11 Doughnut Hacks You Should Try

Sometimes only a doughnut will do. When you want to kick your morning off in a festive way, or when you're fatigued and need a sugary pick-me-up with your coffee. They're also great for birthdays, dreary Mondays at the office, or for celebrating simply making to Friday. There's a whole world of doughnuts to explore, and everyone's got their favorite. Do you love your classic Krispy Kreme rings? Or maybe you crave the incredible variety at Dunkin' Donuts? Maybe you love the spicy touch of chilli on top of a Voodoo Doughnut? In 2017, doughnuts filled with Champagne and covered with 24-carat gold were being sold for $1,200 a dozen, which perhaps appealed to those with more luxurious tastes (via CNBC). Of course, if your doughnut budget isn't quite that high, then remember they're also a great snack to make and enjoy at home, too. Gold leaf optional.

While it is believed that early Dutch settlers first brought doughnuts to the U.S., it was actually a U.S. sailor in the 19th century who is credited with creating the ring-shaped doughnuts we know and love today (via Twisted Sifter). He apparently took the middle out of his pastry after frying it because it wasn't cooked enough, and the iconic holey sweet treat took off in popularity. If a doughnut craving hits and you want to try making them yourself, or you just want to dress up the dozen you brought home, here are 11 doughnut hacks you should try. 

Make doughnut holes without a recipe

You don't have to be a doughnut aficionado to appreciate how many varieties of this sweet treat there are. From jelly-filled, sugar-crusted doughnuts, to the wonderfully creative and equally delicious cronut, made from deep-fried croissant dough. And of course there's always the classic, well-loved treat known as doughnut holes. The tip here is in how to make quick and easy doughnut holes at home, and it comes from the fabulous goodie bag of food hacks that can be found on TikTok.

Save yourself the hassle of making dough, and use a can of Pillsbury Flaky Layers. Cut a round of dough into quarters and shape each portion into a ball. These are your doughnut holes. Once you've got a batch ready, heat some oil in a pot to 365 F and fry your dough balls for about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn them as they brown, and when ready, drain in a paper towel-lined bowl. Make sure to immediately sprinkle on some white granulated sugar, shaking the bowl so that your doughnut holes all get covered evenly. Once they're not too hot to eat, bite into the crunchy sweetness outside and enjoy that soft doughy texture inside. 

Go for sweet and cheesy doughnuts

No you're not reading this wrong. This TikTok tip is for a cheesy and sugary doughnut. It's not as strange as it sounds. After all, sweet and savory popcorn is really popular, so why not give doughnuts the same quirky taste treatment too? 

Slice a glazed ring doughnut in half and butter both pieces. Grill one half, butter side down, in a frying pan. Drape two square slices of cheese over the top and put the second half of the ring on top of the cheese, butter side up this time. Press down a little with a spatula so the cheese starts to melt, then flip it over and brown the other side. Then dig in to the gooey, cheesy treat. Another TikTok version doesn't add butter, but follows the same recipe, adding three slices of different cheeses and browning in a pan until it melts into deliciousness. With the glazed part of the doughnut right next to the cheese, you get that delightful sweet and salty contrast in the flavors immediately. 

Create chocolate bread doughnuts

You aren't able to go to the store, or to a bakery, and you don't have the time, inclination, or ingredients to make some dough. But you really want a doughnut and keep thinking about that soft sweetness. So what are you going to do? You're going to follow a TikTok hack, that's what. All you need is some sliced bread and some chocolate and you'll never have to go without a fudgy doughnut ever again. 

Start by adding some milk to a bowl and trim the crusts off some slices of bread. Submerge a crustless bread slice in the milk and then press on it with your fingertips to remove any excess liquid. Still holding it above the milk bowl, place four squares of chocolate in the middle of the bread slice. Fold each corner over the chocolate and then press the edges together, so you're creating a patty. Repeat these steps with each slice of bread, until you have as many patties as you want doughnuts. Deep fry in batches of hot oil and roll in sugar while hot and fresh. When your chocolate bread doughnuts are cool enough to eat, tear one open to reveal a chocolate lava-style doughnut with a melted center. 

Make a low-calorie Long John

Not all doughnuts are round, and one of the most beloved has to be the Long John. As the name suggests, this is a long rectangular doughnut that often has icing on the top. Sometimes they're filled with fresh whipped cream and raspberry preserve. A creamy, sugary filling, in a fluffy, sweet doughnut can vary in terms of calories depending on how it's made. However, you don't need to be a nutritionist to consider that most Long Johns are not a low-calorie treat. At least not until this TikTok tip came along, offering a new way to make Long Johns that are a little lighter. 

Get a packet of brioche hot dog rolls and crisp them up in the air fryer. Once they're done, split them down the middle and add some low-fat whipped cream from a can. Put some low-sugar jam into a plastic bag and snip off the corner so that you can pipe the jam along the doughnut, right by the cream. Using a sieve, sprinkle on some icing sugar over the whole Long John and enjoy a sweet dessert that's far friendlier to your calorie counter. That means you can have double the doughnuts, right?

Fry doughnuts on parchment paper

One of the most challenging aspects of making fresh doughnuts is that before they're cooked, the dough is super sticky. This means that once you've shaped the dough and put it on a plate as you heat the oil up it can adhere a little, so pulling it off could make it lose its shape. It can also stick to a utensil as you're putting it in the hot oil, which is not ideal as you want to make this a clean movement so there aren't any splatters. Luckily, a TikTok post presents a simple yet ingenious solution.

Make your doughnut dough according to your recipe and place each one on a square of parchment paper on a tray. The square should be a little larger than the doughnut so that you can grab the corners and lift it without touching the dough. Once you've got a trayful, cover with plastic wrap either to rest or rise. When you're ready to cook your doughnuts, heat up your oil and grab opposite corners of a square and lower it into the pan. That's right, you're going to put the paper into the hot oil as well. Once you've got your doughnuts in the oil you can then remove the paper with some tongs. Then you can turn the doughnuts in the oil using two forks to gently flip them so that they brown evenly.

Bake 2-ingredient doughnuts

If you think it's too complicated to make your own doughnuts, then think again. It doesn't get any less complex than a recipe that only has two ingredients — flour and yogurt. Per a simple recipe posted on TikTok, add 140 grams of self-raising flour and 190 grams of Greek or Greek-style yogurt to a bowl. Mix it into a dough. Then scoop out about a tablespoon at a time and roll it in your hands to form balls of dough. Gently fry in hot oil until browned, drain on paper towels, and roll in cinnamon sugar. 

Another spin on this TikTok hack involves keeping your hands a little cleaner. Add the flour and yogurt mixture to a piping bag. Snip off one corner, then squeeze and cut the dough as it comes out over a pot of hot oil. You'll soon have a sizzling batch of little doughnut balls. Instead of sugar, try glazing your doughnuts by combining melted butter, warm milk, and powdered sugar and then tossing your doughnuts in the mixture. 

And to make things even easier, try an air fryer method posted on TikTok. Roll out your doughnuts using about 2 tablespoons of dough for each. Cook for 8 minutes at 350 F on one side and 7 minutes on the other. Coat in melted butter and roll in whatever topping you like.

Use yeast rolls for easy Homer Simpson doughnuts

Homer would no doubt be a fan of these Simpsons-themed doughnuts shared on TikTok. The cartoon doughnut-lover would probably say "D'oh!" for not thinking of it himself. While you can make your own dough for this trick, you don't have to. The secret is to use some yeast dinner rolls. Roll out one of the rolls using a rolling pin so it becomes a flatter circle, about the size of a doughnut. Cut a hole in the middle and use the dough from this to add to another roll or to make doughnut holes. Leave the dough rings on a floured plate to proof. Then, fry your doughnuts up in batches. 

Next, make a pink glaze to match the color of Homer's favorite treat. Mix together 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk and the same amount of melted butter, plus half a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add in a few drops pink food coloring. Once your doughnuts are fried, and cool enough to handle, double dunk them in the glaze and cover with rainbow sprinkles.

Use pizza dough to make zeppole doughnuts

While you may balk at the idea of making a savory and sweet doughnut, what about turning a traditionally savory dough into something sweet instead? For instance, the Italian classic, zeppole, which are fried doughnuts traditionally made from a choux pastry rather than a yeast dough. It's this that gives them a light, airy texture. If you want to give these treats a taste, try this easy shortcut from celebrity pastry chef Buddy Valastro. As highlighted on the Rachael Ray Show, the "Cake Boss" star makes classic Italian zeppole doughnuts using pizza dough. And what's great about this recipe is that you can make a homemade pizza and save some dough for a dessert afterward. 

Start by using Valastro's recipe to make a simple pizza dough, but adding an extra tablespoon of sugar to the dry ingredients and a few extra tablespoons of tepid water to the dough when you're mixing it together. Cover the dough and leave for an hour so that it rises to twice its original size. You don't need any special equipment to make the doughnuts, just use your hands to grab small pieces of dough and fry in hot oil. Once drained, add your zeppole and some powdered sugar to a paper bag and shake. This is wonderfully reminiscent of Italian-American street fairs where you can buy a bag of hot, sugary doughnuts as you walk along taking in the sights (via A Food Obsession). 

Turn doughnuts into a cake

Why enjoy one doughnut when you can create a stack of them and turn them into a cake? Aussie cake artist Tigga Maccormack shows you how to have your cake and eat it with doughnuts. To try it for yourself, stack three glazed doughnuts (she recommends original glazed Krispy Kreme rings) on top of each other. Keep them in place by spreading some buttercream between each layer. Put in the fridge for a short time so that this sets a little. Then, fill the stacked doughnut holes with lemon curd to stuff the middle of your cake. Cover the top and outside with buttercream, and decorate with sprinkles, piping, or whatever else your heart desires. 

Instead of lemon curd, you can also try filling the center of your doughnut cake with a fruity jam like raspberry. Complement the filling by covering your cake with white and pink buttercream frosting, and top with crumbled freeze-dried raspberries. And while you're at it, why not play around with other fillings like Nutella, as suggested by Maccormack, or even marshmallow fluff, whipped cream, or chocolate mousse. Have fun using different colored buttercreams and coming up with your own unique designs for your triple-doughnut cakes. 

Make doughnuts in your air fryer

You don't have to mix dough and deep-fry in sizzling hot oil to enjoy homemade doughnuts. Try our recipe for Easy Air Fryer Donuts, which are made using biscuit dough and cooked in the air fryer instead of a pot of hot oil. Use a can of Pillsbury Grands! biscuit dough to make the rings. Take out the middle of each flattened disc with a bottle cap or inch-long biscuit cutter. You can save the doughnut holes and airy fry those as well. Spray the dough with canola oil and air fry for 6 to 7 minutes at 350 F, turning once halfway through.

This recipe also adds a luxuriously decadent touch with a silky-sweet chocolate glaze. Add half a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, a couple of tablespoons of salted butter, a teaspoon of light corn syrup, and a couple of teaspoons of water to a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until the glaze is smooth. dip your air fryer doughnuts into the mixture, and then add some rainbow sprinkles on top. Serve when the glaze is set, if you can wait that long. 

For more air fryer doughnut inspiration, one TikTok post recommends cooking up your Pillsbury Grands! rings and then brushing on melted butter and dunking in cinnamon sugar. Another TikTok suggests skipping the raw dough altogether and popping store-bought cinnamon doughnuts in the air fryer for a few minutes and topping with chocolate syrup for a churro-inspired treat. 

Fill doughnuts with ease

If you've mastered the art of making a ring doughnut, then there's nothing stopping you from creating your very own filled ones, too. There's definitely a knack to getting a good amount of filling inside each doughnut, and doing so without it being too messy, either. Craftsy suggests filling your doughnuts on the same day you make them (once they've cooled down) by using a chopstick to make the hole inside before adding your filling of choice. Alternatively, Cook's Illustrated advises using a paring knife to make the hole in your round doughnut. Make sure the blade doesn't come out the other end, but do move it around to make a good-sized space inside. 

A nifty way to fill a few doughnuts at a time is to stand them cut side up. If you line them up in a row in a dish they won't fall over and you won't need to move them around to fill them, either, which will significantly speed up the process. Whether jam, cream, or some other filling, add it to a piping bag and push this into the hole you've made. Fill from the bottom of the hole, moving the bag up and out as the space fills up (via Cook's Illustrated). And remember to have fun, of course. The best part of doughnut making is seeing how a simple sugary treat can bring so much pleasure.