Crispy, fluffy, and unbelievably easy! Our air fryer donuts redefine the joy of homemade treats. Experience the perfect balance of sweetness without the excess oil—your taste buds will thank you!
air fryers have emerged as game-changers, revolutionizing the way we approach classic indulgences. Among the many delightful creations that have captured the attention of food enthusiasts, air fryer donuts stand out as a testament to the versatility and health-conscious appeal of this kitchen appliance. Gone are the days of deep-frying with copious amounts of oil; air fryer donuts promise the same irresistible taste and texture with a significantly reduced fat content. These delectable treats encapsulate the essence of comfort food, offering a guilt-free option for those who crave the joy of biting into a warm, freshly-made donut.
What sets air fryer donuts apart is their ability to achieve the perfect balance between crispy exteriors and soft, pillowy interiors. The air frying process circulates hot air around the donuts, creating a golden-brown crust without the need for excessive oil. This not only results in a healthier treat but also simplifies the cooking process, making homemade donuts an accessible delight for both novice and seasoned bakers alike. Whether it’s a lazy weekend morning or a special occasion, air fryer donuts beckon with their enticing aroma and promise of a delightful, wholesome experience.
From classic glazed rings to innovative flavor combinations, these treats invite experimentation and personalization. The inherent convenience of air frying ensures that you can enjoy these delectable delights without the hassle of deep-frying, making them a practical and time-saving option for those with a sweet tooth.
Table of Contents
Reasons to love Air Fryer Donuts
- Healthier Indulgence: One of the primary reasons to love air fryer donuts is the healthier approach to indulgence they offer. By using significantly less oil compared to traditional deep-frying methods, air fryer donuts retain the deliciousness of a classic treat while reducing the overall fat content. This allows individuals to enjoy the satisfaction of a sweet treat without compromising their commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
- Convenience and Speed: Air fryer donuts are a testament to convenience in the kitchen. The air frying process is quick and efficient, providing a golden-brown crust in a fraction of the time it takes to deep-fry. This makes whipping up a batch of homemade donuts a feasible endeavor even on busy mornings or when a sudden craving strikes, offering a time-saving alternative to traditional donut recipes.
- Versatility in Flavors: Air fryer donuts open up a world of possibilities when it comes to flavors and toppings. Whether you prefer classic glazed, cinnamon sugar, or more adventurous combinations like macha or maple bacon, the air fryer allows for easy experimentation. The versatility of air fryer donuts encourages creativity, making it an enjoyable experience for those who love to customize their treats.
- Foolproof Process for All Skill Levels: Whether you’re a seasoned baker or someone just starting to explore the world of homemade pastries, air fryer donuts are incredibly approachable. The cooking process is relatively foolproof, requiring minimal expertise and equipment. This accessibility makes air fryer donuts a delightful option for those looking to embark on a baking adventure without the intimidation of complicated techniques.
- Less Mess and Easy Cleanup: Unlike traditional deep-frying, air frying minimizes the mess in the kitchen. There’s no need for large quantities of hot oil or extensive cleanup after preparing air fryer donuts. This simplicity adds to the overall appeal of air fryer cooking and makes the experience more enjoyable, allowing you to focus on savoring the delightful results without the hassle of a messy kitchen.
Ingredients needed for Air Fryer Donuts
- Yeast – Incorporating dry active yeast into this recipe contributes to the air fryer donuts’ delightful light and airy texture. The dough undergoes a double rise, and this ingredient plays a crucial role in enhancing both the flavor and texture of the final product.
- Warm Water and Milk – Activation of yeast requires warmth and a touch of sweetness. Ensuring the warm temperature of both water and milk, combined with yeast and sugar, is essential for promoting yeast frothing before introducing it to the dough.
- Powdered Sugar, Milk, and Vanilla Extract – Constituting the fundamental components of the glaze, these ingredients create a luscious topping. The use of powdered sugar is preferred for its fine texture, ensuring a smooth and cohesive blend.
- Corn Syrup – Included in the glaze, corn syrup serves a dual purpose. It contributes to the glaze’s smooth and syrupy consistency, ensuring it adheres well to the warm donuts, providing an enhanced and lasting glazing effect.
- All-Purpose Flour-The main dry ingredient, providing structure and forming the base of the donut dough.
- Granulated Sugar (1/4 cup): Adds sweetness to the dough and helps activate the yeast.
- Milk (1 cup, warmed): Provides moisture to the dough and helps activate the yeast.
- Egg (1 large): Adds richness, color, and structure to the donut dough.
How to make Air Fryer Donuts
- Preparing the yeast dough: Activate the yeast by sprinkling it over lukewarm milk, adding a touch of sugar, and gently stirring with a fork. Allow the mixture to sit for approximately ten minutes, observing the tiny yeast particles popping. The consistency should be frothy, emitting a distinct yeast aroma. If, after 15 minutes, there’s no frothing and the mixture lacks the yeast scent, your yeast may be inactive due to age or excessively hot milk.
- remaining dough ingredients: knead the mixture in a stand mixer until it becomes elastic, smooth, and easily pulls away from the sides of the bowl—this typically takes around 5 minutes. Spray a bowl with non-stick spray, transferring the slightly sticky dough into it. Gently maneuver the dough within the bowl to ensure an even coating of oil. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap, sprayed with oil, and place it in a warm, draft-free area for the dough to double in size. To check if the dough has proofed sufficiently, press the tip of your finger into it; if the indentation remains, it’s ready.
- Chocolate Glazed Donuts:Add 2–3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the donut batter for a Chocolatey flavor. For the glaze, mix powdered sugar with a bit of milk and cocoa powder until smooth. Dip the cooled donuts into the chocolate glaze.
- Cinnamon Sugar Donuts: Toss warm donuts in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar for a classic and comforting flavor.
- Maple Bacon Donuts: Add 1/4 cup of finely chopped cooked bacon to the donut batter. For the glaze, combine powdered sugar with a touch of maple syrup. Dip the cooled donuts and sprinkle with more bacon bits.
- Fruit-Filled Donuts: Spoon a small amount of your favorite fruit jam or jelly into the center of each donut before air frying.
- Matcha Glazed Donuts: Add 1–2 teaspoons of matcha powder to the donut batter for a unique and slightly earthy flavor. For the glaze, mix powdered sugar with milk and a touch of matcha powder until smooth. Dip the cooled donuts into the matcha glaze.
- Sprinkle Party Donuts: Use a classic glaze and coat your donuts with colorful sprinkles for a fun and festive look.
- Lemon Zest Glazed Donuts: Add 1–2 teaspoons of lemon zest to the donut batter for a refreshing citrus flavor. For the glaze, mix powdered sugar with lemon juice and zest. Dip the cooled donuts into the lemon glaze.
- Pumpkin Spice Donuts: Add 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice to the donut batter for a warm and comforting fall flavor. For the glaze, combine powdered sugar with a touch of milk and more pumpkin spice. Dip the cooled donuts into the pumpkin spice glaze.
Tips and Suggestions
- Activate Fresh Yeast: If using yeast, ensure it is fresh and not expired. Activate it in lukewarm liquid (milk or water) with a pinch of sugar. The mixture should become frothy within 10-15 minutes, indicating the yeast is active.
- Temperature Matters: Ensure the milk and water used in the recipe are lukewarm, not too hot or too cold. This helps in activating the yeast and promoting proper dough fermentation.
- Knead Until Elastic: When kneading the dough, whether by hand or in a stand mixer, continue until the dough becomes elastic, smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This ensures a light and fluffy texture.
- Use Non-Stick Spray or Parchment Paper: Spray the air fryer basket with a non-stick cooking spray or use parchment paper to prevent the donuts from sticking to the basket during cooking.
- Evenly Coat with Oil: When transferring the dough to a bowl for rising, make sure to coat it evenly with oil. This prevents the dough from drying out and forming a crust during the rising process.
- Allow Sufficient Rising Time: Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size. This may take about 1-2 hours, depending on the ambient temperature.
- Test for Doneness: When air frying, check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the donuts. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs, they’re ready.
- Experiment with Flavors: Get creative with flavors, toppings, and glazes. Try different extracts, spices, or even fillings to customize the donuts to your liking.
- Work in Batches: Depending on the size of your air fryer, cook the donuts in batches to ensure they have enough space to expand and cook evenly.
- Glaze and Toppings: Experiment with various glazes, from classic sugar glaze to chocolate or fruit-flavored glazes. Don’t forget to add toppings like sprinkles, chopped nuts, or shredded coconut for extra flair.
- Serve Fresh: Air fryer donuts are best enjoyed fresh, so try to serve them soon after cooking for the ultimate taste and texture experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?
Yes, you can usually substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast in equal amounts. However, since instant yeast doesn’t require activation, you can mix it directly with the dry ingredients.
Can I make the dough ahead of time and refrigerate it overnight?
Yes, you can prepare the dough ahead of time, let it rise, then refrigerate it overnight. This allows for a slow fermentation process, enhancing flavor. Bring the dough to room temperature before shaping and air frying.
What if I don’t have a stand mixer for kneading?
You can knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured surface. It may take a bit longer, but the goal is to achieve an elastic and smooth consistency.
How do I prevent the donuts from sticking to the air fryer basket?
Use non-stick cooking spray on the air fryer basket or line it with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
The Best Air Fryer Donuts
- 1 Air Fryer
- 1 cup milk Warm (105 to 110F)
- 2-1/4 tsp Active dry yeast
- ¼ cup Sugar
- 6 tbsp Unsalted butter melted
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups All-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- Coconut or olive oil cooking spray
- 3 cup Powdered sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
- Whisk the yeast, warm milk, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Give the mixture 5 to 10 minutes to stand until it becomes quite bubbly.
- Melted butter, eggs, and the remaining ¼ cup sugar should all be whisked together until smooth in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add yeast mixture and stir until well blended. Mix in the salt and flour. Work the dough on low speed until it becomes shaggy. Turn the speedup to medium-low and knead for about five minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. (The dough will have a hint of stickiness.)
- Spoon the dough into a large bowl that has been lightly greased. Cover and let rise for about one hour and fifteen minutes, or until doubled in size, in a warm, draft-free location.
- Dust a large rimmed baking sheet with flour and lightly line it with parchment paper.
- Punch down the risen dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a ½-inch-thick rectangle. Using a donut cutter, cut out 12 donuts and 12 donut holes, re-rolling scraps as necessary. You can also use a3-inch and 1-inch round cookie cutter to cut out the donuts. Place donuts and holes on the prepared baking sheet. Loosely cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place, until doubled in size, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Preheat the air fryer to 350°F for 10 minutes. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
- Working in batches, carefully place donuts in an even layer in the air fryer basket, about 1-inch apart. Lightly spray the tops with oil.
- Cook for 6 minutes for donut holes and 8 minutes for big donuts or until golden brown. (I recommend frying the big donuts and donut holes separately since the cook times are slightly different.)
- Mix the milk, melted butter, vanilla, and confectioners'sugar in a medium-sized bowl until well combined. Dipped in the glaze are the warm donuts and donut holes. Before serving, place on a wire rack and allow the glaze to set for approximately five minutes. Any leftovers can be kept for up to three days in an airtight container.