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Buttermilk Donut Holes

These little Buttermilk Donut Holes hold a special place in my heart. Growing up, my mom used to make these from time to time, but she’d usually keep them for rainy days. They always felt like such special little treats. We’d ask her to undercook them so they’d be gooey in the middle – which I don’t necessarily recommend, but as kid it was phenomenal lol. As we grew older, my sister and I started a new tradition: on rainy days we would make donut holes and watch One Fine Day. There’s nothing quite like a rainy NYC, plus the beauty, chaos, and romance of Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney’s worlds colliding combined with our favorite childhood treat.

So my only suggestion here would be to try these and put on One Fine Day. It’s wildly underrated, a 90’s classic, a gem of a movie. When it comes to the donut holes, they couldn’t be simpler: there’s no yeast involved, no rising or rolling, no stand mixer required.

Buttermilk Donut Holes

As you get more familiar with the recipe, you’ll quickly realize that surprisingly you don’t need a precise recipe. Most of the time I just eyeball everything. That doesn’t mean they always come out perfect, but there’s a lot of room for error.

Deliciously soft, they have a doughy center, and a crisp exterior.

How to make buttermilk donut holes

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted butter. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, but don’t over mix.

The shape and roundness of the donut holes vary depending on what tools you use. If you don’t have a small cookie scoop, use two small spoons to form the batter into mounds. This technique works perfectly fine.

How to deep-fry safely

Deep frying can be a little daunting, but it’s very easy. Use a wide, sturdy pan and fill it with about 2 inches of vegetable oil. Don’t fill the pan with too much oil as it may bubble up when the batter is added, and could spill over. Use vegetable oil because they have a high smoke point. That means the oil can be heated before it smokes and burns. 

If you have a food thermometer heat the oil to about 355F or 180C. If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil by dropping a small scoop of batter into the oil. It should brown in 30-40 seconds when the oil is at a moderate heat.

Place some paper towel on a baking sheet or large bowl so you can place the donuts when you pull them out of the oil. In a shallow bowl, stir together granulated sugar and cinnamon to roll the donuts in after they’ve fried.

Fry about 6 donut holes at a time, but don’t over crowd the pan, as they expand when fried. Fry them for about 2 minutes per side, or until they are golden brown. Let the donuts drain off some excess oil on the paper towels, then roll them in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Buttermilk Donut Holes

  • Servings: about 24 donut holes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • vegetable oil, as needed for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  •   For the Cinnamon Sugar:  

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon


  1. Add the vegetable oil to a large, heavy-bottomed pan. (There should be about 2 inches of oil in the pan, do not overfill the pan.) If using a thermometer, attach it to the pan and begin heating the oil over medium heat to 350ºF.
  2. Line a baking sheet or large bowl with paper towels. Keep it near the stove top.
  3. In a shallow bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon and mix to combined. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla, melted butter, and egg.
  6. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
  7. Using a small cookie scoop, drop about 1 tablespoon scoops of batter into the oil, careful not to overcrowd the pan.
  8. Fry the donut holes, flipping them in the oil, for about 2 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to the paper towel-lined baking sheet.
  9. Roll donut holes in cinnamon sugar and serve.

If you make these Buttermilk Donut Holes please be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and I love responding to every comment. And don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see your photos!

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  1. Pingback: Buttermilk Donut Holes — from a small kitchen | My Meals are on Wheels

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