How to Make Donuts Without a Deep Fryer

Updated February 21, 2017

Making doughnuts doesn't require a deep fryer. With some careful monitoring, using a pot or wok of hot oil works just as well as deep fryer machines. No matter which method you choose, making these sweet treats at home can be a fun activity with a delicious reward at the end.

Prepare the doughnut batter (see resources for recipes).

Cut doughnut shapes, removing centres. Add centres back to the dough or keep to make a batch of "doughnut holes."

Heat about two quarts of vegetable oil in a large saucepan, cast iron skillet or wok.

Line a tray or pan with paper towels.

Using a candy thermometer to check the temperature, heat on high until the oil reaches 176 degrees C.

Add doughnuts to the oil. Cook on one side, about two or three minutes. Turn the doughnuts over and cook for another two or three minutes.

Remove doughnuts from the hot oil using tongs; let cool on paper towels for about five minutes.

Apply toppings such as powdered or other sugar, glazes and chocolate.

Prepare yeast-based doughnut dough (see resources for recipes).

After the first rising of the dough, cut circles of dough without removing the centres.

Transfer the circles to a parchment-lined baking tray and stamp out the smaller inner circles using a smaller cutter. Removing the inner holes earlier will distort the doughnuts when you move them to the pan.

Cover with a clean cloth and let rise another 45 minutes.

Bake at 190 degrees C until the bottoms are golden, about eight to 10 minutes.

Remove the doughnuts from the oven and let cool very briefly. While they are still warm, dunk in a bowl of melted butter and toss with sugar or other toppings.


Yeast doughnuts require more time to prepare and cook than cake doughnuts. Use the doughnut cutter in a straight down motion, without twisting. Donuts can be served warm or cooled.


Watch the temperature of the oil. Too low and the doughnuts will soak up excess oil, becoming soggy. Too high and the doughnuts will brown too quickly while the insides don't cook thoroughly.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot, skillet or wok
  • 2 (or more) quarts of vegetable oil
  • Doughnut batter
  • Slotted spoon
  • Tongs
  • Tray or sheet pan
  • Paper towels
  • Toppings
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About the Author

Heather Denkmire has been a professional writer since 1995. Her writing credits include a book, "Fact or Fiction: The Truth about Anxiety and Depression," and many articles for a range of publications including the "Houston Business Journal," "MaineBiz" and "Teen Celebrity" magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology with an English minor from Skidmore College.