Mom standing in her kitchen with a tray of homemade buttermilk doughnuts on the counter beside her.

Mom’s Buttermilk Doughnuts are an old-fashioned, deep fried doughnut recipe that are also known as fry cakes. This cake like doughnut is deep fried until golden brown. The vanilla flavored cake encased in the crispy brown exterior is melt in your mouth delicious. They are extra delicious eaten fresh out of the fryer dipped in a sugar coating.

Deep Fried Buttermilk Doughnuts are a great way to treat your family on the weekend. They are a little time intensive, but so worth the end result. If you have never tried a homemade buttermilk doughnut, then you need to read on, because it an experience that everyone needs to have!

Mom standing in her kitchen with a tray of homemade buttermilk doughnuts on the counter beside her.

Documenting Mom’s Homemade Buttermilk Doughnuts

My mom has always been an amazing maker of all things bread-like. Three things she would make regularly in the home were biscuits, bread, and doughnuts. I remember as a young girl, I would watch her make her doughnuts, and anxiously wait until they would come out of the hot grease. We loved to eat them warm, either shaken up with a little powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or dipped in some pure maple syrup.

If you have never eaten a freshly made fry cake, then you are certainly missing out. There is nothing else like it. I felt this method of making an old-fashioned doughnut should not disappear. Because of this, I decided to document my Mom’s method of making homemade buttermilk doughnuts.

Mom holding the deep fried doughnut recipe card

Is it donut or doughnuts?

All of my life a Doughnut was a doughnut! The spelling of donut was always around, but spelling of donut became the more popular version when Dunkin’ Donuts came into existence. Neither one of these spellings are incorrect and actually, if you search either word on the internet, you get recipes with both spellings!

A tray of golden brown homemade buttermilk doughnuts with one deep fried doughnut broken in half to show the inside

What you need to know about deep fried doughnuts

What is an old-fashioned doughnut?

An old fashioned doughnut is a cake like ring of fried dough that has been leavened with baking powder. It has a tender interior with a crispy exterior.

Is a yeast donut the same thing as a fry cake?

No, a yeast donut is a doughnut made with active yeast. The interior will be more like a sweet yeast bread and exterior is smooth and golden brown.

What is the difference between deep fried donuts and a baked donuts?

Deep fried donuts will have a crispy exterior with a soft interior. A baked donut will have more of a cake like texture all around.

Tips for making Homemade Buttermilk Doughnuts

  • Use a blender to combine the sugar, eggs, oil, buttermilk, and lemon juice. This will completely mix all the wet ingredients together well.
  • Measure dry ingredients and add together with flour in sifter, then sift into a large bowl.
  • Start the mixing with a hand mixer, then move to a spoon as the dough becomes stiffer.
  • The dough should be pliable when your turn it out onto a floured board. Finish mixing by hand until you have a stiff and workable dough.
  • Make sure you refrigerate the dough at least 30 minutes.
  • Once the doughnuts are cut, set them aside to rest for 30 minutes.

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Cutting the donut shape

When you remove the dough from fridge, gently pat out and shape the dough until about 1 inch thickness.

Use a donut cutter or a biscuit cutter. My mom uses a round biscuit cookie cutter for a bigger donut. Then she will cut out the donut holes using the removable center of the doughnut hole cutter.

Deep frying buttermilk doughnuts

Keep in mind when deep frying doughnuts, you will need to keep the heat at a steady temperature. I recommend using a heavy bottomed stock pot or electric deep fryer to fry your doughnuts. I also recommend using a deep fry thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the oil.

Mom’s handwritten recipe card for Lucille Brewer’s Doughnuts

The recipe card shown below does not show the recipe the way my mom makes it. She has made this deep fried doughnut recipe for longer than I have been around, and the recipe has evolved with her over the years.

Mom's tattered deep fried doughnut recipe card

The card is the original recipe my Nanny used and she passed it on to mom. I shared this card with you so you could see the original version. Mom’s version is in my recipe card below.

How to repurpose a homemade buttermilk doughnut

It is very rare you will need to find a way to use doughnuts, other than just eating them. However, there are a couple of different ways to enjoy a doughnut that I thought I would share with you.

Try making Doughnut Bread Pudding! Or, I find this grilled cheese donut intriguing. I’m not sure I would want it with a glazed donut, but a cake donut maybe?

This is a donut sandwich I would eat in a heartbeat! A Maple Donut Breakfast Sandwich would be hard to resist with the sweet maple icing and bacon! Another sweet and savory treat to try is this Donut Monte Cristo Sandwich. A little spicy jam with that sandwich would add another layer of flavor that would make it a killer sandwich!

More doughnut recipes you may enjoy

We love our homemade donuts! My favorite yeast donut is this recipe for Apple Cider Glazed Doughnuts. When I make this recipe, I often will save a few doughnuts to glaze with a maple frosting.

collage of deep fried doughnut recipe

I prefer deep fried doughnut recipes. However, I do bake them often too! Some of my favorite baked donut recipes are for Baked Banana Doughnuts with Browned Butter Rum Glaze, Raspberry Lemon Baked Donuts, and Baked Chocolate Mocha Doughnuts.

Raspberry Lemon Baked Donuts
Raspberry Lemon Baked Doughnuts

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A tray of golden brown homemade buttermilk doughnuts with one deep fried doughnut broken in half to show the inside

Homemade Buttermilk Doughnuts

Mom's tried and true recipe over 50 years old, this vintage recipe will have your family begging for you to make them every weekend!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast & Brunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Buttermilk Doughnuts, Fry Cake, Fry Cakes, Mom's Homemade Buttermilk Doughnuts
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 36
Calories: 194kcal
Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 cups flour
  • 3 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 2 cups vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • In a blender, combine the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift 2 cups of flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  • Using a hand mixer, blend the wet and dry ingredients together until a sticky dough forms.
  • Gradually add the remaining 2 cups of flour to the dough until it becomes stiff and pliable.
  • Cover dough and place in refrigerator to chill up to 30 minutes.
  • Remove dough from refrigerator and pat down and out with floured hands until round and approximately 1" thick.
  • Cut out doughnuts with cutter and set aside on floured board.
  • Once doughnuts are cut, let rest while you prepare the vegetable shortening for frying.
  • Add shortening to a large frying pot and heat until 375 degrees.
  • Gently place doughnuts in hot grease. Once they go into the grease, they will sink, then float up to the top, with the hot oil bubbling around them.
  • Cook for approximately 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  • Be sure oil does not get too cool or too hot. Temperature should be maintained at 375 degrees.
  • Remove fried doughnuts from hot grease and transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet.
  • Let any excess oil drain from doughnut and cool at least 5 minutes before handling.

Nutrition

Serving: 1doughnut | Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 276mg | Sugar: 6g

About the Author: Shelby Law Ruttan

Shelby is the author/owner of Grumpy's Honeybunch. Established in 2007, she shares and preserves family recipes as well as recipes for cooking light and keto. She is an experienced, self-taught home cook who loves to share recipes with others. You can see her work on websites such as Veal Made Easy, Parade, Community Table, SoFab Food, Yummly, and FoodGawker.

26 Comments

  1. Jenny October 6, 2008 at 5:21 am - Reply

    What a wonderful post! I love the doughnuts with mom, those moments are just priceless! And they look terrific!

    How fabulous is that cookbook?! I love it and can’t wait to try the recipes too.

  2. Pam October 6, 2008 at 5:46 am - Reply

    What a lovely day with your cute Mom. I love memories like that…it’s great that you captured the day on your camera! I wish I could have one of those beauties – they look fantastic!

  3. noble pig October 6, 2008 at 6:42 am - Reply

    OMG you lucky, lucky girl. I would do anything for a plate of those! Your Mom is so cute! Love your header too!

  4. Susie October 6, 2008 at 8:36 am - Reply

    We started our wood stove this weekend and it was ‘so’ nice. 🙂
    My Mom and I use to spend tons of time together too and I loved it so. Glad you are enjoying your time with your Mom and those donuts look awesome.
    You two ‘look’ so familiar.
    Thanks for letting us into your life.
    Susie in northern NY

  5. HoneyB October 6, 2008 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Susie, we probably look so familiar because I believe we live very close to each other! I checked your photos and my dad is related to Miranda’s family. Also, you probably went to school with my Aunt Ann (my mom’s sister), she may be a little older than you. That is, if you went to school right here in our area? Feel free to email me at yahoo – grumpyshoneybunch!

  6. Michele October 6, 2008 at 10:23 am - Reply

    what a great way to spend your Sunday! I have memories of my grandmother and I baking cookies together on Sundays. I don’t think that my mother ever let me in her kitchen. If it wouldn’t have been for my Gran….I would have been clueless in the kitchen.

  7. recipes2share October 6, 2008 at 10:42 am - Reply

    What a great Sunday with mum..lucky you! My parents are a flight away so a quick visit is never on the cards!

  8. Anonymous October 6, 2008 at 11:30 am - Reply

    Seeing this blog makes me so glad we moved back to Lake George! I haven’t seen my Mom yet. We are getting wood together and have started our woodstove but not the fireplace yet. I have been cold here in the mountains. We are bracing for the cold NY winters!I have had Aunt Gwen’s doughnuts and they are delicious!!! Love the photos…Amanda

  9. Jo October 6, 2008 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    wonderful post… and those donuts look amazing 🙂 but for me, even better… is seeing a Mom and Daughter in the kitchen together. Nothing beats that *hug*

  10. Anonymous October 6, 2008 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful blog Shelby. A wonderful memory to have. Now can I have one of those?

    Robin

  11. Barbara Bakes October 6, 2008 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Those are beautiful donuts and a beautiful mom! How lucky you are – my mom can’t bake anymore.

  12. Meg October 6, 2008 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    Love all the step by step pictures and the pic of your lovely mom!!

  13. Megan October 6, 2008 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Baking with mom = priceless! It’s posts like this that really make me miss my mom. Enjoy your time.
    The doughnuts look very yummy as well as those chocolates. Love the fall look of the header, my favorite season! 🙂
    Cant wait for the giveaway.

  14. HoneyB October 6, 2008 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Jenny – that cookbook is beautiful! It sits on my coffee table.

    Cathy – you were my inspiration for actually getting Halloween decorations up!

    Pam, Michele, Fiona, Jo, Barbara, Meg & Megan – making memories is the best.

    Robin – If you want to travel down here I'll save one for ya! 🙂

    Amanda, sweet Amanda. I love you so much! You and I have hearts alike – so much like our Grandma. I had no idea you were back in Glens Falls. I'm so happy your back closer to home. I'm glad you left a comment today. XO

  15. nicole October 6, 2008 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Ohhh how nice. You said Grumpy thinks you are so wierd for taking all those pictures. My husband is the same way. He shakes his head every time I pull the camera out. haha:) Those doughnuts look so yummy! I could use one right now.

  16. Carrie October 6, 2008 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Looks like such a great day with your Mom!

  17. Flourchild October 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    Beautiful donuts and a beautiful mom! This is my favorite post of yours so far. Nothing better than time spent with your mother doing something you both enjoy. YOur pictures are fabulous and your mother is a very talented donut maker. Thanks for the heads up on the cookbook. Im off to look at it!
    Enjoy doing things you like while Grumps hunting!

  18. Prudy October 6, 2008 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    I love making doughnuts this time of year. I miss the fry cakes in NY. I’m printing out this recipe for sure. We had your pumpkin muffins for breakfast on Sat. and loved them.
    The best part of your post today was reading about spending time with your mom. Don’t you wish you could freeze time?

  19. Clumbsy Cookie October 6, 2008 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful day with mom! I’m glad you took pictures as well! So cute the recipe binder! And what a cool mom you have, she looks very young! Making doughnuts is allways much nicer when we can share it with mom, they look delicious!

  20. Vickie LeBlanc October 6, 2008 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    I love donuts. They are so good fresh out of the oil. And those chocolates… are they for real !

  21. Reeni October 7, 2008 at 12:27 am - Reply

    The doughnuts look fantastic! Mom’s recipes are the best, I still love making all the things I grew up. You did a great job documenting it. My family is so used to me taking picture of our eats they always ask first before eating. It wasn’t always that way at the beginning.

  22. Mrs Ergül October 7, 2008 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Now you’re making me crave for donuts! Since no oven action is required here it seems like a great recipe to try out!

  23. Ellen July 16, 2017 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Mom’s handwritten recipes are the best! It looks well loved with all the stains and creases on the card! The doughnuts look delicious!

    • Shelby July 18, 2017 at 6:23 am - Reply

      Ellen, my mom and dad used to go to the Farmer’s Market with garden and baked goods, and people looked for them and her doughnuts! Believe me, every time I go home, I’m happy if she has some in her freezer too. They are great thawed and warmed in the microwave a few seconds too!

  24. Anonymous October 4, 2019 at 8:16 am - Reply

    5

  25. Miriah October 24, 2019 at 10:26 am - Reply

    5

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Shelby Welcome! I'm Shelby, author of Grumpy's Honeybunch. I have been sharing family favorite recipes since 2007. I started the Keto Diet in October 2017 and since then I have been creating Keto ... read more

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