5 Ingredients or Fewer

Simplest Sugared Doughnuts

September 17, 2018
9 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes 8 doughnuts
Author Notes

Homemade doughnuts don’t have to be hard. These are no-knead and a cinch to come together, thanks to instant yeast. They're also sourdough-tangy from buttermilk and ultra-crusty from frying in refined coconut oil. Stretch the doughnut hole as wide as possible—way wider than you’d think—to yield that perfectly imperfect shape. I like to roll these around in salted sugar because, well, it’s the easiest. But you could do powdered sugar, too, or any glaze. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

This is one of our Big Little Recipes. Read more here: Homemade Doughnuts So Simple, You'll Actually Make Them. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Simplest Sugared Doughnuts
  • Dough
  • 1 cup (245 grams) well-shaken buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil
  • 2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Frying and sugaring
  • 3 cups (654 grams) refined coconut oil, give or take as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  1. Combine the buttermilk and coconut oil in a small saucepan and set over the lowest-possible heat on the stove. You want it to get just lukewarm—if it gets too hot, the buttermilk will separate.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a bowl.
  3. When the buttermilk and coconut oil are lukewarm, pour onto the dry ingredients. Mix with a spoon or rubber spatula until a cohesive dough just forms, switching to your hands if that’s easier. But don’t overwork.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  5. When the dough is ready, dust a work surface generously with flour, then turn out the dough. Dust the top with a little more flour. Use a rolling pin to gently roll the flour to a 1/2-inch thickness.
  6. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter (or similarly sized glass) to cut out circles—you should get 5. Gently gather the scraps back together, gently roll to flatten, then cut out more circles—you should get 3. (If your numbers differ on either yield, just gently reassemble and recut the dough until you get 8 total.)
  7. Dust your hands with flour and pick up one dough circle. Stick your thumb through the center to create a hole, then use your hands to stretch out the perimeter until the hole is wider than you’d think and the circle is at least 4 inches in diameter. Repeat with the remaining dough circles.
  8. Make sure each doughnut is on a well-floured surface—otherwise they’ll stick when you try to pick them up later on. Cover them all with plastic or a very lightweight kitchen towel (you don’t want to squash the doughnuts).
  9. Let the doughnuts rise for about 45 minutes until puffy.
  10. Meanwhile, add the 1 1/2 cups sugar and pinch of salt to a shallow bowl or rimmed plate. Line another plate with paper towels. Set a cooling rack on a work surface with a piece of parchment underneath.
  11. Add the 3 cups coconut oil to a 12-inch cast-iron skillet—or enough oil to another large-sized skillet to reach 1/2-inch depth. Set over medium-high heat to reach 350° F.
  12. When the oil is hot, unveil the doughnuts. Dust the tops with more flour so they’re easier to pick up. Gingerly pick up one doughnut—taking care to not deflate—and lay into the oil. Repeat with a couple more doughnuts to fill the pan but not overcrowd it. (In a 12-inch pan, I can comfortably fit three to four.)
  13. Fry for 2 minutes until deeply golden-brown on the bottom, then use tongs to carefully flip, and fry another 2 minutes.
  14. When done, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel–lined plate to drain any excess oil. Immediately transfer to the sugar, roll around to coat, then transfer to the cooling rack.
  15. Repeat frying the remaining doughnuts.
  16. You’ll want to eat the doughnuts the second they’re out of the oil—but don’t! They’re still cooking inside. Let cool until they’re warm, not hot to the touch. Then go ahead and devour.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Picholine
  • Cyd Larkin
    Cyd Larkin
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Carey
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

6 Reviews

Carey January 13, 2019
I made these yesterday and they are truly wonderful! I just wanted to note I only had about a cup of coconut oil for frying, so mixed it with some sunflower and a splash of canola, which worked out perfectly! Mine only needed 1 minute, 20 seconds on each side for frying, so check to prevent burning. Thanks Emma!
Emma L. January 14, 2019
Hi Carey—so glad you enjoyed!
Picholine January 6, 2019
Wish I could bake them ! Any ideas? I have a donut baking pan.
Emma L. January 6, 2019
Hi! I haven't tried baking these, so can't say for sure how they'd turn out. While cake doughnut recipes can translate well from frying to baking, since these are yeast-raised, it's a bit more unpredictable—and the crispy, browned crust that you get from frying wouldn't turn out the same. If you give it a go, let me know!
Cyd L. October 10, 2018
What oil can you use to fry these other than coconut oil which is rather cost preventative? This much coconut oil would cost around $11, way too much. Also, shouldn’t the sentence be “why they do to the beach as much for a dozen glazed as they do for th3 ocean”, not 5he other way around as historically most people go for the water?
Emma L. October 10, 2018
Hi Cyd! Feel free to use peanut or vegetable oil instead. And you're right—the sentence should be flipped! Nice catch.