Classic Vanilla Glazed Doughnuts

I have two reasons to celebrate today. First, the Kansas City Stay at Home Order is officially over. The city is slowly phasing back to a new normal, but personally it will be awhile before I feel comfortable resuming my old daily out-and-about life. The second reason to celebrate is much happier, these light and airy Classic Vanilla Glazed Doughnuts are on the blog today!

Sharing this recipe is a minor personal victory, as I’ve been trying to share it for over two years now. The stars have finally aligned by way of my weekly Pantry Staples Sweets baking column with Feast Magazine. Here they are, ethereal yeast-raised doughnuts that can be finished any way you’d like. For today, I’m sharing two glazing options: a classic thin glaze for an all-over coating or a pink doughnut-shop glaze that can be topped with a smattering of rainbow sprinkles. Whichever way you choose to finish them, the end result will be the same: airy and irresistible.

Helpful Tips for this Recipe

*The dough will be soft, so you’ll need to flour your counter top and rolling pin well. If needed, additional flour can be added to the dough during mixing (1 tablespoon at a time), but take care not to add too much flour or the doughnuts will be dense. A softer dough, with less flour, will produce lighter doughnuts.

*There are two doughnut glaze variations shared in the Vanilla Glaze recipe. One is for a classic thin all-over glaze and the second is for a creamier pink doughnut-shop style glaze. Equally delicious, whichever you go with will create a beautiful doughnut.

*Use the leftover dough scraps for making doughnut holes! Cut out small rounds from the reserved dough, place in the fryer, and turn the holes regularly in the oil as they fry up quickly. While still warm, toss the doughnut holes in a cinnamon sugar mixture (1/2 cup of sugar combined with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon) until coated.

Classic Vanilla Glazed Doughnuts

Makes 9 doughnuts


1 1/3 cups (340g)  whole milk
3 ¼ teaspoons instant dry yeast or active dry yeast
1 cup (132g)  all-purpose flour
2 ¾ cups (400g)  bread flour, plus more if needed
1/4 cup (52g)  sugar
1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
1  large egg
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, room temperature
Vanilla Glaze (recipe below)
Rainbow sprinkles, optional

In a heatproof container, warm the milk in the microwave until room temperature and slightly warm to the touch (not hot), about 30 seconds. Pour the milk into the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle in the yeast; whisk lightly to combine.

In a separate large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the milk mixture and then add the egg, vanilla, and butter. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on low-speed until combined. Increase to medium and continue to mix the dough for another 6-8 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. The final dough will be very soft and tacky. If the dough appears too wet and sticky, add an additional 1 tablespoon of flour at a time to the dough until it begins to slightly pull away from the sides of the bowl (the bottom of the dough should still stick to the bowl though). Transfer the dough to a large bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside in a warm spot on the counter and allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare a deep fryer with oil and heat to 350F (177C) for frying the doughnuts. Alternatively, fill a large heavy-bottomed pot with at least 2-inches of oil and attach a deep fry thermometer to the inside. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack on top. Set aside.

Transfer the dough onto a well-floured work surface and sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour. To prevent sticking, flour a rolling pin and roll out dough to about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out 9 dough rounds. Using a smaller 1-inch round cutter, cut out the center of each dough round. If desired, reserve the remaining dough scraps for making doughnut holes. Cover the dough rounds with a clean kitchen towel. Fry the doughnuts two at a time, for about 2 minutes on each side, until deeply golden brown. Transfer doughnuts to the prepared cooling rack and let cool. Allow the fryer oil to reheat to 350F (177C), between each batch, before repeating the process with the remaining doughnuts. 

For doughnut holes: Cut out small rounds from the dough scraps and place 5-6 of them in the fryer at a time. Turn the holes regularly in the oil as they fry up quickly. While still warm, toss the doughnut holes in a cinnamon sugar mixture (1/2 cup of sugar combined with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon- or however much cinnamon you’d like) until coated.

For a classic all-over thin glazed doughnut: Space the doughnuts about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet and evenly pour the glaze over the tops of each doughnut until fully coated. Allow glaze to set and then enjoy. Glazed doughnuts are best enjoyed fresh shortly after they’re made.

For a classic pink doughnut-shop glazed doughnut with sprinkles: Dip each doughnut halfway into the pink glaze and lift directly up and out of the glaze. Allow the excess glaze to pour back into the bowl, then set the doughnut glaze-side-up on a rack. Sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles and let set. Glazed doughnuts are best enjoyed fresh shortly after they’re made.

Vanilla Glaze

3 cups (346g) powdered sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (65g) whole milk
2 tablespoons  heavy cream
1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until smooth. The glaze should flow down slowly from a dipped spoon. If too thick, add an additional splash of milk or if too runny add more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.

Creamy Vanilla Glaze Variation: For a classic pink doughnut-shop glaze and sprinkles look, use all heavy cream in the glaze portion of the recipe (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons). Adjust the consistency as needed, then add a touch of red natural food coloring and mix until combined.

Share your doughnuts with me on Instagram by tagging @now_forager!