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Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnuts

These Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnuts take a little time to make, but they take no time at all to vanish. They have a simple, but delicious taste and are incredible eaten while they are fresh and warm.

Four Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnuts stacked on a small plate.

Kids will love them with a big glass of milk. Adults will savor one or two with a cup of coffee.

If you have guests over for the holidays, a batch of homemade Old-fashioned Buttermilk Doughnuts will make them feel like royalty. They are also a special treat to make for when one of your kids has a spend the night party.

How To Serve

I love to eat them plain, but you can make a simple cinnamon sugar to coat them with. Left plain, they are not too sweet and the flavor of the nutmeg shines through.

This was my first attempt at making doughnuts and I can’t wait to make more. This Buttermilk Doughnut recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated and I find their recipes are perfect for learning to cook something new because they always seem to work.

Doughnuts on a wire rack.

Fry In Vegetable Shortening

These Buttermilk Doughnuts are deep fried, but not at all greasy. Like all Cook’s Illustrated recipes,  every conceivable method and mix of ingredients was tried before they decided on the best recipe. After trying numerous cooking oils and mixtures of oils, they felt that frying in vegetable shortening (Crisco) created the best flavored doughnut and the least greasy doughnut as well. As long as the shortening is kept at the right temperature, these doughnuts are not at all greasy.

The dough is actually pretty easy to make and requires no yeast, just baking powder and baking soda. To cut the dough out, use either a Donut Cutter or a large and small biscuit cutter.

Spend a lazy weekend making homemade doughnuts and your family will be extremely pleased with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnuts stacked on a plate.

More Doughnut Recipes

Buttermilk Doughnuts

These Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnuts take a little time to make, but they take no time at all to vanish. They have a simple, but delicious taste and are incredible eaten while they are fresh and warm.
PREP: 25 minutes
COOK: 5 minutes


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (17 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs plus one egg yolk
  • 6 cups vegetable shortening (Crisco)


  • Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to mix together 1 cup of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt on low speed.
  • In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, combine buttermilk, butter, and eggs.
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • With speed on low, gradually add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, mixing just until combined. Stir batter with a rubber spatula a few times just to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Dough should be moist and tacky.
  • Place shortening in a Dutch oven and heat to 375 degrees.
  • Place dough on a lightly floured surface. Flour a rolling pin and roll dough out to a 1/2-inch thickness.
  • Using a heavily floured doughnut cutter, cut out rings, reflouring the cutter each time.
  • Gather scraps together and roll out again to cut more doughnut rings.
  • Cook 4 rings at a time, flipping them over as they rise to the surface, about 50 seconds per side. Drain on a wire rack. Before frying another batch, make sure oil temperature has returned to 375 degrees.


You might want to break the first doughnut apart and make sure it is cooked all the way through before removing the others from the oil.


Calories: 190kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttermilk, doughnuts

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Recipe Source: Cook’s Illustrated

Originally posted December 24, 2014.

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16 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnuts”

  1. The best donut recipe I’ve ever used, and I’ve i.e. do many to try duplicating my grand mas donuts. I halved the recipe(1 egg 2 yolks) and made eight donusband a bunch of holes that we perfect. USed lard instead of vegetable oil. Instant read thermometerlet me keep temp on the money. I will be making these donuts regularly now.

  2. Joanne harrington

    I followed this recipe not sure what they are supposed to to taste like Other than greasey globs They would not stay together unless i overcooked them Not sure what i did wrong but I will stick to my applesauce donuts I know i can make those

  3. I liked them and felt they tasted better the next day. I heated it in a small toaster oven the next day. I wonder if I can bake them or use an air fryer next time? I might give that a try since not a fan of deep frying.


    Can this recipe be halved? I want to make some but I’m afraid some would go to waste.

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      You can leave the nutmeg out, but I might add some cinnamon for flavor. Yes to the glaze!

  5. Meghan @ Freezer Friendly Moms

    These look like the perfect treat with a cup of coffee on a lazy Sunday morning.

  6. These doughnuts sound delicious with that buttermilk tang! I’m a sucker for an old fashioned doughnut — love these! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Sarah@WholeandHeavenlyOven

    I’m such a sucker for homemade donuts and these look absolutely to die for! Love that they’re not TOO greasy on the outside—perfection. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking

    These look fabulous! I still haven’t made homemade doughnuts! Love these old fashioned favorites! Pinned!

  9. Amy @ The Blond Cook

    These doughnuts look incredible! I could go for one (or three) with a tall glass of milk right now! Pinning for later, I’ve never made doughnuts before and can’t wait to try yours. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Doughnuts have to be in my future this is the second recipe in two days that seems to have my name written all over it. I also happen to have some buttermilk I need to use. Lovely recipe Christin, they look perfect and sound delicious. Merry Christmas.

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