Old-Fashioned Donuts | ChefSteps | PBS Food

Old-Fashioned Donuts



If there’s one thing the whole world can agree on, it’s donuts: America has stalwart chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme, along with local icons like Brooklyn’s Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop, Seattle’s Top Pot, Café du Monde in New Orleans and Philadelphia’s Federal Donuts. Canadians swear by Tim Horton’s. Italians eat zeppole; Turks enjoy lokma; Jewish people eat sufganiyot or buñuelos at Hanukkah.

Here in the ChefSteps kitchen, development chef Nick Gavin gets all kinds of nostalgic for the most famous of cake donuts, the old-fashioned. Cake donuts get their leavening action from baking powder instead of yeast, and Nick spent months creating a recipe for making donut shop-caliber old-fashioneds at home.

Just like the ones you grew up with, our old-fashioneds have a perfect texture, and thanks to the craggy rim that forms around the top while they cook, you can break off individual bits (Nick calls them petals) to pop in your mouth or dunk in a cup of coffee.


The best thing about these donuts, however, is that you can make them at home. Really. In fact, it’s very possible—even probable—that you already have everything you need to make them, right in your kitchen. Your friends, officemates, and kid’s soccer teammates will thank you. Profusely.

The two secret weapons in the recipe are sour cream and temperature control. Sour cream provides tanginess and keeps the inside nice and moist. Controlling your temperature throughout the recipe, and you’ll prevent the donut from absorbing too much fry oil while creating that lovely, crisp exterior.

The end result is every bit as good as—if not better than—what you’ll find at the donut shop.


logo-verticalChefSteps is here to make you a better cook. Drawing on our years of combined culinary experience, we create hands-on online classes and original recipes that are both informative and entertaining. We don’t tell you how to sharpen your knife or make macarons from scratch, we show you. Whether you’re a home cook, a professional chef, or just love watching cooks work, we can help you cook smarter.

You Might Also Like

Getting Hungry?

Sign up for weekly recipes