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A Full-On Guide to Making the Best Iced Donut at Home!

Who doesn’t love a perfectly iced donut, fresh out of the oven, with its delightful glaze shimmering in the light? There’s something incredibly satisfying about biting into a donut that you’ve made from scratch. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, this guide will walk you through the steps to create the ultimate iced donut at home. 

Gather Your Ingredients

Before you start, ensure you have all the necessary ingredients. 

For the donut dough, you’ll need:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour works best.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar for sweetness.
  • Yeast: Active dry yeast helps the dough rise.
  • Milk: Whole milk for richness.
  • Butter: Unsalted, melted butter.
  • Eggs: Large eggs, preferably at room temperature.
  • Salt: A pinch to balance the sweetness.

For the icing, gather:

  • Powdered Sugar: The base of your icing.
  • Milk: To adjust the icing consistency.
  • Vanilla Extract: For flavor.

Food Coloring: Optional for a Colorful Touch

Having everything ready and measured out will make the process smoother and more enjoyable. Preparation is key to successful baking, ensuring you don’t have to scramble for ingredients mid-recipe.

Preparing the Dough

Start warming your milk until it’s lukewarm, around 110°F (43°C). If the milk is too hot, it can kill the yeast; if it is too cold, it won’t activate properly. Add the yeast and a pinch of sugar to the warm milk to help activate it. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it becomes frothy.


Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture, melted butter, and beaten eggs. Using a wooden spoon or a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix until a dough forms. It should be slightly sticky but manageable.

Kneading the Dough

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Kneading is crucial as it develops the gluten, giving your donuts a light and airy texture. If the dough feels too sticky, add a bit more flour, but be careful not to add too much, which can make the donuts dense. 

A properly kneaded dough will bounce back when poked lightly with a finger.

Letting the Dough Rise

Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 to 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. This step is essential for achieving the perfect fluffiness in your donuts. The warm environment encourages the yeast to ferment, producing gases that make the dough rise. If your kitchen is cool, you can create a warm environment by preheating your oven to the lowest setting for a few minutes, then turning it off and placing the bowl inside with the oven door slightly open.

Shaping the Donuts

Once the dough has risen, punch it down to release the air. Transfer it to a floured surface and roll it out to about half an inch thick. Use a donut cutter or two different-sized round cutters to shape your donuts. Don’t forget to save the donut holes! Place the shaped donuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover them lightly with a cloth, and let them rise for another 30 minutes. This second rise is crucial for achieving a light, airy texture.

Frying the Donuts

Heat oil in a deep fryer or a large pot to 350°F (175°C). It’s important to maintain this temperature, as oil that’s too hot will burn the donuts, and oil that’s too cool will make them greasy. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature.

Carefully drop the donuts into the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry them until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to remove the donuts and place them on a wire rack to drain excess oil. Let them cool slightly before icing. Frying at the right temperature ensures that the donuts cook evenly and absorb minimal oil.

Making the Icing

While the donuts are cooling, prepare the icing. Mix powdered sugar, a few tablespoons of milk, and vanilla extract until smooth in a bowl. The icing should be thick but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk a little at a time; if it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Divide the icing into separate bowls and add food coloring to add colors. Stir until the color is evenly distributed. You can get creative with your colors matching themes, too!

Icing the Donuts

Dip the cooled donuts into the icing, allowing any excess to drip off before placing them back on the wire rack. For a more professional look, dip only the top of the donuts and let gravity do the rest. If you’re feeling creative, add sprinkles, nuts, or other toppings before the icing sets.

Another method is to drizzle the icing over the donuts using a spoon or a piping bag for a more artistic effect. The key is to work quickly, as the icing will start to set once applied.

Storing Your Donuts

Homemade donuts are best enjoyed fresh, but if you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container at room temperature. Avoid refrigerating them, as it can dry them out. To reheat, a few seconds in the microwave will bring back their fresh taste and texture. If you prefer a crisp exterior, a brief warm-up in a 350°F (175°C) oven will do the trick.

For longer storage, you can freeze the donuts before icing them. When you’re ready to enjoy them, thaw them at room temperature and add the icing.

Tips for Perfect Donuts

  • Temperature Matters: Ensure the milk and butter are not too hot, which can kill the yeast. Lukewarm ingredients are ideal.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: When frying, avoid adding too many donuts at once, as this can lower the oil temperature. Fry in batches to maintain a consistent temperature.
  • Be Patient: Allow enough time for both rises; this makes a significant difference in the final texture. Rushing the process can result in dense, chewy donuts.
  • Experiment with Flavors: For a unique twist, don’t be afraid to add different extracts to the dough or icing, such as almond, lemon, or even maple.
  • Keep an Eye on the Oil: Use a thermometer to ensure your oil stays at the right temperature. Too hot, and your donuts will burn; too cool, and they’ll be greasy.


Making the best donut at home is a rewarding experience that combines the joy of baking with the pleasure of eating something delicious and homemade. Following this guide, you can create donuts that rival your favorite bakery. The process may seem daunting initially, but with patience and practice, you’ll master the art of donut-making. Happy baking!


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