Easy air fryer donuts

Indulge in the addicting fluffiness of these Air Fryer Donuts without deep frying, but just as good as the classic ones. A hassle-free and healthier way of making your favorite treat without all the kitchen mess. Now you can enjoy guilt-free comfort food without worrying about the extra calories.

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Classic Donuts vs. Air Fryer DonutsAir Fryer Donuts RecipeRecipe Variations & SubstitutesDonut TypesDonut Cooking MethodsTips and TricksFAQsWhat to Serve with Air Fryer Donuts?Make-Ahead and Storage InstructionsMore Bite-Sized Snacks to EnjoyHow to Make Homemade Air Fryer Donuts From ScratchWatch How To Make It


Classic Donuts vs. Air Fryer Donuts

You’ve known and loved different donut brands throughout your life. I know, I know! I also have my favorites but not because of the brand but by the type of donuts prepared.

Homemade donuts are, of course, the best because you can make them your own (see my Copycat Krispy Kreme Doughnuts).

Air Fryer Donuts Recipe

As I said, these air fryer donuts are healthier but will still taste similar to the classics that you’ve loved. So, you might be wondering what’s the big difference between making it the classic way and through an air fryer.

To simply explain it, take a look at all the ingredients we need for this recipe.


Lukewarm water – Yeast needs water to activate; warm water, not too hot or cold.Active dry yeast or instant yeastmakes these amazing donuts rise to a light and fluffy dough.Granulated sugar slightly sweetens this incredible recipe while allowing the glaze to give it its real sweetness.Salt – Our pantry-staple flavor enhancer that balances the sweetness.Egg – This wonderful ingredient does so many things. It’s a binder, a rising agent, and a protein provider. Egg yolk – Yup! we need an extra yolk. It also gives the donuts a gorgeous color.Unsalted butter – Bread needs a certain amount of fat to be soft and melt in your mouth. Butter tastes the best, but you can replace it with any neutral-flavored oil.All-purpose flour – The base ingredient that makes bread and donuts what they are.😉


Powdered sugar – This sweetener makes the glaze because it’s smoother than granulated sugar, and you don’t have to worry about getting the sugar to dissolve.Milk – The flavorful liquid that converts sugar into a mouthwatering glaze.Butter – This creamy and delicious natural fat adds depth of flavor to the glaze.Sprinkles – An optional ingredient that makes donuts look pretty.

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As you can see, there’s little to no difference between a regular donut and air fryer donuts. You can now visualize how it’ll taste so you can prepare your favorite topping.

Recipe Variations & Substitutes


Who doesn’t like chocolate? Give your treats a little chocolate love by sifting cocoa powder over the dry ingredients. Trust me, the rich chocolatey flavor is so addicting!


This recipe uses flour which means that it will undoubtedly have gluten. However, the flour can easily be replaced by gluten-free all-purpose flour or this amazingly convenient Plantain Flour. The flavor and texture will change slightly, but you’ll still be able to enjoy the classic taste of air fryer donuts.


Just replacing a few ingredients with unsweetened or sugar-free alternatives could turn these treats sugar-free. Sugar is often replaced with Splenda, an artificial sweetener. You can easily find it in your local grocery store.

Shell Donuts

Nope, these are not made of shells. These are hole-less donuts that you can hollow out for the fillings. Personally, I love homemade jelly, Boston creme, or a chocolate filling for these. Increase the fryer time by a minute or three. You can time the first batch to get an idea of how much longer it will take. Then cut a small split in the side and stuff it with your favorite filling and glaze it.

Donut Types

Generally, there are two types of donuts based on the dough made: cake dough and yeast dough. You’ll know which type you have based on the density, texture, and weight.

Cake Dough. Cake dough donuts are made with cake flour and are often loose but still holds their form. It has a dense and moist structure and uses chemical leavening agents such as baking soda, baking powder, or carbonated mixes.

The texture is a bit crumbly and chewy. Because it is denser, you could expect it to be heavier but harder to decorate.

Yeast Dough. This type of donut uses yeast to rise, and this method lengthens the preparation time. The air bubbles from the yeast make the whole donut airier and fluffier. The dough, however, must be kneaded to form the gluten, which strengthens the whole structure.

Since a large part of the donuts is air, they’re super light to lift. The donut strength also helps in the decorating process.

Donut Cooking Methods

Fried – The most common, oldest, and probably the most popular way of cooking donuts is through frying. This cooks the dough the fastest but is one of the unhealthiest ways to do so.

You’ll use a lot of oil, and I mean A L-O-T, because you’ll have to deep fry it to avoid direct heat and burning. You know it’s done once it floats or is golden brown.

Baked. Unlike frying or using an air fryer for donuts, baking is a subtler way of making these treats healthy. Melted butter is often used to give it an even brown. However, baking takes a huge chunk of time and could lead to burnt edges. This method also cooks one side more than the other.

Air fryer. Air fryers are great for making easy treats mainly because of the modern method of cooking. It uses heated air that surrounds the dough to cook the dish. It’s great for making donuts because it evenly cooks the doughnuts, even in different forms. This means you can make donut pops and regular donuts at the same time.

Using an air fryer for donuts is also healthier because it uses no oil at all (YAAAY)! This means that you can snack on these treats without worrying about the extra calories.😉

Plus, there is a crispy sensation that forms on the donut’s crust!

Tips and Tricks

Air-fried donuts are ah-mazing, but they won’t have the exact same taste and texture as a deep-fried donut. For one, they don’t have all that extra grease. I know; fat makes almost everything taste incredible. But these babies come pretty darn close. And this super glaze takes them over the top, particularly when they just come out of the fryer.

If you want lighter, fluffier donuts, make sure the milk is around 105℉/℃ before adding it to the mix.The glaze recipe may be overkill, but it’s better to have too much than too little. And you can serve the extra glaze with the donuts.If you have trouble with the icing running off the donut—breathe. If the donut was still hot, let it cool and the glaze dry, then double-dip. Double-dipping the donuts make them extra yummy! If the glaze is still too runny, add enough powdered sugar to thicken it up.