Fluffy, soft, pillowy, air fryer donuts are a thing and they are amazing.
If you have an air fryer, you know all about the temptation to make everything in it. It’s kind of funny because all an air fryer really is, is a tiny convection oven with lots of hot air blowing around. Technically, if you have a convection oven, you have a giant air fryer. But there’s something about an air fryer that just seems magic. And what’s even more magic is that you can fry donuts in it.
Air fryer donuts are the real deal
These yeasted air fryer donuts taste just like deep fried donuts and are way better than baked. You don’t need to break out the deep fry oil. They’re just like the regular yeasted donuts you know and love, but made easier in the air fryer. You can glaze them, like I did, or you can dip them in cinnamon sugar. Either way, these air fryer donuts are the perfect sweet treat.
Biscuit vs Yeast Donuts
There are a bunch of biscuit donut recipes out there, but the truth is, if you air fry biscuit dough and coat it in glaze, it’s still a biscuit, not a doughnut. Yeast donuts are fluffier, softer, and taste more like the kind of donut you can get at a really good donuterie. Making yeast donuts takes a little more time (mostly hands off) but it’s so worth it.
How to make air fryer donuts
- Mix. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together melted butter, milk, egg, and yeast.
- Stir. To the yeast mixture, add flour, sugar, and a touch of salt, then stir everything together until it comes into a shaggy ball.
- Knead. From there, knead the dough on high, using the dough hook, for 3-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead everything by hand for about 10 minutes.
- Proof. Gather the dough into a ball and let it rise, covered, in a lightly oiled bowl, until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Cut. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out about 1 inch thick and then cut the doughnuts. Place the cut donuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush with melted butter.
- Rise. Let the donuts rise, covered, until puffy and doubled.
- Air fry. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F, then air fry the donuts for 3 minutes.
- Glaze. Mix together melted butter, vanilla, milk and powdered sugar to make a glaze and dip the donuts in the glaze while they’re still warm.
- Enjoy. Pat yourself on the back for making homemade donuts and enjoy!
Air fryer donuts have all the same ingredients that regular yeasted donuts have:
- yeast – it’s what gives our donuts a fluffy, cloud-like bite. I buy yeast in a jar and keep it in the fridge to keep it fresh. You can also buy it in envelopes. This recipe uses active dry yeast and instant yeast interchangeably.
- milk – I use 2% milk just because it’s what I always have in the fridge, but any milk will work here, even milk alternatives. The milk gives the donuts a nice creamy flavor note.
- butter – melted butter is going to add fat into to the dough to make it rich and velvety.
- egg – we need just 1/2 an egg as a binder. See below for how to measure half an egg, or double the recipe if you want to use the whole egg.
- flour – all purpose flour is what makes up the bulk of our donuts.
- sugar – you can’t have donuts without sugar! Just regular granulated here.
- salt – just a pinch of salt to bring out the flavors of the doughnut.
If you don’t have a donut cutter
A good professional donut cutter is not too expensive and there’s even really really cheap ones that you can get, but if you don’t have a donut cutter, you also can use two differently sized round cookie cutters. Just use the smaller one to cut out the donut hole in the middle.
Which air fryer do you have?
If you’re wondering which air-fryer we have, it’s this one. I don’t know if it’s the best on the market because it’s the only one we’ve used, but it works great. It’s quiet and easy to clean and really big (which is good because you can put a lot of food in it and bad because it takes up a lot of room in our place).
Donuts are very forgiving so you don’t need a kitchen scale for this recipe. Even though the measurements are in grams first, the rough traditional measurements are also given. But, if you’re going to be baking consistently, you should really consider investing in a kitchen scale. A kitchen scale is an inexpensive tool that will give you accuracy and make your life so much sweeter.
Tips and tricks
- To measure out 1/2 egg: whisk it up, then measure out 1.5 tbsp or weigh out 27 grams. You can scramble up the other bit of egg for a snack 🙂
- Don’t roll out the dough too thin: you want it to be about 1 inch thick.
- Make donut holes: if you have small round cutter, just cut out a bunch of tiny 1 inch rounds for donut holes. They’re super cute and so easy to pop into your mouth.
- Use the scraps: combine the scraps together, wrap them in plastic wrap and let them rest for about 10 minutes so you can roll the dough out easily and make more donuts.
- Leave some space between the donuts: when air frying, the donuts need a little bit of room to grow.
Other air fryer snacks to make
Happy donut making!
Air Fryer Donuts
These yeasted air fryer donuts taste just like deep fried donuts and are way better than baked.
- 60 g milk 1/4 cup – whole milk preferred
- 20 g butter 2 tbsp + 2 tsp – melted
- 27 g egg 1.5 tbsp – half a large egg
- 3.5 g active dry yeast 1 + 1/8 tsp – or instant rise yeast
- 140 g all purpose flour 1 cup + 1.5 tbsp
- 20 g sugar 1.5 tbsp
- 1.5 g salt 1/4 tsp
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1.5 tbsp milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Stir together the milk, melted butter, egg, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and stir until a shaggy dough comes together.
Knead on high for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and incorporated. Alternatively, mix and knead by hand for about 10 minutes.
Gather the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover. Let rise for 2 hours, or until doubled.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and roll to about 1 inch thick. Cut into doughnuts, gathering the excess dough and cutting into doughnuts (or donut holes).
Place the doughnuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Let rise for 45 minutes, or until doubled and puffy.
While the doughnuts are rising, make the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar until smooth.
Preheat your air fryer to 350°F. Gently oil the basket and place the doughnuts, slightly spaced out, into the basket. Air fry for 3 minutes. They should will be golden brown and puffy.
Glaze the donuts immediately and enjoy!
Estimated nutrition doesn’t include glazing.
Air Fryer Donuts
Amount Per Serving (1 donut)
Calories from Fat 19
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3.7g23%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.