Homemade Yeast Donuts recipe and complete guide for how to make glazed yeast donuts with step by step photos and tips for perfect donuts.
Making homemade donuts might seem intimidating but with our easy to follow steps, anyone can make our delicious yeast donut recipe for Breakfast! Just like our Copycat Krispy Kreme Glazed Donuts, these addicting yeast donuts are fried and covered in sweet vanilla glaze.
Table of contents
Sabrina’s Yeast Donuts Recipe
While they do take a little work and time, these yeast-raised donuts with a sweet vanilla glaze are worth the effort. The dough needs an hour to rise properly so make sure to set aside that plenty of time when you plan to make these donuts. You’ll also want to run through this guide to make sure you have the basics covered like fresh active yeast on hand, your deep frying station ready, and a place to let the runny glaze set up. So let’s gather those ingredients and get ready to make some fresh, warm donuts that will rival any donut shop!
- Yeast Mixture: For this recipe you’ll use 2 packages of dry active yeast (not instant) so the dough rises a bit quicker and you get more yeast flavor. The temperature of the water is key, it needs to be warm to the touch but not hot. Finally, a little sugar helps feed the yeast so it activates fully.
- Whole Milk: The milk adds moisture to the dough and you want it warm so that it keeps the yeast active so the dough rises better. Whole milk is best for adding flavor and richness to the dough.
- Sugar: Yeast donuts aren’t meant to be very sweet because they are covered with a thick sugary glaze. You just add ¼ cup sugar to make the dough more tender but not sweeten it, similar to Cinnamon Roll dough.
- Shortening: You want to use vegetable shortening because it doesn’t return to solid as quickly as butter so the donut stays soft and tender for longer.
- Eggs: The eggs not only bind all the ingredients into a cohesive dough, but they also adds a delicious richness to the dough.
- Glaze: These delicious donuts are topped with a simple glaze made with powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. You want the glaze to be thin enough to dip the donut in easily but not so runny it won’t set or stick to the donut.
- Frying Oil: It’s best to fry donuts in vegetable oil, or even vegetable shortening, because it has a high smoke point but not a lot of flavor.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
- Making the Donuts
- Dough Hook: A dough hook attachment for a stand mixer is great because it applies even pressure and doesn’t need to take any breaks for perfectly kneaded yeast dough every time.
- Donut Cutter: A donut cutter is specially made to cut the dough into circles and remove the center at the same time. If you don’t have one, use a large 3-inch round cookie cutter then a smaller circle cutter or shot glass to cut out the donut hole.
- Frying Station
- Dutch Oven: You need a large heavy bottomed pot, like a dutch oven, to fry your donuts because they retain heat more evenly. You also want it deep enough so your oil doesn’t spatter.
- Baking Sheet: Set up a clean baking sheet next to your frying pot to place your donuts after they are done cooking. You can put a cooling rack on the sheet to elevate them but don’t cool them on paper towels or they will get greasy.
- Glazing Station
- Fork: A regular fork or set of chopsticks works great for glazing the donuts because they can gingerly flip the donut without squashing it like tongs would plus it keeps your hands clean.
- Cooling Rack: You’ll want to put your donuts on a wire cooling rack so the glaze can drip off instead of pooling and making your donuts soggy. Put it over the baking sheet so clean up is super easy.
How to Make Yeast Donuts
Time needed: 2 hours and 50 minutes.
- Make the Donut Dough
Mix the yeast in a stand mixer with the warm water and teaspoon sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. Meanwhile, microwave the milk and shortening until the shortening is just melted. Combine the milk mixture with the yeast mixture on low speed with the paddle attachment. Still on low speed, mix 2 cups flour plus the eggs, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the remaining flour, ½ cup of flour at a time, until the sticky dough is just combined.
- Knead the Dough
Swap the paddle attachment for the dough hook attachment. Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes until it forms one large piece of dough that pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Let the Dough Rise
Grease a separate bowl with vegetable oil. Place the piece of dough in the greased bowl and turn so both sides are coated with oil. Cover with a linen kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in the covered bowl for at least 1 hour, until it’s doubled in size.
- Cut the Donut Shapes
Punch down the dough to release some air then transfer it to well-floured surface. Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough out until it’s about about ½ inch thick. Using a 3 inch donut cutter, cut the dough into circles.
- Fry the Donuts
In a large dutch oven, or heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Working in batches, fry the donuts and donut holes for 2-3 minutes until they are golden, flipping half way through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the hot donuts to a baking sheet with a wire rack on top. Cool for 10 minutes then glaze.
- Glaze the Donuts
Whisk the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. Carefully dip the top of the fried donut into the glaze. Use a fork to flip the donut, coating both sides, then use the fork to transfer donut back to the cooling rack so the excess glaze drips off. Allow the glaze to cool and set for 20 minutes.
Can Yeast Donuts be made ahead of time?
Yes! You can prepare the dough the night before and let it rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, simply shape the doughnuts and fry them as usual.
Yeast Donuts Recipe Tips & Tricks
Don’t Use Paper Towels
Letting your fried donuts drain on paper towels will make them greasy and soggy! Instead use a short wire rack on a baking sheet so the oil drips off and doesn’t pool around the hot donut.
Keep an Eye on Temperatures
Temperatures play an important role with making deep fried Yeast Donuts.
- First you don’t want your water hot or it will kill the yeast from the start. When you melt the shortening with the milk, don’t let it get too hot, it should be about the same temp of the water, or again it will kill off the yeast.
- If your room temperature is too hot or cold, it could affect the rising time for your dough. If it’s cold in your kitchen, you can proof the dough in a barely warm oven.
- Finally, you want to keep the temperature of the oil around 375 degrees. Do this by frying in batches so your oil doesn’t cool. If your donuts are taking too long to cook, remove them and let the oil get back to the proper temp.
How to Store Yeast Donuts
Store: Donuts are always best when they are freshly made but you can keep these donuts at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Freeze: Technically these donuts can be frozen but it’s not recommended. They won’t have the same texture when they are thawed.
FAQ for Yeast Donuts
Yes and no. The actual donut itself is more rich than it is sweet, similar to brioche bread or cinnamon rolls, but it’s the glaze that makes the donut sweet. Having a rich yeast bread flavor helps balance the sweetness of the glaze.
Donuts are done cooking when they are puffed up and golden brown on both sides and floating just at the top of the oil.
- 2 packets instant yeast , (0.25 ounces)
- 1/3 cup warm water , 100-110 degrees
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 5 cups flour , spoon and level this
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- vegetable oil , for frying
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Add yeast, water and sugar to a stand mixer bowl, stir well and let sit for five minutes.
- Add milk and vegetable shortening to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 30-45 seconds on 50% power, until shortening has just melted.
- Add the milk mixture to your stand mixer and mix on the lowest speed setting.
- Add in 2 cups of flour, eggs, sugar and salt and combine on low speed.
- Add in the remaining flour ½ cup at a time until just combined.
- Change to a dough hook, then knead for 6-8 minutes until it pulls away from the bowl.
- Remove the dough and add to a large greased bowl, then turn to coat so both sides of dough are greased.
- Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 1 hour.
- Punch down dough and remove onto a floured surface.
- Roll dough roughly just under 1/2″ thick.
- Cut out donuts with a 3″ donut cutter.
- Heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 375 degrees.
- Without crowding the pot, fry donuts and donut holes in batches.
- Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on both sides.
- Remove with slotted spatula onto a baking sheet.
- Note: Fry the remaining edges and enjoy as a treat for the cook!
- Let donuts cool for 10 minutes before glazing them.
- Mix powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Dip the top of the donuts in upside down, turn them over with a fork to coat both sides then lift with the fork in the center of the donut and let excess amounts drip off.
- Let harden on a cooling rack on your baking sheet for 20 minutes before serving.