Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts Three Ways


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield: about


    large Doughnuts Plus Doughnut Holes

Appears in

Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented

Baked Explorations

By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Published 2010

  • About

If I were a better person, I would make these more often. I would avoid the supermarket or mass-produced doughnut. I would take a stand and refuse to eat a doughnut that was not prepared by hand and eaten fresh from the fryer. These delicious doughnuts are what a doughnut should be, the type you might pick up from the side of the road at a local farm or farm stand. And though I’m often too lazy and lethargic to fire up the fryer, they really aren’t that difficult to make.

Farm stand doughnuts are usually sold coated with cinnamon sugar and tucked inside a paper bag. Sometimes they are made with cider, and sometimes they are made with buttermilk, and they are always worth stopping for. I prefer the buttermilk variety (it produces a cakier doughnut), and I prefer mine dipped in chocolate, but they taste great au naturel as well.

Each topping makes enough for one batch of doughnuts. If you want to use more than one topping for your batch, reduce the amounts by half or by two-thirds, accordingly.


For the Doughnuts

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly browned and cooled
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Chocolate Dip

  • 4 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 70%), coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Sprinkles to decorate (optional)

For the Vanilla Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles to decorate (optional)

For the Cinnamon Sugar

  • cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cinnamon


Make the Doughnuts

Line one baking sheet with parchment paper and another baking sheet with two layers of paper towels.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and sour cream until combined. Add the melted, cooled butter and whisk again.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well. With a rubber spatula, slowly fold the flour into the liquid center until the mixture forms a sticky dough.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and pat it out until it is about ½ inch thick.

Use two round cutters (3¼ inch and 1½ inch for large doughnuts; 2½ inch and 1 inch for smaller doughnuts). Dip the large cutter in flour and press out the rounds. Dip the smaller cutter in the flour and cut out the center of each dough round. Arrange both doughnuts and doughnut holes on the parchment-lined baking sheet, pat the dough scraps back together, and use them to make as many more doughnuts and doughnut holes as possible. Chill the dough while you heat the oil.

Pour enough oil into a deep skillet to make a layer approximately 1 inch to 1½ inches deep. Slowly heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is 365 to 370 degrees F.

While you are waiting for the oil to reach temperature, make the assorted toppings.

Make the Chocolate Dip

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium wide-mouthed bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it is just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter. Keep the mixture warm.

Make the Vanilla Glaze

In a medium wide-mouthed bowl, whisk together the sugar, the milk, and the vanilla paste.

Make the Cinnamon Sugar

In a medium wide-mouthed bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.

To Fry the Doughnuts

Once the oil reaches temperature, gently lift the large doughnuts off the baking sheet and place them in the hot oil. Do not crowd the skillet—make no more than 3 doughnuts at a time. Once they have browned on one side (this takes 2 to 3 minutes), turn them over with tongs or a slotted spoon and continue to cook for another minute or just until browned (they can overcook or burn rather quickly). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel–lined baking sheet and continue to fry the rest of the dough until finished. The doughnut holes will cook faster and can be made in two or three batches after the doughnuts are done.

Assemble the Doughnuts

Once you have finished frying, work quickly to dip the doughnuts in the chocolate or vanilla glaze, or the cinnamon sugar. If you like, decorate the chocolate or vanilla doughnuts with sprinkles. Serve immediately.