Not having a deep fryer in your kitchen does not mean you cannot enjoy having freshly baked donuts from your own kitchen. There is a way to fry your donuts without a deep fryer, and it is a relatively easy method, but you will need some practice to get the technique right.
So, how can you fry your donuts without a deep fryer?
To fry your donuts without a deep fryer, you can simply fry them in some oil in a saucepan. If you want to get this method right and make the perfect donuts, you need to monitor the temperature of the oil, ensure that it stays between 350- and 360-degrees Fahrenheit, and drain the donuts twice.
What are some mistakes you need to watch out for when frying your donuts without a deep fryer? What are a few tips from some professional donuts makers that you can implement during this process to ensure you get the best donuts?
Let us find out!
Methods of Frying Donuts Without a Deep Fryer
Not having a deep fryer in your kitchen does not mean that you cannot make delicious and crispy donuts that taste like they were made by a backer. Making donuts without a deep fryer is relatively easy but will take some practice to get right, but that means that you get to make more donuts!
The easiest way to fry your homemade donuts without a deep fryer is to fry them in a pot with some oil, which sounds pretty easy, right?
Well, this does have more steps involved than if you have a deep fryer and, if you want to make the best possible donuts at home, you will require some extra equipment that you need to be comfortable with using. Let us go through how you can fry your donuts with oil in a pot.
Classic Oil Frying
For this method, you will need a deep saucepan that can hold at least two quarts of oil with space to spare. You will need the oil of your choosing, a slotted spoon, paper towels, a cooling rack, and a food thermometer if you want the best results.
There is the method:
- Pour the oil into the deep saucepan and make sure you do not fill the saucepan to the pot, leaving about 2/3 of the pan empty
- Place the saucepan with the oil on the stove and heat over high heat; if you use a gas stove, make sure that the flames do not go further than the width of the sauces pan as this can be a fire hazard when the oil heats up.
- Heat the oil to between 350- and 360-degrees Fahrenheit and monitor the temperature with a food thermometer if you own one. If you do not have access to or own a food thermometer, you can test the oil with a piece of bread and drop the bread into the oil; if it turns golden-brown in 15 seconds, the oil is ready for the donuts.
- With the slotted spoon, carefully place the donuts into the hot oil, ensure you do not let it splash.
- Cook the donuts for about two minutes on each side, carefully turning the donuts so that there is no splash of hot oil released from the pan.
- Once the donuts are golden-brown, take them out of the pan and drain them.
- Leave the oil to cool in the saucepan completely, then pass it through a sieve and place into a container to be reused later. The oil can be reused three or four times.
Mistakes to Avoid When Frying Donuts Without a Deep Fryer
Frying donuts without a deep fryer can be a challenging task if you are not used to all the work involved with getting the donuts perfectly golden-brown. This can take some practice to get right, so do not get discouraged if it does not work out the first time you try it.
But below is a list of common mistakes that people tend to make in their first few donut frying trials. If you can avoid making these few mistakes when you fry your donuts, then you are well on your way to enjoying the perfect homemade donuts!
Frying the Donuts at a Temperature That Is Too Low
When you are unaware of the oil’s temperature when frying your donuts, this can cause some problems for your donuts. The oil needs to be at the perfect temperature to ensure that your donuts come out a lovely golden-brown without being doughy on the inside or having excess grease on the outside.
Many people will try to avoid any issues with their donuts by keeping the oil’s temperature low, but this is not something you should do as it can cause your donuts to go hard rather than crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
This can also cause your donuts to become extremely greasy, to the point where it is unpleasant to eat the donuts. It is crucial to keep the oil’s temperature between 350- and 360-degrees Fahrenheit to avoid these problems.
Using a Saucepan That Is Too Small for the Donuts
Hot oil is a dangerous liquid to work with, and you do not want it to spill all over your stove, so something to keep in mind is the size of the pot you use to fry your donuts in. When you place the donuts into the oil, the donuts will displace the oil more than you think they would.
The reason for this is when the donuts begin to cook, they start to expand from the heat of the oil, so you need a pot big enough to account for this expansion. You need to use a pot that can hold at least two quarts of oil to ensure there is no danger of hot oil spilling on your stove, or worse, on you.
Not Adjusting the Oil’s Temperature as You Fry the Donuts
When you are using oil to fry your donuts, the temperature of the oil will frequently fluctuate during the frying process. When you place the donuts into the oil, they will absorb some of the heat from the oil, which will begin to cook the donuts.
But this can cause a fluctuation in the oil’s temperature and can cause the cooking time to increase if you do not account for it and adjust the temperature accordingly. You may find that when you first place your donuts into the oil, the oil’s temperature will fall, so you need to increase the stove’s temperature to keep the oil at a constant temperature.
Remember that when the oil is sitting empty, the temperature will rise quickly and burn the first donuts you place in the oil. So, watching the temperature throughout the process is vital for making perfect donuts.
Not Using a Food Thermometer When Frying the Donuts
When you are frying your donuts in oil, you need to ensure that the oil is at the right temperature before placing the donuts into it to cook. If the oil is not at the correct temperature, then this can lead to multiple problems with your donuts.
Thankfully, we live in the modern world and have access to food thermometers that can help you control the temperature of the oil throughout the entire donut cooking process. Food thermometers are easy to find, and you can order one from an online store if you need to.
Food thermometers come in many price ranges, shapes, and sizes, but if you are someone that makes donuts regularly, then it is an excellent investment for you to get a better-quality food thermometer, even if the price is a little higher.
Not Draining the Donuts Correctly After Frying
Knowing how to drain your fried donuts correctly is the difference between having a soggy donut and having a lovely crisp donut. The best technique when it comes to draining your donuts after frying is the technique that is used by various bakeries.
This method is to drain the donuts twice before you cool and coat them. This method helps keep the donuts crispier and will help you get donuts that taste closer to your favorite bakery’s donuts.
First, dry your donuts over the pot you fried them in using a slotted strainer, then for the second round of drying, place the donuts on a cooling rack with some paper towels under the cooling rack for the oil to drip onto. Then when the donuts are cool enough, you can glaze them.
Quick Tips for Frying Donuts Without a Deep Fryer
Now that we have covered the mistakes to avoid when frying your homemade donuts without a deep fryer, we can go over some quick tips to help ensure your donuts are the best they can be. These tips are easy to implement and easy to follow when you are making your donuts.
They do not contradict the donut recipes or the frying method mentioned above, but they ensure that your donuts will come out looking and tasting incredible!
Do Not Over Crowd Your Pot or Pan
When you place donuts into the hot oil, the cold dough of the donuts will begin to cool the oil down by a few degrees. This can affect how the donut cooks and how long it will take to cook.
Overcrowding the pan or pot that you are using to fry the donuts with the dough can cause the oil in the pan to cool down too much. This will affect not only the length of time the donuts need to be in the oil, but it will also affect the taste of your donuts, as the donuts will be soggy and greasy from being in the oil for too long.
This is an excellent example of why using a food thermometer when frying donuts is a good idea, as you can measure the temperature and only let it drop by 5 or 10 degrees, then you know how many donuts you can fry at one time.
Use the Right Fat or Oil to Fry the Donuts
When frying your donuts in oil or fat, you need to use an oil or fat with natural flavors. This will ensure that the donuts are not overwhelmed by the flavor of the oil, to the point where you will only taste the oil and not the donuts themselves.
Two good oils to use to fry your donuts are peanut oil and safflower oil, as these two oils can withstand a high temperature without burning, and they are neutral oils, so they do not have a strong flavor, allowing the donuts to be the stars of the show.
Cook the Donuts Two Minutes per Side
When you first place the donuts into the oil, they will sink to the bottom of the saucepan. The free water inside the donut dough will begin to turn into steam and will leave the dough, which helps the donut expand and have pockets of air in it, making the donut fluffy on the inside.
Once the steam has left the donut, the donut will rise to the surface of the oil, which is when the donut begins to brown. This process usually takes two minutes; you can turn the donuts and brown them on the other side before draining.
You should only cook the donuts for around two minutes on either side as this is the optimal cooking time for the donuts. If you cook them longer, there is a higher chance they will burn or become hard.
Not having deep frying to make your donuts can be a frustrating experience, but this does not mean that you cannot enjoy freshly made homemade donuts without one. You can fry your donuts in a pan with oil, with is a relatively easy method of frying your donuts.
You will need to practice to get it right, but that means there will be many donuts in your future, which is not a bad problem to have! Good luck with frying your donuts.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.