Skip to Content

Sourdough Donut Recipe

This sourdough donut recipe produces light yet chewy donuts with an incredible browned butter frosting!

A sourdough donut on a plate with more doughnuts behind it on a wire cooling rack.

Last fall, when my sisters and I did a food tour of Minneapolis, I had some of the best donuts of my life at Bogart’s Doughnut Co.

They’re famous for their vanilla buttercream filled donuts, but their browned butter flavor actually stole the show for me.

And now I finally got around the recreating them for y’all!

You’re going to die of happiness when you taste them.

Quick note: I switch between spelling it “donut” and “doughnut” in this post.

Leave me a comment letting me know how YOU spell it!

 

A bite taken out of a stack of three sourdough donuts.

Ingredients:

Okay, let’s chat ingredients for a second.

There aren’t a ton of ingredients in this sourdough donut recipe, so it’s important to choose high quality ones!

Sourdough starter:

It’s critical that you use an active sourdough starter. This means that it’s been fed 8-12 hours previously and has doubled in volume and is active and bubbly and passes the float test.

I keep my starter at 100% hydration, which means I feed it equal weights, not volumes, of flour and water.

So for this recipe, place 45 grams of unfed sourdough starter in a jar. Feed it 45 grams each of flour and water. This will give you a little more than the 120 grams of starter you need. 

Make sure to read my How to Make a Sourdough Starter From Scratch post if you need any help getting your starter going!

Milk:

Please use whole milk here, not reduced fat or skim milk!

Butter:

I use salted grass-fed butter

Instead of making you soften your butter, I went ahead and used melted. You can go ahead and thank me.

Sugar:

Since we’re making donuts, the dough has more sugar than your typical bread dough.

The final donuts aren’t super sweet since the sourdough tends to counteract that. 

But the frosting more than covers the sweet department, no fear.

Salt:

Of course to bring out the sweet and sour flavors you have to include salt.

I use Redmond Real Salt.

Eggs:

The dough includes one whole egg plus one egg yolk for extra richness.

Vanilla Extract:

This lightly perfumes the dough with vanilla, which I think is lovely.

All Purpose Flour:

I highly encourage you to use organic all purpose flour since it doesn’t contain harsh bleaches or pesticides which might not play nicely with your sourdough starter.

 

 

How to Make Sourdough Donuts:

All of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer

Okay, let’s make them!

Mixing the Dough:

Place all of the dough ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.

 

Kneading the dough.

Knead on medium low (a 3 out of 10 on my mixer) for 10 minutes.

 

Placing the dough for this sourdough donut recipe in a greased bowl.

First Rise:

Place the kneaded dough into a greased bowl. Cover with a lid and allow to ferment for 8-12 hours, or until it doubles.

If you have a really warm kitchen, the dough might double in as little as 4 hours. But if your kitchen is average to cool, you can get away with letting this rise overnight.

 

The risen sourdough donut dough.

Here’s how much my dough puffed up overnight.

Turn your oven to its lowest setting. Once it’s preheated, turn it off and keep the door shut. This will be your proofing station. 

 

Patting the dough out on a piece of parchment paper.

Shaping:

Pat the dough out to about 1/2 inch thick on a piece of parchment paper.

The parchment paper will make your life SO much easier, trust me.

 

Cutting out rounds of dough with a biscuit cutter.

Stamp out circles of dough using a 2¾-inch biscuit cutter.

You can also use a special doughnut cutter, or a mason jar or cup turned upside down.

 

Cutting out the sourdough donut holes.

Use the smallest biscuit cutter in your set to cut out donut holes.

Or you could use a narrow bottle turned upside down.

Of course if you used a specialized donut cutter you can skip this step. 

 

All of the sourdough donuts cut out and ready for the second rise.

Second Rise:

Here’s what they look like all cut out! 

Skooch them, parchment paper and all, onto a flat cookie sheet.

Cover with a tea towel.

Place in the warm oven to rise.

 

The risen sourdough donuts.

I’m lucky enough to have a warming drawer (it came with our Craigslist kitchen), so I let my sourdough doughnuts rise there.

But the oven proofing trick works really well!

Let the sourdough starter donuts rise until they’re quite puffy, about 2-4 hours.

If you let them rise at room temperature, it may take longer than that.

 

Frying the sourdough doughnuts in avocado oil.

Frying:

Heat a couple of inches of avocado oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet.

When the oil reaches about 365°F, carefully drop in a few of the puffy sourdough donuts.

Keep an eye on the temperature of the oil. When you drop in the donuts it will drop several degrees.

Make sure to adjust the flame on the stove so the temperature doesn’t drop below 350° or rise above 375°.

 

Flipping the doughnuts while they fry.

Cook for 1 minute, then flip them over.

You want them to be browned on the bottom, but not super dark.

If your oil is hotter or cooler than 365° you might need to cook them a few seconds more or less.

Cook for another minute on the second side.

 

The fried sourdough donuts on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain and cool.

 

Frying the sourdough donut holes.

Once the regular-sized donuts are done frying, it’s time to fry the sourdough donut holes!

Carefully drop several into the hot oil.

 

Flipping the doughnut holes.

Fry for 1 minute on each side.

Sometimes a few of them will refuse to flip over. 

That’s okay – they’ll still get cooked. They just won’t look as pretty.

 

A stack of three donuts on a small plate made with my sourdough donut recipe.

 

I mean, these are delicious as-is.

But to take them to the next level, you have GOT to make my browned butter frosting!

 

Browning the butter for the frosting.

Making the Browned Butter Frosting:

While the donuts are cooling, start making the browned butter frosting.

Brown 2 tablespoons of butter.

This is where the magic is.

You can check out my How to Brown Butter tutorial if you’ve never done it before!

 

Sifting the powdered sugar for the frosting.

Sift 3/4 cup powdered sugar into a medium bowl.

Holy moly, my powdered sugar was lumpy!

 

All of the ingredients for the frosting for this sourdough donut recipe in a small bowl.

Add the browned butter, 2 tablespoons of cream, 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt to the bowl.

 

Whisking together the ingredients for the browned butter frosting.

Whisk until smooth. 

You may need to add more cream in order get the proper consistency.

You don’t want it super thin, or crazy thick. Just nice and medium.

 

Spreading a doughnut with browned butter frosting.

There are a couple of options for how to get the frosting onto these sourdough doughnuts.

First, you could use a knife or offset spatula to spread in onto the cooled donuts.

Or you could pour it on top.

Finally, you could dunk them.

Experiment and see which method works best for you!

 

A donut on a napkin with more sourdough donuts on a wire cooling rack in the background.

I mean…how could you say no to that?!

Video Tutorial:

Here’s a video tutorial in case you learn better that way: 

 

Sourdough Donut Recipe

More Sourdough Donut Topping Ideas:

I’d love to experiment with different toppings! 

Here are a few flavor ideas I had:

  • Chocolate with sprinkles
  • Matcha
  • Strawberry
  • Eggnog
  • Maple pecan

I’d also like to experiment with filled donuts!

Ugh…a Boston Cream Pie inspired doughnut would be SO good!

All right, I’d better leave you with the recipe before I get too carried away. 🙃

More Sourdough Recipes:


Sourdough Donut Recipe

These sourdough donuts use a risen dough and are topped with an amazing browned butter frosting!

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Donuts, Sourdough
Prep Time 12 hours 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 donuts
Calories 250 kcal
Author Erica Kastner

Ingredients

For the Donuts:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk (122 grams)
  • 1/2 cup active sourdough starter (120 grams) - see note
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup can sugar (72 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups organic all-purpose flour (330 grams)
  • avocado oil, for frying

For the Frosting:

  • 2 tbsp butter, browned (see note)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream, plus extra to achieve correct consistency
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch unrefined sea salt

Instructions

For the Donuts:

  1. Place all of the ingredients for the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer.

  2. Using the dough hook, knead for 10 minutes on medium-low (3 out of 10 on my mixer).

  3. Transfer the dough to a greased large bowl. Cover and allow to ferment at room temperature until doubled, about 8-12 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is.

  4. Turn your oven on to its lowest setting, and once it's preheated, turn it off and leave the door closed.

  5. Place the dough on a large piece of parchment paper. Using your hands (grease if necessary) pat the dough out into a rectangle until it's about ½ inch thick.

  6. Using a biscuit cutter, mason jar, glass, or donut cutter, stamp out rounds of dough. Using the smallest biscuit cutter in your set or a small bottle, stamp out donut holes.

  7. Arrange the donuts and holes on the parchment paper about and inch apart and transfer them, parchment paper and all, onto a flat baking sheet. Place in the warm oven and allow to raise until quite puffy, about 2-4 hours.

  8. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.

  9. Heat a couple of inches of avocado oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet to 365°F - 375°F. Drop 4-5 of the doughnuts carefully into the hot oil. Cook for 1 minute on each side. You don't want them to be super pale or really dark. A nice golden brown is perfect.

  10. Keep and eye on the temperature and make sure the oil doesn't drop below 350°F or rise above 375°F.

  11. Remove the cooked doughnuts to the paper towel lined baking sheet.

  12. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining donuts, then the donut holes. Some of the holes may refuse to flip over - that's okay!

  13. Allow the donuts to cool until just barely warm before frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. Place the powdered sugar, browned butter, cream, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add more cream to achieve a consistency that's between a spreading and pouring consistency.

  2. You can either spread the frosting on the donuts with an offset spatula, pour the glaze on top of them, or dunk them. I personally find that dunking is the least effective.

  3. These donuts are best served immediately, but you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge if needed. Best if reheated, of course!

Recipe Notes

  • An active starter is one that's been fed 8-12 hours previously, has doubled and is bubbly and passes the float test.
  • If you've never browned butter before, make sure to check out my How to Brown Butter post!
Recipe Rating




Carla van Heerden

Monday 14th of June 2021

Hi Erica, I am curious do you ever mix the dough , freeze and then thaw/proof when you are ready to make the donuts?

Erica Kastner

Tuesday 15th of June 2021

Hi Carla,

I haven't tried that with this dough. I haven't had amazing success with freezing sourdough in the past, but other people have!

Subscribe for access to my FREE E-Book!

Join my mailing list and get access to my Healthy Junk Food Cheat Sheet + never miss a post!

 

Don't worry - I hate spam just as much as you do - your email is safe with me!

Privacy Policy

You have Successfully Subscribed!