Donut Balls

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Easy, from-scratch, donut balls.  These homemade donuts can be mixed up and fried in minutes. Unlike the Puff Puff, this donut recipe does not need a resting time.

It is very simple:  mix donut batter in clear mixing bowl with wooden spoon and fry in hot oil until golden. This dessert can be glazed or served with the classic sugared, chocolate ganache dipped, and filled with an orange scented raspberry sauce.

What Are Donut Balls?

Donut balls (spelled as doughnut in England and Commonwealth countries) are small, bite-sized donuts that were traditionally made from the dough taken from the center of ring donuts.

The “holes” are deep-fried just like regular donuts. They are then glazed with sugar, or dusted with fine sugar or powdered sugar.

These donut holes are round in shape but much smaller than regular donuts, making these dainty fried dough balls such a delight to the palate.

Origin Of Donut Holes

It is believed to be invented by a ship captain, Hanson Gregory, from Rockport, Maine. There are a lot of versions of the story on how he invented the donut with holes and here are two of my favorites.

He would often bring his mother’s “fried cakes” or what he calls them “greasy sinkers” to his trip but often find the middle raw and soaked with oil. So, he poked the center and fry both the donut and hole donuts again, and the rest is history.

The other version says that he will stick the fried cakes to the ship handles for easy snack access creating the holes.

Recipe Ingredients

The ingredients below are simple and can be easily found in your kitchen or any local groceries stores.

  • All-purpose Flour – the most versatile kind of flour there is, hence the name. My favorite kind of flour because it is always easy to work with, whether for cooking or baking cakes, pastries, and bread.
  • Granulated Sugar – not only it adds sweetness to the dough but it also gives moisture. It also promotes having a beautiful brown exterior of the donut holes as the sugar caramelizes while cooking. For garnishing, roll the bite-sized donuts to the sugar.
  • Baking Powder – is the key ingredient in making our sweet balls of happiness rise and become soft and fluffy since we are not using yeast in this recipe.
  • Salt – it balances the sweetness and enhances the flavor and even the color of your donuts.
  • Ground Nutmeg – has a warm, aromatic, and nutty flavor with subtle notes of clove adding richness to any dish and desserts.
  • Eggs – it acts as a binder to the dough and it is also responsible for making your donuts fluffy and soft with a rich and creamy taste.
  • Vanilla Extract – just a splash of enhances the flavor of any dessert, works like magic! For the glaze, you may want to use less of it if you want to make your sugar glaze white.
  • Whole Milk – adding liquid such as milk to the flour makes it easier to combine and incorporate all the ingredients together to make these homemade donut holes. Plus, the milk adds creaminess and richness to the flavor compared to just adding water.
  • Unsalted Butter – you need to melt the butter to add as a liquid. Again, to make the dough easier to work with while adding richness to the flavor.
  • Oil – depending on the pot, you’ll be needing at least 3 inches deep of oil for frying. I recommend neutral-tasting oil like vegetable or canola oil.
  • Powdered Or Confectioners’ Sugar – these two can be used interchangeably since they both have the same texture. The only difference is that confectioners’ sugar has a little bit of cornstarch. It is commonly used to glaze desserts such as glazed donut holes.
  • Ground Cinnamon – has a sweet and woody flavor, interestingly can make any dessert flavorful. Classic cinnamon sugar-coated ones are my favorite.

Ingredient Substitutions

Don’t worry if don’t have some of the ingredients needed, you can use some of these substitutions below.

  • Baking Powder – Mix 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Remember the 2:1 ratio when using it as a substitute for other recipes.
  • Eggs – 1 medium mashed banana or ½ cup (8 tablespoons) of apple sauce.
  • All-purpose Flour – Gluten-free baking flour using a 1:1 ratio.
  • Granulated Sugar –  for a healthier option, you may opt to use sugar-free substitutes such as sucralose, xylitol, and erythritol using a 1:1 ratio.

How To Make Donut Balls?

Homemade donut holes are made by dropping a small ball of dough into hot oil. The round shape can be achieved through the use of a small ice cream scoop or a spoon.

For this easy donut holes recipe, I used the former, which yields beautiful, round and spherical shape of these bite-sized sweet treats.

Yeast Or No Yeast?

There are two versions of recipe for donut holes, one with yeast, and one without yeast. This recipe is without yeast, making it the easiest recipe ever.

Tips For Frying

  • The perfect oil temperature for frying is 375F.
  • Fry the donut holes for about 1-2 minutes on both sides, turning only once.
  • Fry them in batches of about 5-6 at a time.
  • After frying, drain them on paper towels.

Storage Instructions

Although these bite-sized goodies (donut balls) are best served and consumed immediately, and I doubt that there will be any leftovers. You can store them in a clean and dry container with a cover and they can stay fresh at:

  • Room Temperature for up to 2 days.
  • Refrigerated for about 5-7 days

Note: texture might change the longer they are stored.

What To Eat With Donut Balls?

Whatever shape or type your donut balls are, they are best paired with less sweet beverages below.

This recipe is easy and you are going to love it. Enjoy!

Donut Balls

Donut Balls

Easy, from-scratch, donut balls.  These homemade donuts can be mixed up and fried in minutes. Unlike the Puff Puff, this donut recipe does not need a resting time.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Refrigerating Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Togolese


  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • salt a pinch
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • cooking oil


  • Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour (Optional).
  • Pour oil into heavy bottomed pan (dutch ovens or deep cast iron pans are fabulous for frying), until oil is about 2 inches deep. Heat over medium heat until oil comes up to 350 F degrees. Adjust heat level as needed to maintain the 350 degree temperature.
  • Once oil has reached 350 F degrees, use a cookie scoop to scoop up batter and drop them into the hot oil. Be careful when dropping the batter, do it from just above the oil so you minimize splashing!
  • Fry doughnuts in hot oil until golden brown, turning once. Remove from oil to drain on paper plates.
  • Serve with milk, melted chocolate or vanilla sugar.


Keyword Dessert, Dessert Recipes, Donut, Easy Dessert Recipes
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