The Perfect Beginner's Yeast Doughnuts
Serves: 22 doughnuts, 25 doughnut holes
For the Doughnuts
  • 1½ cups (360 ml) milk (I used 1%)
  • 2½ ounces (70 grams or about ⅓ cup) vegetable shortening
  • 2 packages (14 grams) instant yeast
  • ⅓ cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
  • 2 eggs, light beaten
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (if you don't like nutmeg, use ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon)
  • 23 ounces (about 5⅓ cups, but I really recommend weighing it out, if possible) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Canola, peanut, or vegetable oil, for frying (enough to fill your pot with about 3 inches of oil)
For the Cinnamon-Sugar
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
For the Glaze
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup water
For the Doughnuts
  1. Heat up the 1½ cups of milk in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until steaming and very hot, about 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the shortening, whisking until fully melted. Set aside until the milk has cooled to room temperature.
  2. Heat up your water to 105 to 110 degrees F, then sprinkle the yeast over it, allowing it to dissolve for 5 minutes. When it has mostly dissolved, add it to a large bowl (preferably that of your stand-mixer, if you have one) and add in the milk and shortening mixture. Add in the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg (or cinnamon), and about half of the flour. Beat the ingredients together on low speed until just moistened, then add in the rest of the flour. Beat until just combined, then switch out your attachement for a dough hook, or knead by hand. Use the dough hook until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, which should take about 3-4 minutes. Oil a very large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover well with plastic wrap, place in a warm spot, such as near your window, and allow to rise for 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.
  3. After the dough has risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, until it is about ½ inch thick. Use a doughnut cutter or a glass to cut out the doughnuts (and use a shot glass to cut out the holes of the doughnuts if you don't have a doughnut cutter). Place the cut-out doughnuts on a lightly floured baking sheet, and cover with a dish towel. Place in a warm spot for another 30-45 minutes and let the dough rise again.
  4. When your doughnuts have risen, heat your oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven. Heat the oil to 365 degrees F, then carefully place the doughnuts in the oil, cooking 3 or 4 at a time so that they aren't over crowded. Cook for 1 minute on each side, then transfer to a cooling race to cool. If you want to roll the doughnuts in cinnamon sugar, roll them in the combined 1½ cups of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon immediately after removing them from the oil. If you want to use the glaze, wait to glaze them until they are completely cool.
  5. To make some jelly-filled doughnut holes, simply make a hole in one side of the doughnut with a chopstick, and wiggle the chopstick around inside the doughnut hole to make room for the jam. Use a pastry bag with a metal tip, and squeeze the jam into the doughnut until it's filled. Glaze or toss in powdered sugar, whichever you desire.
  6. These can be stored in an container with a loose fitting lid, separated by parchment paper, for 24 hours. I recommend letting them stay out in the open air as long as possible before storing them, as the humidity inside of the container can cause them to become soggy after too much time - they truly are best when enjoyed the day of, but as long as you are careful with them, they are delicious the next day, too.
For the Cinnamon-Sugar
  1. Whisk together the sugar and cinnamon, adding more of one or the other if you feel it's necessary. Dip the doughnuts in the cinnamon-sugar mixture as soon as they are removed from the hot oil and set on a rack to cool.
For the Glaze
  1. For the glaze, whisk together the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, kosher salt, and water until smooth. Add more water or confectioners sugar if needed. When the doughnuts have cooled completely, dip them all in the glaze and place on a rack to set. If you have leftover glaze, feel free to double dip the doughnuts.
Adapted From
Recipe by The Crepes of Wrath at