Filed Under: Dessert | Donut

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts

Recipe By Tessa Arias
  |  
October 7th, 2021
4.27 from 93 votes
4.27 from 93 votes

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts are coated in glaze and taste just like the cakey ones at your favorite bakery! No yeast makes this recipe quicker and easier.

Yield: 12 doughnuts and holes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: The little bit of nutmeg combined with the sour cream and sweet glaze makes these doughnuts taste just like the ones at your favorite bakery, if not better!
Texture: Slightly crunchy on the outside, cakey and soft on the inside. All the little cracks in these doughnuts just soak up the shiny, crackled glaze.
Ease: There’s no yeast in this recipe so you can have these doughnuts IN YOUR MOUTH in a little more than an hour from start to finish.
Pros: I think the pros are inherently implied, they’re doughnuts!
Cons: Deep fried sugary goodness ain’t too good for your diet.
Would I make this again? Yes, whenever I’m craving these old-fashioned cake doughnuts I’ll whip this recipe out.

I have huge sweet tooth cravings on the regular. Can you relate?

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts - just like at your favorite bakery!! No yeast!

When I get a doughnut craving, it’s intense. A lot of doughnut shops make pretty bland and greasy doughnuts that leave a weird residue on your tongue, at least that’s been my experience.

There’s a few local shops that I LOVE, but I rarely have an excuse to make a trip to one of them. This recipe honestly takes about the same amount of time that it takes to drive across town to my favorite bakery, so it’s kind of perfect. Plus, if you only eat doughnuts when you make them from scratch, you can’t really go overboard right? That’s my logic at least.

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts - just like at your favorite bakery!! No yeast!

These Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts are just like the old-fashioned cake doughnuts from the bakery. They’re kind of crunchy and cracked on the outside, making those nooks just purrrrrfect for soaking up the thick, shiny, crackled glaze. We completely dunk the doughnuts in that glaze in the recipe, and it’s amazing. The inside is soft and cakey with a more firm bite than yeast doughnuts. Plus you can’t beat sour cream, it’s good with just about everything.

I don’t always prefer old-fashioned cake doughnuts to yeast doughnuts, but when I do this is absolutely the recipe I use. You can’t beat how much less time these take than yeast doughnuts, too.

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts Recipe Tips

1. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients

Using a scale is a smart idea for this recipe. Any issues I hear about the dough being too dry or sticky are likely due to inaccurate measuring! If you doughnuts aren’t as fluffy and light as you’d like, it’s due to compacting too much flour into your measuring cup. You can learn more about how to measure flour the RIGHT way here.

2. Use REAL bleached cake flour

This is a must for the recipe. Purchased cake flour will yield light and delicate doughnuts like the ones from the bakery. DIY substitutions don’t really cut it, and AP flour will not create doughnuts with that same soft texture. Also, bleached cake flour will work best. Unbleached (like King Arthur Flour) won’t absorb as much moisture and you may end up with doughnuts that crumble while frying. You can learn more about cake flour here.

3. This recipe is FRIED

Yes, you must fry this recipe. It was specifically designed to be fried and not baked, just trust me on that. USE FRESH OIL. It goes rancid quickly, often before the date on the bottle. If it has *any* unpleasant smell, don’t use it. Your doughnuts won’t taste good.

I don’t personally own an air fryer but recently had a reader message me that she had success air-frying this recipe.

My Favorite Doughnut Tools:

The links below are affiliate links.

4.27 from 93 votes

How to make
Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts

Yield: 12 doughnuts and holes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Inactive Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts are coated in glaze and taste just like the cakey ones at your favorite bakery! No yeast makes this recipe quicker and easier.

Ingredients

For the donuts:

  • 2 1/4 cup (255 grams) cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (29 grams) butter, at COOL room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
  • Canola oil, for frying

For the glaze:

  • 3 1/2 cup (350 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot water

Directions

For the donuts:

  1. In a bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until sandy. Add the egg yolks and mix until light and thick. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, ending with the flour.

  3. Mix for 30 seconds on low speed or until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky. You want to mix enough that the dough doesn't fall apart in the oil, but not so much that it becomes tough. If the dough is unbearably sticky, add extra flour one tablespoon at a time (especially if you live in a warm & humid climate).

  4. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour, or until firm.

  5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or two differently sized biscuit cutters to cut out as many donuts as possible, dipping the cutters into flour as necessary to prevent sticking. You should get about 12 doughnuts and holes. If the dough gets too loose, sticky, or greasy at any point return to the fridge to firm before continuing. Refrigerate while you heat the oil so the dough is slightly cold when it fries.

  6. Pour 2 inches of canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot with a deep-fry thermometer attached. Heat to 325°F. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry on each side about 2 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Keep an eye on the thermometer and adjust your stove heat to maintain the correct oil temperature. Let drain on a paper bag to soak up the excess grease.

For the glaze:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Immerse each doughnut into the glaze. Place on a wire rack above a sheet pan to catch any excess glaze. Let sit for 20 minutes until glaze is set. Doughnuts are best served the day they are made but may be store in an air tight container at room temperature for a few days.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Some readers have complained that 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg was too much. Nutmeg is a crucial flavor component to any doughnut, but if you don't like the taste reduce it to 1/4 teaspoon or omit it altogether.
From Hand Forged Doughnuts via Completely Delicious
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Jill — July 10, 2020 at 10:56 am

    Any way I could make these at home, freeze them and bust them out while on vacation next week?

  2. #
    Cecilia — July 1, 2020 at 6:12 am

    Hey Tessa! Can you air fry these doughnuts or do they have to be made with oil?

  3. #
    Steve — June 28, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    The dough was so sticky they would not maintain their shape, except the first three. More flour or more and longer chill?

  4. #
    Emma — June 13, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Super recipe … followed to a T and they came out remarkably well, considering this is the first doughnut I’ve ever made. They are a tiny bit less sweet than the Doughnut Shop variety, but that’s a good thing! Was thinking next time I might try a lemon glaze. Five stars!

  5. #
    Kassidy — June 7, 2020 at 8:45 am

    These look amazing! I was wondering if you knew if you could use AP Flour instead of Cake flour? And how different the textures would be? Thanks!

  6. #
    V.williams — June 1, 2020 at 4:54 am

    I followed this recipe to the letter (except with the temperature) including using a scale to measure the ingredients (where indicated). They are very tasty doughnuts. I do not think a typical everyday person will complain. However, I personally thought the doughnuts seemed a bit dry and dense. The icing was too watery for me so I added two additional coats. My mom, who also is a sour cream doughnut expert said, “you should add nutmeg.” Lol. I told her I added nutmeg to the recipe. So, based on that comment, I would actually add more nutmeg. I might if possible add more butter. I would add more vanilla to the glaze and make it thicker. Perhaps I would make a glaze with butter, as I have seen some recipes do. The main issue I had was trying to maintain an even heat which may have affected my results. My heat continued to increase. Of course it did not take me just two hours to make, but much longer. This was my first attempt so… Nevertheless, my mom and I had fun making them on my birthday. I just had one for breakfast and it was good. It definitely tastes like a sour cream doughnut

    • #
      V williams — June 1, 2020 at 5:08 am

      I wanted to add to my comment that my dough was sticky and the doughnuts kept form and rose beautifully in the grease bath.

  7. #
    Clara — May 31, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    Amazing and SO Easy! Dealing with oil is always the biggest headache for me, but don’t let it scare you away from trying this recipe! Since childhood I have been a true lover of old fashioned and cake doughnuts, preferably unglazed. I did use a bit less nutmeg as noted, but think it would have been fine with the full amount (grate it from the pod, newer/fresh spices make a real difference). In the future I will test freezing the dough, pre-shaped, as well as air-frying. I’d post a photo, but don’t seem to have the option.

  8. #
    Diane — May 23, 2020 at 8:56 am

    Made these delicious old fashion sour cream donuts. For us, the glaze was a little too much. I think the next time I make them, I will drizzle the glaze rather than dunk the donuts. Otherwise they turned out great.

    This is the first of your recipes that I have tried. I am going to do the liege waffles next. Thanks for all the great food science tips.

  9. #
    Barb — May 16, 2020 at 9:27 am

    These didn’t taste the greatest to me but I didn’t weigh everything. They were easy and the looked really good. I will try them again though. Thanks for the recipe. Maybe my tastebuds are off.

  10. #
    Kelly — May 14, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Is it possible to exclude the nutmeg?

  11. #
    Clara — May 13, 2020 at 8:29 am

    Do you have a good recipe for jelly filled donuts? I can’t find them in the store.

  12. #
    Sara — May 4, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Yum! I have been craving these, and live on an island without this kind of bakery. I did used the cornstarch and all purpose flour substitute for cake flour, as we don’t have that either. I went by weight measurement, and am glad I did, used about a half cup less flour than I had measured due to humidity. They were perfect! Added in some freeze dried raspberries. 2nd batch I scooped into donut holes only and froze uncooked. This way we pull a few out at a time and cook them fresh. Thank you!

  13. #
    Deborah L Eck — April 27, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    How long do I mix ingredients if I do not have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment? Thank you!

  14. #
    Deborah L Eck — April 27, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    How long do I mix ingredients if I do not have a stand mixer with a paddle attachment? Thank you!

  15. #
    Elliott — April 26, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    donuts ended up fairly dry in the middle. recipe didn’t really yield 12 1/2 inch thick donuts.
    probably wouldn’t make this recipe again. the flavour of the donuts themselves were bland. Glaze was fairly decent.

    a resounding “meh” all around

  16. #
    Leah — April 25, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I had similar problems as most other prior low-rated posts: flat doughnuts, very dense that they resembled a shortbread cookie, etc. After having great success with a yeast doughnut recipe (from another site) I figured I would try a cake doughnut, but ended up running into a numerous problems. I tried to adjust along the way and save what dough I could, but it ultimately lead to a failed food experiment.
    The first problem I noticed was I sifted and weighed 255g of cake flour, but this was only 1.5 cup’s worth (this is 0.75 c off of the measured amount) so I was immediately skeptical. I continued on regardless weighing all ingredients and chilled the dough. Second problem – I found the dough way too sticky to work with after chilling that I added the additional 0.75c of flour. Third problem – I initially rolled out the dough to yield 12 doughnuts but they were about 1/8inch thick. I tried frying one doughnut this thick and it ended up resembling a cookie. So I amalgamated the remaining dough, rolled it to 1/2 inch thick which yielded ~5 doughnuts. Fourth problem – I had an analog thermometer to fry the doughnuts at 325F but found the 1/2inch doughnuts were raw. At this point the recipe was just a guideline and I was trying everything (i.e. cooking for >2min at 325F, cooking for ~2min at 400F) all of which lead to a very heavy doughnut and not thoroughly cooked.
    I may try this recipe again in the future and try working a “sticker” dough, but I can’t say that will be =soon. It would be great to understand what was the problem here as they look delicious in the photo.

    • #
      Topher — July 24, 2020 at 2:27 pm

      My experience is exactly the same. I weighed all dry ingredients and found the weights off from the measurements (I expect this to some degree, but the difference was a little concerning). I followed this recipe exactly, and I am not stranger to baking. Rolling out the dough, I thought there would be no way I’d yield 12 donuts at the 1/2″ thickness. So I rolled enough to get 12, which I did in the end. They fried up rather flat, and I adjusted to a lower time in the oil to account for being a bit thinner.

      I can’t say the taste is is anything like a good old fashioned sour cream donut. I even find the glaze to just taste like wet powered sugar. I had such hope for these (and was craving them), but it’s a complete let down.

  17. #
    Karen — April 23, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    Can I use another oil to fry these doughnuts?

  18. #
    KC — April 22, 2020 at 11:40 am

    I have the dough in the refrigerator right now. It was very crumbly until I mixed it with my hands. My butter was at room temperature. I am assuming my room was not warm enough. We shall see. Well, mine were awful. They still were too dry. 325 seemed too hot and they burnt. I have NO idea what went wrong. The icing was the only flavor and I’m not sure it was a good one. I may try again. I had no intention of rating but I can’t post unless I do so I went middle of the road! Any advice would be appreciated!

  19. #
    Roni — April 22, 2020 at 11:08 am

    Can you use an air fryer instead of frying in oil?

  20. #
    Joanna Ripple — April 21, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    I was wondering if your reader who used the air fryer gave you any instructions? I would like to try that? Thank you. Joanna.ripple4@gmail.com

  21. #
    Ashley — April 21, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Can you use another cooking oil to fry the doughnuts?

  22. #
    Alex — April 20, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Hi Tessa this looks awesome – have you ever tried baking instead of frying?

  23. #
    Susan Brandt — April 19, 2020 at 10:33 am

    Has anyone ever tried non gluten flour such as Pamela’s gluten free all purpose flour, artisan blend for this recipe. Thank you.

  24. #
    Aaron — April 19, 2020 at 8:19 am

    I’m in the middle of this recipe, dough just went in the fridge for an hour. However I’m worried the dough isn’t sticky enough. I’d categorize it as kind-of dry but still a little sticky. I’ve double-checked all my quantities and everything checks out. Do you have any advice? Warm water? More sour cream? Forget about it and press on? Thanks!

    • #
      Jillian — April 30, 2020 at 4:22 pm

      I had a similar issue and added more sour cream. They came out delicious!

  25. #
    Mike — April 18, 2020 at 4:42 am

    It says salt, I’m assuming it is table salt and not kosher salt.

  26. #
    Monica — April 18, 2020 at 3:44 am

    I followed these instructions really carefully, but the donuts still drank up oil.

    I don’t have a deep fat fryer so maybe that’s the problem, but I used a pan and a thermometer.

    After the first batch I abandoned the deep frying and tried pancake style. They didn’t rise well, but at least aren’t sponges of oil, and will be eaten.

    I’m new to donuts, and this is my second attempt, second recipe, second fail.

  27. #
    Grace — April 14, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Has anyone tried it with all purpose flour? I’m in a baking mood but due to covid-19 lockdowns, I don’t have grocery store access…

  28. #
    Abigail Scott — April 14, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    First time ever frying donuts and making them from scratch, and WOW were these delicious and the consistency was great! I didn’t have nutmeg so I used, 1/4 tsp of Cinnamon, 1/8 tsp of ground ginger and 1/8 tsp of all spice – I would highly recommend this especially if you don’t like nutmeg. Came out lightly spiced and not overpowering. I didn’t have a thermometer so I had to guess how hot my oil was, but used the donut hole dough to test before putting the whole donut in. All around amazing recipe, I have already passed it to multiple friends! I will definitely be making again soon.

  29. #
    Hailee Hagen — April 14, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Is there anyway that I could substitute the buttermilk with regular 2%?

  30. #
    Anne — April 14, 2020 at 4:39 am

    I made a double batch of these. I have been cooking and baking for years and followed the recipe exactly, making sure to use cake flour as well. These crumbled in the fryer and didnt have much taste. Im so disappointed that I wasted my time and ingredients.

  31. #
    Irene — April 13, 2020 at 6:21 pm

    Can you an air fryer for these?

  32. #
    kisha — April 13, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    I want to make these tomorrow, but I don’t have a stand mixer readily available (it’s put away…somewhere). Anyhoo, can I mix these by hand and get the same results?

  33. #
    Fatima — April 11, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Loved this recipe but I should have put the full amount of nutmeg. I read reviews that said it was too strong so I only put the 1/4 tsp. Otherwise, it was delicious! Will definitely make them again.

  34. #
    Stephanie Lewis — April 11, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Made it this morning with great success. I had to sub allspice for nutmeg (discovered mid-process that I was out) but that will make them even better. Thank you!

  35. #
    Dre — April 11, 2020 at 4:30 am

    I have just made these and am about to fry them! Ive been looking for a recipe since trying old fashioned donuts at mister donut in japan this year!

    I followed the recipe to a tee but concerned how they will turn out because the mixture was quite dry and firm and it was very hard to put together with a hand mixer !

  36. #
    Halla — April 10, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    It turned out awesome. But the recipe didn’t include Vanilla extract, I added 1 TBSP but the smell of the egg, didn’t disappear completely . How many TBSP shall I add?

  37. #
    Barbara — April 10, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    Is the sour cream “cultured” sour cream, like you put on baked potatoes, or a liquid cream that has soured?

  38. #
    Charlotte — April 3, 2020 at 11:13 am

    Hello! I made the dough for these and it was a bit too dry and crumbly so I added some milk, do you think they’ll be okay?

  39. #
    bridgette wood — April 1, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    If I don’t have a mixer, can I do this doughnut recipe by hand? thank you.

  40. #
    Marki Swick — March 29, 2020 at 7:48 am

    My husband and I made these this morning! We had all purpose flour and whole fat Greek yogurt instead of cake flour and sour cream. The donuts were delicious! We dipped some in a sugar/cinnamon mix after we glazed them, which I personally liked even more than just the glazed. I’m sure ours were more dense than they were supposed to be, but delicious nonetheless.

  41. #
    Wade — March 26, 2020 at 10:39 am

    Just waouuuh ! Thank you.

  42. #
    Sabrina Wheeler — March 25, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Hello I’d tried this recipe too the letter tried to fry them they fell apart but on the other hand they turned out to be a great tasting cookie though.

  43. #
    Stephanie — March 23, 2020 at 3:28 pm

    This recipe looks great and I’m so excited to try it out! Given the current circumstances, we are a bit limited with our supplies. What are your thoughts on substituting Greek yogurt for the sour cream?

  44. #
    Dianne — March 17, 2020 at 8:19 am

    This recipe was VERY good. We did use the substitute for cake flour (-2T per cup flour +2T corn starch) and I imagine it would be even better with cake flour! We just wanted to use what we had on hand. I ordered cake flour and will make it again with cake flour to compare. This was pretty much exactly what I would expect a sour cream doughnut to taste like and the texture was very good, a little on the dry side, not at all greasy. I want to try again with the cake flour to see how the texture changes. I can tell you actually perfect your recipes, unlike many things I have made online. Thanks!

  45. #
    Goldidea — March 3, 2020 at 9:25 am

    oh, it look amazing!

  46. #
    Jen — February 25, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    If I use my air fryer , do you know how long is cook it and what temp?

  47. #
    panda — February 12, 2020 at 11:47 am

    these r my favorite

  48. #
    Safiyyah Mather — December 15, 2019 at 11:11 am

    I made smaller versions of these which yielded+-24. The size was perfect not too small however one can easily end up over-eating these babies.

    I added more boiling water to the glaze as i found it to be too thick, in future i would omit cornsyrup from the glaze ingredients as I found that the flavor of the glaze was not what I’m used to, this was also the first time I’d used cornsyrup In a glaze.

    I did not find the nutmeg to be overwhelming at all in the recipe

    Overall, this recipe was flop-proof and a winner for the family

  49. #
    Thomas Lee — December 8, 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Best darn donut recipe in the world

  50. #
    Scarlet — November 22, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    I love doughnuts but I have never tried making the old-fashioned kind. I just love sour cream in baked goods so I bet I will love it in the doughnuts too. Thanks for the recipe!

  51. #
    Tiffany — November 19, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    I made these tonight and I dont know what I did wrong but they didnt rise.. they stayed very thin.. what would cause that?

  52. #
    Tammie — October 23, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    How many days are the donuts good for? Trying to see how many days in advance I can make them.

  53. #
    Heidi — October 13, 2019 at 9:18 am

    For those who had dry batter it could also be your altitude and where you live. I have made these in both high altitudes and low altitudes and had different results each time….

  54. #
    Dave — October 12, 2019 at 10:21 am

    There is something seriously wrong with the measurements in this recipe. There is no way you can take about the same amount of flour you’d use for a single pie crust and magically make it roll out into a ½” thick 9 x 12 rectangle. I found the results very Meh! Even rolling it as directed to ½” (and getting about ⅓ of the indicated donuts), the results were bland and flavorless. There was no tanginess and nutmeg is the wrong spice here. Cardamom is what these donuts usually contain.

    I bake a lot, so I weigh everything, my oil temperature was correct (digitally AND analog monitored), fresh baking powder, ingredients at room temperature, tried both cake, pastry and AP flour, etc, and this produced the same bland results 3 times, that were nothing like bakery donuts.

  55. #
    Brenda — October 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Great recipe, they turned out pretty good

    Question, what do I need to add if I want chocolate donuts? Just cocoa powder? Melted chocolate? How
    Much?

    Thanks!

    Brenda

  56. #
    Rachel S. — September 29, 2019 at 11:42 am

    I was so suprised that these turned out so well! They really do taste like they’re fresh from the bakery. I made these for someone’s birthday and so I colored the glaze. 100% would recommend.

  57. #
    Jane Zumot — September 27, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    Hi can we baked them instead of frying? Thanks

  58. #
    Michael — September 15, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    These were amazing. The best doughnut recipe I’ve ever tried. The flavor is incredible. Great balance with the nutmeg, sweetness, and fried outside.

  59. #
    Floranet — September 5, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Now, that’s what called Perfection. Keep up!!

  60. #
    Caylin — August 25, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    I’m trying to figure out where i went wrong, my donuts are flat and hard they did not get cake like more like a dense cookie. Any thoughts?

    • #
      Tessa — August 29, 2019 at 7:18 pm

      Did you weigh your flour? Use cake flour? Was the oil the correct temp?

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