Recipe: Easy Air Fryer Donuts

Recipe: Easy Air Fryer Donuts

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Grace Elkus
Nov 21, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Love donuts, hate deep-frying? Same. Luckily, there's a way to get around that.

If you aren't currently the proud owner of an air fryer, let this be the recipe that convinces you to buy one. With a can of biscuit dough and just the teensiest spray of oil, you can be enjoying warm, flaky donuts in just 10 minutes — no hot oil splatters or deep-fry thermometers in sight. Here's how to do it.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

How to Make the Best, Easiest Donuts in Your Air Fryer

The air fryer uses convection to circulate hot air around whatever you put inside. As our editor Meghan discovered in her thorough review, the air fryer has its strengths and weaknesses — but donuts are a definite strength (as are crispy chickpeas, shishito peppers, and bagels — yum!). She found success making donuts with crescent roll dough, but to make things even easier, I opted for canned biscuit dough, which is already shaped into rounds and produces taller, flakier donuts.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

To prevent the donuts from sticking, you'll want to spray the air fryer basket with just a bit of oil. Avoid a nonstick cooking spray such as Pam, which can damage the nonstick coating of the basket. Instead, opt for an olive oil or coconut oil spray (which are also both great for spraying onto homemade popcorn).

After cutting small holes out of the center of your biscuits, you'll place them in a single layer in the basket of the air fryer (depending on the size of your fryer, you'll likely need to make the donuts in two rounds), then set to 350°F and cook, flipping once, until golden-brown. Then, go ahead and fry up the donut holes, too!

While they're still warm, I like to brush the donuts with butter and toss them in cinnamon-sugar. But these would also be great with a simple powdered-sugar glaze and a dousing of sprinkles. You truly can't go wrong.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Easy Air Fryer Donuts

Makes 8 doughnuts

Prep time: 5 minutes ; cooking time: 10 minutes to 12 minutes

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1 (16.3-ounce) can

    flaky large biscuits, such as Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Biscuits

  • Olive oil spray or coconut oil spray

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, melted

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl; set aside.

Remove the biscuits from the can, separate them, and place them on the baking sheet. Use a 1-inch round biscuit cutter (or similarly-sized bottle cap) to cut holes out of the center of each biscuit.

Lightly coat an air fryer basket with olive or coconut oil spray (do not use nonstick cooking spray such as Pam, which can damage the coating on the basket).

Place 3 to 4 donuts in a single layer in the air fryer (they should not be touching). Close the air fryer and set to 350°F. Cook, flipping halfway through, until the donuts golden-brown, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer donuts place to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining biscuits. You can also cook the donut holes — they will take about 3 minutes total.

Brush both sides of the warm donuts with melted butter, place in the cinnamon sugar, and flip to coat both sides. Serve warm.

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