Air Fryer Donuts + Donut Holes with a Sweet Glaze (Video)
Ok, so you want to make donuts in your air fryer. If this is your first time trying a recipe like this, prepare to be mind blown. We’ve made a list of healthy air fryer recipes that we LOVE, but this is definitely one of our favorite air fryer desserts!
Covered in a sweet old-fashioned glaze, these air fryer donuts (and donut holes) aren’t too doughy or thick, they’re tasty little sweet circles of goodness! Plus, they’re made from scratch and they’re much healthier than many other donut recipes. (We do have a tip on how to make them with store-bought biscuit dough as well, scroll down to find that.)
How to Make Air Fryer Donuts (No Biscuits) Video:
Be sure to thoroughly read and follow the tips below to make sure your donuts come out perfectly the first time!
A Few Quick Tips to Start
Tip #1: Microwaving the milk in a glass measuring cup for about 1 minute usually gets it really close to 110° F for me. Use an instant-read thermometer or a few drops on the inside of your wrist. The milk should feel warm, but not hot.
Tip #2: If the milk is hotter than 115° F, it will kill the yeast. So if your yeast doesn’t foam or bubble, the milk may have been too hot or too cold or the yeast is not good anymore.
Tip #3: Mixing the ingredients before adding the melted butter helped to keep the warm butter from beginning to cook the egg.
Donut Dough Mixing + Rolling Tips
- You don’t want to over-flour or over-handle the dough because it will yield a more chewy donut. The dough should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl, but it may still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Totally fine!
- Avoid adding much more flour than the 3 cups total. There have been times when I add up to ¼ cup more, but no more than that! The dough ends up being sticky still, but when you touch it most of the dough does not stick to your finger. It is still easy to scrape up from the bottom of the bowl and form the dough into a ball.
- You’ll know the dough has risen enough when it is about double in size and when you make an imprint with your finger the indentation remains.
No Mixer? No Problem!
Air fryer donuts are easiest made in a stand mixer like a KitchenAid mixer, but you can totally make them by hand too. When making the donuts by hand, I just knead the dough right there in the bowl for about 5 minutes.
The dough is sticky enough that some of it sticks to my fingers and can get a little messy while kneading, but it comes off pretty easily. You will notice a difference in the dough after kneading though; it becomes a little more smooth and elastic.
Tips for Cutting Out the Donuts
Be sure to spray and/or lightly flour the working surface so it will be easy to transfer the cut-out dough to the greased parchment paper without distorting the donut shape too much.
I have found that if I roll out my dough too thick, the donuts can end up a little doughy or will need more cooking time. Somewhere between ¼-thick and ½-thick seems to work really well for me. Try to keep the dough an even thickness for more even cooking and to avoid lopsided donuts.
Once you have cut out as many donuts as you can, combine the scrap dough to roll out again. Toward the end of the dough, there won’t be enough to cut out donuts, so you just cut out more donut holes!
These are the round cutters I have and used for this recipe. I used the 1 ½-inch and 3 ½-inch cutters. I bought them a long time ago though when they were cheaper. This one may be a better value now, has storage container and has more sizes, but doesn’t get as large.
Tips for Air Frying the Donuts
I recommend using pure avocado oil spray or coconut oil spray, but I’m sure other oil sprays will work well too. Spraying the tops of the donuts once they are in the air fryer basket helps them to brown more evenly.
Keep an eye on the cooking time and check about halfway through because, in my experience, the donuts can go from a nice golden brown to a little too dark pretty fast!
I love my air fryer!
I have the Philips Airfryer XXL – it is a 4 qt/3 pound capacity. It’s a large enough basket so I can fit 5 donuts at a time. Each batch is done cooking in about 3-4 minutes, no flipping needed!
Note that cooking time will vary depending on your air fryer and the thickness of the dough. Also, the yield will depend on the size of your dough cutters and the thickness of the dough. I usually end up with 14 donuts and about 17 donut holes.
Don’t have an air fryer yet? Read our Air Fryer Reviews to find the right model and size for your needs.
Tips for Glazing the Donuts
Letting the donuts cool for just a few minutes allows more of the glaze to stick to it. Feel free to use a fork or tongs to submerge the donuts in the glaze, then transfer to the cooling rack. Just be careful not to squish your donuts.
Using your fingers works really well too, just gets a little messy. I like to place the donut into the glaze top-side-down, push it in to submerge a little more, gently remove from glaze, then set on a cooling rack (with parchment underneath) to set.
Save glazing the donut holes for the end because it is super easy to just dump them into the bowl and gently stir to coat. I usually end up with just enough glaze after the donuts to be a perfect amount for the donut holes.
How to Make Air Fryer Donuts with Biscuit Dough
You can make air fryer donuts really fast by using cans of refrigerated biscuit dough. Obviously, not quite as authentic or delicious as this recipe, but they are still yummy! Use a small round cutter to cut out the centers of each biscuit.
The cooking time is about the same as this recipe, maybe a minute or so longer. Use the same glaze recipe (halve it for one can of biscuits). That’s it! Super fast! My favorite refrigerated biscuit dough to use for this is Annie’s Organic Flaky Biscuits.
I wasn’t exactly sure how air fryer donuts would turn out at first, but I’m really happy with the results! They look fantastic and they taste great too.
The glaze is especially good! So yummy and when it dries it is a bit crackly like a classic donut glaze should. I used a clear vanilla extract to keep it nice and white, but any pure vanilla extract will work and add a delicious vanilla flavor.
Hope you try these out and enjoy them! Let us know how it goes in the comments below.
More Donut Recipes:
More Air Fryer Recipes:
- How to Make Air Fryer S’mores
- The Best Air Fryer French Fries Recipe
- Simple Air Fryer Chicken Tenders Recipe
Air Fryer Donuts + Donut Holes with a Sweet Glaze (Video)
- Instant read thermometer
- Round cutters
- 1 cup milk warmed to about 110˚F/43˚C (240 grams)
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast 7.75 grams
- ¼ cup sugar plus 1 teaspoon (54 grams)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt 3 grams
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 57 grams
- 3 cups all-purpose flour 384 grams
- Oil spray
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 85 grams
- 2 cups powdered sugar 224 grams
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 8 grams
- 2 to 4 tablespoons hot water 29-58 grams
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with dough hook), combine the warm milk, 1 teaspoon sugar, and the yeast. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter and lightly beat the egg.
- Add remaining ¼ cup sugar, salt, and egg to the yeast mixture; stir or whisk to combine. Then mix in the melted butter and 2 cups of flour on low speed.
- Scrape down the sides of bowl, then mix in remaining 1 cup flour. Dough should start to pull away from sides of bowl, but still be sticky. (Can add up to ¼ cup flour more, if needed.) Increase speed to medium-low and knead for 5 minutes. Dough will become more smooth and elastic, but still sticky.
- Remove dough hook or transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. (With instant yeast, this will probably take about 30 minutes.)
- Punch down dough and turn out on lightly floured surface. Gently roll out dough until a little less than ½-inch thick, between ¼-inch and ½-inch. Cut out as many donuts as you can with a round cutter, about 3 inches in diameter. Use a cutter about 1 inch in diameter to cut out the centers.
- Transfer cut out dough to a lightly greased parchment paper or silicone mat. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat air fryer to 350˚F/177˚C. Lightly spray air fryer basket with oil spray. Carefully transfer donuts to basket in a single layer. Lightly spray donuts with oil spray and cook until lightly golden brown, about 4 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on your air fryer and the thickness of your donuts, so keep an eye on it! Repeat with remaining donuts, then with the donut holes. Transfer donuts to a cooling rack.
- Glaze: While donuts are in the air fryer, melt butter for the glaze in a medium bowl or saucepan. Stir or whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla, until smooth. Stir or whisk in the hot water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches desired consistency, somewhat thin but not watery.
- While donuts are still warm, but after cooling for a few minutes, submerge each into the glaze. For donut holes, glaze last and just dump them into the bowl and gently stir to coat.
- Move cooling rack over the parchment paper used earlier or a piece of foil to make cleanup easier. Place the glazed donuts on the rack to allow excess to drip off and let sit until glaze hardens, about 10 minutes.