Grandma’s Best Donuts

This old fashioned donut recipe creates cake donuts that are crispy on the outside and give way to a perfectly soft and cakey center, making these an amazing breakfast treat!

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe EVER! #cakedonut #donuts #breakfast #donutrecipe

Oh my word, you guys. I know that I gave myself the title of donut (doughnut?) queen, but really, the title goes to my grandma. I’m just the donut princess.

My grandma created the best dang cake donut recipe ever and I’ve been dying to share it with you. Anytime I make it, I get shot straight back to my childhood. Visiting my grandma on vacation, waiting impatiently for her to fry up these unbelievable donuts, and then eating them until I’d make myself sick. She would often serve the donuts plain, straight from the fryer. I prefer them tossed in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, but powdered sugar or a glaze works great as well.

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe!

These are cake donuts, which means there is no wait time! The donuts have baking powder in them to help them rise, instead of yeast. You’ll love these donuts because they are so easy!

I just know you’ll love this old fashioned donut recipe!

I know many people don’t like to fry, so here are my best tips. Invest in a thermometer! They cost about five dollars and are worth every penny. You want to keep your oil at a consistent temperature so that your donuts don’t get too greasy. Greasy donuts means your oil isn’t hot enough! 375 degrees is perfect for these donuts.

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe!

My grandma’s cake doughnut recipe is the best I’ve ever tried – even beating out donut shops!

After you’ve fried the donuts, you can keep the oil covered for a week or two and fry other sweet things. If you don’t think you’ll re-use the oil, just let it cool completely and then use a funnel to pour it right back into your empty oil container or an empty milk jug. I try to keep a few empty milk jugs under my kitchen sink or in my pantry for used up oil. Close the jug up tight and then toss it in your garbage can on garbage day. It’s a pretty simple way to deal with all that leftover oil!

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe!

My grandma is well known for these amazing donuts and everyone wants the recipe. It makes me happy every time I serve these to my kids, because I know that one day they’ll make them for their own kids and remember lazy Saturday mornings helping me roll out the dough and cut the donuts!

These are best served hot from the fryer, but you can keep them for a few days as long as you seal them up tightly.  When hot from the grease, the outsides are crispy and the insides are perfectly soft and cakey. It doesn’t get better than these donuts, guys!

The BEST old fashioned cake donut recipe!

The BEST Cake Donuts

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 10 minutes Total Time 20 mins
Serves 1 dozen donuts and holes     adjust servings

This recipe from my grandma is an all time favorite! I've changed it just a bit by swapping out the shortening for butter, but you can certainly use shortening if you prefer. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can mix everything by hand and knead the dough on a floured surface.


  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour (may need more)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Oil, for frying
  • Cinnamon Sugar mix for coating the donuts (1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon)


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, beat together the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients.
  3. Alternate adding the milk and flour mixture until everything is well combined. Knead for just a couple of minutes. If the dough is too sticky to roll out, add more flour until it's workable.
  4. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until about 1/4 inch thick. Use a donut cutter to cut donuts.
  5. Add to a pot of 375 degree oil, just a few donuts at a time so as not to crowd the pan, and fry until golden, about 2 minutes each side.
  6. Drain on a paper towel lined plate before tossing in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
  7. Serve immediately.


Disclaimer: The nutrition information presented below is not guaranteed to be accurate.

Affiliate Links: This blog contains affiliate links.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving As Served
Calories 3343kcal Calories from fat 1346
% Daily Value
Total Fat 150g 231%
Saturated Fat 26g 130%
Transfat 1g
Cholesterol 228mg 76%
Sodium 2771mg 115%
Carbohydrate 454g 151%
Dietary Fiber 13g 52%
Sugars 160g
Protein 51g

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

Calories 2000
Total Fat Less than 65g
Sat Fat Less than 25g
Cholesterol Less than 300mg
Sodium Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrate 300g
Dietary Fiber 25g

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