donuts on blue napkin next to cup of coffee

Old Fashioned Donuts

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Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Allison Lancaster

Got a craving that only a donut can handle? Check out how easy these old fashioned donuts are to make! 


I have a confession to make. I enjoy a good old fashioned donut once in a while. You know the kind, deep fried, lightly sweet, and almost like a cake? However, running to the store or through the chain drive through is not an option every time the craving hits.

So, I learned to make some old fashioned donuts at home. It’s not that hard, once you get the hang of it, really. These donuts are light and crispy, with just a touch of sweet. Old fashioned donuts are perfect for a lazy weekend breakfast, or with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea.


Other treats you may like:

6 Ingredient Lemon Bars

Strawberry No Bake Cheesecakes

30 minute Lemon Pound Cake


Old fashioned donuts also dunk great in coffee. Just sayin~

dunking a donut in coffee

What makes these “old fashioned donuts”?

They are made the same way that mothers made them long before donut pans, by deep frying them in oil, and with just a few ingredients. Back in the pioneer days, they didn’t have a lot of sugar to use, so these donuts follow that pattern. Just enough to be sweet, but not overpowering.

Can I sub out the sour cream?

Yes! If you want, you can use equal amounts of buttermilk, or yogurt for the sour cream in these donuts.

donuts on blue plate, with one cut in half

What kind of frying fat should I use?

You will want to use a high smoke point oil. There is some controversy over what oils are healthy, so go with your best knowledge for your family. Some good choices for donut frying are:

  • coconut oil
  • Palm shortening
  • vegetable oil
  • lard

old fashioned donuts on blue napkin

A few things to think about when making old fashioned donuts:

  • Since this is working with hot oil, it’s best NOT to do this when you have kids who need your attention.
  • If you have to walk away from the pot at any time while making your donuts, turn the heat off. Hot oil left unattended is a hazard waiting to happen.
  • Be careful when putting your donuts in and taking them out of the hot oil to minimize risk of burns.
  • Sprinkle powdered sugar as quickly as you can when the come out of the oil. This will allow the sugar to stick better. Of course, a second layer of powdered sugar isn’t all that bad, either. 🙂

Are you ready for a delicious, homemade donut?


  • 3-4 cups fat of choice, measured solid
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup powdered sugar


  1. Heat oil to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together egg, yogurt, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Mix flour in until thick dough is formed.
  4. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, while oil is heating.
  5. Roll out dough to 1/4″ thickness.
  6. Using a doughnut cutter, or a biscuit cutter, cut out 2 inch circles of dough.
  7. Create donut holes by using an apple corer, or simply poking your finger in the center and gently stretching dough.
  8. Carefully place in hot oil, and allow to brown for 1 minute. Turn, and brown for an additional 1 minute.
  9. Remove to paper towels to drain, and sprinkle powder sugar over them immediately. Serve hot.

What is your favorite homemade treat? Will you try these old fashioned donuts?

donuts on blue napkin



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