Old Fashioned Donuts

Old Fashioned Donuts will melt in your mouth. These glazed buttermilk beauties are so easy to make and are better than store-bought!

Old Fashioned Donuts are soft and tender with a classic buttermilk flavor. For more donuts to add to the box, try Grandma’s Famous Homemade Donuts and Homemade Biscuit Donuts with Chocolate Gravy.

Old-Fashioned donuts stacked white cup of milk.

Classic Buttermilk Donut

There are two main types of donuts: yeast donuts and cakey donuts. Old Fashioned Donuts are made with common cake ingredients particularly using baking soda or baking powder as a leavening agent.

They are cylindrical, often sporting a tapered edge, almost like a ballerina’s tutu. Once fried, the exterior will have that signature crinkle look. They are denser than yeast donuts but just as delicious! 

Donut day is long anticipated in our home. We love donuts: a cake donut, fritters (especially apple fritter), and sour cream donuts, but Grandma’s version has been our go-to.

However, there is something so delicious about Buttermilk Donuts made at home from scratch with just a simple glaze! They are especially yummy with a cup of Hot Cocoa or a glass of milk!

Making Old Fashioned Donuts yourself may seem like a daunting task but it’s quite simple. The dough comes together easily. Frying to golden perfection might take a few tries, but you are sure to master it in no time!

How to Make Old Fashioned Donuts

Soon, you’ll be dunking these shiny beauties or just eating them straight from the oven when they are melt-in-your-mouth perfection.

DOUGH. Add eggs to a large bowl and whisk. Then mix in the sugar and shortening. Stir in the buttermilk and add all of the dry ingredients.

ROLL. Once the dough is mixed divide it in half. Flour the counter and turn the dough balls onto the floured surface. Lightly flour the dough before rolling them out to ⅓ inch thickness.

Once the dough had been rolled allow it to sit for 20 minutes. During this time you can heat up your oil.

PREP. Pour oil into a high sided skillet. Heat it to 370-380°F.

CUT. Use a donut cutter to cut out donuts and holes. Once hot, fry one donut to test. Adjust the oil temperature accordingly.

FRY. Use a wide spatula to place the donuts in the oil. Place as many as can easily be turned, usually about 3. Turn donuts as they rise to the surface. Fry for about 3 minutes until golden all over. Use a long fork to lift out. Be careful they don’t get poked or smashed.

DRAIN. Drain on wire rack on top of a sheet pan and cool on paper towel.

SERVE. Serve glazed, frosted, or sugared.

We love Glaze: To make it, just whisk together 4 tablespoons melted butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4-6 tablespoons half and half, until smooth and somewhat runny, about the consistency of honey.

Frying Tips

Oil temperature. It is important that the oil temperature is correct. Too low and the donuts will get soggy. Too hot and they’ll burn before cooking all the way through.

Using a deep-fry thermometer is the easiest way to ensure the correct oil temperature. If you don’t have one here is a trick I have used: 

  • Set the burner to medium-high heat.
  • Take a wooden chopstick or the end of a wooden spoon and dip it into the oil. If you see a steady stream of bubbles, then the oil is ready. However, the stream should not be vigorous and splatter.

Oil. Fry in peanut oil or vegetable oil. You need enough oil for the donut to float. If the oil level drops, add more and let it heat up again before adding another donut.

Old Fashioned donuts dipped in glaze.

Recipe Tips

Donut holes. One of the best parts of making donuts is the cute little donut holes. Fry them in the same manner as the regular donuts, just cut down the fry time by about half.

Toppings. Top these delicious donuts with a cinnamon-sugar mixture, a sweet glaze, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, drizzled with White or Milk Chocolate Sauce, or topped with ganache. 

  • A simple glaze recipe: 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons hot water. Mix until smooth. Add food flavoring to make flavors like orange glaze, maple glaze, or pistachio glaze.

Cutting donuts. Instead of a donut cutter, use a biscuit cutter or cup to make the larger circles and then locate a smaller-sized circle to cut out the center. I remember my mother once using a cup for the larger circle and a plastic bottle cap for the smaller center circle. 

Dough scraps. After stamping out the donuts, gather the scraps and reroll them to make even more donuts. If there’s not enough to create a full donut, divide it into balls and make a few more donut holes. 

Buttermilk substitute. Make your own buttermilk using 1½ cups of regular milk and 1½ tablespoons of vinegar. Let it rest for a few minutes before using it in the recipe.

Glazed old fashioned donuts on baking sheet.

how to store + freeze

Make ahead of time. Due to the baking soda, the dough cannot be refrigerated for long otherwise the leavening agent will not work properly. Make the dough and chill it covered in the fridge for 3-4 hours, but I don’t recommend too much longer.

STORE. Place the cooled Buttermilk Donuts in an airtight container and store them at room temperature for 1-2 days. They can last longer but will start to become dry and stale.

FREEZE. Old Fashioned Doughnuts can be frozen for up to one week. Place the individual donuts into a sandwich bag or cover with plastic wrap and place them all in a freezer Ziploc.

Old Fashioned donuts recipe stacked on top of each other.

For more yummy fried desserts, try:

Old Fashioned Donuts Recipe

5 from 11 votes
Old Fashioned Donuts will melt in your mouth. These glazed buttermilk beauties are so easy to make and are better than store-bought!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
proof 20 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Servings 36
Calories 210 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup shortening, soft
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • vegetable oil

Glaze

Instructions
 

  • Add eggs to a large mixing bowl and beat. Then mix in the sugar and shortening. Stir in the buttermilk and add all of the dry ingredients.
  • Once the dough is mixed divide it in half. Flour the counter and turn the dough balls onto the surface. Lightly flour the dough before rolling them out to ⅓ inch thick.
  • Once the dough had been rolled allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime, pour oil into a high sided skillet. Heat it to 370-380°F.
  • Cut donuts (and holes) out using a donut cutter.
  • Once the oil is hot, fry one donut to test. Adjust the oil temperature accordingly.
  • Use a wide spatula to place the donuts in the oil. Place as many as can easily be turned, usually about 3 – 4. Turn donuts as they rise to the surface. Fry for about 3 minutes until golden all over. Use a long fork to lift out. Be careful they don't get poked or smashed.
  • Drain on wire rack and cool on paper towel.
  • Make glaze by whisking together melted butter, powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 4-6 tablespoons half and half until smooth. (Glaze should be runny and about the consistency of honey).

Video

Notes

*The amount of spice added can vary according to taste. You can even use 2 tsp vanilla instead of nutmeg and cinnamon.
*To make sweet milk donuts use regular milk instead of buttermilk and use 4 tsp baking powder and omit the baking soda. 

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    My morning just got better! Definitely make these when others are home otherwise you might end up eating them all by yourself, haha! Too good to resist.

  2. 5 stars
    There is nothing better than homemade donuts! I love this recipe! It makes the softest donuts & the icing is perfectly smooth & creamy!

    1. So sorry, I will need to fix that. I have a donut cutter, so once it is rolled out, I will cut the donuts out & then let sit for 20 min. Hopefully, that makes sense.

  3. You have missed a step the step on how you turn the half dough into the donuts? You divided into 2 then what? You roll it tthe whole dough ouece into a 3/4 inch circle?

    1. I have not tried making these chocolate yet, so I don’t know the measurement. I would have to play around with it. I would start with maybe 1/3 cup at a time, until it was right.

  4. After making the dough, can it be refrigerated over night and used the next day? I was thinking it would just need to be brought to room temp, tcut and sit for 20?

  5. Roll to 1/3″ thick? Sounds very very thin, most recipes are rolled 1/2″ or more thick. Please confirm that is the correct thickness.

    1. I’m so sorry about that. I will look into seeing what I can do to make sure the pop-ups don’t block the content of the website. Thanks so much for letting me know!

    2. If you are viewing through Pinterest that may be the problem. Click on the options to “view in browser” to go to the Internet. I can’t view anything in Pinterest anymore. It’s awful.

    1. The recipe does yield more of a “cake-like” donut than a traditional glazed donut. But perhaps the dough needed to rest a bit longer to let the dough rise a bit more. We also have a donut recipe that is more of a traditional glazed donut if that interests you at all. 🙂 https://lilluna.com/homemade-donuts-recipe/