Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts (2024)

Tessa’s Recipe Rundown

Taste: The little bit of nutmeg combined with the sour cream and sweet glaze makes these doughnuts taste just like the ones at your favorite bakery, if not better!
Texture: Slightly crunchy on the outside, cakey and soft on the inside. All the little cracks in these doughnuts just soak up the shiny, crackled glaze.
Ease: There’s no yeast in this recipe so you can have these doughnuts IN YOUR MOUTH in a little more than an hour from start to finish.
Pros: I think the pros are inherently implied, they’re doughnuts!
Cons: Deep fried sugary goodness ain’t too good for your diet.
Would I make this again? Yes, whenever I’m craving these old-fashioned cake doughnuts I’ll whip this recipe out.

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I have huge sweet tooth cravings on the regular. Can you relate?

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts (1)

When I get a doughnut craving, it’s intense.

In my experience, a lot of doughnut shops make pretty bland and greasy doughnuts that leave a weird residue on your tongue.

There are a few local shops that I LOVE, but I rarely have an excuse to make a trip to one of them.

This recipe honestly takes about the same amount of time that it takes to drive across town to my favorite bakery, so it’s kind of perfect. Plus, if you only eat doughnuts when you make them from scratch, you can’t really go overboard, right? That’s my logic at least.

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts (2)

These Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts are just like the old-fashioned cake doughnuts from the bakery. They’re kind of crunchy and cracked on the outside, making those nooks just perfect for soaking up the thick, shiny, crackled glaze.

We completely dunk the doughnuts in that glaze in the recipe, and it’s amazing. The inside is soft and cakey with a more firm bite than yeast doughnuts. Plus you can’t beat sour cream – it’s good with just about everything.

I don’t always prefer old-fashioned cake doughnuts to yeast doughnuts, but when I do this is absolutely the recipe I use. You can’t beat how much less time these take than yeast doughnuts, too.

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts (3)

Sprinkle of Science

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts Recipe Tips

1. Use a Scale to Weigh Your Ingredients

Using a scale is a smart idea for these sour cream doughnuts. Any issues I hear about the dough being too dry or sticky are likely due to inaccurate measuring! If your doughnuts aren’t as fluffy and light as you’d like, it’s due to compacting too much flour into your measuring cup. You can learn more about how to measure flour the RIGHT way here.

2. Use REAL Bleached Cake Flour

  • This is a must for these sour cream doughnuts.
  • Purchased cake flour will yield light and delicate doughnuts, just like the ones from a good bakery.
  • DIY substitutions don’t really cut it.
  • AP flour will not create doughnuts with that same soft texture.
  • Bleached cake flour will work best. Unbleached (like King Arthur Flour) won’t absorb as much moisture and you may end up with doughnuts that crumble while frying.
  • You can learn more about cake flour here.

3. This Recipe is FRIED

  • Yes, you must fry these sour cream doughnuts
  • This recipe was specifically designed to be fried and not baked.
  • USE FRESH OIL. Oil goes rancid quickly, often before the date on the bottle.
  • If it has *any* unpleasant smell, don’t use it, as that flavor will transfer to your doughnuts.

Can I Air Fry These Doughnuts?

I don’t personally own an air fryer, but a reader recently messaged me, letting me know that she had success air frying this recipe. Let us know in the comments below if you have success air frying these doughnuts, too!

More Recipes You’ll Love:

  • Krispy Kreme Copycat Glazed Doughnuts
  • Baked Strawberry Lemon Doughnuts
  • Chocolate Old-Fashioned Doughnuts
  • Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts
  • Classic Cake Doughnuts
Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts (4)

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Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts (5)

How to Make

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts

By: Tessa Arias

Yield: 12 doughnuts and holes

Prep Time: 15 minutes mins

Inactive Time: 1 hour hr 20 minutes mins

Cook Time: 25 minutes mins

Total Time: 2 hours hrs

Review Print Save

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts are coated in glaze and taste just like the cake doughnuts at your favorite bakery! No yeast makes this recipe quicker and easier.


For the donuts:

  • 2 1/4 cup (255 grams) cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (29 grams) butter, at COOL room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) sour cream
  • Canola oil, for frying

For the glaze:

  • 3 1/2 cup (350 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup hot water


For the donuts:

  • In a bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until sandy. Add the egg yolks and mix until light and thick. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, ending with the flour.

  • Mix for 30 seconds on low speed or until the dough is smooth but slightly sticky. You want to mix enough that the dough doesn't fall apart in the oil, but not so much that it becomes tough. If the dough is unbearably sticky, add extra flour one tablespoon at a time (especially if you live in a warm & humid climate).

  • Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour, or until firm.

  • On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. Use a doughnut cutter or two differently sized biscuit cutters to cut out as many donuts as possible, dipping the cutters into flour as necessary to prevent sticking. You should get about 12 doughnuts and holes. If the dough gets too loose, sticky, or greasy at any point, return to the fridge to firm it back up before continuing. Refrigerate while you heat the oil so the dough is slightly cold when it fries.

  • Pour 2 inches of canola oil into a heavy-bottomed pot with a deep-fry thermometer attached. Heat to 325°F. Fry the doughnuts a few at a time, being careful not to overcrowd the pot. Fry on each side about 2 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Keep an eye on the thermometer and adjust your stove heat to maintain the correct oil temperature. Let drain on a paper bag to soak up the excess grease.

For the glaze:

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth. Immerse each doughnut into the glaze. Place on a wire rack above a sheet pan to catch any excess glaze. Let sit for 20 minutes until glaze is set. Doughnuts are best served the day they are made but may be store in an air tight container at room temperature for a few days.

Show us!If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a picture and share it on Instagram with #handletheheat so we can all see!

Recipe Notes

Some readers have complained that 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg was too much. Nutmeg is a crucial flavor component to any doughnut, but if you don’t like the taste, reduce it to 1/4 teaspoon or omit it altogether.

From Hand Forged Doughnuts via Completely Delicious

Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts (2024)
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