You don’t need any fancy equipment or ingredients to make amazing homemade donuts! These old-fashioned sour cream donuts are slightly crisp on the outside and tender in the middle with a simple and delicious donut glaze.

Three homemade sour cream donuts stacked on top of each other with more donuts in the background.

Sour Cream Donuts

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t drool over a box full of colorful donuts. At my old job I had a boss that was a serious donut lover. He’d bring in a huge box of donuts at least monthly for the office–probably part of what made him so popular!  It was always fun to see how particular everyone in the office was about their donuts—everyone seems to have their favorite.

When I go to a bakery I absolutely love seeing all of the fun donut flavors, glazes and fillings, but ultimately I get one of my two favorites every single time; a maple bar, or an old fashioned cake/sour cream donut. Out of all the choices in the world, I can never seem to steer away from those two!

This Old Fashioned Sour Cream Donuts recipe is a total classic. They are soft and cake-y, and who can resist that glaze they’re dipped in? Delicious! The best thing about these homemade donuts (besides how easy they are to make), is that you don’t have to wait hours for them to rise, and you don’t need a special donut pan to make them! They can be whipped together fairly quickly for your snarfing pleasure 😉

How to make sour cream donuts:

The ingredients for homemade donuts are flour, baking powder , salt, nutmeg, sugar, butter, egg yolks, sour cream, and oil.  Making old fashioned donuts at home is fairly simple!

First, sift the dry ingredients together.  Next, combine the butter and sugar.  Then add the egg yolks, and mix it really well.  Finally, you add the dry ingredients in batches alternating with the sour cream and ending with the dry mixture.

Rolled out homemade donut dough cut into circles using metal round cookie cutters.

After letting the dough chill in the refrigerator, you roll it into ½ inch thickness and use a round cookie cutter to cut about 12 donuts from the dough.  Save the donut holes to fry them too! Fry them in oil, just until golden on both sides, flipping once.

Drizzle a simple glaze on top, and enjoy!

Homemade sour cream donuts with glaze resting on a wire cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.

Are donuts healthy?

Unfortunately, these old fashioned sour cream donuts are not the healthiest snack or breakfast option.  While donuts come in a variety of flavors and styles,  most tend to be very high in sugar and very low in nutrients.  So it’s best to save these old fashioned donuts for an occasional treat!

Consider trying these popular desserts:

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Recipe

Three homemade sour cream donuts stacked on top of each other with more donuts in the background.
Prep 1 hr 45 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 1 hr 55 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

For the donuts

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter , room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • oil , for frying

For the glaze

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

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar together until well combined (the texture will be sandy). 
  • Add the egg yolks and mix well. 
  • Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the sour cream, and ending with flour. 
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  • When the dough is almost finished chilling, make the glaze by whisking together all ingredients in a large shallow bowl.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface to about ½ inch thickness. 
  • Use a donut cutter (or two round biscuit cutters) to cut as many donuts out as possible. You should get around 12.
  • Pour about 2 inches of canola oil into a heavy bottomed pot. Heat the oil to 325° F. Fry the donuts 2-3 at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot.
  •  Fry for about 2 minutes on each side, being careful not to let them burn. Remove them to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the grease.
  • Place a wire cooling rack above a sheet pan. Dip donuts in the glaze, covering on each side, and place on the wire rack. Let sit for 15-20 minutes until glaze is set.
  • Donuts are best served immediately, but you may store them in an air tight container at room temperature for a few days.

Notes

Use different sized cutters for larger/smaller donuts
Adapted from Handle the Heat

Nutrition

Calories: 302kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 270mgPotassium: 90mgSugar: 43gVitamin A: 160IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 0.4mg

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Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

*I originally shared this recipe July 2014. Updated July 2018.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I made this donuts today and they turned out just as the pictures show. Hubby is happy with them. Will be making again.

  2. This is the worst doughnut recipe I have ever used. The end result was flat, flavourless and dense. I followed the instructions precisely but it was a waste of ingredients and time.

  3. Trying this recipe this weekend because these are my favorite donuts and can’t find them anywhere near me. I don’t have cake flour, so will be subbing with all-purpose. Do you foresee any issues? Maybe just a bit more dense? Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    Turned out fantastic! I let the dough cool in the fridge overnight because I made it at 11pm and wanted to fry first thing in the morning. Impressed my in-laws who are visiting.

  5. Great recipe!! I tried your sour cream donut recipe because it’s my father favorite donuts… he LOVED it!! Lets just say he didn’t want to share. lol. HUGE hit! 🙂 Thank you!

  6. Mine turned out decent. A little different than what we expected and found the oil in the end product to be overwhelming. There was a bit of breakage when removing them from the oil. Not bad and would try again. Any suggestions for tweaking this would be greatly appreciated.

  7. I absolutely loved the donut, but went to the original recipe and saw the only adaptation you made to the recipe, is not telling the grams of flour in addition to the cup amount. It’s nice you refer to the other recipe. But personally, that doesn’t feel ethical to me, because your website is getting money for someone else’s recipe. I know lots of lots of people do it, and of course, it’s your judgement call.

    1. And you could notice that that person adapted the recipe from another website, who adapted it from a cookbook –see the reference notes at the bottom of their posts (and who knows where the trail ends). So I guess all three (or more) of us are guilty for testing the recipe, taking our own step-by-step photos, and writing up an entire post that walks readers through our experience so they can make it successfully too :-). Haha. (And for reference, I don’t often adapt my recipes–they’re typically originals that were created in my own kitchen. But baking recipes particularly that you see anywhere on the web have usually been adapted again and again. 🙂 ).

  8. 5 stars
    It worked perfectly. I added some food colouring to the glaze and added sprinkles on the top right away and it made some great birthday donuts!

  9. unfortunately these were an epic fail…while the flavor and an old fashioned donut was there, they didn’t puff up at all, I feel like they need yeast or something and even tho I had my oil low, they did burn no matter now fast I turned them over. kinda bummed, they they looked NOTHING like this picture even in the slightest. I think something was missing

  10. Is there a way to bake these or put them in an air fryer or do they have to be fried in oil? They look delicious!

  11. 5 stars
    After seeing the 1 star ratings I was challenged to make them myself. I had no problem with the dough being sticky. Followed directions, sifted my all purpose flour twice, then measured. The only differs was I got about 1/2 as many donuts as the recipe called for, but maybe that was b/c of my cutter?

  12. 4 stars
    I want to give this recipe 4 stars , the doughnut recipe what just right, they turned out very good. I can’t give the 5th star because of the icing….I didn’t like the icing at all , I think the next time I make these and I will definitely be making them again I will just use some vanilla cake frosting and warm it up to dip the doughnuts in……loved the doughnuts Lauren ☺

  13. I had good experience with making them. Ever hear the old saying third times a charm well that is my true statement. I tried 3 times and the third batch came out wonderful and now it is getting better with more practices

  14. 4 stars
    These donuts turned out great. I made them successfully the second try. I did add about 1/8-1/4 cup more sugar to the dough. The dough is not sticky if you add flour as needed. Form dough into a ball and roll in flour before rolling it out. Also, place cutter in flour. Roll out and cut. I put the cut doughnuts back into the refrigerator for about 20 minuets. The challenge is making sure the oil does not get too hot, because they will burn easily. They cook rather quickly, so I take them out when they are lightly golden, flipping them once. I will make these again.

  15. 1 star
    Hot ass mess. The dough was too sticky to roll and they didn’t hold their shape, so I tried to just drop some batter in to the oil and they came out terribly. Kitchen is a total mess and donuts are in the trash.

    1. I’m so sorry you had trouble with this recipe. Do you live in a very humid area? Sounds like the dough needed more flour.

    2. 1 star
      Me too! What a disaster!!!!

      It is the dead of winter, air is super dry. After all that work and wasted ingredients kitchen’s a mess and the “donut” mess is in the sink.

      AWFUL!!!!!

  16. Dear Lauren,

    The donuts look soo delicious. I need to askhow am I going to do the glaze? just by mixing the sugar, water and vanilla?

    1. Yes, just mix all of the glaze ingredients together until smooth. (powdered sugar, vanilla, hot water, corn syrup and salt.)

  17. 1 star
    I don’t know what happened with these. I’m I pretty experienced baker but these didn’t puff at all when fried. They were like fried cookies, not donuts. I had to throw out the whole batch. 🙁

    1. Hi Jackie,
      I’m sorry you didn’t have success with the recipe. I can’t be sure exactly what went wrong but I’m wondering if maybe your baking powder didn’t react appropriately. Have you check the date on it?

    1. Did you try baking these? I’ve seen baked recipes for sour cream donuts but they were more cakey than these. I’d love to know if these turn out well baked

  18. 5 stars
    Hey Lauren- my husband loves old fashioned sour cream doughnuts!! So I mixed up your recipe last night and fried them this morning, wow great success!! They were better than any bakery donut (if I must say so myself)!! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome recipe!!

  19. 5 stars
    I hadn’t planned on making donuts today, but I came across this recipe and couldn’t resists. They did not disappoint! I served them to my kids and their friends and they devoured them! Glad I saw this today and I will be making them again.

  20. 5 stars
    recipe made perfect textured donuts, however i increased the nutmeg… to 2 teaspoons… these were an absolute hit with my group of friends!!!! Thanks for sharing these

  21. These sound amazing!!! I am wondering if I could use my air fryer and a donut pan ? I have the breville toaster oven with the air fryer if that helps

    Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Jen, I have to be honest, I don’t have any experience with air fryers, so I’m really sorry I couldn’t say. I’d love to hear if you try it!

    1. Hi Renee, Cake flour is different from all-purpose flour. Cake flour has more protein and is better for baking more “cake” like baked goods. It’s found in the same section as the all-purpose flour, at the grocery store 🙂

  22. I love all things fried, especially donuts! But, I’m ashamed to admit, I am terrified of frying things myself. Do you think this recipe could be baked in a donut pan?

  23. 5 stars
    Made these tonight and they came out fabulous! Love that they are slightly crunchy on the outside and then cakey on the inside. Everyone at home raved about them, thanks for such a great recipe!

  24. Super excited to try these! Going to try and use Plain Greek Yogurt in place of the Sour Cream. And coconut oil for frying! 😀

  25. Could you suggest an alternative oil to fry with and an alternative to cornsyrup for the icing. Try to avoid excess gmo corn etc and these sound so amazing. Wonder if lard or coconut oil would work. And perhaps a variation of confectioners sugar/water/icing etc.

    1. Hi Catherine, you could use shortening or lard. I’ve never tried coconut oil but I imagine it would work great as well. And an icing with confections sugar and water would work also for the glaze! You could throw in a little vanilla.

        1. Hi Kathy, I’ve never made the dough in advanced before so I can’t tell you for sure, but I would think that would work fine!

  26. These are my 4 year old’s absolute favorite, I can’t wait to give em a whirl this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

  27. These look just amazing! I am definitely a donut person. Nothing like coffee and fresh donuts.

  28. Ummm. Old fashioned are my very, very favorite and I’ve never tried to make them. I am totally saving this recipe! xoxo

  29. Sour Cream donuts are my son’s favorite; I’ll have to give these a try…and a few of the others, too! 🙂

  30. They look perfect. I was totally trying to make cake doughnuts look like these… Mine aren’t quite at the perfection that yours are! I’m definitely trying these soon!!!

  31. oh man these look amazing. I can’t wait to try them I’m a huge old fashioned fan

  32. Old fashioned donuts are my very favorite kind! I cannot wait to try these out, they look unbelievable!

  33. I’m with you! It’s either a chocolate bar or an Old Fashioned donut for me too! I’m excited to try some of the other recipes shared in the Blog Hop though! Thanks lady!