Who isn’t a sucker for a really great donut?! Tender, fluffy, and a little bit chewy, there is almost nothing quite like a sweet glazed donut fresh from the fryer. Making donuts might seem like a daunting task, and they do take a bit of time, but I’ll give you plenty of tips to make it seem like you’ve been frying up donuts for years.
The recipe that follows is for a sinfully simple yeasted, or raised, donut. These are the kinds you find most often (the iconic Krispy Kreme), and the base dough for many variations, from vanilla glazed and chocolate glazed to jelly-filled, custard-filled, maple bars, and apple fritters.
Because this is a yeasted dough, you need to let the dough rise, then shape it and let the donuts proof (or puff up) before frying. Allow yourself a few hours to make these, but if you want to get a head start, make the dough and let it rise overnight in the fridge. Then just pull it out in the morning while you make coffee and let it come to room temperature (about 1 hour). Roll, cut out shapes, let it proof, and bingo, you have a decadent breakfast fit for a queen. Your family will thank you.
Glaze the donuts when they are fresh from the fryer and warm (just make sure to cool them enough so you can actually handle them without burning yourself). If you want to decorate the donuts—with sprinkles, coarse sugar, toasted chopped nuts, crumbled crisp-cooked bacon, or whatever you fancy—be sure to do it right away, before the glaze sets.
This is a great starter recipe, but swap out the glaze (chocolate, salted caramel, maple) or add chopped fresh herbs (thyme, basil) or citrus zest (lemon, lime, grapefruit) to make your own favorite flavor combination.
Vanilla Bean Glazed Raised Donuts
Makes 1 dozen donuts and 1 dozen holes
- 2¾ cups bread flour
- 1 packet (2¼ tsp) rapid rise (instant) yeast
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup whole milk, warm (105 to 115˚F)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- Canola oil, for frying
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 1/2 to 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out (save the pod for making vanilla sugar)
- 1 tsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the warm milk, egg yolks, and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients along with the butter and beat until smooth, about 3 minutes; it will be slightly sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
- Flour 1 to 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thick. With a 3-inch-diameter donut cutter, cut out donuts and holes. Re-roll the scraps and cut out additional holes.
- Place the donuts at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheets and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until they are puffy and nearly double in size, 15 to 30 minutes. They are ready when the dough springs back slowly after being touched with a fingertip (if it springs back at once, it needs more time; if it collapses it has over-proofed and you can re-roll the dough and cut it once).
- While the donuts rise, make the glaze: In a shallow bowl, whisk together all of the glaze ingredients until smooth. Fill a heavy pot with at least 2 inches of oil (the oil should not go more than halfway up the pan). Heat the oil over medium-high heat until a deep-frying thermometer registers 360˚F.
- Using a spider or slotted spoon, carefully lower a few donuts in the oil; do not crowd the pot. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes per side, turning a few times (metal tongs are good for this), until golden brown and cooked through. Remove with the spider or slotted spoon, drain on a wire rack over a paper towel, and let cool slightly before glazing. Repeat with the remaining donuts. Adjust the temperature while frying to keep the heat consistent.
- While the donuts are still warm, dip them, top-side-down into the glaze. Let the excess glaze drip off, and then let dry on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.