Last updated on December 26th, 2021 at 03:47 pm
Air Fryer Donuts are hearty, soft, and covered in a sweet vanilla-butter glaze! If you love deep-fried donuts but not the grease, you’re going to love these homemade air-fried treats.
Once you start making doughnuts from scratch, it’s hard to stop! It’s extremely easy and so delicious than anything you can buy at the store. After you make these air-fried donuts, try your hand at Chocolate Cake Baked Doughnuts, our popular copycat of Dunkin Donut French Crullers, and Riccota Doughnuts!
Easy Air Fryer Donuts
Air Fryer Donuts are our go-to every time we’re craving for donuts but want something homemade. This recipe uses a classic yeast dough so it’s very close in both texture and flavor to the usual deep-fried version. You can make both classic donut shapes and donut holes with this recipe. The difference? No pot of hot oil to deal with, and the results are lighter and way less greasy.
Of course, we can’t skip the glaze! To sweeten things up, we’re covering these treats with a buttery vanilla glaze that hardens into a crispy crackly icing. These taste like the real deal!
Finally, there’s no limit to the flavors and toppings you can try with these donuts. Make them extra special with chocolate, fruits, nuts, other glaze flavors, or infuse the dough with spices or cocoa.
- Dry ingredients: To regular flour, you’ll be adding yeast and a bit of salt.
- Wet: Melted butter plus milk (100F temp), fresh eggs, and a quarter cup of sugar bring the dough together.
- Glaze: For the best glaze, combine more melted butter with vanilla, powdered sugar, plus milk if you need to loosen it up.
How to make homemade Air Fryer Donuts from scratch?
- Make the dough. First, in your stand mixer (or you can also do it in a regular bowl if making this manually), activate the yeast by mixing it with sugar and milk, then leaving it for 10 mins. Then, add the rest of your dry and wet. Its Equally important, to mix until you get an elastic texture. After that, cover it in a bowl for 60mins. to rise.
- Shape and rise. Flatten, then cut out rounds and holes using a 3-inch round cutter. Let these rise for a second time until doubled in size, about 30 mins.
- Air-fry. Spray the basket with oil, then transfer the dough circles. Air-fry for 4 mins. until golden.
- Cook all the glaze components on low until smooth. Dunk the donuts into the glaze (use a fork so it’s less messy), then leave to sit for 10 mins.
- Serve. Enjoy fresh and hot!
Donuts variations and substitutions:
- Deep-fried version: Deep-fry in 350F oil until golden-brown on both sides and puffy.
- Bake: For a healthier take, feel free to bake them. Simply, bake at 350F for about 10 to 15 mins., or until golden and puffy.
- Chocolate: Add unsweetened cocoa to the dough.
- Citrus: Add lemon, lime, or orange zest to the dry ingredients.
- Other shapes: You can shape them any way you want! Cut them into squares, hearts, log shapes, etc.
- Spiced: Add cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough.
- Stuffed: Want cream- or jam-filled pastries? Skip cutting out the holes, and air-fry directly after cutting out circles and letting them rise. Then, simply fill!
- Other toppings: Your options are UNLIMITED! Top with chopped nuts, jam, cinnamon sugar, caramel or chocolate glaze, cream cheese frosting, dulce de leche, curd, etc.
How do you create donut shapes if you don’t have your own cutter?
Don’t have a round cutter? Use a wide-mouth cup to cut circles, and a shot glass to carve out the holes.
What is the main difference between donuts that are baked or fried?
The fried version is usually made with yeast-based dough, which makes them lighter and fluffier.
On the other hand, the usual baked ones typically use baking powder instead of yeast. As a result, you get a cakier, more compact consistency. Both are delicious!
More air fryer dessert to try:
How long will homemade Air Fryer Donuts be good for?
These taste the best right after you make them, so we really suggest finishing them within the day. However, you can certainly store any leftovers. Follow these steps:
- On the counter: After they’re completely cool, store them in air-tight containers and store them at room temp for 1 to 2 days.
- In the fridge: Cool and store in air-tight containers, and chill in the fridge for up to 3 days. However, the glaze tends to melt in the fridge, so it’s better if you store them unglazed.
- Frozen: Cool and freeze the unglazed donuts for up to 1 month. To reheat, air-fry at 370F (don’t defrost or they’ll become soggy), then glaze.
How to reheat:
You can freshen them up by air-frying at 400F for a few minutes. Keep in mind, the glaze will melt and become hot, so please be careful when handling it.
Air Fryer Donuts
- 1 cup milk (lukewarm)
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast (or instant yeast)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (melted)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- Oil Spray
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 tablespoons warm milk (or as needed)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together lukewarm milk, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and yeast.
- Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg, melted butter, and 2 cups of flour. Mix on low speed until combined, add the remaining cup of flour slowly, and mix 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 lightly greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface, gently roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness.
- Using a 3-inch round cutter cut out 10-12 donuts and use a 1-inch round cutter to remove the center.
- Transfer donuts and the donut holes to a lightly floured parchment paper-covered baking sheet and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap or waxed paper.
- Let donuts rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat Air Fryer to 350 degrees F.
- Spray the basket with oil spray, transfer the donuts to the Air Fryer basket in a single layer and make sure they do not overlap and there is a 1-inch distance between them.
- Spray donuts with oil spray and cook for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining donuts and donut holes. Cook in batches if needed.
- 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 milk one tablespoon at a time until the glaze is thin, but not watery. Set aside.
- Dip the hot donuts and donut holes into the glaze, use two forks to submerge them, and place onto a wire rack for excess glaze to drip off.
- Let sit until glaze hardens, about 15 minutes.
- Make sure your milk is at the right temperature (115F), or it will kill the yeast.
- After glazing, leave it for about 10 mins or so. During this time, the icing will turn into a beautiful, slightly crisp shell.
- Also, air-fry them in batches, so all the pieces cook evenly and don’t stick to each other.