Old Fashioned Buttermilk Donuts

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Old Fashioned Buttermilk Donuts are plain cake donuts with a simple glaze, but they’re scored to create more surface area so that when they’re fried they get extra crispy and extra delicious on the outside.  

An old fashioned donut was never my first choice at a donut shop. I’ve always been drawn to the chocolate cake donuts or chocolate glazed donuts. Recently, though I’ve fallen in love with old fashioned buttermilk donuts. 

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Donuts are plain cake donuts with a simple glaze, but they\'re scored so that when they\'re fried they get extra crispy and delicious.

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the Indulge Conference in Portland, Oregon. It was a fun, whirlwind weekend filled with classes on improving your food blog, opportunities to meet brands, make new friends, and catch up with old friends.

Of course, there was also lots of great food, some bakery crawls, and a fabulous tour of the Hood River Valley and local fruit producers, Draper Girls County Farm, The Gorge White House, and Sakura Ridge.

Collage of Hood River Valley and local fruit producers, Draper Girls County Farm, The Gorge White House, and Sakura Ridge.

Before we left on the tour, Lauren hooked us up with some donuts from Blue Star Donuts. They’re a popular donut shop in Portland and often sell out and close up shop as soon as the donuts are gone.

Blue Star Donuts Picture courtesy of Lauren\'s Latest
Blue Star Donuts Picture courtesy of Lauren’s Latest

I really wanted to try a bite of each of the donuts, but Lauren said her favorite was the old fashioned buttermilk donut, so I had to give that one a try. I’m so glad I did. It really is an amazing donut. Crisp on the outside and tender and moist on the inside with a sweet glaze that you’ll want to lick off your fingers.


When I got home I couldn’t resist making some old fashioned donuts for my family. I did a Google search and found a Cook’s Illustrated recipe for old fashioned buttermilk donuts on Spicy Southern Kitchen that she said was great. I took what I liked from that recipe and combine it with the old fashioned sour cream doughnut recipe on Peaches Please, which she adapted from Top Pot Hand-Forged Doughnuts.

I didn’t have a donut cutter, so I used two biscuit cutters from a set of biscuit cutters. But I’ve added a donut cutter to my Amazon cart. To get the classic old fashioned shape, you score the top of the donut in a triangle shape. Peaches Please has a diagram of how to score them with her recipe.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Donuts

The Blue Star Old Fashioned Buttermilk Donuts were bigger than my donuts, but my donuts had the same great tender on the inside crisp on the outside, great flavor of their donuts, and I didn’t have to travel to Portland and stand in line to get them.

The dough was really easy to work with and they were super fun to make. If you don’t live in Portland either, you should give them a try.

Making sure your oil is at the correct temperature is the key to successfully frying donuts. An instant-read thermometer is an essential tool. 

Featured Image for post Old Fashioned Buttermilk Donuts
Yield: 15 donuts

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Donuts

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 2 minutes


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs plus one egg yolk
  • 6 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup water


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1 cup of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  2. In small mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, and eggs. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  3. With speed on low, gradually mix in the remaining flour a little at a time. Add more or less flour as necessary to make a soft dough that is moist and slightly tacky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
  4. Place oil in a Dutch oven and heat to 375°.
  5. Prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, vanilla and water until smooth. Add additional powdered sugar or water if necessary for a thin glaze.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick. Use a floured donut cutter or a large and a small biscuit cutter to cut out the donuts and donut holes. Gather scraps together and roll out again to cut more donuts. Lightly score the donuts three times, making a triangle in the ring of the donut to help create the “petals”.
  7. Cook several donuts at a time scored side up, flipping them over as they rise to the surface and turn golden brown, about a minute per side. Drain on a wire rack. Before frying another batch, make sure oil temperature has returned to 375 degrees and cut one open to make sure they are cooked through. The exteriors should be deep brown and light and not doughy.
  8. Remove the donuts from the oil and set them on the rack to drain and cool slightly.
  9. While still warm, dip the donuts, petals side down, into the glaze. Swirl the donut in the glaze a little, then pick it up and let the excess glaze dribble back into the bowl.
  10. Return the glazed donut to the rack to let the glaze dry.
  11. Repeat the process until all donuts and donut holes have been cooked and glazed.


*add more flour if needed

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