Maple-Glazed Doughnut Holes


three doughnut holes

Want to be a superhero? Start making doughnuts at home.

It might not get you a part in the sequel to Kick Ass, but you’ll definitely earn points with your kids, your neighbors, and your dog.

Making doughnuts at home is easy. It’s fun. And they’re delicious.

Trust me.

maple glazed doughnut holes

This is my take on Cooking Light magazine’s Maple-Glazed Doughnut Hole recipe from their April 2010 issue. I picked it up specifically for the nutrition myth article. (If you haven’t read it yet, definitely take a peek. They shed good light on some old culinary taboos.)

This recipe makes very good, plain-ish doughnuts. They’re sweet and chewy and yeasty, with just a hint of maple flavor.

The glaze does that perfect, fresh-doughnut thing where it crackles and kind of flakes off when you bite it. You know what I mean:

inside doughnut

Next time I make these, I’ll probably toss a little cinnamon or cardamom into the dough.

Frying ain’t so bad. (No, really: It’s not.)

That is, if you follow a few rules.

Your oil has to be at the right temp. Too hot, it’ll burn the outside of your food before the inside is done. Too cold, and a lot of oil will soak into the crust, leaving you with greasy, soggy snacks. Just right, and the oil will seal the outside of the food without really absorbing—and cook the inside perfectly.

How can you tell? Get yourself a deep-frying / candy thermometer. They’re cheap, and you can find them at almost all hardware and Target/Walmart type stores. Amazon sells them, too.

You also don’t want to crowd your pan. (Crowding lowers the temperature of your oil.) This usually means frying your food in batches, so it has plenty of room to swim around.

About sweet dough

Sweet dough is the finicky teenage sister of regular yeast dough.

All yeast doughs take a while to rise. When you start adding stuff to it—eggs, sugar, etc.—you’re weighing down the dough, so it will take even longer to rise.

floury dough ball

Just be patient. It’s well worth the wait.

Maple-Glazed Doughnut Holes

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 large egg
6 Tbls. warm water (100° to 110°)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/8  tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 tsp. salt
3 Tbls. sour cream
cooking spray
peanut or canola oil

Maple Glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water

Makes 36 doughnut holes

Make the doughnut dough

Put the egg in a bowl. Whisk it until scrambled. Set aside for a minute.

beaten eggs with whisk

Put the water, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your mixer (or a large mixing bowl if you’re kneading by hand). Whisk together to break up the sugar. (It will feel really thick, like it’s too much sugar. That’s just fine.)

yeast and sugar mixture

Pour the beaten egg into the yeast mixture.

beaten egg and yeast mixture

Add the sour cream.

sour cream in batter

Whisk the whole mess together. Let it stand for about 10 minutes, until it bubbles (so you know that your yeast is alive and kicking).

the beginnings of dough

Toss in the flour and the salt.

pouring in flour

Beat for a few minutes until well combined.

beating doughnut dough

The dough will be really, really sticky. That’s exactly what you want. Resist the urge to add more flour.

doughnut dough

Spray a large bowl with cooking spray (or lightly grease it with butter). Scoop the dough into the bowl.

sticky doughnut dough

(Super sticky, like I said…)

sticky dough

dough waiting to rise

Let it rise for about an hour-and-a-half

Cover the bowl loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap. Set it in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size. (It may take more or less time, depending on the temperature of your kitchen, etc.) Be patient.

plastic wrap covered bowl

It’s still not very dramatic once it’s poofed up.

dough under plastic wrap

Cut and form the doughnuts

Line a sheet pan with parchment or wax paper. Set it aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, scoop it out onto a lightly floured board.

turn the dough out onto a floured board

dough on floured board

Sprinkle a little flour on the blob of dough. Knead it a few times. Form it into a rough, flat circle. Cut it into 36 squares with a large knife or bencher.

cut the dough into pieces

cut the dough into squares

close up squares of dough

Pull off one square of dough.

one piece of doughnut dough

Roll it into a ball. The dough will feel really soft and kind of…wimpy. That’s OK. Just you wait.

dough ball

Set the dough ball on your prepared pan.

doughnut hole on pan

Repeat with the rest until you have a happy little army of dough balls. Arrange them so they’re not touching. (If they touch, they’ll de-poof when you pull them apart.)

pan of doughnut holes

floury ball of dough

Cover with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap. Let them sit in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

doughnut holes covered in plastic wrap

Make the maple glaze

Put the powdered sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Add the maple syrup.

making doughnut glaze

And the water.

bowl of powdered sugar

Whisk together until you have a uniform paste. Set it aside while you fry the doughnuts.

maple glaze for doughnuts

Fry the doughnuts!

After about a half an hour, your dough balls will have risen a little—but not a lot.

risen doughnuts

Prep for frying

  1. Put about 2 to 2 1/2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (I used a 3 quart pot).
  2. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Set the heat on high. Heat the oil to about 375 degrees (a little over is fine, just don’t go under).
  3. Line a plate with paper towels and set it aside next to the stove.
  4. Line a sheet pan with paper towels or parchment paper. Set a rack on top of the paper towels. Set aside. (This is where you’ll put your doughnuts once they’ve been dipped in glaze.)

Warning: These doughnuts cook really quickly, so don’t start and walk away from the pot.

Working in batches, gently lower 3 – 6 balls of dough into the hot oil with a spider or a slotted spoon. (Be careful…oil burns are nasty.)

fry the doughnuts

Stir them around constantly with your spoon or spider. You want to turn them so they cook evenly, and keep them from sticking together. They’ll poof up round and start to turn brown almost immediately.

turning doughnuts in oil

When they’re evenly browned, fish the cooked doughnuts out of the hot oil. This should take about 1 minute, maybe less.

fresh hot doughnuts

Transfer them to your paper towel-lined plate.

hot doughnuts

Because the oil was at the proper temperature, your doughnuts shouldn’t be at all greasy. (In fact, they should be oddly dry, almost.)

perfectly fried doughnuts

Glaze the doughnuts

Take the hot doughnuts and toss them into the glaze.

doughnut hole in glaze

With a fork, turn the doughnuts over a few times to coat them evenly.

roll the doughnut in glaze

Set them on the rack on your prepared pan.

glazed doughnuts on rack

Repeat. Inhale.

Repeat until you’ve fried and glazed the rest of your doughnuts.

rack of glazed doughnuts

army of doughnuts

Inhale as soon as they’re cool enough to touch.

maple glazed doughnut holes

donut hole

Oh, and enjoy your new superhero status.

bite of a doughnut

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Whoa…this post is amazing and reminds me that my mother used to make homemade donuts for us when I was a kid. Perhaps it’s time for me to try my own. These look delicious. Thank you.

  2. hey jessie…this looks yummy….i really wana try it out…but its very difficult 2 get maple syrup here…so is there any substitute or can i just not add the syrup 4 the glaze???

    • I lived in Ireland for 17 years and always made my own maple syrup. Our kids much prefer this to store bought. Ok, purists, this is not real maple syrup but I was raised on the fake stuff 🙂

      1 C. white sugar, 1 C. brown sugar, 1 C. water. Heat to boiling, cover and gently boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon maple flavouring.

      I will definitely try these donut holes, wow. AND I will roll some of them in crumbled bacon, thanks [email protected]’s for Dinner

  3. I really appreciate that you have provided pictures every step of the way! I had tried making homemade doughnuts in the past and although the dough is hardly any different in terms of ingredients and process, it’s the glazing that makes it extra special for me. I’m definitely gonna try my hand at making doughnuts again, and this time I’ll follow your recipe.

  4. I recently started following your site and I’ve already made a few of your recipes. 🙂 I love your step by step picture instructions because they make it a lot easier to know when I’m doing something right or wrong! I’m a big fan of cooking, but I’m relatively new to working with dough. I made these donuts yesterday and they were great the day I made them…but today they got a little soggy. How do you store them so the glaze keeps that shiny hard finish?

  5. This is a GREAT step by step entry of how to make donuts! I’m really looking forward to trying to make them, as I’ve been looking for a good recipe, but none of the ones I’ve found have enough detail on how to get the “donut” to actually look or taste like one! Some “baked donut” recipes have turned out more like a cake or a scone, so I guess the only way really is to fry it…
    Not sure when I’ll try it, but I will soon! 🙂

  6. This recipe is amazing! Thanks for sharing. I just made a batch and it’s almost all gone. Didn’t have maple syrup, so I just did a glaze. I added a little cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter and tucked a chocolate chip inside each, for a surprise. Yummm!!

  7. I love donuts and will try these. I wondered if there is a way to print just the recipe without the pictures? I notice on some sites there is a recipe under the photos and it makes it so much easier to copy it. Thanks.

  8. I am making this recipe right now. I am on the step where you let the egg water sugar sour cream and yeast sta d for 10 mins but I don’t see any bubbles