Homemade Donut Holes for a Midwinter’s Day

fried donuts

In my mind, I was going to share with you about Firecider today. The batch I made almost 4 weeks ago is ready to be drunk, bravely, tablespoon-ful by tablespoon-ful. I recently tried a bit myself and the pungency surprised…, then delighted… me. I’m not sure how I will bribe the children to take theirs just yet, but I’m a believer that the health benefits will be worth the fight. However, stay tuned — that’s a story for another day.

Today we are tucking in for another winter storm around here (I do love a good storm), and although I’ve been trying (and somewhat miserably failing) not to eat refined sugar lately, I knew today would be a good day to make our family’s favorite donuts — quite on the other end of the health spectrum from firecider, I assure you — but never you mind that, because moderation and all…

Donuts are my favorite junk food, pretty much ever. And that’s very unfortunate for my waistline, although I do limit myself to rare (ish) occasions. But an impending snow storm is a rare (ish) occasion and so today was a good day for it. Also, I had a quart of oil that I had fried reuben balls in for Superbowl that this wise, and frugal homesteader couldn’t let go to waste until it had been put to one more use. And when it’s mid-winter and I’m bored of the cold and the gray and the walls around me, baking has always been my go-to diversion tactic.

Also, can you call it junk food if it’s homemade?? I’m gonna go with NO.

Anyway, these donut balls rock, and only require 30-40 minutes and ingredients you likely have on hand, from beginning to end. It also makes a BIG bowlful — which is perfect for my BIG family, but if you feel the need to halve the recipe, be my guest. Although that will mean less donuts. Just saying.

Here’s the recipe:


Cinnamon Sugar Donut Holes

3 TBSP butter, softened

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 cup applesauce (I used unsweetened. If using sweetened, decrease the sugar to 3/4 cup)

1 tsp vanilla, or maple extract

4 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 heaping TBSP of baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup milk

Your preferred oil for frying (I use peanut, or canola, or coconut)

Additional 1 cup sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon for dredging.


Cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl a little at a time, alternately adding the milk. The batter will be thick.

In a large, deep, pot, pan, or deep fryer (I use a wok and it works great- use what you have), heat oil, a few inches thick, on medium heat to 375 degrees (or until it looks really hot, if you don’t have a thermometer). Drop the batter by small spoon-fuls. The batter will expand as it cooks, so don’t make your spoon-fuls too large. Turn with a slotted spoon (although the donuts will often conveniently flip on their own) and fry until golden brown. Remove, to a cooling rack or paper towels, to drain and cool slightly. Once cooled slightly, dip in the additional sugar mixture. I use a container with a lid or a paper bag to put my cinnamon/sugar in. Then I drop in the donut balls and give them a good shake to coat them nicely.

homemade donut holes, frying


homemade fried donut holes

homemade fried donut holes


as I was proudly tumbling the last of these donuts into their stainless steel bowl, I heard my six year old son giggling maniacally behind me. I turned, just in time to see him urinating into the kitchen garbage can.

And that, is why I need donuts.

And coffee.

And Jesus.




  1. oh Elizabeth I knew we were city mouse country mouse soulmates! I’m going to try these ASAP and report back. Also, I love the writing in this post! Just saying.

  2. I don’t really eat donuts but these looks so yummy!

  3. Oh my gosh, my mouth isn’t watering! Donuts are my favorite!

  4. This recipe will definitely keep me away from the Dunkin Donuts they just built in my neighborhood. It’s also a fun treat I can make with my son.

  5. Elizabeth, I am so going to make these! They sound delicious! And that amount will be just fine for us. I have 5 children! 🙂 And I get it. I need my coffee and Jesus too with my bunch. Great post! Love your writing style.

  6. Oh yum Yummy Delicious! These look wonderful and would be good any day of the year!

  7. Thank you for this! We need this for breakfast this weekend for sure!

  8. These look so yummy! I love anything dessert. ha

  9. My husband calls these donut punch outs lol, I am totally saving this!

  10. Thanks for the yummy recipe. So homey.

  11. Sometimes the comfort of junk food is needed!

  12. They look so delicious! Will have to make these soon

  13. Yum! These looks so delicious! I will definitely be trying them!

  14. Oh my gosh, I love donuts. I totally agree, not junk food if homemade!

  15. I am SOOOO making these! Wonder if I would get the same results using my air fryer instead of oil frying?

  16. I wish I could eat fried food, donut holes are the best.

  17. Oh my word, doughnuts are my weakness…I remember my grandma making homemade doughnuts and I need to do it myself one of these days.

  18. Homemade donut holes!! I love bite sized snacks. Powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, chocolate, so many varieties. You made me laugh. We are attempting to introduce to the potty to our son. We’ll see how that goes lol

  19. I have honestly never thought about making doughnuts at home before but you make them looks so easy! I am definitely going to try this!

  20. Can you call it junk food if it’s homemade? Nope!!! Love it. Love you!!!

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