The Best Homemade Glazed Donuts

I have tried a million homemade donut recipes, so believe me when I say: these really are the best homemade glazed donuts on the planet. They are so delicious! TONS of step-by-step pictures and tips and tricks for foolproof homemade donuts!

stacked homemade glazed donuts with one broken in half

As promised, finally (!!), here is the recipe you’ve been waiting for. The best homemade glazed donuts on the planet. And that is literally one thousand percent no exaggeration.

I posted about these babies on my Instagram stories a couple of weeks ago when my daughter and I made them, and I couldn’t believe how many of you went crazy. Some of you even demanded the recipe be posted within the hour. 

Listen, I can’t blame you. I really can’t.

It took me a few weeks longer than an hour to get this recipe posted, but I promise it is worth the wait. I’ve made so many homemade donut recipes in the past, and after making this recipe dozens of times, my family and I agree: it is definitely the best homemade donut recipe ever.

glazed donut holes in white pan

What makes these homemade donuts better than the other 1,583 recipes out there? 

They are light and fluffy and totally melt-in-your-mouth delicious. 

I’ve made a lot of homemade donut recipes that are fluffy and thick, but they have a chewy, bready quality that is more reminiscent of a bagel than a donut. Others have been bland and dense…or just mediocre. And let me tell you, no one wants to go to all the work of homemade donuts just for a mediocre result!

These donuts are buttery soft with an ethereal squishy factor (yes, that’s a thing) that makes them next-level amazing. 

Granted, homemade donuts aren’t necessarily an every day type of recipe, but once you have this tried-and-true recipe in your back pocket, there’s a certain peace that will descend on your life just knowing it’s there when you need it. 

My handsome taste testers agree. Homemade donuts are where it’s at. 

two teenage boys testing the best homemade glazed donuts recipe

Because I want to ensure 100% complete foolproof success, I’m including tons of tips and tricks in this post to make these homemade donuts easy and absolutely perfect. 

You will feel like a rock star, I promise. 

Ok, let’s get started. 

Making Homemade Donut Dough

I highly recommend an electric stand mixer for this homemade donut dough. I don’t think the same result can be achieved through hand mixing, unfortunately. 

I’m using a Bosch mixer {aff. link} that has a center drive shaft. I haven’t made the dough in my Kitchen Aid (because I use my Bosch for almost all things dough-related), but it should convert just fine to another type of stand mixer. 

Into the mixer, add the flour, sugar, yeast, eggs and milk. 

A couple of notes:

  • it’s important to use cold or room temp milk (not warm milk) – when you add the butter in a later step, the colder dough allows a rustic “laminating” effect  that gives an amazing texture to the donuts
  • I use instant yeast in the recipe – see the notes below the recipe to use active dry yeast

mixing homemade donut dough in bosch mixer

The dough will come together in kind of a shaggy mess. After it comes together, add the salt. 

Continue mixing until the dough smooths out a bit. It will be on the thicker, stodgier side of things. That’s ok! 

mixing homemade donut dough in bosch mixer

Add the butter a piece at a time

With the mixer running, add the softened butter a piece at a time. Almost instantly, you’ll notice the dough softening and stretching out as it mixes. 

Once all the butter is added, the dough will be very soft. Very, very soft. You might be worried it’s too soft. It’s not, I promise.

Continue mixing/kneading on medium low or medium speed for 10-12 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed. As the dough mixes, it will start to come together into a more solid (but still soft) mass of dough. 

adding butter pieces to homemade donut dough in bosch mixer

It’s ok if the dough clings to the middle of the mixer (in a Bosch). In a Kitchen Aid, it might be sticking to the bottom and sides of the bowl. 

You’ll know the dough is done mixing if, when you stop the mixer, you can grab a handful of dough and pull it up into a silky, stretchy ribbon. When you let it go, there shouldn’t be a whole lot of residue on your fingers. 

Even though the dough may not have fully cleared the sides or middle of the bowl, you’ll know it is done mixing if it is very smooth and very soft, but not overly sticky. 

lifting dough out of bosch for the best homemade glazed donuts recipe

When to add more flour

Resist the urge, if at all possible, to add more flour to the dough. 

I know I’m being a broken record right now, but even if the dough hasn’t fully cleared the sides, bottom or middle of the bowl, if it has kneaded for 10-12 minutes and doesn’t leave a lot of residue on your fingers, it’s good to go! As it rests in the refrigerator, it sturdies up a whole lot more. 

Only add more flour (1/4 cup or so) if the dough is extremely wet and coats your hands and fingers in a sticky mess. 

lifting and stretching homemade donut dough

Homemade donut dough is amazing

I can’t get over the texture of this dough.

It is absolutely luscious. And it’s a total dream to work with because it is so soft and smooth. 

Pile the dough into a lightly greased container, cover, and put it in the refrigerator for at least 8-12 hours (and up to 24 hours). 

The cold rise is important. I’ve tried rising and frying the donuts same day, and I do not recommend. The texture of the donuts is worlds better when allowed to rest overnight in the refrigerator. 

Let’s all agree to not seek the path of least resistance. We can persevere together through the longer wait knowing that the best donuts in the world come to those who are patient. 

letting homemade donut dough rise in 4 quart plastic bucket with red lid

The dough will rise noticeably in the refrigerator. 

The best part? The homemade donut dough rolls out like a dream straight from the refrigerator. 

Roll it out to about 1/4-inch thick or maybe just slightly thicker. It’s not rocket science. 

rolling out chilled dough for the best homemade glazed donuts recipe

The best tools for cutting out donuts

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to donut cutters. My personal preference is to use a set of varying-sized round cutters {aff. link} so that the excess dough can be cut into donut holes. 

The donut cutters (like the one pictured below on the far left) with the donut hole center attached {aff. link} are great, but a) they’re a bit larger than I like my donuts to be overall and b) the donut hole center doesn’t detach which makes cutting extra donut holes a little tricky.

My recommendation is to use a 3-inch round donut cutter and a separate 3/4- or 1-inch donut hole center. 

different styles of donut cutters for the best homemade glazed donuts recipe

Cut the donuts as close together as you can to maximize the donut dough. 

Rerolled donut dough just isn’t the same (I’ll show and tell you why in a second). 

cutting out homemade donuts with donut cutter

When all of the larger donuts have been cut, I like to go through the leftover dough and cut as many donut holes as I can get out of the remaining dough. 

Our family is strictly divided between those that prefer large and in charge donuts vs those that go for the donut holes all day long. 

Either way, I never have enough donut holes. #teenagers So I try to get as many as I can out of the dough. They are cute and totally irresistible. 

cutting out more donut holes in homemade donut dough

Should you reroll donut dough?

Once you can’t possibly cut any more donuts or donut holes out of the dough, you have a couple choices:

  • toss the remaining dough (this makes me sad)
  • cut the dough into wrangly little rustic strips and fry those babies up
  • gather the dough into a mass of scraps and reroll 

rerolling scraps of homemade donut dough

If you decide to reroll the dough, I have two main recommendations for you. 

FIRST, once the dough has been gathered together, let it rest for 15-20 minutes before rerolling. This relaxes the gluten in the dough, which means the dough will be less likely to spring back as you roll it out. And if you’ve had that happen, you know how irritating it is. 

SECOND, lower your expectations for donuts that are produced from a rerolled batch of dough. They will never be quite as awesome as the ones rolled from the first go-round.

You can see from the picture below that no matter how lovingly you reroll the dough, the donuts are bumpier, lumpier and not quite as pretty. 

homemade donuts rerolled from scraps

Make Apple Fritters from the Donut Scraps

UPDATE: so many of you let me know here and on social media that the only way to go with donut scraps (say no to rerolling!) is to make apple fritters out of them. 

I had to try! Especially after my cousin-in-law Tami reported back with her exact process. They turned out AMAZING! Several of my kids said they liked them even better than the actual donuts. 

homemade apple fritters with donut scraps

Here’s my apple fritter process:

  • cut out all the regular donuts like normal
  • don’t cut out any extra donut holes from the scraps
  • chop all the scraps into small little nubbins with bench scraper, probably 1/2-inch pieces or a little smaller
  • finely chop about 2 large apples (right around 2 cups chopped apples) and toss with a squeeze of lemon juice, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • toss all the dough pieces and apples together in a bowl
  • scoop out small handfuls of dough and apples (it’s going to seem weird, like it will never stick together) and gently form it into balls, set them on a greased baking sheet, and press gently to flatten into a thick disc-shape
  • let the fritters rise and puff a bit
  • fry the fritters last (since little bits of apples invariably fall out into the oil – spoiler alert: those little bits are super tasty) 
  • glaze with powdered sugar on one side after they cool

Ok, back to the regular (delicious) donuts!

Let all the cut out donuts and donuts hole rest and rise on greased parchment-lined baking sheets until noticeably puffy. 

I’m not sure if you need to go for a full out double, but they should look pretty darn fat and happy. 

donuts rising on parchment lined baking sheets

How to cook homemade donuts

Heat about 2-3 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy pot on the stove (or in an electric deep fryer according to manufacturer directions) until the oil reaches between 350 and 360 degrees F. 

*The electric deep fryer I have is a Hamilton Beach model that’s no longer available, but below in the recipe card, I’ve linked to a similar model.

The more slowly the oil heats up, the better so the donuts will cook evenly without burning.

The donuts will be very soft after rising. Gently pick them up off the baking sheets so they don’t stretch too much, and lower them carefully but quickly into the hot oil. 

Cook for about 60-90 seconds per side until golden. I use kitchen tongs for flipping and removing.

frying homemade donuts

Transfer the donuts to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and let them cool until just warm before glazing. 

If they are piping hot, all that essential and delicious glaze will slide right off. 

Sidenote: you can see that my donuts have a tiny little line-ridge at the top. It happens every single time I make them, and I think it’s related to the cooking spray used on the pans as the donuts rise. Also, the bottoms of my donuts are always slightly more bumpy and rustic looking than the tops. Again, I think it’s related to possibly the cooking spray and how the donuts rise. And I don’t even bother stressing about it. If the donuts are puffy and fluffy and soft and luscious, I don’t fuss about the looks at all. 

homemade glazed donuts on paper towel lined baking sheetdipping fried donuts in glaze

The same goes for the donut holes. Let them rise until puffy and pretty much doubled in size. 

donut holes rising on parchment lined baking sheet

And then carefully drop the donut holes in the hot oil.

Can I vent for a sec about donut holes?

I’m going to be very honest here. Cooking donut holes is the bane of my existence.

Yes, they’re cute. Yes, they’re highly sought after. Yes, you can get glares from angsty teenagers for talking bad about them (the donut holes, not the teenagers). 

But they’re a pain to fry. Some of them turn over just fine, while others just bob, golden side down in the hot oil refusing to bathe their white bellies in the blistering bubbles. 

I’ve tried every trick in the book to get donut holes to cook evenly, and I’ve given up. The truth is, no one in my family cares that some of them have lily white undersides. They’re still delicious. 

So basically, don’t stress. I’ve learned that donut holes just have a mind of their own, and we’re NOT going to let their stubborn tendencies ruin our day. 

frying donut holes

Glazing donut holes

When it comes to glazing donut holes, forget the one-by-one pampered treatment. 

I toss them all in the bowl with the glaze until evenly covered and then transfer them to a wire rack. 

stacked homemade glazed donuts on wire rack

So there you have it! 

Homemade donuts. And not just any homemade donuts. The BEST homemade glazed donuts on the planet. 

Other than some day possibly posting a spudnut (potato donut) recipe like the ones my mom made all the time growing up, I can’t see myself ever relying on another homemade donut recipe. 

These are my family’s favorite donuts.

They beg for them (my daughter just had a birthday and wanted a cake made out of stacked homemade donuts instead of a birthday cake), and my 14-year old has started asking for a portion of the dough so he can perfect The Perfect Jelly Donut. He’s close. My floor is also very sticky.

piping raspberry jam into homemade donuts

Let me know any questions you might have! 

I’m happy to troubleshoot issues or comments or concerns (except for the ones that tell me donuts aren’t healthy – noted!). 🙂

Feel free to experiment with different glazes and frostings. Chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles, I’m looking at you!

Most of all, have fun with the homemade donut making process.

If your donuts don’t come out looking picture perfect, that means you are doing just fine! Perfection is highly annoying anyway. And it just means you have a reason to make them again…and again…and again! 

homemade glazed donuts in white pan

One Year Ago: Amazing Instant Pot Creamy “Baked” Ziti 
Two Years Ago: Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins
Three Years Ago: Instant Pot Indian Vegetable Rice
Four Years Ago: Amazing Cinnamon Chip Scones {Best Basic Scone Recipe}
Five Years Ago: Amazing Key Lime Cheesecake 
Six Years Ago: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Seven Years Ago: Creamy Tuscan Pasta Sauce {Quick 20-Minute Dinner} 
Eight Years Ago: Crab and Goat Cheese Ravioli 

The Best Homemade Glazed Donuts

Yield: 20 donuts + 50 donut holes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 14 hours
Total Time: 16 hours
the best homemade glazed donuts with one broken in half

Ingredients

Donuts:

  • 7 cups (35 ounces) all-purpose flour (see updated note!)
  • 3/4 cup (5.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (see note for active dry yeast)
  • 2 cups cold milk (I use 2%)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces and softened to room temp (I use salted)
  • 2 to 3 quarts vegetable oil, for frying

Glaze:

  • 6 cups (24 ounces) powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup hot water (see note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the flour (see note!), sugar, yeast, milk, eggs and mix until combined. The dough will look a little shaggy, that's ok. Add the salt and continue mixing until well combined and the texture looks fairly smooth, 2-3 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  2. With the mixer running on medium low, add the butter a piece at a time until all the butter has been added and is incorporated into the dough. The dough will have softened considerably and may be sticking to the middle or sides of the bowl. Scrape down the middle and sides as needed.
  3. Knead the dough on medium speed for 10-12 minutes. Start the kneading time after the last of the butter has been added. The dough will be very sticky but as it kneads, it should come together better. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed.
  4. You'll know the dough is done mixing if you can pull up a handful and it stretches easily. It will be very soft. And it may even be sticking to the sides or middle a bit (depending on the mixer you have), but it shouldn't leave very much residue on your fingers when you pull a handful up. If it is wet and sticky, add 1/4 cup more flour and mix for a few more minutes (resist the urge to add this flour if at all possible unless your dough is a sticky mess).
  5. Transfer the dough to a greased container. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. The dough should double in the refrigerator. UPDATE: a lot of you have reported back that your dough didn't rise much in the refrigerator overnight, but the donuts still turned out amazing - so if your dough doesn't rise, don't give up. Also, place your container of dough on a middle rack where it might not be as cold.
  6. Immediately out of the refrigerator, roll the chilled dough on a lightly greased countertop to about 1/4-inch thick (or slightly thicker). It should be about a 12X16-inch rectangle. Line half sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment.
  7. Cut the donuts and donut holes with a 3-inch donut cutter (with a 1-inch center) and place them on the prepared pans. Cut any excess dough into donut holes. Reroll scraps, if desired (donuts will be bumpier and not quite as tender - it helps to let the combined rerolled scraps rest for 15-20 minutes before rerolling to relax the gluten so the dough doesn't spring back while rolling).
  8. Let the donuts rise, uncovered, until noticeably puffy. I warm my oven to 140 degrees. Turn it off and place the sheet pans of donuts inside to rise for 20 minutes or so. On the counter, it may take 1-2 hours for the donuts to rise.
  9. Place a double layer of paper towels on a half sheet pan.
  10. Heat oil in a heavy pot to at least 2-inches deep or in an electric deep fryer following the manufacturers directions to 350 degrees F (or 365 degrees for darker donuts).
  11. Gently pick up the puffy donuts so they don't stretch and quickly place them in the hot oil (the bottoms of the risen donuts will be very soft from rising on the greased parchment; the donuts fry best with less air bubbles if they are placed in the oil SOFT SIDE UP). Don't overcrowd the pot or the oil temperature will fall too quickly.
  12. Cook the donuts until golden brown on the bottom, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Flip with tongs and continue cooking for another minute or so until golden. Lift the donuts out of the oil with the tongs, drain any excess oil, and transfer the cooked donuts to the paper towel lined baking sheet. (Donut holes should cook in about half the time)
  13. Let the oil come back to temperature before adding subsequent batches of donuts or donut holes.
  14. Prepare the glaze by whisking all the ingredients together until smooth. See the note below for thinning out the glaze. Place a wire cooling rack over a half sheet pan.
  15. Let the donuts cool until just warm to the touch before dipping fully in the glaze (if the donuts are too warm, the glaze will drip almost completely off). Place the glazed donuts on the wire rack so excess glaze can drip on the sheet pan below.
  16. For donut holes, I toss a couple dozen of them in the glaze at the same time, roll them around with my hands until evenly coated, and then transfer them to the wire rack.
  17. Once the glaze is set on the donuts, they can be transferred to a plate or other serving dish. The donuts are best served fresh but can be reheated the next day - a quick 12-15 second zap in the microwave has them tasting *mostly* fresh.

Notes

Flour: many, many people have had amazing success with this recipe as-is, but it seems as though there have been issues with some people's dough in Kitchen Aid mixers turning out super dense. I'm honestly not sure why (could be due to so many different factors), but because I want everyone to have great success, my recommendations are a) measure the flour with a light hand; if you don't have a kitchen scale, fluff the flour very well, scoop in the cup and level with a knife - don't pack the flour into the measuring cup and b) if using a Kitchen Aid mixer, start with only 5 cups of flour. Add additional flour only if the dough is messy and sticky.

Small Batch Donuts: this recipe can easily be halved for a smaller batch. Rising and cooking times stay the same.

Whole Wheat: I have not tried this recipe with whole wheat flour or bread flour. The donuts will be lighter and fluffier with all-purpose flour.

Yeast: I have only ever used instant yeast in this recipe. It *should* convert ok to active dry yeast. My suggestion: proof 2 to 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast in 1/4 cup warm water with a pinch of sugar until it is foamy and bubbling, 3-5 minutes. Add to the recipe with the milk (cut the amount of milk down by 1/4 cup).

Glaze: you can easily add more powdered sugar if you want the glaze thicker.

Rising: this dough really relies on the slow rise in the refrigerator - when I tried letting the donuts rise at room temp and baking them right away, they were dense and chewy.

Yield: the yield stated in this recipe is just approximate. You'll get more or less depending on the size of the cutter(s) you use, if you reroll scraps and cut out more donuts, etc.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Follow @melskitchencafe on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #melskitchencafe. I love seeing all the goodness you are whipping up in your kitchens!

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspiration from many sources such as The Bread Ahead Cookbook – aff. link – America’s Test Kitchen, and many recipes found online)

Disclaimer: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.