If you’re looking for a sweet and simple way to satisfy your donut cravings from the comfort of your own kitchen, the good news is you don't have to go nuts to make donuts. Homemade donut holes made with cake batter are perfect for beginners because they’re easy to shape, require zero experience with deep frying, and there’s no messing around with finicky yeast. The result is warm and crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and delightfully dangerous to any donut lover.

Yeast vs. cake donuts

Donuts are typically divided into two categories: yeast donuts and cake donuts. Yeast donuts also called raised donuts, are made from a dough that rises with yeast, surprisingly enough. Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme are the yeast variety.

Cake donuts, on the other hand, are made from a sweetened dough that rises with baking powder. While yeast donuts have that classic donut shop flavor, they are time-consuming to make, and the yeast doesn’t always cooperate. Cake donuts, on the other hand, are the fool-proof option for beginner donut bakers.

Eating delicious donuts stock_colors / Getty Images


Tools to have on hand

To make the perfect homemade cake donut holes, you will need:

  • A heavy bottomed pan, such as a deep cast iron pan or dutch oven.
  • A wooden spoon.
  • A cookie scoop to shape the dough into balls and drop them into the oil.
  • A wire skimmer to remove the donut holes from the hot oil.
  • A cooling rack to cool the freshly fried donuts and prevent soggy bottoms.
  • Optional: a piping tip with a piping bag or ziplock bag, if you want to make filled donuts.

Frying donuts kanicon / Getty Images



  • 2 cups of unbleached, all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1½ tablespoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg, optional
  • One large egg
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • ¼ cup of melted butter
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Oil for frying, such as canola, vegetable, or peanut

Donut holes FotoDuets / Getty Images


Making dough

  • Line a large baking sheet with several layers of paper towels, then set your wire cooling rack on top of them.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and optional nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and vanilla.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Add melted butter to the mixture and stir until it forms a thick batter.

Making donuts at home kajakiki / Getty Images


Don’t fear the fryer

It’s actually quite simple to figure out whether or not oil is at the ideal temperature for deep frying, 350 degrees F, even without a thermometer.

  • Dip the handle of your wooden spoon in the oil. If the oil bubbles steadily around the spoon, it’s the right temperature. If it starts bubbling wildly, it’s too hot, and barely any bubbles mean it’s not hot enough.
  • You can also test it with a one inch square of bread. If the bread is browned after 60 seconds, the oil is at the perfect temperature.
  • A single popcorn kernel dropped into the oil will pop once the oil is hot enough.

Deep frying at home elenaleonova / Getty Images


Fry away

  • Pour oil into your heavy bottomed pan until it’s about 2 inches deep.
  • Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches a steady temperature of 350 degrees.
  • Once the oil has reached the proper temperature, use your cookie scoop to carefully drop balls of batter into the hot oil, making sure you avoid splashing.
  • Add about eight balls of batter to the oil at once, and fry about two minutes per side. The donuts tend to flip themselves in the oil.
  • Remove your freshly fried donut holes to the cooking rack which you’ve prepared.

This recipe makes about 24 generously sized donut holes.

Frying donuts 4FR / Getty Images


Fry or fry not?

Frying your donut holes is optional. If you want to bake your donut holes instead, fill the cups of a mini muffin pan ⅔ full of batter and bake at 375 degrees F for about 10 to 12 minutes. A word of warning: once you take the frying out of the equation, you’re basically making cupcakes, not donut holes!

Baking donut holes inga / Getty Images


How to make cinnamon sugar donut holes

If you want to take your homemade donut holes to the next level, pour a cup of granulated sugar into a shallow dish or bowl and add cinnamon to taste. Drop your hot donut holes directly into the cinnamon sugar mixture immediately after frying, and toss them to coat, before transferring them to the rack for cooling.

donuts in sugar ALLEKO / Getty Images


How to make chocolate dipped donut holes

If you want to send your donut holes to chocolate heaven, first allow them to cool a bit and then dip them into warm chocolate sauce. For a fancier effect, you can drizzle the cooled donut holes with the chocolate sauce instead. Chocolate sauce recipe:½ cup of semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped

¼ cup of heavy cream

Add chopped chocolate to a mixing bowl, then heat the heavy cream in a saucepan until it’s simmering. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in the mixing bowl and let it sit for five minutes. Once the chocolate is completely melted, whisk until the sauce is glossy and smooth.

chocolate covered donuts kajakiki / Getty Images


How to make donut holes with raspberry filling

You have to let your donut holes cool completely before adding any filling, but the wait will be worth it! Prepare your piping bag with cooled raspberry filling, and using the piping tip, carefully poke a hole into the center of the donut and pipe the sauce into the hole. Raspberry filling recipe:8 ounces of raspberry jam

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Heat raspberry jam in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the jam reaches a saucy consistency. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the vanilla extract. Allow the raspberry sauce to cool for 10 minutes before piping.

jam donut holes NoirChocolate / Getty Images


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