The best Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe

Anytime we drive by a Krispy Kreme and spy that "Hot Now" sign, we don't have a choice: We have to stop. Krispy Kreme's donuts are always delicious, but they're especially perfect when they're fresh out of the fryer. Depending on your store, you might even be able to see them go through the fountain of glaze as they make their way down the conveyor belt towards your ready hands.

Krispy Kreme tops the list of our favorite donuts, for a good reason. They're airy and light, and they're so soft, they almost melt in your mouth. We weren't 100 percent sure we were going to be able to pull off a Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe, but we had to try. After all, wouldn't it be a crowning achievement if the "Hot Now" sign could always be illuminated in our home kitchen? We not only pulled it off, but we also figured out a shortcut to make sure these donuts are ready to fry first thing in the morning. Read on to find out how.

Gather the ingredients for Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe

Our first stop to creating this Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe was to check out the allergen information on Krispy Kreme's website. We not only found out they contain wheat, soy, milk, and eggs, but we also got a complete list of the ingredients. Once we filtered out the chemical-sounding stuff and preservatives (like soy lecithin, mono and diglycerides, wheat gluten, and calcium and monocalcium sulfate), we were left with the ingredients we planned to use.

The glaze was pretty straightforward: All we needed was sugar, water, vanilla extract, and cornstarch. For the donuts themselves, we chose all-purpose flour, with our wheat flour and vegetable shortening to fulfill the hydrogenated soybean oil component. We also added sugar, yeast, salt, and eggs to our list. Some copycat recipes use milk, but we noticed that Krispy Kreme's ingredients list contains water and dried milk powder. We assumed that the use of milk powder instead of real milk is what gives the donuts their creamy flavor but light texture, so we decided to do the same.

You'll find the full list of ingredients, including the quantities and step-by-step directions, at the end of this article.

Why you should use a scale when making Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe

For this recipe — and any baking recipe, for that matter — we absolutely recommend using a kitchen scale to measure the dry ingredients. The Wirecutter refers to using a kitchen scale as "the easiest way to improve your baking." What makes it so important? For starters, it's more precise than other measuring equipment. Baking recipes rely on exact ratios of ingredients, and too much (or too little) of something like flour or sugar can ruin the texture and density of the finished dish.

Part of it is how you scoop the ingredients into the measuring cup. Do you pack them tight, or let the ingredients loosely fill the cup? Each method would result in a different weight. The ingredients may have different densities, too. According to King Arthur Flour, different types of flour all have different weights. A cup of all-purpose flour weighs 120 grams, but gluten-free all-purpose flour weighs 156 grams, and pastry flour only weighs 106 grams. So, to be safe, it's best to use that scale when making baked goods — like donuts.

Because we know many home cooks don't have a kitchen scale, we also included the ingredients in cups, tablespoons, and teaspoons at the end of this article. But, when we developed the recipe and made our test batches, we used the scale 100 percent of the time.

Do you need a donut cutter to make this Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe?

Okay, we have a confession to make: We don't own a donut cutter. We tried to get one to make this recipe, but it wouldn't arrive in time. So, we improvised and used the plastic lid from a wide canning jar and a shot glass. We felt super proud that we MacGyvered our way into making donuts with what we had. But, if we're being really honest, they also didn't turn out perfect.

We maybe had one or two picture-perfect donuts in the group. The rest (especially the first few attempts) were a little misshapen. They still tasted great, but it was definitely a trial-and-error kind of process. If you have a donut cutter on hand, or you can easily get one, go for it. Otherwise, you can use a substitute. Anything that's 3- to 3-1/2 inches in diameter works to cut the donuts — like a pub glass or a cookie cutter. Then, you'll need something that's 1-inch to remove the holes.

In a pinch, you could also cut 2-inch by 2-inch square donuts using a pizza cutter or a pastry wheel. They won't look traditional, but they will taste great!

What's the best way to fry this Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe?

Krispy Kreme makes so many donuts each hour, they use a conveyor belt for the entire process. After they're cut into rings and proofed, the donuts are dropped into fryer oil and flipped once to get a perfect golden brown color on each side. Then, they continue on the belt until they reach the fountain of glaze. Obviously, none of that is going to happen in our kitchen, but that doesn't mean it's hard to fry donuts at home.

You can use an electric tabletop fryer, but there are also several pots and pans that will work just as well. We like frying in a Dutch oven because it holds its heat really well, and it's large enough to hold about four donuts at a time. You can also fry in any large, stainless steel pot or even in a wok. Just keep in mind that you want to choose a vessel that's large enough to hold at least two donuts at a time. Otherwise, the frying process will take forever. It's also important to keep the oil a few inches below the top of the pan. When you add the donuts, the oil will expand, and you don't want it spilling over the sides for safety reasons.

Start by proofing the yeast and mixing the ingredients for Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe

Okay, it's finally time to get baking. Our first step in making this Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe is to activate the yeast. This not only kick-starts the fermentation process, but it also tells you if your yeast is expired. When you combine the yeast and warm water, the mixture should become frothy after about five minutes. If it's not, the yeast is no longer active, and you'll need to start again with a new packet. Better to find out after five minutes than make the entire recipe, only to find the dough never rises.

From there, we'll mix the activated yeast in a stand mixer with the flour, sugar, nonfat milk powder, shortening, kosher salt, and egg. You could also use a large bowl and a spoon, but this dough is very, very sticky. It would be quite the workout to do it by hand, so we'll let the mixer do the work for us. After kneading the dough for 10 minutes with the dough hook attachment, the sticky dough will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. It never quite forms a ball like bread or pizza dough, but that's okay.

Let the dough rise for an hour for this Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe

After you mix the dough, it's time to transfer it to a greased bowl. Add a teaspoon or two of neutral cooking oil to a large bowl. Turn the sticky dough out into the bowl, turning it once to coat it on all sides. Wet your hands with cold water and use them to form a rough ball with the dough. Then, cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place it in a warm, dark place. After about an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.

It's difficult to find a warm place in some kitchens, and the dough won't rise in a very cold room. Luckily, it's super easy to turn your microwave into a proofing box. The Kitchen suggests microwaving a cup of water for about two minutes. When it's hot, place the covered dough bowl next to the water and close the door. The heat and humidity put off by the hot water will create the perfect environment for letting the dough double in size.

Roll and cut the dough for Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe

Here comes the most difficult part of the recipe. We mentioned that this dough is very sticky, right? If you're not careful, it will stick to the countertop when you roll it out, which is pretty frustrating. Luckily, extra all-purpose flour works wonders at keeping the dough from ruining your day.

Before you turn the dough out onto your work surface, dust both the top of the dough and the counter top with flour. Then, using a rolling pin, form the dough into a large rectangle that's 1/2-inch thick. Any time it sticks, gently lift up the rectangle and add a little extra flour underneath. Grab your donut cutter (or your make-shift cutter) and toss it in some flour. Cut the donuts and separate the donuts and holes — they will fry at different rates, so you want to cook them separately. Place the donuts on a floured piece of wax paper. If you have any leftover dough, form it into donut holes or fry the scraps as a snack.

Cover the formed donuts with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for about 30 minutes, until they're thick and puffy. If you prefer, you can store the cut donuts in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, take them out of the fridge at least an hour before cooking them, and you'll have fresh donuts for breakfast.

Make the glaze for Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe

While you're waiting for the formed donuts to rise, whisk together the glaze. Simply combine the sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Add the water and whisk until a thick glaze comes together. You can add a little bit of additional water if you think you need it, but you want the glaze to be thick enough to coat the donuts after they fry.

If you want to make chocolate glazed donuts, you can use this same recipe as the base. To melt the chocolate, combine two ounces of unsweetened chocolate with two tablespoons of butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook it in 30-second increments, stirring after each session, until the mixture is completely melted. You could also do this step on the stovetop over low heat, if you prefer. When the chocolate is melted, stir in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch. You won't need to add the water to make chocolate glaze.

Fry the donuts to finish this Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe

We're almost to the finish line! The only thing left to do is fry the donuts. If you're using an electric tabletop fryer, fill the unit to the MAX fill line. For a Dutch oven or wok, heat about three inches of oil. Be sure that you have plenty of room for the oil to expand, and don't use a pan that's too small. Heat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, using a deep-frying thermometer to check the temperature. Reduce the heat to medium-low when it reaches the target temperature.

Then, carefully add two to four donuts to the oil at a time. You don't want to overcrowd the pot, so use your best judgment for how many you can add at a time. The donuts cook very quickly at these temperatures — about 45 seconds to 1 minute per side for donuts, and 30 to 45 seconds for donut holes — so check on them frequently for the first few batches so they don't get too crispy. When the donuts are lightly golden brown, flip them over using a spider strainer or a chopstick. After cooking both sides, remove the donuts to a rack to drain.

When they're cool enough to handle, dip one side into the glaze. You could also dip both sides into the glaze for a sweeter donut. The donuts are best when they're hot, but you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature once they've cooled completely.

How close did we get to Krispy Kreme original glazed donuts?

All things considered, our donuts turned out amazing. They're not the same as Krispy Kreme — ours were lightly crispy on the outside as compared to Krispy Kreme's completely soft donuts, and theirs definitely have a more uniform shape. If we could do it again, we would wait to use a donut cutter, or just cut donut holes to make things easier. But, when it comes to flavor, we hit the nail on the head.

We actually liked our crispy exterior, which contrasted really nicely with the soft, fluffy dough inside. The donut itself was lightly sweet and had an airy texture, but the glaze really took things to the next level. The tiny addition of the vanilla added a really vibrant flavor, especially when the donuts were piping hot. The glaze was ultra sweet and coated the donuts perfectly.

All in all, we don't need to wait for the "Hot Now" light anymore; we can make that happen anytime in our own kitchen.

Krispy Kreme glazed donuts copycat recipe directions

Prep time: 25 minutes (plus 1 hour 30 minutes rise time)

Cook time: 2 minutes per donut

Makes: About 12 donuts, plus donut holes

Ingredients:

(For the glaze)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water

(For the donuts)

  • 1 package (2-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (between 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 2-1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling the dough
  • 1/4 cup (56g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (30g) nonfat milk powder
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons (38g) shortening
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • Canola oil, for frying

Directions:

  1. To make the glaze, whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. To make the donuts, activate the yeast by combining it with the warm water. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes. If the mixture is not frothy after 5 minutes, the yeast is no longer active. Toss it out and start again with a new packet.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the activated yeast with the flour, sugar, nonfat milk powder, shortening, kosher salt, and egg. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can use a large bowl and mix the dough with a spoon.
  4. Using the dough hook attachment, mix the dough on medium speed for 10 minutes. It is a very sticky dough, so it won't form a ball but it should start to pull away from the sides of the mixer after 10 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, turning it once to coat the dough on all sides. Wet your hands with cold water and use them to form a rough ball with the dough. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
  6. When the dough has doubled in size, dust the top with the extra all-purpose flour and turn it out onto a well floured work surface. The dough will still be very sticky, so you will need the extra flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Using a rolling pin, form the dough into a large rectangle that's 1/2-inch thick. Make sure there is flour underneath the dough and it doesn't stick to the work surface.
  7. Using a floured donut cutter, cut the donuts. Separate the donuts and holes and place them on a floured piece of wax paper.
  8. When you've cut all the donuts, gather up the dough and roll it into a ball. Roll the ball out into a 1/2-inch thick rectangle and cut the remaining donuts. If you have leftover dough, you can form them into donut holes or fry the scraps as a snack.
  9. Cover the donuts and holes with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can store the donuts in the refrigerator overnight. Take them out of the fridge an hour before frying them for breakfast.
  10. In a large Dutch oven, heat about 3 inches of oil. If you're using an electric tabletop fryer, fill the unit to its MAX line. Preheat the oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit over medium-high heat, using a deep-frying thermometer to check the temperature. When the oil reaches 350 degrees, reduce the heat to medium-low.
  11. Carefully add 2 to 4 donuts to the oil, depending on how large the fryer is. Cook the donuts for 45 seconds to 1 minute per side (and donut holes for 30 to 45 seconds), flipping them with a spider strainer or a chopstick. When they're lightly golden brown on each side, remove them to a rack to drain.
  12. When the donuts are cool enough to handle, dip one or both sides into the glaze.
  13. Enjoy while hot, or place in an airtight container once the donuts have cooled.