These old fashioned sour cream donuts are cakey, tender, and made with no yeast! Fried to perfection and dipped in a simple vanilla glaze, these donuts are easy to make and are a classic favorite.
Once you’ve tried a fresh, warm, homemade sour cream donut you’ll never be able to enjoy one from a bakery the same way again! Like my popular donut hole recipe, these are great to make with no yeast or rising required! Recipe also includes a step-by-step video.
Some mornings you just need a donut for breakfast.
Maybe it’s not as ideal as, say, a homemade granola bar, but the weather today is at least 30 degrees cooler than it was last Monday, it’s grey outside, the wind is howling, and the baby pool in our backyard (Leia’s) that was empty on Friday is about to overflow with rain. The weather forecast says that things aren’t expected to look any brighter this week as hurricane Florence heads for the East Coast (stay safe, everyone).
This gloomy morning I could go for a donut, a freshly fried sour cream donut. With vanilla glaze. I bet you could go for one, too?
Honestly, I wish I’d waited for this cooler weather to come before I started experimenting with this recipe. I spent a few hot summer days standing over a Dutch Oven full of oil working on perfecting these sour cream donuts, but ultimately it was worth it.
These donuts are tender, cakey, and packed with flavor. My recipe uses a combination of both white sugar and brown sugar, egg yolks only (no whites), and a full tablespoon of cornstarch for the best sour cream donut recipe out there (in my humble opinion, of course 😉).
Also see my yeast-raised homemade donut recipe
Tips for Making Sour Cream Donuts
- I do not recommend baking these donuts, they are meant to be fried for best results. If you’re looking for a good baked donut recipe please check out my baked Snickerdoodle Donuts, my baked Pumpkin Donuts, or my baked Chocolate Donuts. I do not own an air fryer so I’m not sure how they would work in one of those (but if you try it out please let me know!).
- Don’t skip the chilling. Chilling the dough for an hour is mandatory, otherwise it will be too sticky to roll out. It’s also important that your donuts be chilled before frying, they will need to be cold in order for them to hold their shape when you transfer them to the oil.
- If your glaze begins to solidify while your donuts are frying, just pop it in the microwave for a few more seconds and give it a good stir.
- If you’re feeling too lazy to make the glaze (been there) you can just dip these donuts in sugar or a cinnamon/sugar mixture instead. It’s quicker, easier, and my taste-testing siblings enjoyed the sugared donuts just as much as the glazed ones.
More Recipes to Try:
My video for these Sour Cream Donuts is at the bottom of the recipe! If you enjoy watching my cooking videos, I’d love it if you would consider subscribing to my YouTube channel <3
Sour Cream Donuts
- Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (42g)
- ¼ cup sugar (50g)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (50g)
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅔ cup sour cream (160g)
- 2 cups + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (267g)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar (185g)
- ¼ cup salted butter melted (57g)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½-2 Tablespoons hot water
- Combine butter and sugars in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until creamed together.
- Add egg yolks and beat until ingredients are well combined.
- Add vanilla extract and sour cream and stir well (be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl if using a stand mixer).
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, and nutmeg (if using).
- Add dry ingredients to wet and use a spatula and stir by hand until ingredients are combined (I don't recommend using your electric mixer at this point, you don't want to over-work the ingredients or it can make your donuts tough).
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Once dough has chilled, remove from refrigerator and turn out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll to about ½" thickness and use a donut cutter to cut out donuts (save the holes, I always fry the donut holes as well!).
- Re-group any scraps and work them together, re-roll out, and repeat to cut out as many donuts as possible from your dough.
- Transfer cut out donut shapes to a wax paper lined cookie sheet and return to the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes while you heat your oil.
- While dough is chilling, fill a Dutch oven at least 2-3" deep with canola or vegetable oil. Fix a candy thermometer to the edge (make sure it is in the oil but not touching the bottom of the pan) and set your heat to medium-low. Oil will need to reach 350-360F (175-185C) before you can continue. Meanwhile, prepare your glaze.
- To prepare the glaze, combine melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and hot water in a small bowl and whisk or stir until smooth. Set aside.
- Once oil has reached 350-360F (175-185C), remove donuts from the refrigerator and use tongs to carefully transfer donuts or donut holes in the oil, just 3 or 4 at a time. Adding donuts will cause your oil temperature to drop, so make sure you allow it to come back to the correct temperature between batches.
- Allow to cook for about 1-1 ½ minutes and then use tongs to flip. Cook another 1-1 ½ minutes and then use tongs to remove them from the oil and transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Allow to cool 1-5 minutes.
- Dip donuts in prepared glaze and then transfer to a cooling rack to allow the glaze to set.
- Enjoy warm. Donuts will keep for several days in an airtight container at room temperature, but they really taste best warm and freshly fried.
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.
Hi! Yesterday I tried this recipe and they came out perfect even without retuning the dough to the fridge after cutting out. This morning I went ahead and doubled the recipe as I own a small homestead doughnut business and I chilled the dough for 1 hr but am for some reason maybe because I doubled it and should’ve chilled the dough longer the doughnuts became saturated in oil?! Any advice?
Hi Tori! Hmm this should not have happened, my best guess would be that either an ingredient was accidentally not-doubled or the oil was too cold. I hope that helps!
This is my favorite sour cream donut recipe! My whole family agrees. I have to make a double batch each time. They also stay fresh in a sealed container! Thank you for this recipe!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Marjorie! 🙂
I have to say you explained each step and anticipated every potential question,thanks for a clear rec.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Thank you so much, Sandra! We try our best to be as thorough and helpful as possible ❤
Can this dough be baked instead of fried? TIA.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
We don’t recommend it, Dian! Give our baked donuts a try instead 😊
Regarding step #6: Could the dough be left in the fridge overnight?
I’d love to fry these fresh for breakfast/brunch some time but don’t think I would have the wherewithal to both fry them and make the dough right away in the morning.
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Owen! It’s best to limit the time in the refrigerator to reduce risks of drying the dough out. You could try to keep them overnight in an airtight container, but we aren’t sure how it would go. If you do try it, we would love to know how it turns out. 🙂
Just finished, they tast really good the yogurt worked really well but my glaze turned out really thick not sure what happened I had to make it thinner with water. worked out really well in the end though 10/10 definitely recommend.
I’m so glad you enjoyed them so much, Alana! 🙂
Great recipe! Followed to a T and they were perfect. This was my first time making real donuts and I was very happy with how they came out…. just like the cake donuts in our local donut shop in TX! I also didn’t have a donut cutter and I also don’t even have a circle cookie cutter….(don’t judge me!) I used a very wide mouth cup and a shot glass to cut out the hole. Worked great!