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Our Most Unbelievably Delicious Donut Recipes

  • Photos by Will Anderson
  • Recipes by Sarah Carey

Making these classic confections is easier than you think. Whether you crave the cake variety, dunked in glaze; yearn for light-as-air pillows, plump with jelly; or prefer to bypass the hot oil and bake a dozen or two, these donut recipes are oh-so worth the effort.

Take the Cake

Bite into one of these beauties, and you’ll be struck by their crunchy exterior and soft yet dense interior. Rich with buttermilk and tangy with lemon juice, they come out of the hot oil a nice golden brown. Let the excess oil drip off, dip them in glaze, and top with fresh zest. Holes can be punched out of the middles, or you can make them using a 1 1/2-inch cutter.

Sugar and Spice

Our versatile cake donut batter lends itself well to all kinds of flavors, including vanilla bean and apple cider. Finish the former with a vanilla glaze and roll the latter in cinnamon sugar.

Rise to the Top

Donuts leavened with yeast are airy and more elastic than their cakey counterparts. For these jelly-filled poufs, cut the dough into rounds and place each on lightly oiled parchment paper. Gently slip them into hot vegetable oil, turning with a chopstick, and cook until puffed up and golden. Use a pastry bag to pipe in jam just until they swell, and finish them with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Do the Dip

Our Boston-cream wonders will delight on sight. Each square is infused with custard and coated in a way Willy Wonka would love. The rounds have a simple glaze that gets its flavor from freeze-dried strawberries or freshly squeezed lemon juice. And the icing technique is a snap: Submerge the donuts halfway, and turn them right-side up to set.

End in a Tie

Here’s a twist on the Spanish pastry that’s dipped in chocolate or café con leche at breakfast time. Make a pâte à choux batter, also used for French crullers and cream puffs. Then fit a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe the batter through to create loops—the ridged surface will grab onto the cinnamon and sugar later. You might think the soft dough will cook quickly, but even if it looks done, hang in there. It’s when the interior becomes really hot that it gets its final puff.

Bake a Batch

Technically speaking, these are not donuts, but why should those of us with a fear of frying miss out? Baking allows for all kinds of different flavors and dietary leanings (gluten-free, anyone?). Simply pipe our batter—any quickbread one, since they tend to be dense, will also work—into a nonstick donut-mold pan. (Or you can use a resealable plastic bag and snip off a corner, in a pinch.) Then pop it in the oven, and try to keep your cool until they, well, cool.

 

Chocolate

You could certainly leave these unadorned and call it a day, but extrasweet toppings take them to dizzying heights. From front to back: Chocolate glaze with sprinkles; chocolate glaze with chocolate shavings; and dulce de leche (feel free to use store-bought).

Get the Chocolate Cake Donuts Recipe

 

Gluten-Free Coconut-Almond

The batter contains substitutes for classic ingredients (unrefined coconut oil, almond flour, coconut milk), but the results emulate those irresistible boxed sets from the grocery store. Finish them with a freeze-dried raspberry glaze (the more berries, the brighter) and shredded coconut.

Get the Gluten-Free Coconut-Almond Donuts Recipe

 

Vegan Banana 

Almond or cashew milk, coconut oil, and bananas give these guys richness; a vegan chocolate glaze, made from cocoa powder and more nut milk, piles on even more. Sprinkle them with your choice of chopped pistachios or pecans.

Get the Vegan Banana Donuts Recipe

 

Pumpkin

‘Tis the season! This autumnal recipe contains cinnamon, allspice, and a big helping of pumpkin purée. Dress the donuts in confectioners’-sugar glaze and ground pepitas, or brush them with melted butter and roll them in a mix of ground pepitas, cinnamon, and sugar.

Get the Pumpkin Donuts Recipe