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Easy Doughnut Recipe (UK)

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(This post has been updated from the original July 2014 version to provide a better experience for you)

Never made doughnuts before, and don’t know where to start? Need a super easy doughnut recipe to guide you through the process? You’re in luck! This post will help you make perfect homemade doughnuts, without all the guess work. Keep reading for the full recipe, and lots of tips…

homemade doughnuts in a stack

Don’t feel quite confident enough to tackle homemade doughnuts yet? Check out Baking for Beginners. It’s packed FULL of tips, and some awesome freebies. Giving you all the knowledge you need, to bake whatever you fancy!

Are doughnuts better fried or baked?

Doughnuts are delicious, however they’re cooked! Obviously a fried doughnut is going to taste more luxurious, due to the higher fat content. But, as a result, will be considered rather unhealthy.

Whereas a baked doughnut, will taste much lighter, and be far healthier due to the lower fat content. It will likely not taste as indulgent as a fried doughnut though.

In this easy doughnut recipe, we’re going to fry ours – the traditional way.

glazed homemade doughnuts in a stack

Is bread flour good for doughnuts?

Absolutely! Doughnuts, while considered to be a dessert, are still made from a bread dough. And bread flour is good for bread dough for a number of reasons.

The main one being that it has extra gluten. This is good, as the gluten will be strong enough to trap all those air bubbles, and give you a lovely, soft chewy doughnut!

I use strong bread flour in this easy doughnut recipe.

How do you make doughnuts without a mould?

Freehand is the traditional shaping method, and what we’re going to do in this easy doughnut recipe.

It’s not nearly as difficult as you’d think it might be. You simply shape them like you would a cob (or roll, bap etc wherever you come from!), then poke a hole in the middle and stretch.

Don’t worry though, there’s a step by step picture recipe below. So you’ll see exactly what they should look like, the whole way through.

homemade doughnuts in a stack

How long to make doughnuts?

Making proper homemade doughnuts isn’t a speedy process. It can take over 4 hours from start to finish – but I promise, perfection is worth waiting for!

If you need to satisfy your cravings quick, you need air fryer Creme Egg croissants. Trust me, they’re incredible!!

glazed homemade doughnuts in a stack

Ingredients and substitutions

Confused about what ingredients to buy? Not sure about a substitution? Here’s everything you might need to know when using this easy doughnut recipe…

  • Flour – A strong flour or bread flour works best with doughnuts. Avoid using plain/all purpose flour if you can.
  • Sugar – Use a fine sugar (like caster/superfine) so it absorbs into the dough more easily. Granulated has larger crystals, so would take longer to incorporate.
  • Yeast – In this recipe, I use fast action yeast. Any brand will do, just don’t switch for fresh yeast. As this will change the ingredient quantity.
  • Salt – Table salt is fine. No need to get fancy, or use your expensive sea salt!
  • Butter – Used to enrich the dough, a good quality one will always taste better. Use the best you can afford.
  • Milk – Also used to enrich the dough, full fat/whole milk will give the best flavour. You can switch it out for semi skimmed or dairy free alternatives (oat, soy etc) if you like though.
  • Eggs – Any eggs will work. Just make sure they’re large ones, and not tiny! Or it can mess with the delicate balance of ingredients.
  • Oil – While only used for frying, it will still impart a good deal of flavour. Choose a neutral one for this reason. Like vegetable or sunflower oil.
homemade doughnuts in a stack

Easy doughnut recipe tips and troubleshooting

Here are tips you’ll find helpful when making this recipe.

  • Make sure you read the full recipe before you begin. That way, there won’t be any surprises, and you’re less likely to make mistakes.
  • Don’t have the time to wait for the milk and eggs to come to room temperature? Crack the eggs into a small saucepan along with the milk. Heat very gently over a low heat (stirring constantly) until they reach room temperature.
  • Make sure you put the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl when making the dough, as salt can kill yeast.
  • highly recommend using a dough scraper for this recipe. It’s a very sticky dough, making it hard to work with using just your hands.
  • Want a better flavour? After the 1 and a half hour prove – place it into the fridge overnight. The longer the prove, the better the flavour. (Allow to sit at room temperature for a while before using as the cold will slow down the next process.)
  • Although it’s possible to do this without, using a thermometer to get the oil to the right temperature takes out all the guess work.
homemade doughnuts in a stack

Easy doughnut recipe time management

Have limited time? Struggle with recipe timings? Or juggling around other things? Here’s some time managing info to make your life easier.

  • Making the initial dough will take around 20 minutes, followed by a 30 minute resting time.
  • Next is kneading. This will take between 10 and 20 minutes.
  • Then comes the 1st prove. It should take around 60-90 minutes. At this stage, you can refrigerate overnight. Just bring to room temperature, before moving onto the next step.
  • Shaping your doughnuts should take about 15-20 minutes.
  • Now time for the 2nd prove, which will take 60 minutes.
  • Finally, frying your doughnuts, will take about 4 minutes per batch. (How many you can cook will depend on the size of your doughnuts, and the size of your pan.)
homemade doughnuts in a stack

If you like this recipe…

…you might also like:

Easy Doughnut Recipe – Step by Step Picture Recipe

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)


Here is what you will need to make 12 large doughnuts.

  • 500g (3 + 1/4 Cups) Strong White Flour
  • 50g (1/4 Cup) Caster Sugar
  • 7g (2 tsp) Fast Action Yeast
  • 10g (1 + 3/4 tsp) Salt
  • 50g (1/4 Cup) Unsalted Butter, room temp
  • 275g (1 + 1/4 Cup) Full Fat Milk, room temp
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temp
  • Oil For Frying

Toppings (optional)

Classic sugar doughnut

  • Caster Sugar

Glazed doughnut

  • 250g (2 Cups) Icing Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3-4 tbsp Cold Water

Essential equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Fork
  • Dough Scraper
  • 1-2 Large Baking Trays
  • Tea Towel
  • Large Saucepan
  • Thermometer

Making the dough

In a large bowl, briefly rub together the flour (500g | 3 + 1/4 Cups), caster sugar (50g | 1/4 Cup), yeast (7g | 2 tsp) and salt (10g | 1 + 3/4 tsp). Put the yeast and salt on opposite sides of the bowl.

Using the tips of your fingers and thumbs – rub in the butter (50g | 1/4 Cup) until you get a breadcrumb like consistency.

dry doughnut dough ingredients in a bowl

Then make a well in the centre and add the milk (275g | 1 + 1/4 Cup) and eggs (2 Large). Mix with a fork (or your hands) until there is no more flour visible and everything has been incorporated. Yes, this is a very wet dough.

homemade doughnut dough in a bowl

Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 30 minutes. It should look a little more plump than before.

homemade doughnut dough in a bowl

Tip out onto a work surface and knead (with the help of a dough scraper) for about 10-20 minutes. It depends on your technique as to how long it will actually take but you’re aiming for a soft dough that will pass the windowpane test.

I know it’s wet and it seems like it will never improve but it will, trust me. Do your best to not add any extra flour if you can help it.

homemade doughnut dough in a bowl

When it’s ready, place the dough back into the bowl and allow to prove for 1 to 1 and a 1/2 hours. (Until about doubled in size.)

risen homemade doughnut dough in a bowl after the second prove

At this point you can put it in the fridge overnight which actually helps to develop a much better flavour.

If you do this, allow it to sit at room temperature before using as the cold will slow down the next process. Alternatively, you could just go ahead and use it straight away.

How to shape doughnuts

Prepare 1 or 2 large baking trays by covering in cling film and greasing with oil.

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ‘sausage’. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions and shape into balls. (James Morton’s book Brilliant Bread (affiliate link) has an excellent guide to shaping breads.)

balls of homemade doughnut dough on a worktop

Then poke a hole in the middle of each one and stretch out by rotating your hands. (A bit like if you were starting the Saturday Night Fever dance.)

Place them onto the prepared baking sheets, cover with a slightly damp tea towel and allow to prove for another hour.

unbaked homemade doughnut rings on a baking tray

Your doughnuts are ready to be fried when you can poke it lightly and the dough springs back all the way.

unbaked homemade doughnut rings on a baking tray after being proved

How to fry doughnuts

If you have a deep fat fryer – great. If not, it doesn’t matter. I used a large, heavy based saucepan and it worked just as well.

Heat the oil to 170°C/338ºF. Once it has reached this temperature, turn the heat down to stop it from climbing any further.

Then regularly check with a thermometer to ensure the temperature is holding steady. (If using a deep fat fryer, it should hold the temperature for you without having to change any settings or check with a thermometer.)

oil heating up in a large pan with a termometer

Fry each doughnut for approx 2 minutes on each side. Be careful when you flip it over, as the oil may splash, and will be very hot.

homemade doughnut being baked in a pan of hot oil
homemade doughnut being baked in a pan of hot oil

Then, using a slotted spoon, to transfer to a plate covered in kitchen roll, to absorb any excess oil.

freshly fried homemade doughnut on a piece of kitchen roll

At this point you can eat them as they are, or decorate with one of the following options…

Whatever you choose, make sure you allow them to cool before eating!

How to sugar a doughnut (optional)

Place some caster sugar into a bowl, and roll each doughnut in it. Simple as that!

How to glaze a doughnut (optional)

  • Place all the glaze ingredients (250g | 2 Cups of Icing Sugar, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp of vanilla, 3-4 tbsp of cold water) into a bowl, and whisk until smooth and a little runny.
  • Submerge the top half of each cooked doughnut into the glaze, and place on a cooling rack set over newspaper/baking paper. (To catch any drips.)
doughnut glaze in a glass bowl

How to store homemade doughnuts

Homemade doughnuts are definitely best eaten on the day. They go stale very quickly! That being said, they will last for 2 or 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

You can revive them a little, by microwaving them for 5-10 seconds. You can thank me later for that one!

Loved this easy doughnut recipe? Pin it!

homemade doughnuts in a stack

Easy Doughnut Recipe - Printable

Yield: 12 Servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Proving Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes

Make the most PERFECT homemade doughnuts with that elusive 'white ring', using this easy doughnut recipe!


  • 500g ((3 + 1/4 Cups)) Strong White Flour
  • 50g (1/4 Cup) Caster Sugar
  • 7g (2 tsp) Fast Action Yeast
  • 10g (1 + 3/4 tsp) Salt
  • 50g (1/4 Cup) Unsalted Butter, room temp
  • 275g (1 + 1/4 Cup) Full Fat Milk, room temp
  • 2 Large Eggs, room temp
  • Oil For Frying

Iced Glaze *

  • 250g (2 Cups) Icing Sugar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3-4 tbsp Cold Water

Essential Equipment

  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Fork
  • Dough Scraper
  • 1-2 Large Baking Trays
  • Tea Towel
  • Large Saucepan
  • Thermometer


  1. Rub together the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and butter in a large bowl until breadcrumb like.
  1. Make a well in the middle, and add the milk and eggs. Mix until incorporated. (It will be very wet and sticky.)
  2. Cover and leave to plump up for 30 mins.
  3. Tip out onto a work surface and knead for 10 - 20 mins until elastic.
  4. Put back into the bowl, cover and prove for 60 - 90 mins until doubled in size.
  5. Cover a large baking tray in cling film and grease with a little oil. Then divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls.
  6. Poke a hole in the middle of each one, and stretch out slightly to form a ring. Place on the lined tray, cover with a damp towel and prove for 60 mins.
  7. When the doughnuts can be lightly poked and it springs back all the way, they're ready. Heat the oil in a large saucepan to 170°C/338ºF.
  8. Fry each one for approx 2 mins on each side until golden.
  9. Put on a kitchen towel to drain any excess oil. Repeat until all the doughnuts are cooked.
  10. Make the glaze by mixing the icing sugar, salt, vanilla and cold water together in a bowl. Drizzle over each doughnut. Alternatively you can simply roll them in caster sugar.


* Alternatively, you can simply roll them in caster sugar

These are best eaten on the day for best flavour and texture.

See the main post for a more detailed, step by step picture recipe.

Be sure to read the sections Ingredients and Substitutions, Recipe Tips and Troubleshooting and Time Management for lots of helpful information before you begin making this recipe. You can find them in the main body of this post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 2gSugar: 25gProtein: 7g

Nutritional information on should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

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Other tasty doughnut recipes

About Emma Mason

Emma is a professional blogger. Utilising over 20 years of cooking experience, she’s passionate about making your life easier, one recipe at a time! Drawing on her 12+ year background in recipe research and development, photography, copy writing and marketing, Emma has turned into a successful career. Known as ‘the organisation queen’ among friends, she is passionate about creating easy to follow recipes that anyone can follow and enjoy. She lives in Nottingham (UK) with her husband, daughter and 2 naughty cats. In her spare time she can be found reading a good book, training at the dojo preparing for her black belt grading, or dreaming up the next crazy colour combo for her hair!

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Grace Anthony

Thursday 11th of July 2024

Thank so much I followed every process and it came out perfect thank you


Thursday 11th of July 2024

Hi Grace. Oh that's fantastic! I'm so happy you love my recipe! Thank you for taking the time to share :) Emma x


Friday 13th of October 2023

Hi! Pls what is the brand name of the flour you used cos i have been finding it difficult to make doughnuts here in UK and the yeast I have been using is still active because I tested it before using it . My doughnuts doesn't rise enough nd it is always hard but my buns and puff puff is perfect. Any trick to that or is there any raising agent aside yeast that I need to add ?


Saturday 14th of October 2023

Hi Mary. I tend to use either supermarket own brand strong bread flour, or Allinsons if it's on offer. The brand of flour shouldn't make too much of a difference in my experience. No need to add another raising agent. You could possibly be over proving slightly? Emma x


Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Hi Emma just wanted to say a very big thank you for sharing your recipe....

I followed every step of the recipe to make Perfect homemade doughnuts...

Once I deep fried mine I Rolled them in Caster sugar then cut them all in half and Filled them with Raspberry Conserve jam and freshly Whipped double cream... 

OMG they are Lush and so tasty.

 I left mine oven night in the fridge and fried and added sugar jam and cream today :-) 

It's a shame I can not attach any pictures of my finished doughnuts However I did send you an email with some pictures :-)

 I'm Going to see what other recipes you have to see what my next baking session will be :-) 

Thank you again for sharing your recipe I'm sure my husband and his crew mates will enjoy them as much as the one I tried. My Husband is a Paramedic so I'm sure they will all get a sugar rush with these to keep them all going whilst on shift :-)  

Marita-Ann  x 


Thursday 2nd of February 2023

Hi Marita-Ann. I’m SOOO happy you loved my recipe! You’ve absolutely made my day, thank you so much :) Emma x


Sunday 15th of January 2023

Really nice. I think topping was a bit plain so I dipped them in sugar.


Sunday 15th of January 2023

Glad you liked them! Dipping doughnuts in sugar is classic and delicious, great idea :) Emma x

Emmanuel Eze

Saturday 29th of October 2022

Please teach me how to prepare donut.


Tuesday 1st of November 2022

Hi Emmanuel. If you read through the post, it'll tell you everything you need :) Emma x

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