Make the most delicious homemade doughnuts by following this simple step-by-step tutorial. These doughnuts, also called Spudnuts, are made with mashed potatoes, which make them extra fluffy and yummy. Our friends say these doughnuts are better than Krispy Kreme!
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Updated: 2019 with more photos of each step!
How to Make Doughnuts aka Spudnuts
Have you ever wanted to make doughnuts, but been too scared to try?
Don’t you worry. Homemade donuts (or spudnuts as we call them since they have potatoes in them) are one of our all-time favorite Halloween traditions.
Making spudnuts does require some time and patience, i.e. it’s a few hour process. But even though it’s a long process, it’s an easy one. Today I’m going to show you step-by-step how to get amazing homemade spudnuts every time.
I’m a 3rd generation doughnut maker and my husband and I host a homemade spudnut party every Fall. We usually triple the batch, meaning we make over 300 spudnuts! We love inviting neighborhood friends and family over for a donut free-for-all. It’s one of our favorite parties of the year! After doing this for 9 years, we’ve learned lots of tips that make the process more streamlined.
So read on if you’d like to learn from the pros. (Although we won’t be quitting our day jobs anytime soon. 🙂
What You Need
Besides basic baking ingredients, you’ll need:
- Mashed potatoes (homemade or instant, without salt or flavoring)
- Flour (lots of it!)
- Milk (almond or dairy)
- Powdered sugar
- Donut cutter
- Rolling pin
- Wax paper
- Deep fryer or electric fry pan
- Canola oil or vegetable oil for frying
- Lots of paper towels
Instructions for Making the Dough
Step 1-Make mashed potatoes
Make mashed potatoes. While you can use instant potatoes for your spudnuts, we prefer the real deal. Make them a day in advance to cut down on prep time. Be sure you mix/mash them very well so they are smooth, not lumpy. Add in a little milk to get this consistency. Be sure not to add butter, or salt and pepper.
Tip: Make the mashed potatoes a day in advance. They do not need to be warm to use in the recipe.
Step 2- Scald milk
Scald the milk. You’ll know it’s scalded when there is a thin film on the top of the milk. It usually happens right before it boils. Then remove the milk from heat and let it cool. You’ll still want it slightly warm to help activate the yeast. But it should not be hot to the touch.
Step 3-Mix yeast, sugar, and water together
While the milk is cooling (you can put it in the fridge to speed up the process), mix the yeast, sugar, and water together and let sit for about 5 minutes until frothy. It should look like this before you add it to the rest of the dough.
See how frothy and bubbly it is? That is the key to light and fluffy donuts.
Step 4- Combine it all to make a dough
Slightly beat the eggs and set aside. Cream sugar and shortening together in a new bowl. Add in the eggs and potatoes and mix well. Then add yeast mixture and cooled milk. Slowly add in flour and salt. (You will probably add in an extra 2 cups of flour so that it isn’t sticky.)
The dough will get very heavy and thick. You can use a Kitchenaid or Bosch for this process, but once you add in about 8-10 cups, it’s usually best to finish mixing by hand to avoid burning out the motors of your machine.
Step 5- Let the dough rise
Once the dough is mixed well and smooth, let rise in a large bowl with a clean towel over the top. Let rise for at least 1 1/2 hours, but up to 3-4 hours is fine.
Instructions for Rolling The Dough
Step 1- Prep the surface and roll
Generously flour a clean surface. Roll the dough about 1/2 inch thick.
Step 2 – Cut into donut shapes.
Just look how pretty!!
And yes! You can save the donut holes for frying or mix back into the dough to use for more doughnuts!
Step 3- Let the donuts rise
Once all the donuts have been cut, move them to trays covered with wax paper. The wax paper is optional, but sure cuts down on clean-up time!
You will need lots of trays. If you don’t have a lot of baking sheets (these are our all-time favorite baking sheets), buy some cheap rectangle trays at the dollar store. We invested in 10 from Dollar Tree and use them for our spudnut night. I don’t love baking on them, but for letting donuts rise, they are perfect!
How long should you let the donuts rise before frying?
Let the spudnuts rise at least half an hour before frying. However, by the time you are finished rolling out all the spudnuts, you could start frying. They can rise up to a few hours and still turn out!
Tip: While they are rising is a good time to start cleaning up what you can and get prep for frying.
Instructions For Frying
Step 1- Heat the oil
Fill oil into a deep fat fryer or electric fry pan. We use both to speed up the frying process, but prefer an electric fry pan because it holds more donuts. You’ll need enough oil so that the donuts can sit at least half way into the oil.
How much oil to use?
For an electric fry pan, about 1/2 inch oil. It needs to be deep enough so that both sides of the spudnut get cooked when flipped. If you use an electric fry pan, it will keep the heat even and you can fry about 8-9 at a time.
How long to fry the spudnuts
Fry the spudnuts until they are golden brown and then flip. Once both sides have been cooked, move them to a pan lined with paper towels. Let the grease drain for a minute or so.
You will go through lots of paper towels during the process, so be sure to have about 1 roll. For easy cleanup, use a disposable baking pan to let the donuts cool in like this:
While the spudnuts are still warm, dip them in homemade glaze (recipe below). My sister taught us the best trick. Use chopsticks for this process. Slide the chopstick through the hole and then you can glaze a few at a time.
Let the glaze drip off a little bit before you move them to serving platters.
Repeat the process until have been fried and glazed.
How many donuts does 1 batch make?
Each batch makes 100-120 spudnuts, depending on the size you cut them.
So how long does it take to make?
- Making the dough= about 30 minutes if you have the mashed potatoes made ahead of time
- 1st rise time= 1 1/2 hours or up to 4 hours
- Rolling out= 45 minutes to 1 hour per batch
- 2nd rise time= 30 minutes (usually just let them rise until all are rolled out)
- Frying/Glazing time= 45 minutes
So yes, this is a long process, but an easy one. You’ll need to dedicate about 3-4 hours of hands on time (with breaks in between). But they are so worth it! And you will become quite popular. Just saying.
Can I make different glazes?
The homemade vanilla glaze is always a winner, but you can be creative and create different types of glazes. For different types, just add the following to the vanilla glaze:
- frozen blueberries= mix in blender with glaze for blueberry glaze (add extra powdered sugar to make it thicker)
- lemon juice + poppyseeds- lemon glaze
- cinnamon sugar- skip the glaze and just do cinnamon and sugar
- chocolate chips= melt chocolate to drizzle over the vanilla glaze
Tips for Your Donut Open House Party
If you are making a full batch, you’ll want to invite friends and family over to enjoy these hot donuts with you! After throwing donut parties for over 11 years now, here’s our best tips:
- Get the word out. Make a flyer to hand out to neighbors or post on a neighborhood Facebook page.
- Make your party open-house style. Tell your guests they can drop by donuts and stay a while or just a few minutes.
- You can have all the donuts made before your party starts, but I think it’s more fun to cook them as your guests are coming. We like to have a few trays cooked and ready, but then fry as people come so that they can enjoy fresh hot ones!
- Have lots of napkins.
- Label the varieties so people know what they are getting!
Okay, so you’re ready to try making doughnuts, donuts, or spudnuts? Whatever you want to call them, here’s the recipe for melt in your mouth goodness… Enjoy!