Bring the taste of the carnival into your own kitchen with my Funnel Cake recipe. My easy recipe can be made in just 15 minutes on the stove–no funnel or deep fryer required! Recipe includes a how-to video!
Carnival-Worthy Funnel Cakes
If your annual summer checklist includes grabbing a funnel cake and some caramel popcorn from your local carnival or beachside snack shack, you’ll definitely want to save this recipe! While I’m not suggesting you skip your annual tradition, I am suggesting that perhaps you could enjoy this treat more than once a year. From the comfort of your own kitchen. In your pajamas. Okay, the last part isn’t necessary, but let’s be real, funnel cakes are essentially breakfast food…right (if fried donut holes count, these certainly do)?!
Despite the frying step, it’s actually very easy to make funnel cakes. If you’re not familiar with frying, I do suggest you watch the video included below for some helpful tips. But really though, this recipe is great for beginners, and it comes together so quickly too!
Why you’ll love my recipe:
- Tastes just like the funnel cake you get at the carnival (if not better!).
- Incredibly simple; you only need a handful of pantry staples.
- So fast! It takes just minutes from start to finish.
- NO funnel required–I’m sharing my favorite, funnel-free method!
What You Need
Funnel cake batter is similar to a pancake batter; in fact this recipe is a variation of my buttermilk pancakes. You’ll need a few ingredients, including:
- Flour. Regular, all-purpose flour works. Do NOT use self-rising flour.
- Milk. Pretty much any kind will work, but my preference is whole milk. You may need more milk than I call for to get your batter to the right consistency, I’ve never needed more than 1 cup but enough people have mentioned that they’ve needed to add more in their own kitchen that I like to mention that it’s OK to add more liquid if needed!
- Vanilla extract. This is optional, but it will make your funnel cakes taste sweeter and richer.
- Powdered sugar. For sprinkling on top. The more the merrier!
SAM’S TIP: Powdered sugar is a popular topping, but so it cinnamon sugar! To make some, simply combine 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon and ½ cup granulated sugar and sprinkle/dust over your warm funnel cake.
Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Funnel Cake
- Whisk the dry ingredients until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then gradually stir in the dry ingredients until the batter is smooth and no large lumps remain.
- Heat 2-3″ of oil over medium-low until it reaches the proper temperature, then slowly drizzle a thin stream of batter in a zig-zag pattern into the hot oil.
- Fry on each side until golden brown, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
- Dust your funnel cake with powdered sugar and enjoy!
SAM’S TIP: It’s very important that you pour a thin stream while constantly moving; otherwise, you could end up with big clumps of batter that are golden brown on the outside and raw in the center.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s easy! Simply portion some of the batter into a measuring cup and pour it in a thin stream in a circular/criss-cross/zig-zag into the hot oil. This method is the easiest to clean up and has the smallest chance of spills–I love it!
If you are having trouble getting a thin stream, you can also pour your batter into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (½″ diameter). Plug the tip with your finger, portion the batter, and then pipe it into the oil.
I recommend using a neutral oil for in my funnel cake recipe. Vegetable, canola, or peanut oil all work great for this recipe and are my frying oils of choice for frying everything from apple fritters to fried pickles.
Yes! You can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.
I hope this recipe inspires some sweet, summertime memories for you ❤
Let’s bake together! I’ll be walking you through all the steps in my written recipe and video below! If you try this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram, and you can also find me on YouTube and Facebook
Funnel Cake Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup whole milk¹ (236ml) (or more, if needed, see note 1)
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract optional
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Powdered sugar for dusting funnel cakes
- Heavy-bottomed pot
- Measuring cup with spout
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well-combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla extract (if using) until well-combined.
- While whisking, gradually add dry ingredients to wet, stirring until mixture is smooth and combined. Set aside.
- Fill a medium-sized saucepan 2-3” deep with vegetable oil. Set on stovetop over medium-low heat and place a candy thermometer in the oil (make sure the tip of the thermometer is in the middle of the oil and not touching the bottom or it will read hotter than the actual temperature of the oil). Heat oil to 370-375F (187-190C).
- Once oil is heated, portion about ⅓ – ½ cup of batter into a liquid measuring cup². Slowly drizzle batter into oil in a thin stream, swirling and criss-crossing the batter over itself. Fry on each side until golden brown (about 90 seconds per side) then remove to a paper-towel lined plate.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.
- Repeat with remaining batter but make sure that oil returns to temperature in between batches.
¹MilkIf your batter is too thick, add additional milk as needed until your batter reaches a pour-able consistency. Some people have needed to add as much as ½-3/4 cup milk.
²FunnelIf you have a funnel, you can of course use that instead! You’ll need a clean funnel with a ½″ opening. Use your finger to plug the bottom of the funnel and then portion ⅓-1/2 cup of batter into the funnel. Hold funnel over oil, remove your finger, and then move the funnel in a circular/criss-cross pattern until all of the batter has been drizzled into the oil.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Quick, easy and delicious! Thank you!
Very good recipe. I made them came out great 👍😊
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy you enjoyed it, Lynn!
Love this recipe! Happy family. Everyone said they were better than the ones at the fair!
This was so easy and came out great! Added a little more milk until the consistency was good to pour. Perfect amount of batter for 3 people (2adults and 1child) Thanks for sharing!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We’re so happy they turned out for you, Leigh! Thanks for your review 😊
Thank you soooo much for the recipe! This is literally the best funnel cake I have ever eaten!
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
That’s so nice to hear, Christina! We’re so happy you found our recipe ❤
Sounds and taste great, but do think this recipe will be good for breakfast??
Hi Zara! It’s not a traditional breakfast food, but I don’t judge. 😉
Funnel cakes are a traditional breakfast food in our house! My kids always ask for them. It’s just a different shape of a pancake. And the powdered sugar is no different that putting syrup on pancakes! 😀
Made this delicious recipe tonight and I have to say it was delicious.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Thanks for your review, Monique! We’re so happy to hear that you loved this recipe ❤️
best recipe website ever. will use forever. finally an easy and prompt , i will definatly recommend , thanks so much very helpful and easy and just great…very impressed….
I’m so glad you enjoyed it so much, Heather! 🙂
NANCY DE WARENNE
SO VERY YUMMY
This recipe is super easy & and it turned out just like you said DELICIOUS …I go to the 4th of July fair down town St Louis under the arch & I always go to the funnel cake stand but 3 years ago was the last time we went….so crowded…& then
it was hot & everybody was standing so close together….& when it’s your turn…:well my mouth started salivating….& I hate that they give you a chintzy paper plate & they ran
out of napkins….
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Carol! 🙂
Can you use a deep fryer?
Hi Taylor! A deep fryer should work as long as you are careful and don’t burn yourself using it the process will be the same. 🙂
Can I use almond milk?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
That should work fine. Enjoy, Jesenia! 😊
Regarding milk: can you use any type 2% or skim?
Hi Mary! I typically use whole milk, but either type should be fine. Enjoy!
This funnel cake recipe was amazing. I can’t believe I fried funnel cakes all by myself at 13! My family loved the cakes. I highly recommend this recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Elsa! 🙂
I like you candy thermometer is sealed. Where did you get your candy thermometer? What is the brand name?
It’s made by Farberware and I found it on Amazon. 🙂
ASHLEY N OLIVER
Can you make the batter ahead of time?
Hi Ashley! You can make up to two days in advance, just store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. Enjoy!