14 Doughnut Recipes

Tray of Homemade DoughnutsEnjoy Serving Grandma's Homemade Doughnuts
(Source: ©jentara/Depositphotos.com)

Grandma's best doughnut recipes are perfect for making delicious farmhouse-style doughnuts with that sweet and crispy, melt-in-your-mouth taste. You will also love the old fashioned cruller recipes, and the homemade jam-filled doughnuts are to die for!

The Best Doughnut Recipes

These are the same doughnuts and crullers that your ancestors enjoyed eating at church picnics and special family occasions. They taste every bit as good today as they did back then, and they're more wholesome than any you can buy.

They are surprisingly easy to make, so why not make some tonight? Get everybody pitching in and enjoy an evening of old fashioned fun with the family. People will be amazed that you made such amazing treats yourselves.

Wartime Barley Doughnut Recipe

Crisco Shortening Ad, Ladies Home Journal, 1918

Wartime Doughnut Recipe from the Ladies Home Journal, 1918Wartime Doughnuts - Ladies Home Journal 1918
(PD Source: Adapted by Don Bell)

Barley Doughnuts

These delicious wartime doughnuts are from World War One. They are described as crisp, light, and sweet. Dry inside with a rich brown crust, delicate and not all greasy.

Note that there's no sugar or lard in this recipe because of the wartime rations. Feel free to substitute whole wheat flour, if preferred, as it was also unavailable during wartime.

To make War Time Barley Doughnuts you need:

1 tablespoon melted Crisco (shortening)
1/4 cupful honey
1/4 cupful corn syrup
1 egg
3/4 cupful buttermilk

3-1/2 cupfuls barley flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda (baking soda)

1/4 cup chopped nuts

Cream together the melted Crisco, honey and syrup. Add the egg beaten very light, and the buttermilk mixed with the soda.

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly and add to the mixture. Lastly, add the chopped nuts.

Roll out on a floured board to one-quarter inch thickness. Cut with a doughnut cutter and fry in Crisco until a golden brown.

If you use a thermometer, the temperature should be 360°F. Raisins, currents, figs, or dates may be used to vary the recipe.

Cruller and Doughnut Recipes

Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping (1877)

How to Make Doughnuts

To cook these properly the fat should be of the right heat. When hot enough it will cease to bubble and be perfectly still; try with a bit of the batter, and if the heat is right the dough will rise in a few seconds to the top and occasion a bubbling in the fat, the cake will swell, and the under side quickly become brown.

If the dough is cut about half an inch thick, five to eight minutes will be time enough to cook, but it is better to break one open as a test. When done, drain well in a skimmer, and place in a colander.

The use of eggs prevents the dough from absorbing the fat. Doughnuts should be watched closely while frying, and the fire must be regulated very carefully.

Albert's Favorite Doughnuts

We've absolutely no indication who "Albert" is. He might be Mrs. Ziegler's husband. But, since these are his FAVORITE doughnuts, we can assume they must be good!

One pint sour milk, one cup sugar, two eggs, one teaspoon soda, half cup lard, nutmeg to flavor; mix [with flour] to a moderately stiff dough, roll to half inch in thickness, cut in rings or twists, drop into boiling lard, and fry to a light brown. —Mrs. A. F. Ziegler

Old Time Cinnamon Crullers

Two coffee-cups sugar, one of sweet milk, three eggs, a heaping tablespoon butter, three teaspoons baking powder mixed with six cups flour, half a nutmeg, and a level teaspoon cinnamon.

Beat eggs, sugar and butter together, add milk, spice and flour; put another cup flour on molding-board, turn the dough out on it, and knead until stiff enough to roll out to a quarter inch thick.

Cut in squares, make three or four long incisions in each square, lift by taking alternate strips between the finger and thumb, drop into hot lard, and cook like doughnuts. —Miss R. J. S.

Homemade Cruller Recipe

Six eggs, one coffee-cup sugar, six tablespoons melted butter, four of sweet milk, one teaspoon soda in milk, two teaspoons cream of tartar in the flour, one teaspoon ginger, half a small nutmeg (or any other seasoning), flour to roll out; fry in hot lard. —Miss M. B. Fullington

Calumet Crullers Recipe

Calumet Baking Powder Cook Book, c.1921

Sugared Crullers

1 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, well beaten
2 egg whites, beaten stiff
4 cups flour
1/4 level teaspoon grated nutmeg
2-1/2 level teaspoons Calumet Baking Powder
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream the sugar and egg yolks and add egg whites. Sift together thoroughly flour, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt, and add alternately with milk to first mixture.

Place on floured board, roll thin and cut in pieces three inches long by two inches wide; make four one-inch gashes at equal intervals.

Take up pieces by running finger in and out of gashes, lower into deep hot fat and fry. Take up on a skewer, drain on brown paper, and roll in powdered sugar, if desired.

Dr. Chase's Best Doughnut Recipes

Dr. Chase's Third, Last and Complete Receipt Book (1891)

Homemade Doughnuts, as Made by Peggy Shortcake

Sugar, 1 cup; 1 egg; sour milk, 1 cup; soda, 1/2 teaspoonful; flour to mix as for biscuit.

Directions: Peggy says: "Roll pretty thin; have your lard boiling hot, and fry a nice brown. No dyspepsia about these; try 'em, if you want such as grow way down East."

Nutmeg Doughnuts

Sugar, 1 cup; butter, 1/2 cup; 4 eggs; flour, 3-1/2 cups; milk, 1 cup; cream of tartar, 2 teaspoonfuls; soda, 1 teaspoonful; salt, 1 teaspoonful; nutmeg, to taste.

Directions: Beat sugar and eggs together, with the cream of tartar and butter in the flour; dissolve the soda in the milk, then add it to the eggs and sugar, then the flour; roll out thin, cut and fry in hot lard.

Cake Doughnut Recipes

Mrs. Goodfellow's Cookery as it Should Be (1865)

German Doughnuts

One pound and a quarter of flour, three-quarters of sugar, two ounces butter, half a teacup of cream, half a teaspoonful of soda, with the same quantity of cream of tartar; then add three eggs well beaten. Fry in hot lard.

Quick simple Doughnuts

One teaspoonful of soda, two cups of sugar, three spoonfuls cream of tartar, one pint of milk, and flour enough to roll them out in. Fry in hot lard, as also the proceeding.

Sour Cream Doughnut Recipe

Recipes Tried and True (1894)

Sour Cream and Buttermilk Doughnuts

Because the good ladies of the First Presbyterian Church in Marion, Ohio included this old fashioned doughnut recipe in their 1894 cookbook, you know it must be very very good.

One cup sugar, two eggs, one pint equal parts sour cream and buttermilk, one teaspoon soda, cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, flour sufficient for a soft dough. If sour cream is not at hand, use sufficient shortening to make it equal. —Mrs. P. O. Sharpless

Fried Raspberry Doughnut Recipe

Cookery (1895)

Raspberry Doughnuts

There's something especially appealing about this old fashioned Canadian doughnut recipe.

Just reading about these jam-filled-treats makes your mouth water. Any flavor of jam would be delicious in them.

Take the same mixture as for plain doughnuts, roll it out rather thinly and stamp into rounds, put a little raspberry jam on half the rounds, brush the edges with water and cover with the remainder, press them firmly together and fry in hot fat five minutes. Sprinkle with sugar.

Classic Doughnut Recipe

A New Book of Cookery (1912)

Cheap Crispy Doughnuts

This old fashioned doughnut recipe calls for dipping the fried doughnuts quickly into boiling water immediately after they've been fried in oil or lard.

This method would likely remove any surface fat making them less greasy and possibly crisper. It's a method first published in Fannie Merritt Farmer's 1912 cookbook.

4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 nutmeg, grated
2 eggs

Mix and sift dry ingredients, add eggs, well beaten, and milk, the amount required being about three-fourths cup, sometimes more but never as much as a cup. Toss on a slightly floured board, pat, roll, shape, and fry.

Remove doughnuts from fat, using a two-tined fork, and pass quickly through water kept at the boiling point. The fork must be wiped each time before putting into fat.

Recipe for Doughnuts in Rhyme

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c.1920)

Doughnuts in Rhyme

One cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk;
Two eggs, beaten, as fine as silk;
Salt and Nutmeg, (lemon 'll do);
Baking powder, teaspoons two;
Lightly stir the flour in,
Roll on pie-board — not too thin,
Cut in diamonds, twists or rings,
Drop with care the doughy things,
Into fat that briskly swells,
Evenly the spongy cells,
Fry them brown, just short of burning,
Watch with care the time for turning,
Roll in Sugar, Eat when cool,
Price a quarter for this rule. —Sara E. Zook

The Doughnut Tree

Vintage Illustration of Children and a Doughnut TreeOh weary mothers, rolling dough —
Don't you wish that food would grow?
How happy all the world would be,
With a cookie bush and a doughnut tree. —Anon.

History of Doughnuts

Y-Girls Making Doughnuts in Germany for American Soldiers 1914-18"Y Girls" Making Doughnuts, Montabaur on the Rhine, c. 1914-18
(Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. LC-DIG-stereo-1s04260)
Doughnuts for Doughboys History ItemDoughnuts for Doughboys in WWII, c. 1914-18
(Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. LC-DIG-stereo-2s04260)

Did you ever wonder where the first doughnuts originated? Well, believe it or not, the Bible's Old Testament records in Leviticus 7:12 that the priest offered with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, "cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried" — doughnuts?

Seriously, there are numerous theories and legends, but it is believed by many food historians that doughnuts first appeared in Germany and Holland as cooks dropped leftover bits of dough into boiling oil or fat, which they called olie koeken (oily cakes) or oliebollen (fat balls).

Some Dutch bakers shaped their oily cakes into fancy knots (dough-knots) and rolled them in sugar after frying.

Also, European bakers made small cakes called jumbles that often had a hole in the middle, and it is only natural that some would make their dough-knots with a hole in the middle too.

The hole is practical in that it permits the jumbles and doughnuts to cook uniformly without having a semi-cooked, doughy center.

Soon, the old fashioned doughnut recipes came into being as people sought to duplicate the tasty treat in their own kitchens.

Girl with an Antique Stereoscope

How to View 3D Photos: The double image is an old fashioned stereoscopic photograph. It can be viewed by leaning close and staring through the images while slightly crossing the eyes until the two images converge to form one 3D picture in the center. Some people find this method easier to do than others, but it is fun to try.

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