they would be one of the first things that I tried. I’m so, so happy that I did! They are are actually quite easy to make and come together quickly, so they would be great if you have house guests, or just want to spice up an ordinary weekend morning!

In addition to the doughnuts, you get to partake in the resulting doughnut holes. Nom nom nom.

The dough is really easy to mix together, you don’t even need to use a mixer. Just two bowls, a whisk and a spoon and you’re good to go! Once you mix it up, you dump it out onto a floured surface, and pat it out to about a ½-inch thickness.

Then you get to cut! This is the fun part 🙂  You’ll use two different sizes of round cookie cutters to cut out the doughnuts and then cut out the middle. You can keep re-patting the dough together and cutting out more until you run out of dough.

You chill the dough while the oil warms up, and then get to frying! They only take a couple of minutes per side, so you’ll be done in no time. I found it was best to use tongs to turn them so as to reduce any oil splattering that might occur.

Once they come out, do your dipping and rolling in the toppings of your choice. I gave all three a try – the cinnamon-sugar, vanilla glaze and chocolate glaze. I scaled down the vanilla and chocolate and both got a little thin on me so I’d recommend making the full batch or compensating with extra powdered sugar and chocolate, respectively, to make sure it stays thick.

Cinnamon-sugar is my absolute favorite when it comes to doughnuts, and I thoroughly enjoyed these. They have fantastic flavor, texture, and are truly reminiscent of the old-fashioned “farm stand” doughnuts that the cookbook was trying to recreate. Delicious!

Two years ago: Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Buttermilk Doughnuts

Yield: About 10 doughnuts and 15 doughnut holes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


For the Doughnuts:
3½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 eggs
¾ cup buttermilk
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Vegetable oil for frying

For the Chocolate Glaze:
4 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Vanilla Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ cup whole milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1¼ cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon


1. Make the Doughnuts: Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and another baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream until combined. Add the melted, cooled butter and whisk again.

4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. With a rubber spatula, slowly fold the flour into the liquid center until the mixture forms a sticky dough.

5. Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and pat it out until it is about ½-inch thick. Use two round cutters (3¼-inch and 1½-inch). Dip the large cutter in flour and press out the rounds. Dip the smaller cutter in the flour and cut out the center of each dough round. Arrange bough doughnuts and doughnut holes on the parchment-lined baking sheet, pat the dough scraps back together, and use them to make as many more doughnuts and doughnuts holes as possible. Chill the dough while you heat the oil.

6. Pour enough oil into a deep skillet to make a layer approximately 1 inch to 1½ inches deep. Slowly heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is 365 to 370 degrees F.

7. While you are waiting for the oil to reach temperature, make the toppings.

8. Make the Chocolate Dip: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium wide-mouthed bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it is just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter. Keep the mixture warm.

9. Make the Vanilla Glaze: In a medium wide-mouthed bowl, whisk together the sugar, the milk, and the vanilla extract.

10. Make the Cinnamon Sugar: In a medium wide-mouthed bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.

11. Fry the Doughnuts: Once the oil reaches temperature, gently lift the large doughnuts off the baking sheet and place them in the hot oil. Do not crowd the skillet - make no more than 3 doughnuts at a time. Once they have browned on one side (this takes 2 to 3 minutes), turn them over with tongs or a slotted spoon and continue to cook for another minute or just until browned (they can overcook or burn rather quickly). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet and continue to fry the rest of the dough until finished. The doughnut holes will cook faster (only about 1 minute on each side) and can be made in two or three batches after the doughnuts are done.

12. Assemble the Doughnuts: Once you have finished frying, work quickly to dip the doughnuts in the chocolate or vanilla glaze, or the cinnamon sugar. If you like, decorate the chocolate or vanilla doughnuts with sprinkles. Serve immediately.

Note: Each topping makes enough for one batch of doughnuts. If you want to use more than one topping for your batch, reduce the amounts by half or by two-thirds, accordingly.

(Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations)


74 Responses to “Buttermilk Doughnuts”

  1. Ali B on July 29, 2011 at 12:48 am

    You make frying look so easy! These doughnuts look delicious and they remind me of my favorite doughnut from a farm nearby: apple cider! I can’t believe you tackled all of those glazes at once. I’ll definitely have to give this a try, thanks for sharing!


  2. Jen of My Tiny Oven on July 29, 2011 at 12:48 am

    I made doughnuts this week too but mine were the baked kind… they were good but these… these look to die for! mmmm!!!


  3. Katrina on July 29, 2011 at 1:11 am

    These look beautiful!


  4. CouponClippingCook on July 29, 2011 at 2:17 am

    Wow, the cinnamon sugar donuts look fantastic! Actually, all of the flavors look fantastic. I like how easy the dough is to make too!


  5. Paula on July 29, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I have a quart of oil sitting on my stove (going on 2 weeks now!) waiting for me to fry more things in it. Doughnuts is a fabulous solution to use up some of that oil. 🙂


  6. Kelly on July 29, 2011 at 3:58 am

    I love making donuts! I had my friend bring a donut cutter from William Sonoma all the way to the UK so I could make some :-p


  7. Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance on July 29, 2011 at 5:57 am

    Those sprinkled donuts are calling my name!


  8. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on July 29, 2011 at 6:05 am

    Those donuts look amazing! I’m sort of afraid of deep frying but these are kind of calling my name…


  9. Kerry on July 29, 2011 at 6:14 am

    Oh mah gawd, you’ve made these sound really amazingly easy and phenomenally delicious! The reason in my head for never making them before (they’re hard) is dissipating… damn it!

    One question – did you use a thermometer to test the oil temperature, or were you able to tell from look when it was at the right temperature?


    • Michelle on July 29th, 2011 at 8:41 am

      Hi Kerry, Yep, I used a thermometer clipped on to the side of the skillet – I think you can see it in one of the pictures.


  10. Barefoot Pregnant And In The Kitchen on July 29, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Now I feel like a lazy mom! I woke up early and am about to head to the bakery to get our favorite cider donuts… I log on here and see these! I really should make some of my own!


  11. Ruth on July 29, 2011 at 6:38 am

    These look fabulous! I personally like the holes best -they have more crunch! 🙂


  12. Valerie on July 29, 2011 at 6:41 am

    They look pretty easy to make and look delicious! I’ve made some that looked like yours, it was a success!


  13. Heather (Heather's Dish) on July 29, 2011 at 7:53 am

    oh.my.stars. no time this morning, but i think i know what’s on the menu for saturday’s breakfast!


  14. Babou on July 29, 2011 at 8:13 am

    In my family we make donuts around christmas time every year (eaten warm with powdered sugar) and my dad is the master fryer and he would say that your skillet is way too full of oil ! Looks dangerous ! Better safe than sorry


    • Michelle on July 29th, 2011 at 8:43 am

      Hmm the recipe said deep skillet with about an inch of oil, which is what I did. Saying I need a deeper skillet, maybe a saute pan with higher sides?


  15. Lisa @ Sunny Seed Stories on July 29, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I need to get myself some round cookie cutters, STAT! Or maybe a doughnut cookie cutter? Surely those exist…?


    • Michelle on July 29th, 2011 at 9:43 am

      Lisa, Yes doughnut cutters definitely exist! 🙂


  16. Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist's Kitchen on July 29, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Those look perfect! Great job 🙂


  17. Tracey on July 29, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Oh wow, I love the simplicity of this recipe. The doughnuts look fantastic! My big problem with frying is mostly the clean-up, or else I’d be doing it a lot more often 🙂


  18. sami on July 29, 2011 at 9:49 am

    i am thoroughly impressed. and hungry!


  19. Deborah on July 29, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I will be giving these a try. years ago, while in school, I worked at a company that had it’s own excellent cafeteria. Every morning they served home made doughnuts. Oy they were good.


  20. Jennifer @ Raisin Questions on July 29, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Wow, I think this dough looks amazing! It really took to frying well, and the inside actually looks dense! That’s my favorite! Of course, I’m also afraid of deep frying, but maybe one day. This is inspiring. Thanks!


  21. Jenny Flake on July 29, 2011 at 9:57 am

    I need these in my kitchen right at this very second 🙂 They look fabulous!


  22. sherri lynn @ life of a wife on July 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

    oh donuts…my true weakness! I would love to make these but I think I surpassed my donut allotment yesterday when I had 3 in honor of my birthday 🙂


  23. Cookin' Canuck on July 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

    There really is something addictive about frying things! These doughnuts look absolutely incredible, Michelle. It looks as though you achieved the perfect texture.


  24. Christina @ This Woman Cooks! on July 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

    I’m terrified of frying but you’re making me what to conquer that fear! Amazing work, they are to die for.


  25. Maria on July 29, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Josh will love these!


  26. Cat on July 29, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Lisa, I have a doughnut cutter that has 3 circle, allowing you to make a smaller or larger inner circle, as you prefer. You just snap out the circle you don’t want. Plus, once snapped out, any of them can be used as a simple circular cookie cutter. I use the larger circle when making yeast doughnuts, to allow for expansion when rising. If I don’t, the inner hole literally closes up. For these, I’d use the small circle.

    Michelle, you’re doing serious damage to my waistline with all this fried stuff. I swear, you could deep fry dirt and it would taste like heaven!

    Since you’re on a roll with the fried goodies, how about raised yeast doughnuts next?


    • Michelle on July 29th, 2011 at 11:12 am

      I do have yeasted doughnuts on my list, I will do them soon! 🙂


      • Cat on July 29th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

        OOOOOOooooooh, GOODIE!! Can’t wait to see the picture. Glazed potato-yeast donuts are da bomb!!! Trouble is, they’re impossible to pass up, and they have such a minute shelf life that you just HAVE to gobble them right up. I’m going to be a Fat, Fat, Fatty McFatterson trying out all these wonderful goodies.


  27. Nicole on July 29, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I use chopsticks to fry donuts with. It is super easy to use, especially having a hole in the middle to assist. Can’t wait to try this recipe!


  28. Lindsey@Lindselicious on July 29, 2011 at 11:27 am

    You’re amazing- these look incredible!!


  29. Dayana on July 29, 2011 at 11:52 am

    How would you go about making filled donuts?


    • Michelle on July 29th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      Hi Dayana, I would guess by not cutting out a hole and then using a decorating tip to fill it with your desired filling, but I plan on trying some filled ones soon!


  30. Dawn on July 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I’m drooling.


  31. Adora's Box on July 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Those are so beautiful! Better than store bought. I still have my fear of deep frying. Hrdrocolloid plasters are the only things that prevent me from showing the scars from my misadventures.


  32. mis-cakes on July 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I think you may have just convinced me that I may be able to try and fry at home too.


  33. Angie @ Bigbearswife on July 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    do what!! why didn’t I think about using the different cookie cutters before!! I could have been making these all along! lol


  34. Happy When Not Hungry on July 29, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    OMG I’m literally drooling right now! These doughnuts look amazing. I definitely need to try making them!


  35. jen @ the baked life on July 29, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    donut holes are the best!!!

    these look amazing, I needed them this morning with my hazelnut coffee!


  36. ErinsFoodFiles on July 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    These look scrumptious!


  37. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on July 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I have never made my own donuts, but these make me want to try! They look like breakfast heaven!


  38. Charissa on July 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    You always, without fail, make me very hungry! Looks AMAZING!


  39. Melanie on July 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    I emailed your blog to a friend of mine to show her all your awesome recipes. She wrote back to me, “Holy buttermilk doughnuts…” I hadn’t seen the post yet, but tend to agree with her!

    I have to tell you I have quickly fallen in love with your blog and am so glad you post! Keep up the great work!


    • Michelle on July 29th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      Aw thank you Melanie, so glad you’re enjoying the blog!


  40. Ally on July 29, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Oh man, such fond memories of making sugar sweet donuts in the summer with my best friend. This post brought all the nostalgia back! xo


  41. Amber on July 29, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    I have always wanted to make donuts, actually they are on my “kitchen bucket list”! These look delicious.


  42. Stephanie @ brauerbunch.blogspot.com on July 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    There is drool on my keyboard………


  43. Ann on July 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Stunning! Donuts – believe it or not – was something I have made before. I used to fry all the time, but no longer….but I just love it and I’m glad you’re having fun with it – with amazing results!


  44. jaclyn@todayslady on July 30, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Oh these look amazing!!! And yes, cinnamon sugar on doughnuts is the best!!!


  45. tanya on July 30, 2011 at 10:05 am

    looks so yummy
    thankx alot
    i wish there z A BOX to put my favourite recipes


  46. Rita Dk Simmons on July 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Wow, that looks delicious, will have to try this soon,you’ve been buzzed!


  47. Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie on July 30, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I haven’t made donuts is soooo long! These look amazing!


  48. Joyce @ Jranola Joyce on July 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    I mean, let’s break it down–dough? carbs, so i love it.
    nut? used about 4 pounds of nuts yesterday for my granola bars so i think it’s about safe to say i love them.
    dough + nuts = doughnuts = love.
    !!! 🙂 thanks for this recipe!!


  49. blair on August 1, 2011 at 2:42 am

    This recipe looks amazing! You should try to fry up some red velvet fried chicken with cream cheese mashed potatoes!! I KNOW for sure you would make it fabulous!


  50. Tracy on August 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Michelle, you’re just killing me over here. I wish I had one of these with my afternoon coffee!!


  51. Jessica on August 4, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Michelle, do you know if these would freeze well? I’m thinking they would if I skipped the glazing.


    • Michelle on August 7th, 2011 at 12:04 am

      Hmm, I didn’t try freezing these, but I’m leaning towards no. I think a baked doughnut may fare better in the freezer; I’m sure anything fried would do well frozen and then thawed. Even the next day these doughnuts definitely aren’t near as good as they are freshly made.


  52. steph (whisk/spoon) on August 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    that cinnamon sugar donut close-up has my mouth watering!! i don’t have a fear of frying, but i terrible ventilation in my kitchen, so i rarely do it. maybe i need to open up all the windows on the floor and do it anyway!


  53. Paula on August 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    For months I have been wanting to get the baked donut pan yet never got around to it. My grandmother used to send us batches of homemade deep fried donuts when we were kids and I loved them…plain old fashioned were my favourite.
    I never had her recipe and now after reading this post, I think I don’t need a baked donut pan and shall instead, try your recipe for they look wonderful!


  54. Anglin on August 8, 2011 at 7:19 am

    I made these on the week-end and they were fantastic. It was such fun to make homemade doughnuts. Thanks so much for the recipe!


  55. Martha on August 9, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Made these this morning with my son. They were so good and pretty easy to make. I used canola oil to fry them. I’m sure we will make them again this Fall.


  56. sophistimom on August 29, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Yum. I can’t wait until the weather cools off so we can make these.


  57. Suzanne Pierce on September 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    And when you are really pressed for time, you can take can biscuits and poke a hole in the middle, shape it and then fry those. Same as above for different icings…


  58. Willa@ArmstrongFamilyFare on September 29, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    These look AMAZING!!! We had some really delicious cake donuts last week while we were on vacation and it has me wanting to try to recreate them myself. Just a couple weeks ago I ventured into frying chicken (don’t do much frying ever…), and it turned out great. So, I’m ready to try something new! These are being added to my ‘want to try’ recipe list!


  59. Kathryn on April 2, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Hey! Would this recipe taste good with dairy-free substitutions like almond or coconut milk instead of buttermilk, dairy-free butter instead of butter, and dairy free yogurt instead of sour cream?


    • Michelle on April 3rd, 2013 at 9:44 am

      Hi Kathryn, I don’t do any dairy-free baking, so unfortunately I can’t give you a definitive answer. My inkling is that the almond milk would be okay, but I’m not sure about the butter and dairy-free yogurt. Let me know how it goes if you give it a try!


  60. Meredith on September 8, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Made these doughnuts today. they are AMAZING!!!! First doughnuts I have ever made, and the recipe is simple and easy to follow. I didn’t want a recipe that had to chill the dough for hours, and this one didn’t have that step! it was amazing to be able to just get right at it and be able to complete them all in the same day!! Love your recipe and will use it in the future!!


  61. Erin M on May 24, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Can you fry these with peanut oil instead? I have leftover that I want to use up!


    • Michelle on May 26th, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Hi Erin, I think that’s probably fine.


  62. Emilia on October 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    I made these over the weekend and the doughnuts turned out great. I made all three glazes and the vanilla one was by far my favorite. The chocolate one would have been good but it wasn’t sweet enough. I think some sugar in the glaze recipe would have made it better. Thanks for another great recipe!


  63. val on June 22, 2015 at 10:41 pm

    Well thought they were just good!!!!!!


  64. Juby on September 15, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Hi Michelle,
    Tried this recipe a couple of times…and every time it turns out amazing.
    Thanks a million..:)


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