When someone says “donuts,” the first thing that comes to mind is the classic Simpsons donut—an airy, fried dough ring with colored glaze and sprinkles. But the term “donuts” encompasses almost any type of fried dough. So those fried twists, long johns, munchkins (aka donut holes)—those are all donuts. This fried donuts recipe is no exception.
Inspired by Canadian BeaverTails, this super easy recipe makes long, rectangular, puffy pieces of fried dough. It only needs four ingredients and comes together in just 20-30 minutes tops (plus resting). Unlike traditional donuts, these don’t use yeast, which explains why it finishes in half the time. Instead, it gets its rise from a large amount of baking powder.
Making the Dough
Start by combining the flour, baking powder, and white sugar in a bowl. Whisk your dry ingredients well; this makes sure that your baking powder doesn’t clump up, and is evenly distributed in the flour.
Add the water and mix everything with a wooden spoon or a spatula. The recipe calls for two to three cups of water, so start with just two cups then gradually add the last cup by the tablespoon if your dough is too dry. Different kinds and brands of flour absorb water differently, so you’ll need to adjust based on that.
Once your dough is mostly combined, turn it out onto a flat surface and knead. You won’t be kneading in the same way as you would regular yeasted dough (i.e. until smooth)—just enough for it to form a cohesive ball. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes; meanwhile, prepare your frying oil.
Shaping and Frying
After resting your dough, divide it for shaping. You can split it into four equal pieces for giant fried donuts (a la BeaverTails); or you can slice it into eight up to 16 smaller squares or rectangles, kind of like beignets. Roll it out into a long, thin piece of dough, no thicker than 1/4 inch. If your dough resists while rolling, let it rest for a few more minutes before continuing. You can also stretch it out with the help of gravity. Hold the dough vertically and carefully let it fall or pull it lightly with your hands.
Slowly lower your dough into the hot oil and it will puff almost immediately. Fry it for three minutes on each side until golden brown, then transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate or a cooling rack to drain and cool. It will deflate a little bit, that’s normal. It will still keep the majority of its puffiness, though, so don’t worry!
Topping the Fried Donuts
One of the best things about these fried donuts is that it can be topped with practically anything. It doesn’t conform to the glaze and sprinkles universe of typical donuts. It sort of functions more like toast in that it can be topped with spreads and jams. The simplest way to finish these is with a generous dusting of powdered sugar. But you can douse it with whipped cream, choco hazelnut spread, or even go a more savory route. We suggest slathering on some of our homemade coco jam to give it a local twist—still topping it with powdered sugar after, of course.