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Easy Sourdough Doughnuts

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Sourdough Doughnuts are yeast-free doughnuts made from sourdough discard then dipped in a sweet cinnamon sugar. These are perfect for a weekend breakfast.

Sourdough doughnuts are not only a wonderfully indulgent breakfast, but they’re a great way to use up sourdough discard. These doughnuts are pan fried and have a texture similar to that of a cake doughnut.

We love to dip them in a cinnamon sugar mixture, but you could also make a sweet vanilla glaze for the tops. Of course, we don’t make these every weekend since they are more of a sweet treat.

They’re perfect for special occasions, when company visits, or a lazy weekend. They go great with dark chocolate coffee or a glass of whole milk.

If you’re looking for other not-as-sweet, sourdough starter breakfast recipes, try our sourdough starter pancakes, sourdough pumpkin bread, or sourdough banana bread.

Sourdough doughnuts stacked against each other on a plate. 

How to make sourdough doughnuts:

This recipe has a lot of steps, but it actually moves rather quickly. Get all the ingredients prepped first, and start by making the cinnamon sugar mixture.

In a small bowl, stir today the cinnamon and sugar. Set aside.

In a separate, medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light in color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and continue to mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined.

Collage of four photos showing how to make dough for donuts.

Scrape the bowl as needed, and pour in the sourdough starter or discard and buttermilk. The discard doesn’t need to be active and bubbly.

It can be the part that is unfed and about to be poured in the trash just prior to the next feeding. Continue to mix on low speed until combined.

Switch the mixer to the dough hook attachment, then pour the flour mixture into the bowl.

Mix until just combined and no flour streaks remain. The dough will be very sticky and airy.

Collage of four photos showing how to mix the dough for sourdough doughnuts.

Remove the dough from the bowl, and place it on a well-floured surface. Knead it a few times until it smooths out a bit, and form it into a ball.

Pat it out into a flat circle about 1/2-inch thick. Use a doughnut cutter or another circular object about 3 1/2-inches in diameter to cut circles in the dough.

I used a metal drink shaker to cut the outer edge of the doughnuts and use the circular edge of a icing tip to cut the centers.

Collage of photos showing how to fry doughnuts.

Continue to re-pat the dough into a 1/2-inch circle and cut the doughnuts until all the dough is used. I was able to get 12 doughnuts with the dough being about 1/2 inch thick.

Place the cut doughnuts onto a plate or pan line with parchment paper until you’re ready to fry them. If you’re able, start heating the oil while the doughnuts are being cut that way the oil is hot when you’re done.

Use a pan that’s deep, so the oil will have plenty of room to expand. A deep fryer, similar to a Fry Daddy brand, will also work.

You only need about 4 cups of oil, and it needs to heat to 350°-375°F before adding the first doughnut. We use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature to make sure it’s hot enough.

Work in batches, and use a slotted spoon or skimmer to carefully lower the doughnuts into the hot oil. Cook on one side for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip to cook on the opposite side for another 1 to 2 minutes.

The doughnuts will brown and look crispy around the edges when they’re finished frying. Remove the doughnuts from the pan, and transfer to paper towels or a wire rack over a pan to drain.

After a couple of minutes, place the warm doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar mixture and turn to coat. Enjoy the doughnuts immediately!

Cinnamon sugar doughnuts with a bite taken out.

What is the texture of sourdough doughnuts?

These doughnuts are fried but have the texture similar to cake doughnuts. They are denser than yeast doughnuts and don’t have the same fluffy texture.

Does this dough need to proof?

No, this particular recipe does not require any proof time or rising of the doughnut dough. If you’re looking for a recipe that requires the dough to rest and/or rise, check out this Sourdough Donuts with Cinnamon and Sugar recipe which has a 2 two baking process.

Can this be made in a stand mixer?

Yes, a stand mixer would work well for this recipe. Just remember to switch to the dough hook before mixing the flour.

Large cinnamon sugar donut on a black plate.

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Cinnamon sugar doughnuts with a bite taken out.

Sourdough Doughnuts

Yield: 12 Doughnuts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Sourdough Doughnuts are yeast-free doughnuts made from sourdough discard then dipped in a sweet cinnamon sugar. These are perfect for a weekend breakfast.

Ingredients

Cinnamon Sugar:

  • 1 Cup (198 g) Granulated Sugar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Cinnamon

Doughnuts:

  • 2 ½ Cups (300 g) All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Cup (113 g) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ Cup (98 g) Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large (100 g) Eggs, room temperature
  • 1 Cup (227 g) Sourdough Discard
  • ¼ Cup (57 g) Buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 Teaspoons Vanilla

Instructions

To Make the Cinnamon Sugar:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon until well combined. Set aside.

To Make the Doughnuts:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a separate, large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix on low speed until combined. 
  3. Next, pour in the discard and buttermilk. Switch to the dough hook attachment, continue to mix on low speed, add the flour mixture. Beat until just combined and no dry patches remain.
  4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 to 4 times. Dust the dough lightly with flour, and roll out to ½  inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or another large circular cutter to cut out the doughnuts and a smaller cutter to remove the centers.
  5. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan with oil until it reaches 350°-375°F.  Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the doughnuts into the hot oil. Cook each doughnut for 2 minutes on one side, then flip to cook for another minute on the opposite side.
  6. Remove the doughnuts from the hot oil, and transfer them to the cinnamon sugar to coat. Set them on a cooling rack to cool slightly before serving.
  7. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of 1 doughnut and doughnut hole. Actual calories will vary.

*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 319mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 2gSugar: 34gProtein: 4g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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