Light and Fluffy Glazed Sourdough Donut Recipe

4.75 from 12 votes

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Light and fluffy glazed sourdough donuts are the BEST morning treat (or any-time-of-day treat!) and they’re so fun to make!

I love making homemade donuts… there’s something extra-special about it and so much fun for the whole family, and not to mention, delicious!

glazed donuts resting a pan to serve
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Light and Fluffy Glazed Sourdough Donut Recipe

Have you ever thought about making your own donuts!? Ok, it is so much fun. It’s one of my favorite “fancy” weekend treats to make for the whole family, and this version is perfect if you’re nurturing a sourdough starter! If you don’t have a starter but want one, here’s a post all about how to get started and make your own sourdough starter! And if you don’t have or want a starter, I have another homemade glazed donut recipe that’s just as simple as this one.

Donuts just add happiness to everything. And while you might think they’re tough to make, they really are straightforward! These ones do take some time, though, because you need to wait for the dough to rise twice. Make sure you account for that when you make them… If you get up early on a weekend morning, you’ll have them in time for a late brunch! Perfection! They are so soft, light, and fluffy with the most heavenly glaze that you’ll love and want to make again and again!

galzed donuts on a wire rack

Sourdough Glazed Donut Ingredients:

You need a handful of key ingredients to make sourdough donuts, namely: an active sourdough starter! Here’s what else you need:

Milk: Milk adds a nice creaminess to the donut dough.

Sugar: Sugar gives the donuts a kick of sweetness.

Butter: Butter helps to make the donut flavor rich and also helps the dough to be less sticky.

Sourdough starter: This is essential for sourdough donuts! Make sure yours is active and bubbly.

Salt: Salt helps to balance and bring out the flavors.

Eggs: Eggs contribute to helping the donuts puff up and rise.

Flour: Flour is the essential binder for the dough.

Vegetable or canola oil: You’ll fry the donuts in a few quarts of hot oil.

Glaze ingredients: The glaze is simply made of butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk!

steps to make sourdough donuts at home

How to Make Glazed Sourdough Donuts:

Sourdough donuts take some time, but they’re so easy and fun to make, and definitely worth the time!

  1. Heat the milk, sugar, and butter in a microwave-safe container, just until the milk is warm and the butter is melted.
  2. Add the milk mixture, the sourdough starter, salt, 2 eggs, and 2 cups of flour to the bowl of your stand mixer.
  3. Mix with the dough hook on low speed; mix on medium-low speed to knead very well for 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Let dough rest for 10 minutes in the bowl.
  5. Add about 1/3 cup flour to the mixture; let the machine knead the mixture for another 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Turn the very soft dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand until the dough is no longer sticky.
  7. Lightly grease the mixing bowl; return the dough to the bowl.
  8. Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel; let it rise for 3 to 6 hours at room temperature.
  9. Gently remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface.
  10. Roll dough so that it’s ½-inch thick.
  11. Cut out your donuts and donut holes.
  12. Place the donuts on a baking sheet that is sprayed with cooking spray.
  13. Re-roll any remaining dough; repeat until you’ve cut all of the dough into donuts.
  14. Cover the baking sheets with damp kitchen towels; let them rest in a warm spot for 1 to 3 hours.
  15. Preheat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium to medium-high heat.
  16. Make your glaze by melting the butter in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Add the powdered sugar and stir to form a thick paste. Thin out the paste with milk, one tablespoon at a time.
  17. Add the donuts to the hot oil; fry until golden-brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side.
  18. Use a slotted spoon to remove the donuts from the hot oil; place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  19. Dip the hot donuts in the glaze, and enjoy right away.
donut dough after mixing and after rising in metal bowl

Tips for The Best Sourdough Donuts:

I love how these sourdough donuts turn out! Keep these tips in mind when you give them a try:

  • Don’t over-heat the milk and butter: If they’re too hot, it’ll kill the yeast in the sourdough starter, and the donuts won’t rise. It should just be warm to the touch but not hot.
  • Glaze both sides of the donuts: This is personal preference, but I think these donuts are best if you dip both sides in the glaze to cover the whole thing!
  • Eat fresh: There’s nothing better than hot, fresh donuts. They just taste better. Eat them fresh!

How to Store Sourdough Donuts:

These really don’t store well and taste way better fresh. However, if you don’t polish off your batch, I recommend storing them in a parchment-lined, airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. I wouldn’t recommend reheating them unless it’s a super quick pop in the microwave. Anything longer will melt off the glaze!

fried hot sourdough donut resting on a paper towel after being cooked
glazed donuts resting in a speckled serving dish

Try these amazing sourdough recipes:

glazed donuts resting a pan to serve
4.75 from 12 votes

Light and Fluffy Glazed Sourdough Donut Recipe

Light and fluffy glazed sourdough donuts are the BEST morning treat (or any-time-of-day treat!) and they’re so fun to make!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 18 donuts

Ingredients 

For the Dough:

  • 1/4 cup milk, (whole or 2%)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into 4 pieces(
  • 2/3 cup active bubbly sourdough starter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/3 to 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

To Fry:

  • 3 quarts vegetable or canola oil

For the Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
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Instructions 

  • Heat the milk, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan or microwave-safe container, just until the milk is warm and the butter is melted. If it gets overly hot, let it cool before using. You’ll want it to be only warm to the touch when adding it to your sourdough starter. If it’s too hot, it’ll kill your natural yeast, and your donuts won’t rise.
  • Add the milk mixture, the sourdough starter, salt, 2 eggs, and 2 cups of flour to the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • Mix with the dough hook on low speed until the mixture forms a very wet dough, and then mix on medium-low speed to knead very well for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Let the dough rest for 10 minutes in the bowl with the mixer turned off.
  • After 10 minutes have passed, add a little more flour to the mixture, about 1/3 cup, and let the machine knead the mixture for another 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Turn the very soft dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead by hand until the dough is no longer sticky, but is still very tender, adding a little flour, as needed, as you knead. You may add up to another 1/3 cup of flour. Form the dough into a smooth ball.
  • Lightly grease the mixing bowl, and return the dough to the bowl.
  • Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel, and let it rise for 3 to 6 hours at room temperature.
  • Gently remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface.
  • Roll dough so that it’s ¾- to ½-inch thick, adding a bit of flour as needed to prevent it from sticking.
  • Using a donut cutter or 3-inch and a ¾-inch circle cutters, cut out your donuts and donut holes.
  • Place the cut-out donuts on a baking sheet that is sprayed with cooking spray (you’ll need 2 baking sheets), so that they are at least 1 inch apart.
  • Re-roll any remaining dough, and repeat until you’ve cut all of the dough into donuts.
  • Cover the baking sheets with damp kitchen towels, and let them rest in a warm spot for 1 to 3 hours; they should be slightly puffy when ready.
  • Preheat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat.
  • While the oil is heating up, make your glaze by melting the butter in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and stir to combine. Add the powdered sugar and stir to form a thick paste. Thin out the paste with milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is about as thick as school glue. It’s ok if it’s a little on the thick side; the hot donuts will melt it, and it will coat them well.
  • To fry the donuts, when the oil reaches 350 to 375 degrees F. (use a thermometer), carefully add the donuts to the hot oil, and fry until golden-brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. The donut holes will only take about 30 seconds per side.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the donuts from the hot oil, and place them on a paper towel-lined baking sheet to remove extra grease.
  • Let them cool slightly. Dip the hot donuts in the glaze (I like to flip on both sides so it’s fully covered), and enjoy right away.

Notes

  • You can set a wire baking rack inside of a rimmed cookie sheet, and then place the glazed donuts on top of the wire rack to cool. The baking sheet will catch the drips.
  • These donuts don’t store great. They are best eaten fresh.
  • These donuts won’t work if you try to bake them or air-fry them, they need that instant burst of heat to make them puff up, and those two cooking options don’t provide that. You’ll end up with flat and gummy donuts.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 of 18 donuts, Calories: 203kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 179mg, Potassium: 39mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 16g, Vitamin A: 192IU, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Sourdough donuts are such a fun recipe that yields the lightest, fluffiest, most melt-in-your-mouth donuts that you and your family will adore!

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4.75 from 12 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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25 Comments

  1. Amanda says:

    4 stars
    These donuts are delicious and when properly proofed are super light and fluffy. But the recipe time is totally wrong. There’s no way you could finish this in 4.5 hours- one of the three proof times alone was 3-6 hours. I was hoping to make these for dessert and had to cut them up, put them in the fridge, and proof them 1 more time in the morning. That worked well.

  2. Jesse says:

    Hi Melissa
    I would really like to try these. I’m in Australia where cup sizes vary. Could you please share this in metric measurements please?

    1. Melissa says:

      The metric versions of all my sourdough recipes are in my cookbook!

  3. Mary says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely the best sourdough donuts I’ve made! I did a 5 day fridge ferment and it worked well. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Kj says:

      Mary at what stage did you put the in my fridge and then what were your steps once you pulled them out before cooking?

  4. Sheila says:

    3 stars
    So the donuts have a great texture but not a lot of tastes. Taste more like a pie crust. So when I make it again I will def add some spices of some sort. The ice also not a glaze. It is a butter cream.

    1. Melissa says:

      Yes, and the buttercream melts over the hot donut giving it a flavor! I feel like judging the donut without glaze isn’t accurate, who eats a donut without the extra stuff? It’s just a fried bread…

  5. Mary says:

    Hi, I am working on these and did everything completely correct. My donuts after over one hour are not rising, or so i can see. what do i do? is this normal? im a bit worried

    1. Melissa says:

      It’s doing to depend a lot on your starter and the temperature of your house, you can always let them rise longer. Did they come out?

  6. Alex says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely incredible donuts! Light and airy with a slight chew, and the complexity of the sourdough is such a beautiful counterpoint to the sweet glaze. The whole batch was quickly demolished by my family.

    Being vegan I used Miyoko’s vegan butter and Just Egg in place of butter and eggs, and used vanilla almond milk in place of the milk. I also ended up using my stand mixer with a dough hook to do the kneading instead of doing it by hand, and they turned out beautifully.

  7. Brittany says:

    5 stars
    These are so good! Any suggestions on preparing them the day before to fry in the morning?

    1. Melissa says:

      You can let the dough raise overnight then cut, rise, and fry in the morning.

  8. Karie says:

    Could these be baked instead of fried?

    1. Melissa says:

      I haven’t had luck with baking them but I would love to know if you try it!

  9. Liz says:

    5 stars
    So easy. Turned out great!! We fried in lard. Will make again. Used a canning lid to cut donuts.

    1. Mary says:

      planning on doing that too

  10. Megan says:

    5 stars
    Melissa, these looks delicious!! And a fun way to use sourdough. Any tips on how you can make these so they are ready to fry in the morning? Can we prep all the steps and then refrigerate overnight like cinnamon rolls? Thank you!!

    1. Kristin M says:

      I would like to know the same thing! Wanting to wake and fry! Wondering if I can roll and cut tonight then put those in the fridge overnight?

    2. Taylor says:

      Any chance you tried this and can report back?

    3. Kristin McGlone says:

      Melissa can you respond if you can refrigerate overnight and then fry in the morning? Thanks!

    4. Melissa says:

      You can the dough, but not the cut donuts, they rise too much!