Grandma's Old-Fashioned Doughnuts {or Donuts??}

May 7, 2015
Whether you spell it doughnuts or donuts, Grandma's Old-Fashioned Doughnuts are the BEST!  Serve up these cakey beauties plain or coated all around in cinnamon sugar.

Old-Fashioned Doughnuts image

As we approach Mother's Day this coming weekend, I thought it was only appropriate that I share one of my Mom's favorite recipes that I loved making with her growing up ... And one that she has fond memories of her  Mother making for her.  Yes, these Old-Fashioned Doughnuts are a 3-generations-old recipe in our family.  And truth be told, ...
... they may go back even farther than that.  Goodness only knows where my Grandmother got this recipe, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was passed down to her from generations before her.

But before we talk about these cakey beauties, I've just gotta ask ... are these old-fashioned doughnuts ... or donuts??

Homemade Doughnuts image

I've always spelled the word for these tasty little circular treats as d-o-n-u-t-s.  But after a little digging, it appears that the dictionary-approved spelling is d-o-u-g-h-n-u-t-s.

I guess the dictionary and I are just going to have to agree to disagree.

And when it comes to doughnuts, spelling isn't the only thing people disagree on.  There's also great debate on baked vs. fried ... plain vs. sugared vs. glazed ... chocolate vs. no chocolate ... yeasted vs. cake ... Oh, I could go on and on ...

And while all types have their merit ... given my first choice, I'll take a good old-fashioned fried cake donut coated in cinnamon sugar any day.

Just. like. these.

Grandma's Old-Fashioned Doughnuts image

Mix them ... roll them ... cut them with a donut cutter ... 

How to Make Homemade Old-Fashioned Doughnuts image

... fry 'em up ... and, while they're still toasty warm ... roll them around in some cinnamon sugar to get them all good and coated.  And then ... be-still my donut loving heart!  Grandma's Old-Fashioned Doughnuts are the BEST!

My Mom though?  She takes her old fashioned doughnuts plain.  No cinnamon.  No sugar.  Just plain ... with a little dab of peanut butter spread on each bite.

When it comes to Grandma's doughnuts, I guess Mom and I are jusssssst going to have to agree to disagree on to best enjoy them.

Old-Fashioned Doughnuts with Cinnamon Sugar image
We invite you to follow The Kitchen is My Playground with Google+, PinterestFacebookTwitterInstagram, bloglovin', or subscribe by Email.  We'd love to have you back soon!

Grandma's Old-Fashioned Doughnuts
Source:  My Grandmother
(Printable recipe)
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 T. butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 egg
  • 6 c. all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Canola oil, vegetable oil, or melted shortening for frying
For Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
  1. Cream 1 1/2 cups sugar and softened butter. Add milk, egg, 3 cups all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; mix well with an electric mixer. Mix in an additional 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour to form a soft dough that can be rolled out.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/2-inch thickness. {Make sure it's 1/2-inch thick ~ thinner doesn't develop a tender cakey inside, and thicker will lead to insides being undercooked.} Use a doughnut cutter to cut rounds, flouring the cutter between each cut. Gather up dough scraps and re-roll; cut additional doughnuts. {Re-roll only once, as over worked dough results in tough doughnuts.}
  3. Use a deep fat fryer {according to manufacturer directions} or large 6-quart Dutch oven to fry doughnuts in small batches. If using a Dutch oven, pour in canola oil, vegetable oil, or melted shortening to one-inch depth; heat over medium heat to 375 degrees, using a thermometer to monitor the temperature.*  Once oil is at temperature, use tongs to place in three to five doughnuts. Fry until light golden brown all over, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes per side, turning with tongs or a slotted spoon once or twice during cooking. Line a baking sheet or wire rack with double thickness of paper towels. Remove cooked doughnuts from oil with tongs and place on the paper towels to drain.  Repeat in small batches.
  4. Combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon in a pie plate or other shallow dish. Let doughnuts stand for about one minute until just cool enough to touch, then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat. Place back on paper towels to cool completely.
* A COUPLE OF NOTES ABOUT OIL:  While I now use canola oil to fry my donuts, it is our family's experience that melted shortening creates a fluffier, more tender donut.  Also, oil temperature is very important for properly cooked doughnuts - Oil too hot cooks the outsides too fast while leaving the insides undercooked, and oil to cool results in greasy doughnuts.  Monitor oil temperature with a thermometer, and allow oil to come back up to temperature between batches.

Makes approximately 3 dozen donuts.


Please enjoy these other breakfast treats from The Kitchen is My Playground ...

Affiliate links are included in this post. I receive a small amount of compensation for anything purchased from these links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting The Kitchen is My Playground when you shop at


  1. I would love to use this for my doughnuts round up post. Please let me know if that is ok :) Of course, I will link back to you!

    1. Thank you for asking, Marina. Yes, most certainly you can include this recipe in your doughnuts round up post with a link back here to The Kitchen is My Playground. Thank you so much!

  2. These look so good!!! I totally want to try and make some!!! Pinned:)

  3. I wonder if I could bake these? I have a new donut pan I am wanting to use! Pinned

  4. Oh my goodness, amazing! My kids would go crazy for these! My hubby and I could enjoy these with a cup of coffee! PINNED! :-) I really appreciate you sharing your latest creation at Making Memories Mondays!

  5. oh my stars, yes! Just a moment while I grab a glass of milk Hugs P.S. I hope you will stop by and share at the Thursday favorite Things blog hop ( you can link up tonight through Sat at midnight)

  6. Oh my heavens, what time should I be over? I do believe I can smell those donuts and they smell heavenly!

  7. I don't think it matters how they are spelled...I can tell by looking at them, they are delicious! I prefer cake donuts to yeast doughnuts. Thanks for sharing your family recipe.

  8. Hi Tracey, Just letting you know that I will be featuring your doughnut recipe on Best of the Weekend, tonight at 8pm. Hope you will come back and link up again!

  9. We love donughnuts at my house, will be trying these!
    Thank so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  10. We love donughnuts at my house, will be trying these!
    Thank so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

  11. I would love one of your awesome doughnuts right now with my coffee, these look delicious. Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday this week.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  12. Your donuts, yes, I spell it d-o-n-u-t, look just like mine! Mine comes from my grandmother's recipe too and who knows how far back it goes?? Our recipes are very similar. I have always cooked mine in the electric frying pan in melted lard. I think I will try using melted shortening next time just to see the difference. Thanks for sharing.


  13. YUM! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  14. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you have a great weekend and enjoy your new Red Plate!
    Miz Helen

  15. Hi,

    Does "T" in the recipe (e.g. "3 1/2 T butter) mean tablespoons? Can't wait to try this tomorrow!

    B x

    1. Yes, T. is the standard abbreviation for tablespoon ... tsp. is the abbreviation for teaspoon. Enjoy!

  16. Which is the optimal temperature of the oil to fry the donuts?

  17. I've been researching "cake" donuts/doughnuts to get a better understanding of the differences between yeast leavened dough and baking powder leavened dough, the baking powder kind being the "cake" type doughnut.

    BTW, I want to write "donut" as well, however, that is a doughnut chain marketing word that was created to help sell product and equipment to non American countries and their citizens, as it was intended to appear more phonetic.
    That is why the correct word is "doughtnut", as the original creation of the word was to describe the original small round, or wal-NUT, shaped fried dough. The "nut" made of "dough" became the "doughnut". That is yet another reason for why "doughnut" is the proper spelling. And, "donut" is the marketing based spelling.
    Both spellings are of course used and acceptable. :)

    In my research I find that cake type doughnuts also have two major variations with one called "old fashioned" and the other the obvious "cake" doughnut.

    The "old fashioned" cake doughnut results in a split, crowned, cracked, flowered end result doughnut, whereas the regular cake doughnut is more uniform in overall shape with a smoother and even appearance once fried. The old fashioned type dough cracks and splits while frying exposing more surface area to the hot oil that results in crispy wonderful lightly crunchy edges. I LOVE that old fashioned cracked edge as I love crisp and lightly sweet edges.
    The more uniform cake doughnut is also quite wonderful and delicious, and I love them both and prefer them over the fluffy and lighter yeast doughnut.

    In your article, and recipe, you call your cake doughnuts "old fashioned". I will guess that you were more so referring to a time reference of "old fashioned" rather than describing the kind/type of cake doughnut you made. Your wonderful looking doughnuts are cake doughnuts for sure, yet they are the standard type of cake doughnuts and the "old fashioned" type of doughnuts.

    Thanks for your recipe. :)



I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience.}

Blog Design: Powered by Blogger.
Get widget