Grandma Wendel’s Donut Recipe

28 Oct

For some reason, I have been wanting to learn how to make donuts for a really long time.  Not the kind that you put into a “donut maker” but the kind that you cut out yourself, fry and enjoy.  The good kind!  Anyways, I was talking with my Dad about it (he is a Chef and knows about these things) and he mentioned my Grandma Wendel’s recipe which was also my Great Grandma Estey’s recipe.  So it’s been in the family forever but don’t worry, I did get permission to share it with the masses!  My Dad got the recipe from my Uncle Hal and before I knew it, I was learning to make homemade donuts!  My family came to visit last weekend for the Rams vs. Panthers game so that Saturday, my Dad taught my sister and I how to make Grandma’s famous homemade donuts.

Here is how it went down:

We had a lot of fun (in case you can’t tell)

chelsea and dad

I filled a heavy pot with oil and heated it up to 325*-350* using my candy thermometer!

oil temp

We mixed all of the dry ingredients together

mixing the dry

Then we slowly poured the wet ingredients in with the dry and the spoiled milk (it’s how my Grandma did it… use buttermilk if you must)

wet and dry

Next, we spread flour around and rolled out the dough


roll out dough

I didn’t have a donut-cutter on hand so we used my Ateco round cutter set (the big circle and a small one for the middle) and we cut out the donuts!

cut outs

First, we fried the holes.  Just plop them into the oil gently, being careful not to splash, and let them sit until one side is golden brown then flip them.  This should take all of 10 seconds.

donut holes fry

OMG YUM!  We had our first batch of donut holes!

donut holes

Next we fried the donuts.  It’s really important to be very careful when placing these in the oil. It took me a couple tries to get it right but just remember to always place them in the oil away from you.  

Flip these just like you did with the donut holes, after about 10 seconds, and when both sides are golden brown…

donut fry

You’ve got donuts!!!

donut drying

We decided to cover half with a cinnamon sugar coating.  So delicious and simple!

sugar donuts

Then my sister and I got ambitious.  We still can’t stop thinking about our Duck Donut experience this past summer so we had to at least attempt to make some maple bacon donuts!

My sister whipped up a coffee & maple icing while I made the bacon.



We covered the donuts with frosting, topped with bacon and ate them all.

I can’t even begin to tell you how good these were!!

finished bacon rack

bacon closeup

 These were way easier than I thought they would be and trust me, if I can make them, you can too.

 Here is the recipe:

Grandma Wendel's Homemade Donuts
Yields 24
delicious homemade donuts, perfect for a Saturday morning with coffee or a gift for your neighbors and family!
Write a review
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
5 min
Donut Batter
  1. 2 Eggs beaten
  2. 1 cup Sugar
  3. 2 tbs melted Crisco
  4. 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  5. 3 1/4 - 4 cups Flour
  6. 1 tsp Salt
  7. 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  8. 1 tsp Baking Soda
  9. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  10. 1 tsp Nutmeg
  11. 1 cup Sour Milk (use Buttermilk if this freaks you out)
  12. 36-48 fl oz Safflower Oil (for frying)
Pioneer Woman's Maple Coffee Icing
  1. 1 bag Powdered Sugar
  2. 2 tsp Maple Flavoring or Maple Syrup
  3. 1/2 cup Milk
  4. 1/4 cup Melted Butter
  5. 1/4 cup Brewed Coffee
  6. 1/8 tsp Salt
  1. Heat up the oil and use a cooking / candy thermometer to monitor the temperature
  2. Mix the eggs, sugar, melted crisco and vanilla in a large bowl, set aside
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl
  4. Sift the flour mix into the large bowl slowly and mix, alternating with the milk until well incorporated
  5. Cover your surface with a layer of flour and roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick
  6. Cut donuts out with donut cutter or two round cutters (one big and one small)
  7. Once oil has reached 325*- 350* carefully place the donut holes into the oil, flip with a fork after about 10 seconds or once the first side is golden brown.
  8. Place on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil and let cool!
  9. Do the same for the donuts, carefully place them into the oil one at a time, being careful not to splash the oil - place them into the oil facing away from you!
  10. Flip with a fork after about 10 seconds or until the first side is golden brown
  11. Remove and let the donut sit on a paper towel to soak up any excess oil
  12. You may either coat the fresh donuts with a cinnamon sugar mix or eat them plain - either way these are delicious!!
  1. Whisk all ingredients together
  2. Chop crispy bacon to small bits
  3. Dip donut and sprinkle bacon bits
  4. Chow down!
Some side notes
  1. Amount of Safflower Oil depends on size of your pot, you want enough to be able to flip the donuts
  2. To accelerate the spoiling of milk, just add a cap or two of white vinegar and let the milk sit. I know it sounds completely crazy but if you can't bring yourself to spoil the milk, just use buttermilk!
  3. We double the recipe to make 4 dozen and they were all gone in two days... I brought some to work and we enjoyed the rest over the weekend! These will go quick, I suggest doubling the recipe :)
The Ledford Life

 I will definitely be making these again in the very near future!  Enjoy and let me know how yours turn out!


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  • Senka


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  • Renee’

    I made baked doughnuts last year – just not the same. Some foods just need to be fried! These look so good, nothing like a good Grandma recipe and thank you for reminding me I need a candy thermometer! :)


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