Pioneer Woman’s Homemade Glazed Donuts recipe makes light and fluffy donuts that are truly the best donuts I’ve ever eaten. They’re my absolute favorite! If you are new to donut making, this is the perfect donut recipe. Keep reading for an easy step-by-step tutorial with photos!
Pioneer Woman’s Glazed Donuts
Can I tell you a secret? I am in love with glazed donuts. There’s just something about the fluffy and light, yet sweet richness to them that is positively addicting, in the very best way. We don’t live near any donut shops — in fact, even the closest grocery store that carries donuts is more than a half-hour away — so I’ve had to learn to improvise.
And with this Pioneer Woman glazed donut recipe? I happily oblige. They’re actually better than any store- or bakery-bought glazed options I’ve ever tried… Yep, they’re THAT good. They practically melt in your mouth when you take a bite, and even though they do take a bit of time, it’s so worth the end result.
We love to make these for my son’s birthday every fall instead of birthday cake, and we’ll also work up a batch sometimes when we have friends over. It’s a fun group activity, and you’ll have some help eating them when they’re all finished!
Ingredients for Homemade Glazed Donuts:
You may be surprised to learn that making donuts at home doesn’t require a bunch of fancy ingredients. In fact, you probably have most of these on hand in your kitchen already.
For the donut dough you’ll need:
- Whole milk
- Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
- Unsalted butter
- All Purpose Flour
- Shortening or oil for frying
For the hot donut glaze you’ll need:
- Vanilla Extract
- Powdered Sugar
- Cream or Milk
That’s it! Now let’s see how to turn these simple ingredients into the best glazed donuts of your life.
How to Make Old Fashioned Glazed Donuts
Step 1: Make the Donut Dough
The first thing we are going to do is make the donut dough. Warm your milk until it is about the temperature of a warm baby’s bottle – in other words, just hot enough for you to drink without scalding your mouth. (About 105F.) Yeast is actually alive and if you put it in milk that is too hot, you’ll kill it, which means no fluffy donuts.
Once your milk is warm, add it to your a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve, then add the yeast and let everything rest for 5 minutes. You have to give that yeast time to wake up.
Add the beaten eggs and melted butter to your yeast mixture and stir to combine. Then, with the mixer running slowly, add the flour and salt. Mix until the dough comes together. If you don’t have a mixer you can also do this by hand.
If using a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook attachment and knead the dough for a full 5 minutes. If you are making the dough by hand, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. The dough should be thick and soft, but slightly sticky.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic saran wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 8 hours or overnight.
Step 2: Shape the Donuts
Now it’s time to shape the donuts! Remove your dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/2 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Then use a three-inch donut cutter to cut out the rounds.
Place the cut donuts and holes on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover them with a kitchen towel and let rise until they are doubled in size. This will take about one hour. When the donuts are ready for frying they will be very puffy and airy looking.
Step 3: Fry Your Donuts
To fry your donuts heat a few inches of oil or shortening in large cast iron skillet or fryer over medium heat. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil. When it reaches 365F to 375F you’re ready to fry.
Line a baking sheet with paper towel and set aside. Prepare your glaze in a medium bowl by combining all the glaze ingredients and mixing well. The glaze should have the consistency of school glue. Set aside.
Carefully add the donuts a few at a time to the oil. Do not drop them in the oil or it will splash and you can get burned. Depending on how big your pan is, you can probably fry 3-4 donuts at a time. Don’t overcrowd the donuts or they will be hard to flip and the temperature of your oil will decrease too much from cooler dough being added.
Fry the donuts until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Use a metal slotted spoon or metal tongs to gently flip the donuts when ready. Once they are golden on each side, remove the donuts one at a time to your prepared baking sheet. The paper towel will help soak up the excess oil.
Step 4: Glaze the Donuts
Let the donuts drain and cool slightly. Move them to a plate. Put a cooling rack on top of your baking sheet already lined with paper towel.
When the donuts are just cool enough to touch, use your fingers to dip each side of each donut in the glaze. Place on your cooling rack.
Once you have glazed all your donuts, it’s time to dig in! (Unless of course your kids have already started digging in while you were glazing all those donuts – make sure to snag some for yourself!)
Frequently Asked Questions About this Donut Recipe:
Why do I need to chill the dough?
The chilling time is a must for these donuts. The butter needs a chance to solidify in the fridge which makes the dough much less sticky than when it went in the fridge. Don’t skip it.
Chilling the donut dough also allows the donuts to keep their shape so much better, and gets them nice and fluffy. But if you don’t have time to chill the dough, I have another great donut recipe: Beth’s Famous Glazed Yeast Donuts that comes out almost just like these and it does not need the chilling time that this recipe does. I’d recommend making that recipe if you are in a hurry to get your donuts in your belly.
What is the best temperature for frying donuts?
The best temp is 365 to 275 degrees F. The oil temperature is hard to gauge without a thermometer. I recommend getting one. I like to use this candy thermometer for my candy making and for keeping an eye on my oil frying temperature. That being said, make sure your thermometer is calibrated so that you know it’s showing the correct temperature. Here’s a good post about how to calibrate your thermometer.
How can I shape donuts without a donut cutter?
No donut cutter? No worries! You can use a wide-mouth canning ring and anything to make the smaller hole. I have used a piece from my kid’s marble tracks (love these!), the fat end of a large piping tip, and even a pop bottle lid (that one is a bit annoying because the dough sticks in it). I also have this great set of round cookie cutters that I love and use for all kinds of things (like these amazing biscuits).
How do I know when donuts are done cooking?
The donuts will be done when they’re golden-brown — it’ll take about a minute-and-a-half per side and 30 seconds per side for donut holes!
What’s the best glaze for donuts?
I love a traditional buttery glaze on glazed donuts, but feel free to make a maple, chocolate, or colored glaze. The possibilities are endless.
Glaze is very easy to make. All you need is melted salted butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and a generous splash of milk. Combine until all the ingredients until the mixture is smooth and dip your warm donuts halfway into the glaze to cover the tops with the sweet icing.
What other kinds of glaze can I use on donuts?
- Chocolate Donut Glaze: Add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder when you add the powdered sugar. You’ll need to increase the milk by a bit too to form a smooth glaze.
- Maple Donut Glaze: Replace the vanilla extra in original recipes with 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring (you can use up to 1 teaspoon, adjust to your liking).
- Colored Donut Glaze: Simply add a few drops of food coloring to the glaze.
I hope you enjoy this donut recipe!Print
Pioneer Woman’s Glazed Donuts are the BEST donuts you’ll ever eat. I’ve been making this easy donut recipe for years and can honestly tell you it’s PERFECT!
For the Donuts:
- 1 and 1/8 cup whole milk, warm
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (one package) Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
- 2 whole large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 and 1/4 stick unsalted butter (10 tablespoons), melted
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Shortening/oil for frying
Glaze for hot yeast donuts:
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Enough cream or milk to thin, about 3 tablespoons
- Dash of salt
- To make the dough: warm the milk until it is getting nice and warm when you dip your finger in it (about 105 degrees). Add the milk to a mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the yeast and stir to combine. Let the yeast rest for 5 minutes.
- Add the beaten eggs and melted butter to the bowl and stir to combine.
- While the mixer is running slowly, add the flour and salt and mix until the dough comes together. Mix for a whole five minutes to work the dough well. Turn off the bowl and let the dough sit in the bowl of the mixer for 10 minutes.
- After the rest period turn the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for at least 8 hours up to overnight.
- To form the donuts: Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is 1/2 to 1/3 of an inch thick. Use a three-inch donut cutter to cut out the donuts.
- Place the cut donuts and holes on a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Cover the donuts and let them rise until doubled in size, about one hour. The donuts will be very puffy and airy looking.
- To fry the donuts: Heat a few inches of oil or shortening in a large cast iron skillet or fryer over medium heat until the oil reaches 365 to 375 degrees (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.
- For the Glaze: Melt 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.
- This is the most amazing donut recipe and the only one I have made for years. ENJOY!
- Didn’t realize this recipe needed so long to chill? No worries! I have another great donut recipe: Beth’s Famous Glazed Yeast Donuts that comes out almost just like these and it does not need the chilling time that this recipe does. I’d recommend making that recipe if you are in a hurry to get your donuts in your belly.
- To Make Chocolate Glaze: Add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder when you add the powdered sugar. You’ll need to increase the milk by a bit too to form a smooth glaze.
- To Make a Maple Glaze: Replace the vanilla extra in original recipes with 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring (you can use up to 1 teaspoon, adjust to your liking).
- These donuts are much better eaten fresh. They store about as well as most grocery store donuts.
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: homemade donuts, easy donuts recipe, pioneer woman donuts, how to make glazed donuts, old fashioned donut, how to make donuts, best donuts
Want To Save This Recipe?
This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman. She is amazing in general but has really come through with this recipe. She has lots of comments on the process of making these glazed donuts, so if you need some more pointers on how this should come together, check out her details post, recipe, instructions, and lots of tips on making glazed yeast donuts here.
The only thing I changed was the glaze. I think that a little butter in a glaze that might only call for milk and powdered sugar is a must. The butter makes it more like an icing in taste and less like eating powdered sugar. Butter makes everything better, though; we already knew that.
Other sweet recipes you’ll love:
- Beth’s Famous Glazed Yeast Donuts
- 15 Minute Donuts from Scratch
- Simple Pumpkin Donut Holes
- Easy 15- Minute donuts from Butter with a Side of Bread
- Dutch Apple Pie Recipe
- Homemade Apple Pie Recipe
- Gingerbread Cookie Recipe
Feel free to comment on the life-changing experience that making these glazed donuts leads to. You’ll never be the same.
This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated in January 2020 with new photos and text.