Savor the simple elegance of these homemade Vanilla Donuts. Crafted from scratch, these donuts offer a delightful balance of soft, airy texture and a subtle vanilla flavor, finished with a smooth and silky vanilla glaze. Perfect for a gathering, these donuts are a testament to the timeless appeal of vanilla.

Vanilla is the essence of simplicity and elegance in the world of desserts. These vanilla donuts, with their delicate flavor and inviting glaze, are my homage to this beloved spice. Each bite is a reminder of the joy found in simple, well-made treats.

Freshly made vanilla donuts on a plate

The Chemistry of Donuts

The allure of these donuts lies in the delicate interplay of ingredients and process. The yeast in the dough ferments the sugars, releasing carbon dioxide, which causes the dough to rise and develop its characteristic light texture. The vanilla in the glaze is more than just flavor; its compounds, particularly vanillin, add a subtle complexity that enhances the overall sensory experience of the donut.

Whats the role of yeast in donut dough?

Yeast is a leavening agent that ferments sugars in the dough, producing gas bubbles that make the dough rise, resulting in the light and airy texture of the donuts.

Can you substitute vanilla essence for extract in the glaze?

Yes, you can substitute imitation vanilla for vanilla extract, but it will effect the flavor. I always recommend using pure vanilla extract for the richest most authentic flavor.

Donut dough being cut

How do you achieve a smooth donut glaze?

For the glaze, you can sift the sugar to remove any lumps, then whisk it thoroughly with milk and vanilla until it reaches a silky consistency.

Is it possible to bake these donuts instead of frying?

This recipe is written for frying, baking will not yield the same results.

Donuts being fried

What is in Vanilla Donuts?


Adds moisture to the batter or dough. Milk adds protein and sugar (lactose) to your treat. It encourages browning and adds a bit more sweetness to your baked treat.


Provides flavor and carbon dioxide, making your dough rise. It must be mixed with a warm liquid and sugar in order to activate.

Granulated Sugar

Adds sweetness, provides a caramelized flavor and crisp texture. Sugar assists with rising when creamed with butter. It helps add moisture to your treat and helps it evenly spread as it melts into a liquid in the heat of the oven. Sugar also helps with naturally preserving your baked treat.

Fine Sea Salt

Enhances flavor, adds balance, masks any bitter flavors. Salt is the most powerful and oldest preservative. Always make sure to use fine sea salt so it melts down at the right speed in the heat of the oven. If you use larger granule salt, it will not melt down fully when baked and will leave salt crystals throughout your treat, making it crunch like you dropped it into sand.


Adds both a protein (egg whites) and fat (egg yolks). The egg whites help with rising because, when foamed, little air pockets get trapped inside the egg white mixture. The water content in egg whites encourages steam while baking, which helps with gluten formation, resulting in nice and thick treats. Egg yolks have emulsifying properties that bring batters and doughs together and help them from collapsing. Unless otherwise specified, always use large eggs.

All-purpose Flour

Builds structure as it absorbs liquids and expands. All-purpose flour falls in the middle of bread flour (high in gluten) and cake flour (low in gluten). It’s exactly what it is named, all-purpose, the most universal flour that can be used in most baked goods.

Powdered Sugar

Is just finely ground granulated sugar. It will absorb moisture in your batter or dough. It dissolves easily, ensuring a smooth texture without grittiness. Because it is so fine, it can melt quickly in the oven and spread cookies out more. Powdered sugar also stabilizes and thickens the frosting, thanks to the small amount of cornstarch it contains.

Vanilla Extract

When using pure vanilla extract, as opposed to imitation flavoring, it will add the deep rich flavor that everybody wants in a treat.

Freshly made vanilla donuts

How to Store Vanilla Donuts

Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. Freezing unglazed donuts is possible; thaw and glaze before serving.

Making Ahead

Prepare the dough ahead of time and allow it to rise in the refrigerator overnight. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding with frying. The glaze can also be prepared in advanced.

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Why Make Vanilla Donuts

These are perfect for weekend brunches, holiday breakfasts, or as a delightful treat to accompany hot chocolate.

Freshly made vanilla donuts

Recipes You May Love

Vanilla Donuts

Author: Madison Reid
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Rise Time: 2 hours
Servings: 14 donuts
Made from scratch vanilla donuts. Rise the dough and deep fry it on your stove top. Dip in a silky vanilla glaze.



  • 1 cup whole milk warm
  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar + 1 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

Maple Glaze

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract



  • In a glass measuring cup, add warm milk, 1 tsp sugar and yeast. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until it bubbles up. This is proofing your yeast to make sure it is live and active. Don't skip this step!
  • In a large mixing bowl add salt, eggs, melted butter and flour, stir with a wooden spoon
  • Pour the yeast mixture on top and stir, then when the dough starts to come together, use your hands to knead for a few minutes until the dough is no longer sticky.
  • Cover the mixing bowl & dough with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 2 hours
  • After the dough has risen, place a heavy stock pan on your stove top with 4 cups of canola oil over medium high heat.
  • Using a candy thermometer, get the oil to 350 degrees.
  • While the oil is heating up, roll out your dough. Using a donut cutter cut out donuts.
  • Carefully place a donut or two at a time in the hot oil. Be careful to not let the oil splash up and burn you. Fry for a minute or two and then flip the donut to the other side. Fry for another minute or so.
  • Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the donut and place on some paper towels to dry off any extra oil. Repeat the frying process until all the donuts are done.


  • In a small mixing bowl add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Use a whisk to stir until smooth.
  • Dip the finished donuts in the glaze, remove and allow the excess to drip off a bit before setting back down on a tray to set.


Calories: 287kcal Carbohydrates: 53g Protein: 5g Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0.2g Cholesterol: 37mg Sodium: 102mg Potassium: 85mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 25g Vitamin A: 201IU Vitamin C: 0.002mg Calcium: 35mg Iron: 2mg

Have you tried this recipe?

I’d love to see it! Follow @_mrs.madi_ on Instagram and tag your photos with #mrsmadi.

Vanilla Donuts with Title