These Air Fryer Donuts are a delectable sweet treat that taste just like the real deal, but better for you! No deep frying needed!

air fryer donuts stacked on servings platterPin

Why I Love This Recipe

  • Healthier alternative – My no means is this recipe the “healthiest” recipe on my site, but treats and sweets are a-okay in moderation in my book. Making these in the air fryer cuts out having to deep fry these is tons of oil which makes then slightly healthier. Plus, they taste just like “real” donuts! A win-win in my book.
  • Fun activity for kids – Chloe and I love whipping up a batch of these on the weekends for a little treat. It’s so much fun to decorate them with all the icing and dye free sprinkles! They would be a great activity for a kid’s birthday. Let everyone decorate their own donut and enjoy. And don’t forget to save the cutouts to make donut holes!
  • It’s easy – While it does take a little more time than some of the donuts recipes online that use biscuits as their donut base, I promise the extra effort is worth it! And, just because it takes more time, doesn’t mean it isn’t super easy!
  • Air Fryers are the best – If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Air fryers are one of the most versatile small appliances you can get! Not only can you make veggies, salmon and even a whole roast chicken in the air fryer, but you can also make delicious desserts like these donuts!
air fryer donut with rainbow sprinklesPin

Ingredients for Donuts in the Air Fryer

For the Donuts:

  • lukewarm whole milk (about 100°F)
  • active dry or instant yeast
  • sugar
  • salt
  • egg
  • unsalted butter, melted
  • all purpose flour

For the Glaze:

  • powdered sugar
  • milk
  • natural food color (optional)
  • dye free sprinkles (optional)
air fryer donuts on cooling rackPin

How to Make Air Fryer Donuts

  • Stir together the lukewarm milk, 1 tsp of sugar, and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes or until foamy. If the mixture doesn’t bubble, the yeast is too hot or cold and you will need so start over.
  • Add 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg, melted butter and 2 cups of flour to the milk mixture. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the remaining cup of flour slowly, until the dough is no longer sticky. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl (you can use oil or more melted butter) and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour). The dough is ready when you press it with your finger and it leaves an indentation. 
  • Place the dough out onto a floured surface, press it down and roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round donut cookie cutter, stamp out donuts. Alternatively you can use a large glass and a shot glass to cut out 1 inch holes from the middle of the donut. 
  • Transfer donuts and holes to parchment paper and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let donuts rise until doubled in volume, about 20-30 minutes. Spray donuts with cooking oil spray. 
  • Turn air fryer to 350 degrees. Transfer donuts to air fryer basket making sure that donuts are 1 inch apart. Spray donuts with oil spray and cook at 350 degrees until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Repeat with remaining donuts and holes.
  • While the donuts are in the Air Fryer, stir milk 1 tablespoon at a time into powdered sugar until smooth. Add food coloring as desired for desired color. Set aside.
  • Dip hot donuts and donut holes in the glaze using to forks to submerge them. Place on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to allow excess glaze to drip off. Let sit until glaze hardens, about 10 minutes.
air fryer donuts with yellow, light pink, purple and white sprinklesPin

Air Fryer Donuts are soft on the outside and have a tender fluffy interior. They’re next level especially once they’re covered in the delicious buttery glaze. Or simply dip them in cinnamon sugar and get ready for the “mmm” to follow. They make a great special breakfast or a sweet after school treat. I can guarantee no one will complain when you make these for them!

air fryer donuts close upPin

What do you think? Are you making donuts in your air fryer this week?

Pin

Air Fryer Donuts

These Air Fryer Donuts are a delectable sweet treat that taste like the real deal. No deep frying needed!
5 from 1 vote
Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients  

For the donuts:

  • 1 cup whole milk, lukewarm (about 100 degrees)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast (see note)
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups all purpose flour

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon natural food color, if desired
  • 1/4 cup assorted colored sprinkles (optional)

Instructions 

  • Stir together the lukewarm milk, 1 tsp of sugar, and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes or until foamy. If the mixture doesn’t bubble, the yeast is too hot or cold and you will need so start over.
  • Add 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg, melted butter and 2 cups of flour to the milk mixture. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the remaining cup of flour slowly, until the dough is no longer sticky. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. 
  • Place the dough into a greased bowl (you can use oil or more melted butter) and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour). The dough is ready when you press it with your finger and it leaves an indentation. 
  • Place the dough out onto a floured surface, press it down and roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 3-inch round donut cookie cutter, stamp out donuts. Alternatively you can use a large glass and a shot glass to cut out 1 inch holes from the middle of the donut. 
  • Transfer donuts and holes to parchment paper and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Let donuts rise until doubled in volume, about 20-30 minutes. Spray donuts with cooking oil spray. 
  • Turn air fryer to 350 degrees. Transfer donuts to air fryer basket making sure that donuts are 1 inch apart. Spray donuts with oil spray and cook at 350 degrees until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Repeat with remaining donuts and holes.
  • While the donuts are in the Air Fryer, stir milk 1 tablespoon at a time into powdered sugar until smooth. Add food coloring as desired for desired color. Set aside.
  • Dip hot donuts and donut holes in the glaze using to forks to submerge them. Place on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to allow excess glaze to drip off. Let sit until glaze hardens, about 10 minutes.

Notes

Active Dry Yeast vs Instant Yeast: Active dry yeast and instant yeast can generally be used interchangeably, one-for-one (although active dry yeast may be slower to rise). So if a recipe calls for instant yeast and you use active dry yeast instead, you may want to consider adding an extra 10 to 15 minutes for the rise time. If a recipe calls for active dry and instant is used, reduce the rise time by 10 to 15 minutes. Other than that the recipe can stay exactly the same and there is no need to make any changes.
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About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

Comments

  1. You are the best and so fun to follow. Would you mind telling me what kind of air fryer you use? I am overwhelmed with the choices. Thanks so much!!

  2. Should it be 1 cup of milk in the dough, and the extra 2-3tbsp for the icing?? If so, I made a mistake! Please clarify Thanks!

  3. How much butter do you use for the frosting? I only see one butter measurement (1/4 cup) and I used that on the donut recipe?

  4. Trying these this morning for our family breakfast. Realized kind of late that it takes over 90 minutes in all to make so more like lunch donuts. Also, the ingredient list for the glaze isn’t complete with the amount of vanilla and butter that are needed. Please revise. Thanks!

  5. What air fryer do you recommend for 2 older people? Also do you have an air fryer cookbook or can you recommend one? I just found your website and love it!!

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