Aren’t donuts just so much fun? 🍩 They look so tasty and colorful in the glass cases, with all of the fun sprinkles and toppings. It’s really tempting to run into the donut shop and grab a few for the road. But, then guilt sets in and you start feeling bad for eating fried foods, plus it’s hard to stop at just one! That’s where this incredible donut recipe comes in to save the day! 🤗 We start with our favorite yeast dough, cut out the donuts and donut holes, let ‘em rise and bake them for five minutes in the air fryer! They are tender and delicious and you can decorate them with a simple icing and sprinkles, chocolate glaze, or even just cinnamon sugar! And, you can even have two, because they are so much healthier than donuts fried in oil.
This recipe was created with a lot of love and patience! Oh my goodness, we tossed a lot of donuts in the trash before we found the perfect formula! it took us several attempts and I don’t even know how many batches of donuts, to come up with the perfect dough. Most of the recipes we found were just not sweet enough, and the ingredient ratios created donuts with the texture of bagels. But this dough is perfect and it is easy to work with too. If you have a standing mixer, it comes together super fast, but you can also make it totally by hand using a large wooden spoon.
When working with active dry yeast, there are a couple of things to do to ensure that your dough will turnout perfectly. First of all, check ahead of time to make sure your yeast in not outdated. Sometimes we buy yeast and leave it in the refrigerator for months or even years. It just gets stuck in some corner and lost. During the pandemic, we could only find a huge one-pound package of yeast, and that’s a LOT of yeast! But, of course, we bake a lot for the food blog, so we actually did use it all up within a year. The second thing is to make sure your liquids are between 105 and 115 F, with 110 F being ideal. This is the perfect temp for the yeast to multiply and become frothy, which is what you want. Liquids that are too hot will kill the yeast, but too cool won’t activate the yeast. The best way to know the temperature is to have a baking or candy thermometer on hand. We use this kitchen gadget so often and you will too, once you start making yeast doughs, candy, or anything else where temperature is key!
Air Fryer Glazed Donuts
- 1 Air Fryer (We use the Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer)
- 1 Standing Mixer (not required, but helpful!)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter 1 stick
- 2 eggs
- 1 Recipe Glaze (below)
- 1 Jar Your favorite sprinkles
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted melted
- 1 tbsp. apple cider or milk
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sprinkles
- In your standing mixer with the dough hook attached, combine 2 ½ cups of the flour and yeast and whisk together. (You can use a mixing bowl and wooden spoon, if you don’t have a standing mixer.)
- Heat milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan stirring all the while until butter almost melts and mixture reaches 110-115 ⁰ F. (Do NOT boil.) Add milk mixture to dries and stir to incorporate with a wooden spoon.
- Add eggs and beat by hand or with electric mixer on low speed for about 30 seconds. Beat for another three minutes on high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add enough of the remaining flour, (half cup at a time), and mix by hand to form a soft dough.Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5-8 minutes. You may need to add a little bit of flour as you knead the dough, and you’ll need to sprinkle the work surface with extra flour, too, as you go.When it’s ready, the dough should be slightly elastic, and bounce back when you pull at it.
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place it in a large greased bowl, turning once to lightly grease the top of the dough. Cover top of the bowl with a slightly damp clean kitchen towel, and place in a warm, or sunny spot (NOT in a heated oven), for about 1¼ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- When the dough has risen, punch a little hole in it to let it deflate.
- On a floured work surface, roll dough out to a thickness of 1/2-inch. Cut out circles using a 3 or 4-inch biscuit cutter or a glass with a similar diameter. (They also make donut cutters, which would be nice, but we don’t have one!) Place the dough rounds on a board lined with parchment paper. Gather any leftover dough and roll it out again, using every bit of dough for your donuts.
- Using a small one-inch (or so) biscuit cutter or a narrow shot glass, cut out the center of each round to create the classic donut shape and the donut holes.
- Allow the donuts and donut holes to rise again for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat air fryer to 345° F. Place a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet. When the air fryer is ready, lay 4 donuts at a time in the basket of the air fryer and bake for 5 minutes. They should be golden-brown and tender to the touch, but no longer doughy. Remove from fryer and place on the wire rack.
- As soon as you can handle the donuts, dip them in the glaze and put them back on the wire rack. We like to dip the donuts twice for extra good coverage. Sprinkle immediately with whatever fun sprinkles you like.
- Repeat this process until all donuts and donut holes are baked and glazed. For glazing the donut holes, just pop them into the bowl of glaze and gently toss them to cover each.
- Be sure to mix this before you cook the donuts, so it’s ready for dipping while the donuts are still hot!
- In a small bowl, whisk powdered sugar together with milk (or cider) and vanilla. Stir until lumps are gone or at least minimal. Set aside until donuts have baked.