How to Make Amazing Old Fashioned Doughnuts

After my grandmother passed away several years ago, my mom and I came across numerous recipes that she had saved (I share more about that HERE). One that was particularly exciting to find was her recipe for homemade doughnuts. Although, she hadn’t made them in decades, my mom instantly recalled them from her childhood and riding along to deliver them to my grandfather while he was working.

What a sweet memory!

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts |

It’s been my hope for some time to try making this recipe, but I was feeling a little… well, intimidated. Would they be as good as my grandmother’s? I don’t typically deep fry food, would I be able to pull it off… without burning the house down?

With this being doughnut week on Storypiece, it’s time to find out.

Amazing Old Fashioned Doughnuts

This recipe originally calls for “Spry”. I actually had no idea what that was and discovered that it is a vegetable shortening that is no longer available to purchase. For the purpose of this recipe, I’ve substituted Crisco as they were once Spry’s direct competitor.

Old Fashioned Doughnut Supplies |

Ingredients for Old Fashioned Doughnuts

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup less 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Crisco
  • 3 3/4 cups sifted flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt

As I type out these ingredients, I remember my grandmother sharing that most of her recipes had been passed down by cooking along side the ladies she learned them from. They literally did everything with a pinch of this and a dash of that. When it came time to write down these recipes, my grandmother had to actually measure out with her hands and convert the portions into teaspoons, tablespoons and cups.

Wow… have times changed!

Also, I really like that all of my grandmother’s recipes use the word “Method” when it comes to how to put together the ingredients.

Method for Amazing Old Fashioned Doughnuts

1. Put eggs in mixing bowl and beat until very light. Then beat in sugar, gradually.

Homemade Doughnuts |

2. Add milk & vanilla. Mix thoroughly.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts |

3. Drop in Crisco. Sift flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt together.

Handmade Donuts |

4. Add half of the dry ingredients to the first mixture and beat until smooth. Add remaining dry ingredient mixture and mix well.

5. Turn out on floured board and with as little handling as possible, roll dough 3/8 inch thick. Cut with 2 1/2 inch doughnut cutter.

TIP: I had difficulty with the cutter and ended up rolling the dough into small balls. For this amateur, they were much easier to work with.

Old Fashioned Doughnuts |

6. Fry in hot shortening (about 1 1/2 inch deep) until brown, turning when first crack appears. Drain on wax paper.

7. While warm, shake in paper bag with the sugar spiced with cinnamon.

TIP: In honor of my grandmother, I used a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of sugar to coat the donuts. I was getting spiced sugar everywhere by shaking it in a bag and ultimately rolled the doughnuts in a bowl containing my sugar mixture.

It took me some time to get the hang of forming the doughnuts and my early attempts where fairly misshapen.

Homemade Donuts |

They may not be pretty, but they are equally tasty. In fact, these doughnuts are so good,  they are delicious even if you decide to skip coating them in sugar.

Old Fashioned Donuts |

Cinnamon Sugar Donuts |

I truly believe that my grandmother would’ve been please with this first attempt at her recipe… or at least highly entertained at my inability to form a nice doughnut shape. 

How to Make Amazing Old Fashioned Doughnuts |

Have you made doughnuts from scratch before? What is your favorite recipe that has been passed down to you through your family?


  1. Chloe Crabtree says:

    These sound heavenly. I think my mother used to make homemade donuts, I will have to ask her about it. I haven’t ever deep fried anything, maybe it is time to change my outlook on that!

    • Danielle says:

      The deep frying was surprisingly easy, but like most things that are delicious, so bad for you. Kinda fun to do on special occasions.

      I’d be curious to hear if your mom used Spry. It was fun reading up about the product.

  2. Trisha says:

    So, I’ve been following your Facebook donut posts – what’s up with baked donuts? Isn’t that just a cake in the shape of a donut? I love that this recipe is deep fried – looking forward to testing it out!

    • Danielle says:

      Ha! I believe people think that baked donuts will be easier (and healthier?) than the deep fried version. I want to try out a baked donut with cake mix so we’ll have to do a taste comparison…. all in the name of research, of course.

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