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Sourdough donuts

Raised Sourdough Donuts

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4.6 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart
  • Total Time: 3 hours
  • Yield: 6-8 donuts and donut holes 1x


Raised Sourdough Donuts get all of their rise from natural leavening and are a great way to use your sourdough starter discard! They’re easy to make with a low-maintenance dough that comes together quickly.


  • 2 cups (284 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) white sugar
  • 1 tsp. (6 g) salt
  • 1/4 tsp. (2 g) nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz.) milk
  • 1/4 cup (2 oz.) canola oil, plus more for frying
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (109 g) active sourdough starter (it should have visible bubbles)

For the Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir until thoroughly combined, then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead briefly, about 2-3 minutes. The dough should be soft and supple, but not sticky. Cover it with plastic wrap to prevent drying out and allow it to rest for 30 minutes to an hour. After the dough has rested you can either put it in the fridge to rest for up to 24 hours or make the donuts right away.

To make the donuts, reflour your surface, then roll it out to 1/2″ thick. Cut them into large circles (I like to use a wide mouth jar lid), then use a smaller circle cutter to cut a hole in the middle. {If you want to make donut holes, I recommend skipping the rolling and simply divide the dough into 24 equal sized portions by cutting it into half, then quarters, then eighths, etc., until you have 24 donut holes.}

After the donuts are all cut, lay them out on a tray lined with parchment paper and lay a towel over them. Allow them to rise for an hour to an hour and a half. The rise will not be dramatic, but never fear! They will puff up beautifully once they hit the hot oil.

When you are ready to fry the donuts, lay out a tray lined with paper towels and have a pair of metal tongs ready. Pour about 2″ of canola oil into the bottom of a 3 quart pan. Heat it over medium heat until it reaches 350°, using a fry thermometer or instant read to monitor it. If it overheats, remove from the heat until it comes back down. Monitoring and controlling the heat will vary based on your stove top, so be patient as you figure it out! Also, BE CAREFUL!!! You are working with hot oil, and I don’t think I need to tell you that this is not a time to be distracted.

Drop 2-3 donuts into the hot oil at a time. They will sink to the bottom at first, then rise to the top as they begin to cook through. If they don’t, give them a little nudge with the tongs. Cook for about two minutes on the first side, then flip them with the tongs and fry on the second side for two minutes more, or until the donut is golden brown.

Make sure that the oil temperature is back up to 350° before cooking more donuts. This temperature is ideal, since it is hot enough that the donuts will cook quickly but not absorb much oil, and not so hot that the outside will burn before the inside is done.Remove to the lined tray and allow to cool. Fill, frost, and decorate to your hearts content! If you want to cover them with sugar, place them in the sugar and toss immediately after removing them from the frying oil.

For the Glaze:

Heat the milk in the bottom of a small pot until it’s simmering, then whisk in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract, then dip the donuts in it. Allow them to set and the glaze to harden, then enjoy!


  • The nutmeg in the recipe is technically optional, but adding it will give you a classic donut shop flavor.
  • Allowing the dough to rest overnight does yield a lighter crumb because the gluten has had more time to relax. However, if you need your donuts STAT (don’t we all?) you’ll still get great donuts if you do it all in one day.
  • When you’re making these beauties, don’t worry if the don’t look like they’ve risen very much when it’s time to fry.  All those lovely bits of wild yeast are inside your dough, just waiting to explode into action as soon as they hit the hot oil.  They’ll puff and rise very nicely once you begin frying, so don’t be scared of seemingly flat donuts after the proving portion. 
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes, divided, +at least 2 hours rising time
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: donuts
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Breakfast & Brunch