Sweet Potato Doughnuts ( 12 large doughnuts + holes)

As I mentioned in the blog post on my so-called “Triforce Doughnuts”, setting a pot of coffee on to brew midway through this process is essential. Having a warm, freshly glazed doughnut with a mug of just brewed coffee is one of life’s greatest pleasures. So much so, I think it’s virtually part of the recipe.

stack of doughnuts

Feel free to substitute yams, butternut squash, or pumpkin in this recipe. Any dry, thick puree will work.

1 batch of doughnut glaze, prepared to the halfway point (see recipe for details)

For the doughnuts
1 Tbsp instant yeast
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 ounces brown sugar
2 ¼ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
8 ounces milk, lukewarm
5 ounces sweet potato puree (from about one medium sweet potato)
3 ounces butter, melted
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and pod reserved for the glaze
24 ounces all purpose flour

Look, I don’t do that whole sprinkling yeast in some warm water to see if it’s alive business. If you can’t remember when you bought the yeast, it’s probably dead. Otherwise, if you purchased it recently, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be fine. By all means, test away if that reassures you, I just find it tedious.

Combine the yeast through the vanilla seeds in a large bowl and whisk vigorously to combine and dissolve the yeast and sugars. When the mixture looks homogeneous, add the flour and work until a dough forms.

Knead the dough for ten minutes, don’t get anxious or rush, it wants ten full minutes. You may need to add a little extra flour should it stick too much.

When the dough is smooth and well kneaded, place it in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it proof for 30 minutes to an hour, or until doubled. (The time will depend on the temperature of your kitchen and the temperature of your ingredients. If you use cold milk and eggs, it will take longer. Yada yada.)

Roll the dough out until it’s about a 1/2” thick. To minimize waste, use a knife to cut beignet style rectangles, or use a large and small cookie cutter (or a doughnut cutter if you happen to have such a ridiculously specific tool in your box) to cut out proper doughnuts.

Lay the doughnuts, and the “holes” if you like, on a lightly floured cookie sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap.

Knead, re-roll and cut the scraps into another batch of doughnuts and cover likewise.

Let the doughnuts rest in a semi-warm location and proof a second time until doubled in size. Again, the time will vary depending on the temperature of the room.

When the doughnuts are ready, fill a deep pot with at least 4” of peanut oil and bring the oil to 355°. Have a cookie sheet lined with paper towels standing at the ready.

While the oil is heating, finish preparing the doughnut glaze. Also have a second cookie sheet fitted with a wire cooling rack. (This will let the glazed doughnuts shed their extra glaze and keep them from developing icing feet or soggy bottoms.)

Get a pot of coffee brewing.

Donuts and coffee

When the oil reaches 355°, fry the doughnuts a few at a time; about 2 minutes per side. I like to fry the holes first, because they go quickly and helps me “warm up” my doughnut frying skills, like regulating the oil temperature, etc.

The number of doughnuts you can fry at once depends on their size and the size of the pot; I do four at most. Just don’t overcrowd them. Closely monitor the heat of the oil, adjusting the flame to keep the temperature steady. Use a fork or a pair of chopsticks to flip the doughnuts over and to remove when done.

Let the doughnuts drain for a moment on the paper toweled cookie sheet. Check the temperature of the oil, regulating it as necessary before adding more doughnuts. Meanwhile, dip the fried and drained doughnuts in the glaze, flipping to coat both sides. Transfer to the wire rack and let the doughnuts drip dry until the glaze sets.

Keep on keepin’ on until all the doughnuts are fried and glazed.

Pour yourself a big mug of coffee and grab a doughnut. Soon, members of your household will begin to gather and lay to waste your fresh doughnuts, so enjoy a moment of solitude while you can. Then, pretend you did not have the first doughnut and enjoy another one with everyone else.


« Back to the Recipe Box

Any questions?

Jan 22, 2011 ·  7:20 PM

i just made the sweet potato donuts and they are pretty much mind blowing. cup of coffee and approximately 4 donuts in, i got back to reading the corresponding blog post and now i pretty much have to know how to make the apple cider donuts you mention. Is there a way to get my hot little hands on the recipe?

 · schuh · http://www.facebook.com/drschuh

Jan 22, 2011 ·  7:50 PM

Oh, I’m so glad you made them!! Coffee is soooo essential. I actually think I like the sweet potato version better than the apple cider ones, because the potato give the doughnuts such a luxurious texture.

But you can decide for yourself. The apple cider version is essentially the same as the sweet potato recipe, minus the sweet potatoes, obviously. And instead of 8 ounces of milk, use 4 ounces of cream and 4 ounces of apple cider reduction.

How you make the reduction depends on how much time you’ve got. At least start with 8 ounces of cider reduced by half, or you can do a pint of cider reduced to 4 ounces. Hope you continue to enjoy, thanks for stopping by!


Jan 27, 2011 ·  9:11 PM

Just discovered your blog and I’m in love. Making these soon. Sooo glad you have a yeast doughnut recipe!! All these other blogs have baked doughnuts (basically doughnut shaped muffins tryna be all healthy-ish) My husband wasn’t goin for it, he wants fried yeasty goodness. I’ll let you know how they come out!

 · Aja · 

Jan 30, 2011 · 12:55 PM

Gosh, it kills me these are in ounces. You’ve pushed me to get the dusty scale out.
I think someday I’ll thank you. Hahah!
Jess : )

 · Jess · http://www.livininthekitchen.wordpress.com

Jan 10, 2012 · 11:23 AM

love these !!!!
i have a fishing lodge on the west coast of vancouver iasland and want to be able to have the donuts on there second proof waiting to be dropped into hot oil on our cold return .
is it best to proof and refridge and drop them in cold or is there another a la minute way you’d have these puppies ready?

 · kyuquot · 

Jan 10, 2012 ·  3:02 PM

@kyuquot, you can proof them and refrigerate, but let them get sit out a few minutes to knock the chill off them. If they go in cold, they can drop the temperature of the oil too drastically. Your fishing lodge sounds amazing, wish I could be bundled up out in the cold eating doughnuts with you! Cheers!


Mar 08, 2012 ·  4:05 PM

I’m so glad this post exists because I really want to make doughnuts, but my new policy since making fauxreos yesterday is “if bravetart didn’t share a recipe, there’s no point in making it”
Can I replace peanut oil with regular vegetable oil?

 · szaffika · 

Mar 09, 2012 · 10:16 AM

@szaffika, awww, how sweet! Thanks for the high praise. You can definitely fry them in whatever oil you prefer, I like using peanut because it doesn’t get that funky hot-oil smell that canola and some vegetable oils seem prone to. Good luck!


Jun 16, 2012 ·  2:35 AM

Since I’ve tried your banana ice cream
recipe, I now want use bananas in everything.
Could I use bananas instead of sweet potato?

 · Luv2cook · 

Jun 16, 2012 ·  1:30 PM

@Luv2cook, haha, I’m so glad you’re on a banana kick! I really don’t have any idea how the bananas would work in this recipe, but it’s an intriguing idea! If you’re feeling brave, give it a shot. If you’re feeling patient, hang in there and I will report back after I try it out (which may be a month or two).


Jun 17, 2012 ·  2:00 AM

I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I am sure it will be delish!

 · Luv2cook · 

Jun 18, 2012 · 10:30 AM

@Luv2cook, I’ve got your email, so I’ll let you know directly when I’ve figured it out.


Jun 25, 2012 · 11:57 PM

Thanks for listing flour as the very last ingredient and getting my gf hopes up. Do you think there could be a worthy substitution?
Also, I’m glad you big news isn’t that you’re moving to New York. I like that you’re in Lexington and we could hypothetically someday hang out. Even though I’m in Korea and your recent success is threatening to make you too famous/important! Ahhh!

 · YogaAndBirth · 

Aug 29, 2012 ·  5:16 PM

Hey Stella
Any way I can make these GF? Do you think Buckwheat flour would work?

 · Adrienne · 

Aug 29, 2012 ·  5:59 PM

Hi Adrienne. At the moment, I don’t know how to GF-ify these, but am researching it just now for my book. Unfortunately that also means I won’t be able to share the result until the book’s published. But I promise GF donuts someday in the future! Hang tight.


Sep 03, 2012 ·  7:13 PM

Ok thanks Stella. I’ll sit tight and wait for your book to come out.

 · Adrienne · 

Sep 03, 2012 ·  7:18 PM

Thanks, Adrienne! xoxo


Dec 27, 2012 ·  6:52 PM

Stella, you absolutely HAVE to figure out how to GF-ify these. I so want to try them! Try for your SPS, I knew you before you were famous!

 · Krista · 

Dec 28, 2012 · 10:50 AM

Kristaaaaaa!!! I’m trying, even as we speak. Hopefully will crack the code to excellent GF doughnuts sometime in early 2013, even if it kills me. xoxo


Dec 28, 2012 ·  3:41 PM

These look luscious but I need to make them dairy free. Any suggestions for the glaze? I am desperate to use up leftover Christmas sweet potatoes.

 · Althea13 · 

Dec 28, 2012 ·  6:39 PM

Hi Althea13! I think you’ll be fine replacing the butter and milk in the doughnuts with coconut milk and coconut oil. In the glaze, you could also go for coconut, or any sort of soy or almond milk. This is one of those lucky occasions where the dairy isn’t the important part, so the substitution shouldn’t mess you up at all. Happy baking!!


Mar 04, 2013 ·  3:33 PM

I did everything wrong when making this recipe….I used a ton more flour than called for to get the dough to stop sticking; I let the formed doughnuts rise for about 1.5 hours so they were all super-puffy and deflated immediately when touched, I even burned them in the oil….and they’re still delicious! Just goes to show you can’t keep a good recipe down.

 · VulcanDeathGrip · 

Mar 04, 2013 ·  4:57 PM

Hahaha, VulcanDeathGrip, that’s great!! I’m so happy to hear after all that trouble you still had a tasty snack, whew!


Oct 14, 2013 ·  6:35 PM

I have made this recipe twice. The first time I observed the flavor is great, the sweet potato flavor is subtle but still present and nice, which is how I feel it should be. My only complaint was that they were tough. Not super tough…but not soft and melt in your mouth how I like my doughnut to be. I researched how to fix this and couldnt find very much so I decided to wing it..I added 20 oz of flour instead of 24 and 1 3/4 t. baking powder instead of 2 1/4. This made the dough a lot softer and I wasnt sure if they would fry well because since the dough was softer, it didnt maintain its shape quite as well as it did with the extra flour. These doughnuts, after frying ended up being the BEST YET. I highly suggest decreasing the flour and baking powder for an amazing doughnut that is soft, buttery and melt in your mouth. This recipe is awesome otherwise..Thank you for the guideline.

 · Antonia · 

Jan 27, 2016 · 11:28 AM

Can you freeze these?

 · ARIANE · 


After clicking "preview" you must click submit to post your comment.