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This old fashioned donut recipe 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 our Classic Homemade Donuts and Biscuit Donuts.

Old-Fashioned donuts stacked white cup of milk.

We love Old Fashioned Donuts!

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.

Why we love them:

  • Delicious. There’s nothing better than donuts made at home from scratch with just a simple glaze.
  • Perfect for dipping! They are especially yummy with a cup of Hot Cocoa or a glass of milk.
  • 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!

Ingredients

  • eggs
  •  sugar
  •  shortening
  •  buttermilk Check out our How to Make Buttermilk for buttermilk substitutes.
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • vegetable oil – or canola or peanut 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.
  • butter 
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla
  • half and half or whole milk

How to Make Old Fashioned Donuts

  1. 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.
  2. 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 using a rolling pin to roll it out to ⅓ inch thickness.
    • Once the dough has been rolled allow it to sit for 20 minutes. During this time you can heat your oil.
  3. PREP. Pour oil into a high-sided skillet. Heat it to 370-380°F.
  4. CUT. Use a donut cutter to cut out donuts and holes. Once hot, fry one donut to test. Adjust the oil temperature accordingly.

Fry the Donuts

  1. FRY. Use a wide spatula to place the donuts in the oil. (Use a metal slotted spoon for donut holes) 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 the outside is golden all over. Use a long fork to lift out. Be careful they don’t get poked or smashed.
  2. DRAIN. Drain on a wire cooling rack on top of a sheet pan to catch the oil. Then finish cooling on a paper towel.

Frying Tips

Oil temperature. 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.

To Make the Glaze

  1. Whisk together 4 tablespoons melted butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 4-6 tablespoons half-and-half until smooth and somewhat runny, about the consistency of honey.
  2. Dip the donuts into the glaze and let dry in a wire rack over a cookie sheet (for easier clean up).
Donut holes being fried in oil.

Recipe Tips

  • Donut holes. Fry them in the same manner as the regular donuts, just cut down the fry time by about half.
  • Toppings. Top with a cinnamon-sugar mixture, a sweet glaze, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, drizzled with White or Milk Chocolate Sauce, or topped with ganache. 
Glazed old fashioned donuts on baking sheet.

Storing Info

  • 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. Keep cooled buttermilk donuts in an airtight container 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 them with plastic wrap and place them all in a freezer Ziploc.
Old Fashioned donuts recipe stacked on top of each other.

For More Donut Recipes:

5 from 22 votes

Old Fashioned Donut

By: Lil’ Luna
This old fashioned donut will melt in your mouth. These glazed buttermilk beauties are so easy to make and are better than store-bought!
Servings: 36
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 3 minutes
proof: 20 minutes
Total: 33 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup shortening, soft
  • cups buttermilk
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • vegetable oil

Glaze

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4-6 tablespoons half and half

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. 

Nutrition

Calories: 210kcal, Carbohydrates: 40g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 23mg, Sodium: 155mg, Potassium: 95mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 88IU, Vitamin C: 0.02mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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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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37 Comments

    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/

    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. 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.

  2. 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?

    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.

  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?