Easy Funnel Cake Recipe

Funnel cakes are one of the most beloved of the myriad treats that you can pick up at just about any state fair, carnival, or amusement park. They consist of a mildly sweet fried dough that has been pumped into a deep fryer so that it comes out as crispy squiggles. While it may seem like this isn't something you could do yourself, now you can make your own funnel cakes at home with this easy recipe.

"I love how easy this recipe comes together!" recipe developer Kristen Carli told Mashed, and she isn't kidding. It requires, essentially, one main ingredient: complete pancake batter mix (you only have to add water to this kind of mix). You'll also need water and several of inches of canola oil for frying. Who knew funnel cake could be so easy? Now, read up on the directions so you can make your very own funnel cake at home.

Gather your ingredients for this easy funnel cake recipe

For this easy funnel cake recipe, you'll need just four ingredients, one of which is water. So, yeah, we weren't kidding when we called it "easy." The first ingredient you'll need is three cups of any complete pancake mix (a complete pancake mix is one that requires adding only water — such as the one by Bob's Red Mill pictured). You'll need the three cups of water to turn the mix into your funnel cake batter. 

You'll also need several inches of canola oil for deep frying. Carli recommends a depth of about five inches, so the amount of oil you need will really depend upon the size of your Dutch oven. Finally, you'll need about two tablespoons of powdered (also known as "confectioner's") sugar for topping your funnel cakes. While you could certainly do that with a spoon, a sifter or colander will help you to do so evenly.

Pour and heat your frying oil for this easy funnel cake recipe

Pour the oil into your Dutch oven, and heat it to 375 degrees Fahrenheit over medium heat. If you don't happen to have a thermometer handy, Carli suggests keeping an eye on the oil for small bubbles and then sprinkling a drop of water into the oil to see if it sizzles immediately. If it does, then your oil is hot enough for frying your easy funnel cakes. While your oil is heating up, you'll want to move on to the next two steps, i.e., mixing your batter and transferring it to a plastic bag (as you'll see below).

Add the water to your complete pancake mix to make your funnel cake batter

Pour the three cups of complete pancake mix into a large bowl, and to that, add the three cups of water. Whisk these two ingredients together until just combined. As you can see from the photo above, "just combined" will mean that your funnel cake batter will probably be a bit lumpy. As long as the lumps are small like the ones shown, then you should consider your batter good to go.

Make your makeshift pastry bag for this easy funnel cake recipe

Ever wonder how funnel cakes end up coming together as crispy squiggles? You're about to find out. Simply spoon the batter that you just made into a large plastic bag with a zip-top. The easiest way to do that is to slip the bag over a water glass, pulling a couple of inches of the top of the bag over the top edge of the glass (this will help you to keep batter away from the top edge of the bag). Then snip off one corner, leaving a quarter-inch opening. This will act as a sort of "spout" for delivering the batter into the oil in the form of squiggles, and the hot oil will do the rest of the work in terms of getting those squiggles all nice and crispy. 

Time to fry these easy funnel cakes

To fry up your easy funnel cake, hold the bag with the batter a few inches above the oil (careful not to get too close to the flame or to the hot oil), and squeeze gently in concentric circles. The batter will spread slightly, as you can see from the photo. Set a timer for two minutes. When the timer goes off, use a strainer or slotted spoon to flip the funnel cake over. Set a timer for another two minutes, and in the meantime, lay a few layers of paper towels on a plate, which you will need for the next step.

Almost done!

Using a strainer or slotted spoon, remove your fried funnel cake from the oil, and set it on the paper towels you have laid out on a plate. Repeat the previous step three more times with the remaining batter so that you end up with four fried funnel cakes. Once your funnel cakes are all done frying, sprinkle the confectioner's sugar on top of each, ideally with a sifter or a colander. Enjoy (like we even had to tell you!). 

Easy Funnel Cake Recipe
5 from 38 ratings
Who knew funnel cake could be so easy? Now, read up on the directions so you can make your very own funnel cake at home.
Prep Time
Cook Time
easy funnel cake recipe
Total time: 10 minutes
  • Several inches of canola oil (for frying)
  • 3 cups complete pancake mix
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  1. Put about five inches of canola oil into a large Dutch oven.
  2. Heat the oil over medium-heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Whisk together the pancake mix and the water.
  4. Spoon the batter into a large plastic zip-topped bag.
  5. Snip ¼ inch off one corner of the bag.
  6. Hold bag above oil, and dispense batter from the bag into the hot oil.
  7. Fry batter on each side for 2 minutes.
  8. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, transfer fried funnel cake to a paper towel-lined plate.
  9. Repeat the previous three steps for each funnel cake.
  10. Using a sifter or colander, sprinkle the powdered sugar over each funnel cake.
  11. Serve and enjoy!
Calories per Serving 521
Total Fat 17.9 g
Saturated Fat 1.5 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 78.5 g
Dietary Fiber 0.0 g
Total Sugars 3.9 g
Sodium 1,497.1 mg
Protein 13.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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