Air Fryer Donuts made from scratch with yeast dough taste like the real deal. Better than baked and less fat than deep-fried! Learn how easy it is to make the perfect Doughnuts in the Air Fryer!
We love making savory Air Fryer Recipes like our Air Fryer Chicken Wings and Air Fryer Onion Rings but did you know that you can also make great desserts in it like this recipe or our Air Fryer Churros!
Air Fryer Donuts
Homemade Donuts made in the Air Fryer are soft on the outside and have a fluffy, tender interior. Dipped in a buttery donut glaze or in sweet cinnamon-sugar they make a great breakfast or treat and taste like from your favorite Donut place!
Many Air Fryer Donut recipes use canned biscuit dough which is easier but those donuts will taste like biscuits with sugar on top and not like real donuts. So save yourself the disappointment and make them from scratch. They do take a bit of time, but I promise it’s a lot easier than you might think and so worth the end result!
Why This Recipe Works:
The recipe that I’m sharing today is by far the best Air Fryer Donut recipe because they taste like real donuts! They are made with the same dough you would use for deep-fried donuts and my easy step-by-step instructions make it foolproof even if you haven’t made yeast dough before.
The other secret to making these donuts taste and look like the deep-fried storebought version is the glaze. It not only adds sweetness but also keeps the donuts soft.
How to make Donuts in the Air Fryer
- Start with making the yeast dough: Activate the yeast by sprinkling it over lukewarm milk, add a little bit of sugar, and gently stir with a fork.
- Let the mixture sit for about ten minutes. If you look closely you can see the little yeast particles popping. It should be frothy and smell like yeast if nothing happens after 15 minutes your yeast is probably no longer active because it is too old or the milk was too hot.
- Add the remaining dough ingredients and knead the dough in a stand mixer until it is elastic, smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
- Spray a bowl with non-stick spray and transfer the dough to it, don’t worry if it is a little bit sticky. Gently move the dough around in the bowl so it gets coated with oil. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with oil spray and cover the bowl with it. Put it in a warm, draft-free spot and let it rise until doubled. Test the dough by making an indention with the tip of your finger, if the indentation remains it’s proofed long enough.
How to cut donuts
Roll out dough to ½ inch thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Use a 3-inch and a 1-inch biscuit cutter to cut out the donuts. I have this set of biscuit cutters that comes with lots of different sizes.
How to shape donuts without donut cutter
If you don’t have biscuit cutters you can use a wide drinking glass or wide-mouth canning ring and a shot glass. Just look around in your kitchen and pantry, you probably have something that will work.
How to make donut holes
To make donuts holes just use the dough that you cut out from the middle of the donut.
How to make Donut Glaze
Making a sweet donut glaze that dries into a crackly glaze is really easy and takes these homemade donuts to the next level of deliciousness.
For an authentic donut glaze that dries and gets crackly you need:
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 Tbsp hot water
This makes more glaze than you actually need but it makes it easier to dip them in the glaze. I’ve learned that the hard way, it’s better to have too much glaze otherwise you will have trouble coating them.
Here are some other Donut Glaze Recipes and Toppings:
Maple Glaze: Stir together ½ cup powdered sugar and 5 tablespoons maple syrup.
Maple Bacon Topping: Use maple glaze on top and sprinkle with crispy bacon bits.
Cinnamon Sugar Coating: Combine ½ cup granulated sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. Spray donuts with oil spray before dipping them in the mixture.
Chocolate Glaze from Alton Brown
Sprinkles Topping: Top with sprinkles right after dipping in glaze.
How long are Air Fryer Donuts good for?
Serving: Donuts taste best fresh. Let them dry for 10 minutes after dipping them in the glaze so it sets. Because they are made with less oil than deep-fried Donuts Air Fryer Donuts dry out a bit faster.
Storing: You might wonder how to keep donuts fresh! The best way is to place them in an airtight container and store them at room temperature, they will keep for 1-2 days. Some people put their donuts in the microwave for 5 seconds to soften them but I haven’t tried that.
Don’t put glazed Donuts in the fridge because it makes the glaze melt and absorb into the donut which results in a sticky mess
Freezing: These donuts taste best fresh but you can freeze them unglazed. Reheat them in the Air Fryer and glaze thems immediately once out of the oven.
Which Air Fryer should I buy?
Air Fryers I tested and recommend:
Air Fryer & Grill Combo: I recently bought this Air Fryer and love it! The basket is big (10″x10″) and it has a lot more functions than a normal Air Fryer so it can replace other small appliances. It can grill (510 degrees F), air fry, bake, broil, and dehydrate.
Air Fryer: This is the other Air Fryer I own. I really like it and but it is quite small so I would only recommend it for smaller families.
Air Fryer Donuts
- 1 cup milk, lukewarm (about 100°F)°
- 2 ½ tsp active dry yeast, or instant yeast
- ¼ cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tsp
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Oil Spray, Coconut oil works best
For the Glaze
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 Tbsp hot water, or as needed
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, gently stir together lukewarm milk, 1 tsp of sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes until foamy (If nothing happens your milk was too hot or the yeast is too old, so start over).
- Add sugar, salt, egg, melted butter and 2 cups of flour to the milk mixture. Mix on low speed until combined, then with the mixer running add the remaining cup of flour slowly, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Increase speed to medium-low and knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic and smooth.
- Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled. Dough is ready if you make a dent with your finger and the indention remains.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, punch it down and gently roll out to about ½ inch thickness. Cut out 10-12 donuts using a 3-inch round cutter and a 1-inch round cutter to remove center.
- Transfer donuts and donut holes to lightly floured parchment paper and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let donuts rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. Preheat Air Fryer to 350F.
- Spray Air Fryer basket with oil spray, carefully transfer donuts to Air Fryer basket in a single layer. Spray donuts with oil spray and cook at 350F until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Repeat with remaining donuts and holes.
- While the donuts are in the Air Fryer, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in hot water one tablespoon at a time until the icing is somewhat thin, but not watery. Set aside.
- Dip hot donuts and donut holes in the glaze using to forks to submerge them. Place on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to allow excess glaze to drip off. Let sit until glaze hardens, about 10 minutes.
- Make sure the milk is not hotter than 115 degrees F. Using hot liquid will kill the yeast.
- If you don’t have an instant read thermometer, drizzle a few drops of the warmed up milk onto the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm. If it feels hot the yeast will die off, if it feels cold it will remain dormant.