Doughnuts are perhaps one of the most indulgent baked goods you could make and eat. An enriched dough is shaped into rings or balls, and deep-fried in oil, making for a pillowy ball of deliciousness. While yeasted doughnuts are the most common option, cake doughnuts - that’s yeast-free doughnuts - are easier to make as they don’t require proving dough and are equally delicious. Here we’ve got you covered with several recipes for delicious homemade doughnuts that you can make without yeast.
The big question when it comes to these tasty treats is what the difference is between doughnuts and donuts? Rather than glaze over it (see what we did there?!), now is the time to point out that there really isn’t any difference at all in terms of the baked goods themselves; it’s all just about the spelling. Donut, an American variant, first appeared in the late 1800s as a contraction of the original spelling of doughnut. Although it didn’t catch on immediately, this alternative spelling has increased rapidly and steadily in line with the success of the American doughnut chain Dunkin’ Donuts. Some style guides recommend the use of the original doughnut, but ultimately, it’s up to you, as long as you’re consistent. They’ll still taste the same.
Baked doughnut recipe
This recipe courtesy of Buns in My Oven is an easy recipe requiring only a few key ingredients. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are combined with flour, salt and sugar - and the magic ingredient that’ll make these doughnuts rise, baking powder. That baking powder is activated by acidic buttermilk, added in at the end. The dough is then poured into a doughnut pan, and the tray is baked (not fried) until the doughnuts are fully cooked. As a final touch, the doughnuts are dipped in melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar.
Doughnut without eggs and without baking powder
Looking for a recipe that hits even more free-from options? Check this version from The Big Man’s World for doughnuts that are not only yeast-free but egg-free, vegan, gluten-free, and adhere to paleo and keto dietary requirements. These are baked off, not fried, to complete the healthy touch. They combine self-raising flour, coconut oil and milk, and agave nectar into a quick batter. For a keto and paleo option, simply replace the flour with almond flour (not almond meal, which will be too coarse) and add apple-cider vinegar + baking soda to make them rise. The batter will be thick, so you may want to wet your hands before shaping. Top with a chocolate frosting made of chocolate chips and coconut cream for extra flavour.
Doughnut recipe without eggs
These doughnuts from Easy Cooking with Molly are fluffy and satisfying, without eggs for those with allergies or following religious diets. Instead, they get richness and tenderness from milk and yoghurt and are risen with baking powder and baking soda. The dough gets mixed, is left to rest for 20 minutes, and gets shaped with cookie cutters. These are then fried off so you get the traditional fried doughnut taste. Toss in icing sugar or cinnamon sugar, as you prefer.
Air fryer doughnut
This quick and easy recipe from Fabulessly Frugal is made with only two ingredients, fried in an air fryer, and takes only about 15 minutes from start to finish. It’s no more complicated than taking self-raising flour and yoghurt, mixing it all together, basting with a liquid fat (such as oil or melted butter), and popping them into an air fryer. You can sweeten them up with a glaze or frosting at the end, your choice.
Shallow-fried doughnut recipe
For an easier recipe that’s shallow-fried instead of deep-fried (and less fussy), look to this version from Bigger Bolder Baking. It’s a foolproof combination of flour, baking soda and powder, spices, buttermilk, and eggs, and without the proving time required of yeast doughnuts, makes your baking time quick and easy. Shallow-frying is a great alternative to deep-frying and doesn’t require as much effort or specialist equipment. Simply heat an inch or so of vegetable oil in a pan, fry your doughnuts off, and you’ve got bakery-quality goodies in a cinch. Either toss in cinnamon sugar or make an easy glaze with icing sugar, and enjoy.
Whole wheat doughnut
For a riff on the traditional doughnut, try replacing the flour with wholewheat - it’ll impart a nuttier flavour and denser texture to your final product. This recipe is courtesy of Annapurna and is also baked, and egg-and yeast-free. Resting time for the dough is only 15 minutes to let the gluten relax before shaping and baking.
Keto baked doughnut
For a fully keto-compliant doughnut, have a go at this recipe from Big Man’s World. It uses almond flour, a granulated sweetener like erythritol or monk fruit sugar, eggs, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and an alternative milk such as coconut or other nut milk. These get baked in a doughnut pan and rise up fluffy and delicious.
Gluten free doughnut
For a gluten-free option, look no further than this recipe from Gluten-free Palate. These lovely vanilla cake doughnuts are fluffy and tender, and you can choose to top them with a glaze or gluten-free sprinkles for the full doughnut-shop experience. Just find a good gluten-free flour you enjoy and gluten-free baking soda, and the process is the same. You can also substitute out the dairy milk with an alternative milk to make these dairy-free. These get baked in a doughnut pan, but if you don’t have one a muffin pan or hand-shaping will do.
If you want to try something a little different from a traditional glazed donut, have a look at this recipe from Cottage House Kitchen for snickerdoodle doughnuts - that’s a cinnamon doughnut enhanced with cream of tartar, giving these baked goodies a lovely tangy flavour. The thick batter gets poured into a doughnut pan (hint - get a doughnut pan), baked, and coated in melted butter and a cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Cinnamon baked doughnut holes
Ring doughnuts aren’t the only shape you can make. Doughnut holes are the small balls of dough you get from cutting out the middles of the rings. Of course, there are pans for holes too, which come in handy for this recipe from flour mavens King Arthur Baking. These bites are smaller and pack more flavour than the usual large rings, perfect for a quick indulgence.
Air fryer doughnut holes
Here’s another air fryer recipe that’ll save you a frying mess, and it comes from My Recipes. You’ll be able to fit more doughnut holes in the air fryer than full-sized doughnuts, cutting down on production time, and with less oil they’ll be lighter too. Glaze or frost as you wish.
Fried doughnut holes
And for a final cake-doughnut hole recipe, these deep-fried doughnut holes from Sugar Spun Run will hit the spot. Easy to bring together in less than a half hour, these doughnut holes satisfy any craving you might have for fried, cake-y goodness.