Learn how to make mini donuts(or doughnuts) with this super fun recipe. The mini donuts are made with an overnight brioche donut dough, then cut out into mini doughnuts, deep fried, and tossed cinnamon sugar. This post is full of tips and tricks, a list of tools, and reader FAQs to help you successfully make these mini donuts at home
Hi hi! Just popping in to share this recipe with you for mini donuts with cinnamon sugar. This recipe is a few years old now and so I have just updated the post with some tips and tricks for deep frying at home. Made from scratch donut recipes are much easier than they seem.
This mini donut recipe is one of favourite things to make. Mini donuts are super fun, and it always feels like you have a tiny donut shop of your very own at home when you make hot, fresh mini donuts. I just use my regular brioche dough, which I do an overnight rise on to make it nice and easy to roll out. All you need to to then is roll out the dough, cut out your mini donuts, and fry until perfectly golden.
I finished these mini donuts with cinnamon sugar, similar to these Classic cinnamon sugar donuts, but the options really are endless. You can make a big batch and glaze some, toss some in other flavoured sugars, add sprinkes, etc etc. We love these and I hope that you do too!
How to make Mini Donuts
These Mini donuts are super, super easy to make.
- Make the mini donut dough. I like to do an overnight rise for this mini donut dough but you can do it all in one day too. See FAQ for notes but chilled dough is super easy to work with and much better when it comes to cutting out the donuts. If you would like to make a smaller batch of donuts, you can use my small batch brioche recipe which I use to make my Nutella Donuts.
- Roll out the mini donut dough. Roll the dough on a floured surface.
- Cut out the mini donuts. Cut out the donuts using a round cutter, then make the middle hole. I used a metal milkshake straw.
- Rise the mini donuts. I rise the donuts just lightly covered on a sheet pan. While they are rising, preheat the oil.
- Fry the mini donuts. Fry the donuts in batches until perfectly golden. I like to do one tester first just to check my frying time.
- Toss in cinnamon sugar. I made these into cinnamon sugar mini donuts, so after frying, just popped them into some cinnamon sugar and gave them a good toss.
Should Donuts be baked or fried?
Baked and fried donuts are completely different things, as far as I am concerned. A baked donut generally is more of a cake batter, and is made in a donut pan. A fried donut is freeform, and can be either made from a dough like these brioche donuts, or from a batter such as crullers.
If you bake brioche donuts, they are no longer donuts. They are bread rolls. Frying the dough gives a very specific texture and flavor to donuts.
The same goes with an air fryer - an air fryer is basically a small convection oven. Air fryer donuts are in the same category as a baked donut. If you want to make air fryer donuts I suggest you use an air fryer donut recipe that is developed for that specific appliance.
Strawberry Mini Donuts
I finished off my mini donuts with cinnamon sugar, but the best part is that with donuts, you can finish them any way that you like!
I also love to make a strawberry sugar by combining about 250g granulated sugar with 1 Tbsp freeze dried strawberry or other fruit powder. Toss the donuts in the strawberry sugar the same way you would with the cinnamon sugar.
How to deep fry mini donuts at home
I have been using a deep fryer for the last few years, but deep frying at home doesn't need to be intimidating. All you need is a pot with some oil and a thermometer. Ideally a heavy bottomed pot such as a dutch oven works great. Cast iron retains heat well so will help to keep your oil at a steady temperature without too much fluctuation.
Set up your oil in your pan, making sure that it is deep enough for the mini donuts to float. It will take a little time to heat up so make sure you account for that. I like to turn mine on when I first start rising the mini donuts and then turn it off so it is partially heated when it comes time to bring it to temperature.
Measure the temperature using a thermometer with the probe in the middle of the oil. Don't rest it on the bottom of the pan as it will give a false reading. Do a quick check between each batch to ensure that it is at the correct temperature.
Can Frying Oil be reused?
Yes, if the oil from making these mini donuts is still clean, you can re-use it. Just strain it back into the bottle once it has cooled and replace the lid. Store in a cool, dark place until ready to use again. I can usually get 2-3 uses at least out of oil, and usually make fried fish just as a good way to use it up after making doughnuts.
Just make sure to only use oil for donuts that hasn't been used for anything else super flavourful - nobody wants fried fish donuts.
What is the best oil for deep frying?
When you are deep frying, like with these mini donuts, you want to use an oil with a relatively high smoke point. I usually use something neutral. A neutral oil means something that is tasteless. A neutral oil such as canola oil, vegetable oil, rice bran oil, or extra light tasting olive oil (just check the smoke point) is great for deep frying.
How much oil do you need for deep frying?
The amount of oil that you need for deep frying depends on the size of your vessel. You want the oil to be deep enough that the donuts can float. A safe bet would be to check the thickness of the donuts when you are cutting them out and have a minimum of 2-3 times the thickness of the donut as the depth of the oil in your pan.
What is the best pan to use for deep frying?
If you are deep frying at home, a good heavy bottomed pot is super helpful. I love using a cast iron dutch oven, which helps to preserve the heat and prevents large fluctuations in your oil temperature. If your oil is too cool the mini donuts will soak up the oil, and if it is too hot then they will cook too much on the outside before they have a chance to cook throughout.
So if you are deep frying at home, I really recommend getting a cast iron dutch oven or a heavy bottomed pot. Lodge, Staub, and Le Creuset all make them at a range of price points and they are amazing for so many things!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Donuts be made all in the same day?
Yes! Chilled dough is certainly easier to work with but you can make these all in one day if you like. You could also do a same day cold rise and put the dough in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to rise. Kick start it for 10 minutes or so on the counter first.
How do I avoid dents in donuts?
The way I like to do this is by cutting parchment paper squares. I put a few doughnuts on each one. That way when it comes to frying you can just drop the whole thing into the oil and remove the parchment, and avoid your fingers making dents in the dough when you drop the donuts in.
What deep fryer do you use?
I use a breville smart fryer, which I really love. A deep fryer definitely isn't necessary, but it does make it feel like you have a tiny donut shop!
What is the best tool to make donut holes?
I used a metal milkshake straw to make the holes in the middle of my mini donuts, but you can also use a round piping tip to make the hole too - anything with a small round hole will work.
Why are my donuts tough?
This could be due to a few things - either your oil temperature isn't hot or cool enough, or you over or under proofed the donut dough, meaning that it did not puff up in the oil. Check the oil temperature before each batch and make sure the donuts are properly proofed when you fry them.
How do you store donuts?
Donuts are best eaten on the day that they are made. If you eat them after the day you make them, I highly suggest briefly refreshing in the microwave and tossing in some fresh cinnamon sugar.
Can I use instant yeast in this recipe?
Yes, it is a 1:1 sub for active dry yeast, except you can skip the activation time and add it in along with the dry ingredients.
More Donut Recipes:
- Earl Grey Doughnut Bites with Earl Grey Glaze
- Pastry Cream Filled Mini Brioche Doughnuts
- Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Ganache Filled Brioche Doughnuts
- Honey and Vanilla Bean Doughnuts Two Ways
- Brioche Doughnuts with Roasted Strawberry and Pastry Cream
Made this recipe and love it?
If you made this recipe then I would LOVE for you to leave me a review below to let me know how you liked it! Also, please make sure to tag me on Instagram if you make it!
A note on salt and oven temperature
It is important to note the type of salt that is called for in a recipe. I use Diamond Crystal salt throughout my recipes - if you use a different sort of kosher salt or regular table salt you will need to adjust accordingly as some salt is 'saltier' than others. Morton's salt is twice as salty, so you will need half the quantity. Same goes for a regular table salt. I am working to get gram measurements throughout my recipes for salt but still getting there.
All oven temperatures are conventional unless otherwise stated. If you are baking on fan / convection, you will need to adjust the temperature. An oven thermometer is a great investment to ensure that your oven is the correct temperature.
Using the double / triple function in the recipe card
You will notice that there is a '1X' '2X' '3X' button in my recipe card. This can be used for doubling or tripling a recipe. However, please note that this only doubles the ingredient quantities in the ingredients list and NOT in the method. If there are quantities or pan sizes in the method of the recipe (for example weigh out 150g brown butter), you will need to scale this number manually. It will also not change the baking time in the recipe so you will need to adjust this yourself too. It is always a good idea to read through a recipe fully before doubling it just to check this. If you would like to scale this recipe or convert for another pan size, use my calculator!
Tools and equipment
For a list of my go-to tools and equipment, I have a post you can refer to here.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it is the most accurate way to bake. Cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide. There is no way for me to provide one cup measure that works for everyone. However, posting in weight fixes this issue. If you would like the recipe in cups you are welcome to convert it yourself via google, but please do not ask me to do it for you as I am not comfortable providing a recipe using a method that I have not tested. Baking with a scale is easy, accurate, and also makes cleanup super simple. Here is the scale that I use if you would like a recommendation! Here's to accurate baking!Print
Homemade Mini Donuts (+ Video Tutorial)
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 4 hours
- Yield: 40 Doughnuts 1x
- Category: Doughnuts
- Cuisine: American
Learn how to make mini donuts (or doughnuts) with this super fun recipe. The mini donuts are made with an overnight brioche donut dough, then cut out into mini doughnuts, deep fried, and tossed cinnamon sugar. This post is full of tips and tricks, a list of tools, and reader FAQs to help you successfully make these mini donuts at home!
- 2 ¼ tsp (7g) active dry yeast
- 250g whole milk, lukewarm
- 50g sugar
- 565g all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp (5g) salt
- 2 large eggs (about 100g), at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Neutral oil such as canola, extra light olive oil, or vegetable oil for frying
- 200g granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp cinnamon (reduce this slightly if you don’t like strong cinnamon flavour)
- In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.
- Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place overnight in the fridge to rise (see notes)
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper squares. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Roll until it is ½” (1.25cm) thickness.
- Using a 1 ¾” (4.5cm) round cutter, cut out circles of dough. Using a very small round cutter or a milkshake straw (I used a metal bubble tea straw), cut a circle out of the middle of each round of dough. Place onto the squares of parchment paper - you can put a few donuts on each sheet. Repeat until you have cut out all of the dough - scraps can be pressed together and re-rolled. I like to use the scrap ones for the first test fry, as they sometimes turn out a little wonky.
- Lightly cover the cut-out doughnuts with plastic wrap, and leave to rise for 45-50 minutes, until puffy. When you poke them lightly with your finger, it should leave a small indentation that springs back.
- In the last 15-20 minutes of the doughnuts proofing, heat neutral oil to 350°f / 180°c in a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great) or a deep fryer. You want the oil to be deep enough so that the donuts can float in the oil. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Combine all the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar in a medium bowl.
- Once the oil has come to temperature, test it with a few scraps of dough, or your doughnuts you cut from the re-rolled dough. Gently lower the doughnuts, up to six at a time (depending on the size of your pot), into the hot oil. Cook , flipping every 30 seconds, for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 30 seconds before tossing in the sugar. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts.
- Best eaten the day that they are made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container and briefly reheated in the microwave before eating.
For strawberry sugar for tossing the donuts, combine 250g sugar with 1 Tbsp freeze dried strawberry powder and mix to combine. Toss the donuts in the sugar the same way you would with cinnamon sugar.
Keywords: Doughnuts, Mini Doughnuts, Brioche Doughnuts, Donuts, Cinnamon Sugar Donuts
These are a huge favourite in our house!
Tried this recipe today, my first time making doughnuts and they turned out great! Going to use this as my base recipe for doughnuts from now on.
These donuts are AMAZING!!! They are so fluffy, light and just the right size. Super delicious! Everyone loved them and I will definitely be making these again 🙂
Liz! Thank you so much for such a lovely review! So happy you loved them!
Wow!! I have never made doughnuts before, this recipe was amazing. I couldnt stop going back for another. The recipe was easy to follow. Tasted amazing. I dusted mine with sugar and freeze dried strawberry powder.
Thanks for a great recipe!
Yayyyy those sound so good! So funny - I am working on a strawberry version right now!
Can you make the donuts and freeze them to defrost at a different time?
No sorry- once things have been fried they won't freeze well
I made these donuts once and they were so, so, SOOOO good! Brioche donuts are the best. My friends were obsessed with them and keep asking me to make them again. We all said they're better than Krispy Kreme which means a lot in California lol
Ahhh thank you so much!
Omg... is this the perfect fall recipe? Seems like it'd be so delicious with apple cider. I am going to give these a try!
These donuts are fantastic!!! And they were so fun to make!! Thank you for this recipe!!
Ahh you are so welcome!
Hey Erin, just wondering if it’s possible to use instant dried yeast for this recipe?
Hi! Yep use the same amount and just skip the activation step - my small batch brioche recipe uses instant yeast which I explain in the method if you need a reference!
Thank you so much, Erin! This recipe was amazing! I made them vegan with oat milk, aquafaba, and vegan butter. Your instructions and notes are so easy to follow and fool proof. My new favorite brioche dough recipe! (There is nothing sweeter than watching your kids’ eyes light up and smiling through their first bite into a donut you made from scratch!;).)
Hi. I love this recipe so much! I’ve used it for glazed mini donuts, I’ve used it for cinnamon rolls. And they always turn out amazing!
But you said in the FAQs that this recipe could also be made into burger buns. And I was wondering how long it’d take to proof the buns after shaping, if I did the first proof overnight in the fridge? And also please how long would they bake in the oven, and at what temp? Thank you.
Hi! I more just meant that if you bake them, they will come out more like burger buns than donuts. People often ask if they can bake this recipe. I have a couple of burger bun recipes on my site I would recommend instead - this is my favourite one 🙂
I made this recipe and WOW. Just speechless it's so worth the overnight wait. Thank you so much for this amazing recipe. I did it with a normal glaze instead of the cinnamon sugar. My favorite donuts ever! <3
These looks divine!! I’ve always wondered though, what do you do with the left over scraps after cutting out the dough?! I’ve known for a fact that you’re not suppose to reknead the dough and continue shaping donuts until you’re done with all the dough..is that true?? Anyways thank you for this awesome blog and keep flooding us with yummy food.
I usually just cut them into pieces and fry up the bits as like super messy rustic donut holes!
Frying can be intimidating for me, but using this recipe made it so much easier! They’re so light for a brioche doughnut and just melt in your mouth. Can’t wait to try these again!