These cakey sour cream glazed donuts are super soft and tender! The addition of sour cream gives you an ultra moist, tangy donut with a delicate crumb.
* This post was updated with new photos and a slightly modified recipe & instructions (more on what’s changed below!)
Every time I make donuts, I try to convince myself “No, you can’t have 3 donuts in one sitting.” So, to keep true to my self, I have 4.
I have zero self-control when it comes to donuts. I’m especially a sucker for sour cream glazed donuts!
But I mean, who can say no to donuts? ESPECIALLY a fresh batch of homemade donuts??
If you’ve never had sour cream glazed donuts before, think of all of the beauty of a regular cakey donut PLUS the addition of sour cream gives you a slightly tangy, extra moist donut!
Before we get into the post, quick question: Is it donuts or doughnuts?? I could NOT decide which one to go with, so if you see me flip back and forth between the two spellings, please ignore me.
Sour cream glazed donuts ingredients:
• cake & pastry flour: all-purpose flour works okay here as well, but cake & pastry flour will give you a more tender and soft donut. If you have cornstarch and all-purpose flour handy, here’s how to make your own cake & pastry flour at home!
• baking powder + baking soda: here’s the little tweak I made to the recipe (this is Mimi from July 2021, by the way … hi!). The original recipe just called for baking powder, but I’ve been making this recipe with a combination of baking powder and soda recently and I. am. hooked! It makes the donuts even softer and cakier!!
• nutmeg: classic sour cream donut flavor
• sour cream: not much of a sour cream glazed donut without it! You can use yogurt in a pinch – but please try to use sour cream, it makes a world of a difference!
• oil: for frying
How to make sour cream glazed donuts:
1. Whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
2. Whisk together sugar & butter. The mixture is going to be quite dry and grainy, but that’s what it’s supposed to look like. It’s not going to get fluffy and creamy like in other cake recipes. It should look a lil’ something like this:
3. Add eggs one at a time. Whisk well after each addition. Whisk in vanilla.
4. Add sour cream. Whisk to combine.
5. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Mix until everything just starts to clump together into a very rough and shaggy dough. It’s fine if there is some visible flour spots.
6. Turn onto work surface. Lightly knead the dough until it comes together. Take care not to over work the dough or the donuts can and will end up like hockey pucks!!
7. Roll, cut, fry. Press the dough with your hands or use a rolling pin to flatten the dough to under a 1/4 inch thick (the donuts expand quite a bit when you fry them! So flatten them into about half to thickness of what you want them to end up being after frying). Cut donut shapes and fry in batches on both sides.
8. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.
9. Make the simple glaze. Whisk together powdered sugar and water. Dip donuts in glaze.
10. Stuff your face!
How to test if your oil is ready for frying:
For frying your donuts, this recipe calls for preheating your oil to 375°F. If you don’t have a thermometer to test the oil heat, not to worry! I made donuts for yeeeaaars without a thermometer.
It can be a bit hit or miss without the thermometer at first. You just need to get into the hang of what signs to look out for to sort out if the oil is preheated.
To test if your oil is ready to add the donuts in, just drop a small ball of dough in the oil as it heats. Once the ball of dough floats to the top of the oil and starts to bubble around the sides and brown, you should be good to add your donuts to the oil.
It’s important to keep an eye on the oil so that the donuts constantly have some bubbling along the sides. You can usually tell if the oil is getting too hot or cold, so you may need to adjust your heat slightly throughout the cooking process.
As a general rule of thumb, your donuts should take about 2 to 3 minutes on each side to cook. If your donuts start to brown in under a minute, the oil is too hot. If the donuts don’t brown by the 3 minute mark, the oil is too cool.
Once you flip your donuts, the second side does usually cook much quicker than the first side. So don’t worry if it seems too quick!
Tips for donut success:
• Use sour cream if possible. I do mention in the recipe notes you can substitute the sour cream for an equal part plain yogurt mixed with vinegar or lemon juice. Buuuut! The sour cream really makes this donut recipe extra special! Sour cream not only adds amazing flavor, but it also gives the donut a tight crumb + moist center. So use it whenever possible!
• Don’t overwork the dough! Anytime you make donut dough without yeast, you want to watch out for how much you work the dough. Over mixing or over kneading can lead to tough and dense donuts (and NOnuts to that)
• Fry in a pot with very high sides. This will make frying a million times easier! Not only is it easier to flip the donuts (without fear of spillage), but it’s also much safer in case the oil starts splattering.
• Don’t overcrowd the pot while frying. As you add donuts, your oil will naturally cool down slightly. It’s important to fry in small batches of about 3 to 4 donuts (depending on the size of your pot). It’ll help prevent having the oil get too cold (which can equal oily donuts). Small batches are also easier to control!
• Glaze the donuts while warm, but not hot. Glazing donuts right off the heat is not only painful(!), but the glaze also tends to melt off for the most part. The best time to glaze is after the donuts have sat for about 10 minutes. They should feel warm, but cool enough to handle. Slightly warm donuts help the glaze set up perfectly!
Other donut toppings:
To keep this donut recipe classic, I love to dip the fried donuts in a simple glaze using powdered sugar and water. But you can play around with the toppings!
Other options for dips and toppings include:
• Cinnamon sugar (1/4 cup sugar to 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
• Chocolate ganache
• Glaze + sprinkles
• Glaze + chopped nuts
If you liked these sour cream glazed donuts, you may also like some of these other treats:
Sour Cream Glazed Donuts Recipe
For the sour cream donuts:
- 2 & 1/2 cups cake flour * see notes
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream ** see notes for substitutions
- Neutral flavored oil for deep frying (like vegetable, canola, peanut, etc.)
For the glaze:
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 to 4 tablespoons water
- In a medium bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, salt, and ground nutmeg. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together your sugar and butter. The mixture will be dry and crumbly, but the sugar should be coated in the butter. Add in your eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla and sour cream, as well.
- Add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Mix everything together until it just starts to form into a sticky dough. Take care not to overwork the dough as it can make the donuts tough!
- Turn your donut dough onto a floured work surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, gently flatten the dough into about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut your donuts out using a floured 2 & 1/2 inch donut cutter.
- Fill a large pot with high sides with about 2 inches of neutral flavored oil. Set the pot over a stove burner set to medium heat. Preheat the oil to 375°F. Carefully add in your donuts to the hot oil. Fry the donuts in batches until golden brown on each side (about 1 to 2 minutes per side). Transfer to a wire cooling rack or paper towel lined plate to drain. Repeat the frying process with the remaining dough.
- For the glaze: In a medium sized bowl, combine your powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Whisk together until you get a smooth glaze. If the glaze is too thick, gradually add more water until you reach your desired consistency.
- While the donuts are still warm, dip in your glaze. Set on a wire rack to allow the excess glaze to drip off.