The Best Homemade Doughnuts You’ll Ever Have

Today, the lovely Rachel from Elephantine is sharing her recipe for homemade doughnuts (with two secret ingredients!). Take a look…

The Best Homemade Doughnuts You’ll Ever Have
By Rachel of Elephantine

When I was a kid, I only experienced doughnuts at room temperature, typically from a box that had been sitting in a grocery store for days. But when I ate my first hot doughnut—after serendipitously passing a Krispy Kreme right as their “Hot Now” sign lit up—that I finally understood what I was missing. Fresh out of the kitchen, doughnuts have a crispier exterior, a fluffier interior and a warmth like everything is right with the world.

I’d never considered making them myself until I came across this recipe for ricotta doughnuts. I ran out to buy a container of ricotta and a deep-fry thermometer, then made a delicious mess in my kitchen. So what if a pot of hot oil is intimidating? There’s nothing like watching the dough slowly turn golden brown, or hearing the crackle each time a new spoonful drops in. These doughnuts are best eaten within minutes of being fried, dusted with confectioner’s sugar and served with a few sweet sides to dip them in.

Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Doughnuts
Adapted from Gale Gand

Makes about 12 donuts (2″ round)

You’ll need:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
8 oz (1/2 lb) ricotta, whole or skim
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated lemon zest
Canola oil, for frying (or another oil with a high smoke point)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Deep-fry thermometer

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add sugar, eggs, ricotta, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix until just combined.

Pour the oil into a deep, heavy pot. Leave at least two inches of space at the top for safety. Using a deep-fry thermometer, heat the oil over medium until it reaches 325-375 degrees F.

Fry a test doughnut: Using a small ice cream scoop or a spoon, drop a scoop of batter in and turn it occasionally. It should take 3-4 minutes to turn golden brown. Carefully remove and cut in half to check if it’s cooked all the way through. Test another if needed.

Fry the remaining doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the pot; fry in batches. Place doughnuts on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm with honey, jam, or melted chocolate.

AMAZING. Thank you so much, Rachel! Who’s down for making these on Sunday morning? :)

P.S. More best recipes, including buttermilk pancakes and a lazy egg sandwich.

(Photos by Rachel of Elephantine. Thanks to Shoko for helping with this series.)

  1. Made Lasagna and had left over ricotta so I thought why no use it to make dessert! These ricotta donuts come out so light and airy!! They are delicious. I folded in chocolate chips before frying for a surprise chocolate center. Thank you for posting this easy to follow delicious recipe!

  2. kelly g says...

    Thinking about making these? Just do it! From finding the recipe to finishing the batch it took 35 min. I substituted spelt flour and I didn’t add sugar but threw in three packets of stevia because I avoid sugar. They were so good. My kids didn’t even notice I steviad them.

  3. Han says...

    How did you make your donuts so perfectly round? My batter was very sticky and would stick to my ice cream scooper. My donuts ended up looking clumpy and not uniform. Thanks!

    • I dipped my scooper in vegetable oil and they slid right off. Hope that helps!

  4. Andrea Eve says...

    These are probably one of the easiest and quickest desserts I’ve ever made. They came out beautifully! they’re incredibly crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. I’d suggest trying some rolled in a sugar + cinnamon mix, I find that helps to bring out the lemon flavor and give it a bit more sweetness. (Ps: subbed out ricotta for marscapone, it works well :) )

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      so glad to hear it, andrea!

  5. Jo (obviously I'm in the right place) says...

    I made these and even with no experience of deep frying, they turned out beautifully. The ricotta loses its grainyness, and the dough has just a hint of sweetness- then you pile on powdered sugar and jam. Absolutely delicious.
    I’d like to try filling these with some raspberry or blackberry jam next time. I have a feeling that would work to my advantage.

  6. Marie says...

    I didn’t have any ricotta but did have mascarpone, used it in place of the ricotta. Substituted lemon zest for lemon extract since I didn’t have any lemons. Ended up using a 2 tsp cookie scoop, which allowed about 3 dozen 2 inch sized doughnut holes.

  7. I have wanted to make these since I saw them posted, and I finally did! I didn’t have ricotta, so I used cottage cheese instead. This was my first attempt at making doughnuts, and they turned out wonderfully.

  8. Does anyone know if you can make the dough ahead of time or freeze any leftover dough? Thanks!

  9. Made them as a weekend project with my two best friends – the donuts and the company were superb :)

  10. These are just AMAZING! Its the first time in my life i actually tried to do any doughnuts ever and they turned out just perfect. Incredibly easy recipe, super fast, and the result is just finger-lickin’ ;)
    Thank you so much!

  11. made it and it is superb! thank you very much! Also it is really easy to make.

  12. Please help me, I am about to make this delicious treasure right now, but I dont understeand the measurments. What is 11/4 cup? 1/4 cup – do you mean just any tea cup? I am confused as we here in Europe usually measure everything in grams. Thank you very much, Martina

  13. wow this sounds amazing… just might have to make these ;)

  14. I’ve had a soft spot for doughnuts ever since being prego with all 3 of my kids. My love for them has not ceased. These look delish!!!

  15. This is actually adapted from MY family recipe (Gale Gand is my aunt)! When we make them we dust them in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar and use a squirt bottle of jam to turn them into jelly doughnuts.

  16. mnam mnam mnam! made me so tasty for this…but i am not sure if i can do it without wheat flour. i cannot eat wheat. but everything else:) so? do you have any recommendation

  17. OMG im totally showing these off for some of this end-of-year holiday season
    gotta practice first though, nonmonmnomn<3 thx so much for sharing!

  18. Oh, my, goodness. I need these. Now.

    Pinning as I type this.

  19. Those look ridiculously good! This is definitely going on my list of recipes to try :)

  20. These look so good! I’m going to have to check my cupboard and make them this weekend!

  21. For a delicious dessert, dip them in some condensed milk. Delicious.

  22. Those look amazing!


  23. Oh these look divine! I am allergic to eggs, do you think that I could substitute with yogurt or flax eggs? Thanks :)

  24. Divine. Quite similar to some Nigella Lawson ricotta doughnuts I make with cinnamon sugar. I adore your recipe ideas here, lemon zest, vanilla mmmmmm. Bliss.
    Heidi xo

  25. this look fabulous! i made apple cider doughnuts over the weekend and just did a post on pumpkin eclairs today if you’re in the mood for another treat.

  26. Looks so good! Bit sized snacks are my fave!

  27. Ah! I’ll definitely be trying these out this weekend. Although, I find that whole pot of hot oil thing a little scary. I think it’ll be worth it, though. :-)

  28. When we were little, my mom used to make cinnamon sugar doughnuts using canned biscuits. We would make a doughnut hole from the center and then cook them in hot oil. She didn’t even use a thermometer, just a small piece of dough to test how hot the oil was. Afterwards, we would roll them around in cinnamon and sugar. They were very simple, but still delicious! When I come home for the holidays, she still makes them.

    • Oh, I remember those! Do you still like them, or is the nostalgia better than the present-day reality? :)

    • I still love them!

  29. these sound absolutely amazing! i made baked doughnuts recently and was pleasantly surprised with how good they were. that being said, there’s nothing like one freshly fried :)

  30. Oh, wow…these look absolutely amazing!!!

  31. Yum! I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to stare down a deep-fry pan of hot oil, but these look delicious. Locanda in SF has done a ricotta fritta with citrus caramel that sounds a lot like this.

  32. They look AMAZING. Rachel is sure one talented lady!

  33. these look mouth watering and amazing!

  34. YUM! Donuts!

    Also, technical question if you have a sec – how do you get your pics to be the same width even when you put multiple pics in a row? I’ve figured out how to make mine the same width when they’re simply stacked vertically (whether they’re originally vertical or horizontal shots) but that doesn’t really leave room to do two pictures side-by-side as you have it here. Love your formatting so I’d love to know the trick!

    • CW says...

      Hi, hope it’s okay to cut in here! It looks like, in this case, that those “multiple pics in a row” are each one image. I do it for my blog, too, by resizing the vertical pics in Photoshop so that, side-by-side, their total width is equivalent to the width of one vertical/horizontal photo (and you can factor in a small bit of white space between the two photos).

      Does that make any sense (did I even answer your question?)? I’ve always just done it, never actually put it into words before. There may also be ways to edit each photo individually so that you don’t have to make a “double image” of sorts, but that might depend on your blogging service.

  35. Yum! I love these doughnuts and I love Elephantine!

  36. Oh goodness, that is exactly what I want to be eating right at this moment.

  37. Wow, now I’m really hungry ;) Yummy

  38. WHAT! these look absolutely delicious. have you ever had gulab jamun, the indian desert? with that honey drizzle on top, that’s what these remind me of. (ps..if you haven’t had that, please go get it immediately)

    • Ah, gulab jamun are usually lengthwise while rasgulla is small round balls..almost prepared the same way. anyways I thought about them at first too!

  39. These sound delicious! I’ll have to save the recipe for a day when I can deep-fry without being shadowed by a small child and a smaller dog!

  40. I probably won’t be working tomorrow due to the Nor’Easter that is hitting New York today so I think I’ll try these out! Looks super yummy!!!!

    Ergo – Blog

  41. Looks good! Donuts are actually really fin to make. I like the idea of adding honey.