Easy Homemade Sugar Donuts: Sweet and Delicious

Total time: 10 min prep/ 1hr 30 min rise/ 15 min fry
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6-8
By Cookist

There's nothing quite like the joy of biting into a warm, sugary donut that's freshly fried and filled with happiness. If you’ve been intimated by homemade donuts thinking that it’s too much effort, then look no further. These Sugar Donuts are not only easy to make, but they taste even better than store-bought ones. Made with a simple combination of yeast, flour, sugar, oil, and milk, the dough is left to double in size before being fried to perfection. The yeasted dough gives you that typical donut flavor we all love so much, while the sugar on the outside adds sweetness and a bit of crunch. Eat them for dessert or anytime you want to indulge your sweet tooth.

What Is The History Behind Sugar Donuts?

Sugar Donuts have come a long way and might have been in existence longer than you think. Already in Ancient Greece and Rome, fried strips of dough were enjoyed with various sweet and savory toppings. During the Medieval times, Arabs created a type of ‘glazed’ donut by dipping fried pieces of pastry dough into a sugary syrup.

The type of donuts that we know today were most probably inspired by the Dutch ‘oliebol’ that was introduced to America in the 18th century. They consisted of pieces of sweet dough fried and dusted with sugar or cinnamon.

The donut has evolved since then, gaining a hole in the middle which is said to have been invented by a ship captain called Hansen Gregory. This was of course a smart idea as it eliminated the possibility of an uncooked center!

Fried Vs. Baked Sugar Donuts: Which is Better?

The debate between fried and baked sugar donuts taps into a classic culinary dichotomy, balancing tradition with a healthier outlook. Fried sugar donuts are often celebrated for their irresistible crispy exterior and tender, airy interior, encapsulating the quintessential donut experience many have come to love. This method allows the dough to develop a golden-brown crust that contrasts beautifully with the soft, fluffy center, all while carrying the weight of granulated sugar that adheres to its surface, creating a delightful texture and depth of flavor. On the other hand, baked sugar donuts offer a lighter, somewhat cake-like texture and are favored for their reduced fat content, appealing to those seeking a healthier alternative without forgoing the pleasure of a sweet treat. While they may lack the characteristic crunch of their fried counterparts, they still present a satisfyingly soft crumb and can be just as enjoyable, especially when fresh out of the oven and dusted with sugar. Ultimately, the choice between fried and baked sugar donuts boils down to personal preference and the balance each individual seeks between indulgence and health-conscious eating.


  • These Sugar Donuts can also be made in the Airfryer.  Simply cover the bottom of the air fryer basket with parchment paper. Air fry the donuts at 350°F/180°C until browned and puffed up about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the basket, sprinkle with sugar, and serve.
  • Don’t heat the oil too much. This will cause the donuts to burn before they are fully cooked through. The best temperature for donuts is 350-375°F (180-190°C).
  • Instead of plain sugar, you can also create a sugar-cinnamon sprinkle. Simply combine ½ cup of granulated sugar with 1 tbsp ground cinnamon. To make sure the sugar sticks to the donuts, you can brush the donuts with melted butter.
  • If you don’t like sugar-sprinkled donuts, you can also make glazed donuts. To make a glaze, simply mix together ½ cup melted butter, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 cups powdered (fine) sugar, and just enough milk to thin the mixture out. Allow the donuts to cool slightly before you dip the donuts in the glaze.

How to Store Sugar Donuts

Store the plain donuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Sprinkled or glazed donuts can be stored at room temperature for 1 day or two.

All purpose flour
500g (4 cups)
Dry yeast
7g (1 tsp)
25g (2 tbsp)
Lemon zest
250ml (1 cup)
15g (1 tbsp)
corn oil
Oil for frying

How To Make Sugar Donuts

Place the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, lemon (zest), egg, and milk in a large mixing bowl.

Mix to combine, then knead to form a smooth dough.

Add the butter and knead until the dough is smooth.

Add the corn oil to the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise for 1 hour.

Once doubled in size, roll out the dough.

Use a large cookie cutter to create the round shape.

Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center, creating a donut shape.

Transfer them to the baking tray covered with parchment paper, cover with a cloth, and let them rise for 30 minutes.

After time has elapsed fry the donuts in the hot oil until they are golden brown on both sides.

Cover donuts with sugar and serve.


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