Lemon Donuts Recipe: Easy Dessert Or Breakfast Idea
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Create a delicious breakfast treat your whole family will love with this mouthwatering recipe for homemade lemon donuts. These tasty snacks would also be an easy dessert idea for a party or potluck!
Learn how to make your own donuts with this delicious recipe we’re sharing today. We’ll show you step-by-step how to make lemon donuts for your next brunch with family and friends or a breakfast potluck party at work.
Brunch may very well be my favorite meal of the day. There are so many easy breakfast ideas — and you can totally serve brunch all morning long! I also love how breakfast foods can be savory like breakfast enchiladas or an egg casserole – or super sweet like pancakes or a french toast bake. Surprisingly though I’ve never tried to make my own donuts before, have you?
Well, lucky for me, my friend, Meaghan from Cook. Craft. Love. is back on the blog today. This time she brought her easy recipe for homemade Lemon Donuts. I have been drooling over the photos and can’t wait to try making them with my boys.
When it comes to easy breakfast recipes, Meaghan is an expert with great ideas like Cream Cheese and Cherry Toaster Strudels, Lemon Raspberry Sweet Rolls and Honey Vanilla French Toast Muffins. And did you see the Donut Cookies she shared with us on Kenarry last month? Okay, maybe those are more for dessert, but her recipes always look amazing!
How to Make Lemon Donuts
This delicious lemon donuts recipe will make 10-12 full donuts. So if you’re feeding a crowd, make sure you double it! You’ll find a printable recipe card below the instructions if you want to keep this recipe to make lemon donuts again and again.
Before we get started, I should tell you that Meaghan describes these lemon donuts as “some of the best donuts I’ve ever had. Seriously. No real tips for these other than to not rush the chilling stage and use plenty of flour otherwise they’ll be impossible to roll out.”
What you need:
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Kitchen tools and supplies:
- Stand mixer
- Mixing bowls
- Mixing spatula
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin
- Donut cutter
- Heavy bottomed pan
- Candy thermometer
- Paper towels
- Cooling wire rack
These are the ingredients you’ll need. All the exact amounts are in the printable card at the bottom of this post.
For the Doughnuts:
- Baking powder
- Kosher salt
- Egg yolks
- Sour cream
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the Glaze:
- Powdered sugar
- Corn syrup
- Hot water
- Lemon juice
- Lemon zest
1. Mix the dough
First, form a paste by beating butter and sugar in your stand mixer. Then add the egg yolks and and continue mixing. Next, in a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
Then finally, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in small portions, alternating with the sour cream. The important thing here is that you make sure you begin and end with the flour mixture. So you’ll start by mixing in a third of the dry ingredients followed by a half of the sour cream. After that’s mixed in, add another third of the dry ingredients followed by the rest of the sour cream. Then finally add the rest of the dry ingredients to the dough.
2. Refrigerate the dough
Form the dough into a big ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Put the dough for the lemon donuts in your refrigerator for at least one hour. Meaghan says it’s really, really important that you don’t rush or try to speed up this stage. The dough needs to be well chilled.
3. Cut the lemon donuts
Next, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about a 1/2″ thick. Then use a donut cutter to cut out the lemon donuts and holes. Meaghan says, if you don’t have a donut cutter, you can use two differently sized round cookie cutters for this step.
4. Pan fry the donuts
Pour 2″ of vegetable oil into a heavy bottomed pan. Heat the vegetable oil to 325 degrees. Use a candy thermometer to determine when you’ve reached the correct temperature.
Carefully add the donuts into the hot oil one at a time. Let the lemon donuts cook for 2 minutes on each side, being careful not to crowd the pan. Remove the donuts from the pan and set them on paper towels to drain the excess oil.
5. Glaze the lemon donuts
Whisk together the lemon glaze ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Next submerge donuts in the glaze one at a time until they’re completely covered. Then move each lemon donut to a wire cooling rack so that the excess glaze can drip off. Allow the lemon glaze to set on the donuts for 20 minutes before serving and at least an hour before storing in an airtight container. Enjoy!
For the Doughnuts:
- 2 cups Flour
- 1/4 cup Cornstarch
- 1/2 Tbs Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 Tbs Butter
- 2 Egg Yolks
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- Vegetable Oil For Frying
For the Glaze:
- 3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 Tbs Corn Syrup
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- 1/3 cup Hot Water
- 2 Tbs Lemon Juice
- 2 Tbs Lemon Zest
- Beat butter and sugar in a stand mixer until a paste forms. Add egg yolks and mix well.
- Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Roll dough on a well-floured surface about a 1/2″ thick and using a doughnut cutter or two differently sized round cookie cutters cut out doughnuts and holes.
- Pour 2″ of vegetable oil into a heavy bottomed pot and use a candy thermometer to heat it to 325 degrees.
- Carefully add doughnuts into hot oil and let cook for 2 minutes on each side, being careful not to crowd the pan. Remove to paper towels to drain.
- Whisk together glaze ingredients and submerge doughnuts in it until completely covered. Move to a wire rack so that the excess glaze can drip off. Allow glaze to set for 20 minutes before serving and an hour before storing.
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Originally published April 2018. Updated April 2019.
Why would you use egg yolk and not use the whites too?
That’s a great question, Judy! I reached out to Meaghan who created this recipe for us and here’s her response: “So the reason you want egg yolks instead of whole eggs in this recipe is that whites tend to dry out dough while using just yolks keeps it rich and soft and moist. Unlike a cake, these donuts don’t have a ton of wet ingredients in them, just sour cream and a little butter. Whereas in a cake you’d also have milk and possibly oil to cancel out the potential drying effect of egg whites. That’s actually why really dry cookies like meringues are made only with egg whites and no yolks.”
Hope that helps!
Carrie from Ideas for the Home by Kenarry®