Doughnut Holes

Time30 minutes
YieldsMakes about 20
Doughnut holes.
(Genevieve Ko / Los Angeles Times)

Fill a small saucepan with oil to a depth of 1 inch (about 1 ½ cups). If you have a deep-fry thermometer, clip it to the side. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees.


While the oil heats, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and 1 tablespoon sugar in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, egg and butter in a small bowl until well blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently fold until smooth. Place the remaining ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl.

If you don’t have a thermometer, test the oil by dropping in a tiny dollop of batter. It should bubble immediately and steadily but not violently. If it’s bubbling too hard, lower the heat. If it’s not bubbling enough, raise it.

Using a small cookie scoop or measuring teaspoon, scoop a heaping teaspoon of dough, then carefully drop it into the hot oil. If using a teaspoon, push out the dough with another small spoon. Repeat to fit a single layer of doughnut holes in the oil without crowding; you can fit 3 to 4 at a time.


Fry, turning once to evenly brown, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain for a few seconds, then transfer to the bowl of sugar and toss gently to coat while hot so the sugar sticks to the dough. Transfer to a rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough, adjusting the heat to maintain the oil’s temperature. Serve warm or room temperature.

Powdered Doughnut Holes: Toss the fried doughnut holes in powdered sugar instead of granulated.

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Holes: Stir 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon into the granulated sugar for tossing.

Glazed Doughnut Holes: Omit the granulated sugar for tossing. Mix 1 ¼ cups powdered sugar with 2 teaspoons water to form a runny glaze. Dip the fried doughnut holes in the glaze, turning to coat. Let stand on a wire rack until the glaze sets.
If you don’t have buttermilk, you can mix ¼ cup plain yogurt with 2 tablespoons milk to use immediately or stir 1 teaspoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar into ⅓ cup milk and let sit for 5 minutes.