I had given up eating donuts because eating just one was too hard. I sometimes get my morning coffee at Dunkin and try not to look at the tiers of doughnuts neatly displayed behind the cashier calling my name. These are deep fried, sugar covered bliss.
I ate donuts every Sunday morning that my father would pick up on the way home from church. Of course, I would play sports all day and run every calorie off. That is not working as an adult. Those donuts go right to my waist. So, I gave them up.
I decided to try some donut recipes in my air fryer for a healthier take. I had never ever made my own doughnuts. When I looked for some donut recipes for an air fryer, the same recipe kept popping up. The main ingredient was that biscuit dough that comes in the can that you whack on the edge of your countertop to open.
I did buy the can, but it is still sitting in my refrigerator. I just couldn’t wrap my head around donuts made from pre-made biscuit dough. I suppose it could work, but it seems to me like the texture would be off from what I think a donut should be like. I researched other doughnut recipes, most of which were intended for a deep fryer or the oven. The goal was to see if these could be adapted to an air fryer.
Two of the recipes here are yeast risen, one recipe being gluten free. Another is for a baked (in the air fryer) recipe that rises with eggs. I have to say that the gluten free recipe turned out to be my favorite, and the donuts did rise. I don’t eat much gluten, but my family and friends do, so I bake with gluten grains for them. Gluten and yeast play nicely together.
Classic Glazed Air Fryer Donuts
Glazed donuts are as classic as it gets and what I gravitate toward. This recipe is for yeast raised donuts and donut holes. They take a little time, but they won’t disappoint. A stand mixer works great for this recipe, but you can use a hand mixer and then knead the dough with your hands.
- 1 cup whole milk, gently heated to lukewarm (not hot)
- 2-1/2 tsps active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup + 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 whole egg
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil spray
- 3 TBS unsalted butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 TBS boiled water
Total time:34 min – Prep time:30 min + 90 minutes to rise – Cook time:4 min – Serves:6 people
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, gently stir together lukewarm milk, the yeast, and 1 tsp of sugar. Let this sit for 5 to 10 minutes until the yeast starts to bloom and the mixture becomes foamy.
2. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, egg, butter, and 2 cups of the flour to the milk and yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until well combined. While the mixer is still running, add the remaining cup of flour, a little at a time, just until the dough comes together and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium-low and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is elastic and smooth.
3. In a large oiled bowl, place the dough and cover it with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a draft-free and warm area. Allow it to rise until doubled, approximately 1-1/2 hours.
4. Dust a board or clean countertop with flour. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Gently punch the dough down. Roll the dough into a 1/2 inch thick disc.
5. Using a biscuit cutter or a glass, cut the dough into 10 to 12 rounds. Using, a small cookie cutter, remove the center of each round. Take the excess dough and centers and roll them into golf ball sized round donut holes.
6. Transfer the donuts and donut holes to a lightly floured board and cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Allow these to rise until doubled in volume, approximately 30 minutes.
7. Preheat your air fryer to 350°F and set the timer so the fryer will stay on long enough for cooking in batches.
8. Spray the air fryer basket or crisper plate lightly with oil. Carefully transfer the donuts to the basket or plate in a single layer. Spray the donuts lightly with oil and cook until golden brown, approximately 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining donuts and holes.
9. While the donuts are in the frying, melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until everything is well combined and creamy. Remove from the heat and stir in the hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is thinned out to form a glaze.
10. Dip the warm donuts and donut holes in the glaze using two forks to submerge them. Place on a wire rack set over a foil lined baking sheet to allow the excess glaze to drip off. Let sit until the glaze has set, approximately 10 minutes.
11. Serve while warm with milk or hot coffee and napkins.
Gluten Free Donuts in an Air Fryer
I was skeptical that these would work. But they did. They are a little dryer than ones made with conventional ingredients. However, these do taste good. The exterior is crisp and the interior is soft. Rather than glaze them I actually spread a little butter on them to add some moisture. I suggest using honey or pure maple syrup to lightly glaze the donuts.
- 2 cups gluten free flour mix (one with tapioca or potato starch), reserve 2 TBS
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (raw sugar or granulated)
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 TBS vegetable shortening or coconut oil
- 1 medium egg or egg substitute (JUST EGG works great)
- 1/2 whole cup or almond milk
- 2-1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 tsps turbinado sugar
- 3-3/4 tsps rapid rise yeast
- Oil for coating the basket or crisper plate
- Honey or pure maple syrup for glazing
Total time: 19 min – Prep time: 15 min + 30 minutes to rise – Cook time: 4 min – Serves: 6 people
1. In a large mixing bowl, add 1-3/4 + 2 tablespoons of the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and shortening. Gently warm the shortening over low heat to soften if it is solid. Whisk or beat everything until the shortening is integrated into the mixture and the dough resemble grainy peas.
2. Warm the milk to just lukewarm, not hot. Place this in a small bowl. Add the vanilla and 1-1/2 teaspoons of sugar. Whisk in the yeast until smooth. Set this aside for up to 5 minutes until the yeast starts to bubble.
3. Once the yeast has bubbled, give it a quick whisk. Pour this into the flour mixture and stir to combine. You should have a sticky ball to work with. If the dough doesn’t come together into a ball that you can pick up in your hands, stir in more flour, a very little at a time. Pick up the ball and knead for about a minute between your hands.
4. With 1/2 the remaining flour, dust a board or clean countertop. Place the dough on the floured surface and press gently to flatten. Dust the top of the disc with more flour. Roll the dough into a 1/2 inch thick circle. Using a round biscuit cutter or a glass, cut 10 to 12 round donuts. Using your fingers, gently poke a hole in the center of each donut and form a 1/2 inch wide opening (donut hole) in each. You will have some extra dough after cutting the donuts. Gather the excess and roll it into golf ball sized donut holes.
5. Place the donuts and donut holes on a baking sheet.
6. Preheat your oven on to 200°F. Then, turn the oven off. Place the sheet pan of donuts in the warm oven so they can proof (rise). Leave them alone for 30 minutes or until they have doubled in height.
7. Preheat the air fryer at 350°F for 3 minutes with the timer set for 20 minutes.
8. Brush or spray the fryer basket or plate with a light coating of oil. Place a single layer of donuts and holes in the fryer and cook for 4 minutes or until just golden brown. Remove them to a serving platter and drizzle with honey or maple syrup. Continue these steps until all the donuts are cooked.
9. Serve with napkins and enjoy.
Autumn Spiced Yeast-Free Air Fryer Donuts
This recipe does not use yeast. It is more of a batter than a dough, which is not really uncommon these days. You will need donut pans or tins to bake these. I recommend individual silicone donut molds/pans for cooking these. If your air fryer is a bit larger, you can use a 4 donut mold tray.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsps ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 stick butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 TBS grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
- 1 cup whole milk
- Vegetable oil spray
Total time: 24 min – Prep time: 15 min – Cook time: 9 min – Serves: 6 people
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and salt.
2. Add the softened butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, molasses, and milk. Stir or beat with a hand mixer until everything is incorporated and smooth. Set this aside.
3. Preheat your air fryer to 320°F and set the timer for long enough to cook all the batches.
4. Spray the silicone donut molds with a little oil. Fill each with the batter. Place as many donut molds as will fit in the basket or on the crisper plate. Cook until browned and done in the center, approximately 9 minutes. Continue to cook for another minute if not the right texture.
5. Serve while warm.