Sour Cream Doughnuts

published Oct 23, 2021
Sour Cream Doughnuts Recipe

There's nothing better than enjoying tender, cake-like sour cream doughnuts while they're fresh and warm.

Serves13 to 15

Prep35 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook10 minutes to 12 minutes

Jump to Recipe
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sour cream doughnut on a plate with a bite taken out
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Whenever I visit a doughnut shop, my eyes immediately scan the selection in search of sour cream doughnuts. Don’t get me wrong — there are plenty of yeast doughnuts I consider among my favorites, but nothing compares to the texture of sour cream cake doughnuts. I adore the contrast between the soft, tender interiors and slightly crisp exteriors, which are filled with little cracks and crevices that the glaze drips down into. Simply put, they are everything I want in a doughnut.

As the weather begin to cool down, I can’t think of a better weekend project than whipping up a batch of sour cream doughnuts at home. They’re easier to make than yeast doughnuts as you don’t have to wait for them to rise, and the shiny vanilla glaze makes each one picture-perfect. Here’s how to do it.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

Is a Sour Cream Doughnut the Same as an Old-Fashioned Doughnut?

Essentially, yes! Old-fashioned doughnuts are often made with either sour cream or buttermilk, so a sour cream doughnut is basically an old-fashioned doughnut made with sour cream.

You’ll prepare the dough using either a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer, then let it firm up in the refrigerator for an hour. Once chilled, roll out the dough and cut out the doughnuts. If you don’t have a doughnut or biscuit cutter, you can use the top of a glass or jar and something with a smaller circumference for the holes, like the bottom of a pastry piping tip.

Why Do People Put Sour Cream in Doughnuts?

Because of sour cream’s high fat content, adding it to doughnut dough guarantees tender, moist doughnuts every time. It has a similar effect to buttermilk, but has the bonus of not thinning out the dough. Sour cream also gives the donuts just a hint of tanginess without being overpowering.

Sour Cream Doughnuts Recipe

There's nothing better than enjoying tender, cake-like sour cream doughnuts while they're fresh and warm.

Prep time 35 minutes to 40 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes to 12 minutes

Serves 13 to 15

Nutritional Info


For the doughnuts:

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 3

    large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup

    sour cream

  • 2 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon


  • 2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 7 cups

    vegetable oil, for deep frying

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups

    powdered sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    whole milk

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract


  1. Place 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer) and sit until softened, 40 to 45 minutes.

  2. Add 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar to the bowl of butter. Beat on medium speed with the paddle attachment until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in 3 large egg yolks one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition and making sure each egg is incorporated. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, then beat in 3/4 cup sour cream.

  3. Place 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.

  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture in three increments, stirring with a rubber spatula to incorporate between each addition. Mix until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  5. Heat 3 inches vegetable oil (about 7 cups) in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until 350ºF. Meanwhile, line a wire rack with paper towels. Roll out the doughnuts.

  6. Generously flour a work surface, then transfer the dough on it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and a rolling pin. Roll out the dough until 1/2-inch thick. Cut doughnuts out with a floured doughnut cutter (or use 2 round cutters about 3- and 1-inch in diameter). Place the cut-out doughnuts on the baking sheet.

  7. Gather the scraps and form them into a ball, then roll out again until 1/2-inch thick. Only re-roll the dough once. Cut out as many doughnuts as possible. Use a 1-inch round cutter to cut the rest of the dough into doughnut holes.

  8. When the oil is ready, fry 3 to 4 doughnuts at a time: Add to the oil and fry until golden-brown, flipping them halfway through, 2 to 3 minutes total. Place the doughnuts on the wire rack. Fry the donut holes until golden-brown, flipping halfway through, about 2 minutes total.

  9. Let the doughnuts cool about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Place 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth, about 30 seconds. Remove the paper towels from the wire rack and place the doughnuts back on the rack.

  10. Dip the doughnuts in the glaze one at a time, using a fork to flip it over making sure both sides are fully coated. Return to the rack to let the excess glaze drip off. Eat while still warm.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The doughnuts can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.